Contests start up in August featuring SuperContest, Friday Football Showdown is an independent sports news and information service. has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

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With the calendar getting ready to flip to August, it’s a sign that football is finally upon us and for folks in Las Vegas to start planning for what contests to participate in.

If you can make the obligation once a week to travel a simple route around the valley, I suggest you enter as many as possible. There’s a contest for any budget, including a couple between Station Casinos and Boyd Gaming properties that are free and offer a combined $1.25 million in cash prizes.

The high-end contests are where a contestant can make a name for themselves in the betting community by winning. Everyone knows about the Westgate’s world renowned SuperContest with its $1,500 entry fee that saw a record 1,727 contestants enter last year.

Some may not be aware that there’s a high-end contest downtown at the Golden Nugget called the Friday Football Showdown with an entry fee of $2,000. Last season there were 87 contestants with the winner taking 60 percent of the pool that translated into $117,000.

The major difference between the two is that the Showdown is played similar to a football season with eight weeks determining who the top seven handicappers are after making seven weekly selections using side and totals of college and NFL games.

Those seven contestants advancing immediately win $3,000. Weeks 9 and 10 is a wild card round with the non-qualified ‘postseason’ contestants all making nine selections each week which determines the final seed of the eight player bracket.

Then the playoffs start with wild card winner facing the No. 1 seed, the No. 2 seed facing the No. 7 and so on. The winners of the quarterfinals immediately get $2,000 for advancing.

An exciting part about the contest is that selections from the top contestants are announced live on ESPN radio’s LV Sportsline from the Golden Nugget book at 2 pm (PT) every Friday, hence the name Friday Football Showdown.

It’s kind of reminiscent of the old Vegas days at the Stardust when they had a bracket pitting handicappers against each other weekly and the selections were broadcast with live analysis on KDWN’s booming 10,000 watt station that the entire west coast could hear.

Much in the same way, but more modern. The LV Sportsline can be streamed on-line for all across the world to listen to at any time.

The advantage of the participating in the Golden Nugget’s contest is that you’re playing against a much smaller pool than the SuperContest. It’s also a fresh approach using the bracket format and allowing totals and college games to be used. It sets up a drama that people who aren’t even participating can follow through the radio.

The Westgate’s SuperContest is still the benchmark of all football handicapping tournaments in the world just because it’s the longest running and highest paying. It’s pretty simple, you pick five NFL sides against-the-spread every week and whoever has the most winners, wins 35 percent of the pool.

Last year’s winner, who went by the alias of ‘Rounding Again’, hit 71.9 percent and collected a record $906,675. There’s also the prestige of winning as proof you are one of the best handicappers in the world, much like winning a bracelet in the World Series of Poker has some clout.

For those that don’t live in Las Vegas, you can have a proxy service like (not affiliated with Westgate or Golden Nugget) turn your selections in weekly for a fee if you happen to win one of the prizes. The only requirement by the books is that you show up in person to sign-up. You don’t have to be in town for the rest of the year.

The proxy service will do it all for you and cheer along the way so they get a cut. In the near future – maybe next year, the Westgate is seeking approval to take weekly entries on-line, which would eliminate the need for a proxy.

If throwing down that type of money doesn’t fit your budget there are several other contests available that will keep you tuned in weekly.

One of the best low-end contests is Station Casinos’ Last Man Standing, one each for both college and pro football. For a $25 entry fee, contestants select one team against the spread each week. If it wins, they advance to the next week and so-on all the way through the season until someone finally loses.

The NFL contest is expected to have a guaranteed $100,000 prize and the college will be at $50,000 with all entry fees gained over that amount thrown into the pool. Buy three entries and they’ll give you a fourth free.

For Week 1 of the NFL the South Point has a $5 contest card with 15 games to select with no spread – just pick the winners. The winner takes home a guaranteed $25,000 and any other fees accumulated exceeding the guaranteed amount.

The payouts the past five years have always far exceeded the guarantee. Those cards are now available for action and there is no limit to how many someone can play.

The free contests are about picking weekly winners straight-up – no spread – with weekly and seasonal cash prizes. Station Casinos is expected to give away $750,000 in prizes for their GridIron Glory and Boyd Gaming is offering $500,000 for their famed Pick-the-Pro’s contest.

Each of these chain of local casinos give away the money as a marketing expense to attract more people through the doors over the 17 weeks for sports betting action, slots, table games, food and beverage.

These contests attract everyone whether a football fan or not, and the contestants actually do show up regularly to enter their weekly selections and sometimes also see how they did the week prior giving the casinos up to two visits a week. Boyd Gaming’s VP of race and sports Bob Scucci said over 20,000 participated in their contest last season.

With Station and Boyd having so many properties scattered around town, there really isn’t a good excuse not to enter because there are two places close to where you live.

New Phone App

MGM Resorts has a new phone app, and while they don’t advertise it, they’re still getting plenty of sign-ups ($100 minimum opening fee) and it’s a must-have for the football season as another out. Because of the large action they take from whales between their 10 sports book across the Strip – it’s not out of the ordinary for them to regularly take high six-figure wagers.

You can find value in their numbers often because they’re holding tight on a number due to so much risk on a side. Of all the books in town, they do probably the least amount of air moves – moving a number because the market is moving rather than by action taken.

Twitter: @MicahRoberts7

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