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VSiN helps SuperContest Weekend kick off


SuperContest Weekend at the Westgate highlights a super sports weekend for bettors. Start your Thursday here in VSiN City before three days and 17 hours of live broadcast coverage.

SuperContest Weekend: Join VSiN hosts and special guests Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Westgate
It’s finally here! SuperContest weekend begins Thursday. And the official network of the biggest football handicapping challenge in the world will broadcast from the Westgate with live programming beginning Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, 11 a.m. here in Las Vegas. 

VSiN spent Wednesday evening transporting equipment from our usual home at the South Point over to the Westgate to be ready for “Follow the Money” with Mitch and Pauly to start off our weekday schedule. That will be followed by “A Numbers Game” with Gill Alexander at 4 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. in Las Vegas. Closing out the day in the heart of the order will be “My Guys in the Desert” with Brent Musburger and Ron Flatter at 6 p.m. ET, 3 p.m. in Las Vegas. All programming featuring your favorite hosts and myriad special guests will air from the Westgate Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

The Westgate is currently on pace for a record registration. That would boost the grand prize to over $1 million for the first time in history. Last year’s champion, “Pops2008” (Starbucks barista Damon Graham) won $895,482 with a final record of 54-28-3.

If you’re not familiar with the format…after paying a $1,500 entry fee, contestants pick exactly five NFL teams per week against lines that are posted every Wednesday. You earn 1 point for each cover and a half-point for each push. That yields 85 total selections over the 17-week NFL season. (Note that you must register in person before the pro football season begins. But out-of-towners can use a Vegas-based proxy to turn in selections each week. For more on that from our sponsor footballcontest.com, please click here. There’s a limit of two entries per person.)

VSiN will be the official media source all season for:

  • Tuesday’s posting of the SuperContest standings
  • Wednesday’s formal announcement of that week’s contest point spreads
  • Saturday’s release of selection dynamics, including the most popular consensus choices

You may be aware that the Westgate has added a special “SuperContest Gold” winner-take-all event for 2017 with a $5,000 buy-in (only one entry per person). That event for higher rollers will also be featured throughout our season-long coverage. 

This Thursday through Saturday, our hosts will be talking with former champions about tactics and strategies. Among the most vexing quandaries in an event that’s now become super-sized…how does a challenger best exploit those stale Wednesday lines?

In past years, you could go high into the money…even win the event…with a slate of picks that largely exploited market moves. Remember, the lines are locked in on Wednesday. If a game moves between then and the weekend, you can still pick against at the “old” line for contest purposes. If a favorite of -2.5 is bet up to -3.5 because of an injury or smart money, you can still get that favorite at -2.5 in the contest. If a star player is surprisingly ruled out of a game late in the week…you may be able to point 3-4 points in your pocket. 

But the cat is out of the bag on that strategy. You can’t separate from the field if you’re doing the exact same thing most of the field is doing! Some contestants with an analytics background are using game theory to try to determine how to best “fade the field” for better positioning if there’s an overreaction. It will be very interesting to hear former champs and 2017 hopefuls discuss with VSiN hosts how they’re going to approach that challenge. 

Come out and see us if you can. Otherwise, enjoy wall-to-wall coverage Thursday through Saturday on Sirius Channel 204 or at vsin.com.

NFLX: Three Thursday games kick off the second full week of preseason action 
If you’re in town for the big weekend, or a local that’s just ready for some more football at your favorite sports book…you can bet the second full week of NFL preseason action begins Thursday with a tripleheader.

Tomorrow in VSiN City, we’ll dig deeper into that amazing preseason point spread run from the Minnesota Vikings as they head to Seattle for a Friday free-for-all that might be the best game of the week. 

CFL: Week 9 previews
Yes, there’s more football to bet! Week Nine of the Canadian Football League also kicks off Thursday. Here are quick previews for this weekend’s four matchups north of the border. 

Thursday: Edmonton (-1, total of 58.5) at Winnipeg
Edmonton looked great last week in a 27-20 win at Ottawa, winning yardage 483-288 and yards-per-play 7.3 to 5.5. Winnipeg and Ottawa are similar teams (having played a 33-30 thriller head-to-head the week before). So, that would suggest good news for the Eskimos. That said, this is a second-straight road game for Edmonton…and they’ve been battling injuries on the offensive line. Tougher to play great two weeks in a row in a situation like that. The market expects a thriller. Winnipeg’s played a lot of those. 

Friday: Ottawa (-3.5) total of 56) at Hamilton
Hamilton has been squashed most weeks, except when short-handed Edmonton fell asleep in the second half two weeks ago. The market is finally accepting that the Tiger-Cats really are this horrible. That’s a tall line for a road favorite that’s 1-6-1 straight up! Ottawa is better than that record, suffering through a brutal early schedule (5-3 vs. market expectations). Hamilton really is as bad as 0-7 suggests (2-5 ATS even though it was obvious they were awful). Maybe this is the week Hamilton breaks through. Depends on whether or not Ottawa’s players have thrown in the towel. Probably too early because 1-6-1 can still catch first place Montreal (3-4) from behind.

Friday: Calgary (-4.5, total of 56.5) at British Columbia 
Calgary has been in great form recently, bullying a weak schedule. Last week’s bye should help them prepare for this road spot against a divisional rival. British Columbia has been erratic…capable of playing with anybody but able to fall 41-8 at Saskatchewan last week. The market has priced Calgary like the eventual champs all season. The Stampeders have still covered their last three with victories of 41-24 (as 6-point favorites at Toronto), 60-1 (as 13-point favorites vs. Hamilton), and 27-10 (as 10-point favorites over Saskatchewan). Tough to take BC seriously as a threat in the West if they can’t be a competitive home dog here. 

Saturday: Montreal at Toronto (no line pending status of Toronto QB Ricky Ray)
Arguably a “game of the year” for Toronto, who can’t lose two straight to Montreal in consecutive weeks in terms of tiebreakers down the road. If Ricky Ray can come back, some bettors will probably ask the Argos to rally in the must-win revenge spot. If not, Toronto doesn’t have any QB’s you can trust. Neither of the backups could find the end zone last week in Quebec. No good teams in the East. Somebody’s got to win the division. 

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals visit the Pittsburgh Pirates in huge four-game series beginning Thursday
While most of the marquee weekend matchups don’t get started until Friday, there’s a very important four-game series in the NL Central that starts Thursday night. Both the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates just got swept on the road in important two-game quickies. The Cards suffered a real gut punch in Boston Wednesday night, blowing an early 4-0 lead, and a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth. 

St. Louis at Pittsburgh

  • Offense (wRC-plus): St. Louis #4 in NL, Pittsburgh #11 in NL
  • Bullpen (xFIP): St. Louis #6 in NL, Pittsburgh #9 in NL
  • Thursday: Wainwright (4.25 xFIP) vs. Taillon (3.64 xFIP)
  • Friday: Martinez (3.60 xFIP) vs. Williams (4.42 xFIP)
  • Saturday: Wacha (3.77 xFIP) vs. Kuhl (4.60 xFIP)
  • Sunday: Leake (3.95 xFIP) vs. Nova (4.09 xFIP)

If you’re new to the newsletter, we focus on “weighted runs created plus” as a nutshell offensive stat because it is park adjusted to help negate home field pollution; we use “relievers xFIP” to evaluate bullpens, a fielding-independent stat with proven predictive value; and we use xFIP for each starting pitcher because it gives you a better “real world” read than ERA in terms of future likelihoods.

St. Louis is clearly the better team across the board. The Pirates will have an edge on the mound in Thursday’s opener according to xFIP. But, Adam Wainwright is capable of great things even when he’s not having a dominant season. 

The Cards are still the most likely “off the pace” NL Central contender to chase down the Chicago Cubs. They can really make a statement here with some road victories. Those are doubly important because they inflict losses on a team below them. Can they recover from that blow in Boston? 

Beginning Friday…a huge weekend in terms of contenders going head-to-head. Tomorrow we’ll provide series preview briefs for (in Friday’s Nevada rotation order):

Milwaukee at Colorado
LA Angels at Baltimore
NY Yankees at Boston
Cleveland at Kansas City
Arizona at Minnesota

Every team listed is either well positioned for a spot in the postseason brackets, or is within three games of a Wildcard spot. A sense of urgency for all because none can afford to coast. 

None of the Wednesday night games involving divisional or Wildcard races ran late. That gives us a chance to update relevant standings (using games above/below .500) before logging off. 

AL Wildcard Race (top two qualify)
NY Yankees plus 9 
LA Angels plus 3
Kansas City plus 2
Minnesota plus 1
Seattle even
Texas -1
Tampa Bay -2
Baltimore -3
Toronto -4

Yes, if the race wasn’t complicated enough, the Toronto Blue Jays have surged within 3.5 games of the final Wildcard spot. Might as well toss them onto the watch list too. Though, a weekend series at Wrigley against the Cubs might knock them back down the ladder. The Yankees are still in very good shape if they can keep treading water (better shape if they can get hot). Still a logjam aiming at that final spot. 

NL Central
Chicago Cubs plus 7 
Milwaukee plus 4
St. Louis plus 2
Pittsburgh -4

You can see how important that Cardinals series is to the Pirates. They may need binoculars to see first place if they drop three of four. 

We’ll see you again Friday to close out another week. One thing we haven’t mentioned yet about SuperContest Weekend is that VSiN will have a special drawing on Saturday August 19 to award a free entry to a lucky VSiN City subscriber. That’s a $1,500 value! All subscribers are automatically registered. It’s free to subscribe. If you haven’t done so already, please click here to take care of business. (Then, STAY subscribed all through the football season for special market coverage and free access to South Point betting sheets in an easy-to-use PDF file.)

A great way to keep up with this weekend’s festivities is to follow us on twitter. Click here to do that. Special guests will be coming out of the woodwork! If you have any comments or questions about our programming or this newsletter, please drop us a note or leave a comment in the Facebook widget below.

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