LAS VEGAS – We know the 2019-2020 NFL season is still winding down towards Super Bowl LIV, but Monday, Jan. 13, officially starts the 2020 NFL football contest season.
Yep, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook will start accepting registrations at 9 a.m. PT Monday for it’s three handicapping contests: the $1,500 SuperContest (Classic), the $5,000 SuperContest Gold (same format but winner-take-all) and the $500 SuperContest ReBoot (which runs NFL Weeks 9-17). Contestants in all three contests make 5 NFL picks a week against the spread from locked-in lines posted by the SuperBook by 5 p.m. PT each Wednesday (though usually announced first on VSiN around 3 p.m. PT).
This past season’s Classic and Gold registrations opened on May 1 (moved up two months from its previous traditional opening day of June 1) and drew a record 3,328 entries in SuperContest Classic and 117 in Gold. The ReBoot wasn’t announced until after the season started and drew 236 entries.
“We opened earlier last year so we could take entries from those visiting during March Madness,” said Jay Kornegay, Westgate’s VP of race & sports. “This year, since we were working ahead and finalized all our rules, we decided ‘why not open right away’ and get people coming in for the NFL playoffs and especially the Super Bowl.”
Those rules also include several significant changes in addition to the early signups:
*SuperContest entries increased from two to three per person. Gold remains one per person.
*Quarterly prizes (Weeks 1-4, 5-8, 9-12 and 13-17) have been added in SuperContest Classic with increases to $100,000 for the best record each quarter, $25,000 for second, $10,000 for third. (Note: the tiebreaker for first place remains the best record in the last three weeks of the contest.)
*Weekly submission deadline for all contests moved from 11 a.m. PT Saturday to 11 p.m. PT Saturday. Mobile submissions on the Westgate app, which were allowed for the first time this past season, also moved back from 11 p.m. PT Friday to 6 p.m. PT Saturday. All five weekly picks due at time of kickoff if earlier game is used (mostly Thursday games, or late-season Saturday games).
Kornegay told VSiN that several of the changes were prompted by the added competition from the Circa Sports Million. He also said they did a great job in their inaugural season and welcomes the competition and feels both can succeed moving forward.
Brent Musburger of VSiN is again expected to be the first to sign up on Monday morning.
Circa Sports Million
Circa drew an impressive 1,875 entries at $1,000 apiece in its initial foray into the Vegas contest business after opening for business last June 1 at the Golden Gate and D sports books in downtown Las Vegas. They’re expecting to open earlier this year (by March 1 would be our guess) but haven’t announced their changes yet. It’s expected they’ll announced them on VSiN within the next month, and of course we’ll have all the info here on VSiN.com.
The Ultimate Football Challenge, which costs $1,000 per entry and had contestants picking 7 games a week from college in addition to pro football, is also expected to return in 2020 but no details are available yet.
This is not surprising with these other two contests and these earlier entry periods are very new. I used to run a comprehensive list of all the Las Vegas football handicapping contests every year through 2014 and I never published it before August because the sportsbooks never had their rules approved by the Gaming Control Board until July and often didn’t open registrations until August.
It’s a whole new world now, but at least we’ll have all the 2020 contest information months before then.