How football handicapping contest winners are picking Super Bowl LIV


The winners of football handicapping contests come from all walks of life and their formulas for success often vary wildly, from rudimentary to complex. Some champions analyze offensive and defensive efficiency metrics; others simply discuss it with their spouses over dinner. Regardless, for one season, they picked more winners than the competition and have larger bankrolls to prove it.

ESPN asked the winners of three NFL handicapping contests to briefly break down Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers using the approach they implemented to win their respective contest.

Here are their stories.

Gary and Roxanne Heineman chose to watch a movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” instead of NFL Week 17 games. Gary’s lone entry into the SugarHouse/BetRivers $500,000 Pro Football Pick ’em contest was in the mix for first prize. They were nervous.

Gary, 57, is a mostly retired construction worker from the Pittsburgh area. He’s a Steelers fan and a regular sports bettor with an affinity for favorites. He overcame a slow start and surged into contention midway through the season. That’s when Roxanne became interested. “She’s into the numbers,” Gary said.

The table talk produced a midseason adjustment to start taking more underdogs. It worked. The Heinemans finished with 169 correct picks, two more than second place, and won the $125,000 first prize.

They’re headed to the jewelry store this week. Roxanne earned an upgrade on her wedding ring, Gary says.

For the Super Bowl, the Heinemans are riding the underdog 49ers. Roxanne already placed her bet on San Francisco. Gary is waiting to see if the point spread moves.

“Kansas City has a slight edge in the offensive department, but we’re both leaning on the defense, and the 49ers have a slight edge on defense,” Gary told ESPN. “That’s what we came up with, and we’re told over and over that defense wins championships.”

Rushes plus completions per game

There were nearly 1,900 entries into the inaugural Circa Sports Million Pro Football Contest in Las Vegas, an impressive amount for the first year.

Isaac Meier, 34, a portfolio manager from Los Angeles, beat them all, hitting 69.5% of his 85 picks against the spread and winning the $1 million grand prize. It was the first Las Vegas handicapping contest he’d ever entered.

Source : ESPN