CH Ballers won the 2014 SuperContest at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook in record fashion Sunday, smashing the previous mark of 60.5 points set by Sans Souci in 2011 by four games.
The final tally for the four-man team was 64.5 points out of a possible 85 (76 percent), picking five games weekly over the entire NFL season. They get $736,575 for finishing first and earned a $3,750 bonus for winning over 67 percent.
Three members of the team – Justin Green, Andrew Leff and another who goes only by his first name Preston – are 2003 graduates of Campbell Hall High School in Los Angeles and played football there together, hence the alias CH Ballers. The fourth member of the team prefers to remain anonymous but was a fraternity brother of Green’s at Cornell University.
Green works in entertainment television, Leff in commercial real estate, Preston in private equity and the anonymous friend in finance. Together, they formed a nearly perfect team that enjoyed 16 winning weeks out of 17.
Green (JG), Leff (AL), and the anonymous friend (AF) recently shared their success story with OddsShark.com in an exclusive Q&A with Matt “Vegas Matty” Simo (VM).
VM: First of all, congratulations on the record-breaking win. Is this the first time you entered the SuperContest, and how did you find out about it?
JG: We’ve been talking about the SuperContest for a while. We’ve been betting together as a team for a while. We mostly focus on NFL, we do a little other stuff on the side. But we’ve been talking about getting in. We thought we’d have a chance if we started playing. So we decided to enter this year for the first time. But it’s something that’s been on our radar for three to four years. This is kind of the barometer, the World Series of Sports Gambling. It’s really taken off obviously in the last two years.
VM: At what point did you realize you really had a shot to win this thing? And did you bet your own picks or know others who did?
AF: I think we first jumped into a tie for the lead in Week 8. From that position on, obviously you start to think more and more about it. Maybe Week 14 or 15, where it starts to get like you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s when you start to think, ‘wow, this is getting a little bit more real.’ The pressure builds, but so does the excitement.
JG: We know a lot of people made money off of us, we know that. With this tournament, you have a lot of people tailing the Top 10, the Top 20. We entered first place in Week 8, so once we started getting a name for ourselves in Week 9, Week 10, we started hearing stories about people who were just all over our picks. We heard stories about people making a lot of money on us.
AL: I know we’re all betting on the side. I definitely was. I kind of regret not just tailing our own picks the whole season. A guy that I work with actually in Week 15 when we went 4-0-1 – and the only one that we pushed was on that Niners-Seahawks game with the 10-point spread – he looked at our picks on Saturday, and he parlayed them all. And I think he bought a half-point on that game, so he cashed huge on that.
VM: I know you probably don’t want to reveal any secrets, but what can you share about the process you went through on a weekly basis in making your picks?
AL: We took a really big group approach to it. I know like Sans Souci, who had the previous record, it seems like one person was responsible each week to determine the picks. We kind of did our own handicapping leading up to Thursday night, and then we would all get on the phone together. Some people have different styles in how they look at the games, but then we’d just break down game by game by game. Then we would kind of develop opinions based on that information, and some people would have stronger leans than others. But we were really good about finding value and presenting.
When you’re handicapping by yourself, it’s hard to determine every single angle. And that’s why I think working as a group really helped us out because you might get hung up on a certain game where you think you love a game, but then you don’t factor in A, B or C. That was the way that we not only picked winners, but we really eliminated a lot of games that way. If there was a strong disagreement, we would just say, ‘ok, we’re passing on this game’ because there’s enough games where we can find four or five that we liked.
We actually knew we were onto something when we would isolate seven or eight games, and even the games we didn’t submit in the contest, those games were covering too. I’m not sure what our record would have been, but probably pretty good.
JG: There’s a lot of mathematics, and each of us kind of has our own little system. But we kind of brought that all together where it wasn’t necessarily just throwing out games. There was a lot of texting, a lot of calling, a lot of power rankings, different things like that.
AF: We all benefited from the fact that we have different ways of thinking about games and different kinds of personal and career backgrounds in terms of the different things we read on our own and look at. It really kind of balanced each other out well. I think that if you had four people who all thought the same way and all liked the same five games every week, you may as well just have one person doing it. But to have different people to think about so many different angles, it seemed to really benefit us.
We tried to be very thorough, and I think we all kind of did some of our own research over the course of the week. I think that always helped. But it wasn’t just like some magical formula. It was combining the stats we were looking at with thinking a lot about more qualitative stuff like all the situational aspects. And combine that with the fact that we’re putting four heads together.
VM: You guys locked up first place before Week 17 games even kicked off because you shared picks with the only two contestants that could possibly catch you. Did you ever think about making safe picks, going along with what you anticipated the consensus would end up being, just to protect your lead down the stretch?
AL: We didn’t consider that even until the last two weeks. We weren’t even worried about what other people were doing, just because there were so many different combinations of what could happen. The race was a little bit closer than it was in the last two weeks. But then we were looking at, this guy’s this many games back. These are probably games where if we pick one or two of them, we might get lucky and land on the same pick, which is just as good of a win as it proved to be in the last week, where we won before the week even started. So we were aware of that, but we didn’t let it impact our picking too much. We talked about it, but then we would always end up back at the same thing, let’s just keep doing what got us this far.
There was just as much anticipation for the selections for that (last) week because we knew we could wrap it up. The likelihood of having even one pick the same as the guy right behind us would have been huge. So I think we all probably were refreshing (the website) and checking over and over and over to make sure we were reading it right that we shared two of the same picks. Because then we know that we didn’t have to stress while we were watching the games that weekend.
JG: We don’t want to lose changing the process. One of the things going into Week 17 though was we definitely wanted to beat that record. Our magic number was two to win before we found the picks out, so it was nice to find out we won, but we were definitely trying to beat that record. That was important to us.
VM: Now that you’re the richest winners in the history of the SuperContest, what’s next? Any plans to spend the money, maybe a Hangover-style party in Vegas when you collect the big check?
JG: I haven’t even thought that far ahead. I think it’s still kind of hitting us a little, it’s kind of surreal.
AL: I just had a baby eight weeks ago, so that money’s helpful.
AF: I’m sure we’ll enjoy ourselves and have a beer or two. But nothing too crazy in the works.
Click here to view final standings for the SuperContest at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. You can follow CH Ballers on Twitter at @CH_Ballers.