There will be a record number of contestants and a record prize pool when the SuperContest kicks off this weekend.
Formerly the LVH Super Contest (now the LVH is owned by Westgate Resorts), the unofficial world championship of NFL handicapping had a 40% jump in registration before the early-bird deadline. There were 1,164, up from 829 last year when the winner pocketed nearly $600,000 for making five picks per week.
This year, the prize pool will doubtless surpass $2 million and the Odds – VSB
super computer is going to take its best shot. The site also recruited some top bloggers, handicappers and Twitter gurus to do the same, creating a contest-within-a-contest for bragging rights.
So with the Saturday morning deadline looming and with the contest point spreads all set, here are the five computer picks Odds – VSB
will submit for Week 1.
Bills, Pats, Saints, 49ers, Chiefs
Buffalo Bills +7 @ Chicago – The computer says this one will be close (22-21 Bears) and we have heard plenty of high-level industry talk concerning the value of the Bills early in the season. The Bears usually win at home but almost never cover at home. The Bills have never won in Chicago and they might not Sunday. But they will cover a TD.
New England Patriots -5 @ Miami – The computer says 27-20 for the Pats, which secures the cover by the slimmest of margins. The Dolphins usually play the Pats tough, but New England has a knack for winning in Week 1 and within the division. Miami has covered the spread just three times in 11 seasons and we have the Pats winning by a TD here.
San Francisco 49ers -4.5 @ Dallas – The Niners look like Super Bowl contenders – the Dallas Cowboys do not even look like contenders in a flimsy NFC East. The computer says 29-23 and we think it will be more one-sided than that. The Niners have the superior talent and a knack for winning as road chalk (-1 SU, 9-1-1 ATS past 11 times in this role) and also boast an 8-2-1 ATS in Week 1. Dallas has lost 7 of 8 SU as home dogs, make it 8 of 9.
Tennessee @ Kansas City Chiefs -3.5 – we didn’t like to see the hook here but it’s still good value for the superior Chiefs opening at home to the Titans. The computer says 29-21, more than enough to cover 3.5 points. True, KC is 2-11 ATS in its past 13 games as home chalk but Alex Smith will surely thank his corporate masters for that whopping contract extension with a slow and steady victory here?
New Orleans Saints -3 @ Atlanta – the computer gives the Saints a 10-point cushion here and we like Drew Brees et al to roll the Falcons. Atlanta has lost 7 of 8 as a home dog and 7 of 8 within the division, while the Saints are on a 13-3 SU spree against Atlanta.
Week 1 lines (as set by Westgate)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2014
3 SAINTS 10:00 AM 4 FALCONS* +3
5 RAMS* 10:00 AM 6 VIKINGS +3 1/2
7 STEELERS* 10:00 AM 8 BROWNS +6 1/2
9 EAGLES* 10:00 AM 10 JAGUARS +10 1/2
11 JETS* 10:00 AM 12 RAIDERS +5 1/2
13 RAVENS* 10:00 AM 14 BENGALS +2
15 BEARS* 10:00 AM 16 BILLS +7
17 TEXANS* 10:00 AM 18 REDSKINS +3
19 CHIEFS* 10:00 AM 20 TITANS +3 1/2
21 PATRIOTS 10:00 AM 22 DOLPHINS* +5
23 BUCCANEERS* 1:25 PM 24 PANTHERS +2
25 49ERS 1:25 PM 26 COWBOYS* +4 1/2
27 BRONCOS* NBC 5:30 PM 28 COLTS +7 1/2
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2014
29 LIONS* ESPN 4:10 PM 30 GIANTS +5 1/2
31 CARDINALS* ESPN 7:20 PM 32 CHARGERS +3
*Denotes home team. All times are PDT.