Apparently, lightning can strike twice in a football handicapping contest.
Jason Halpin of Aria not only won Gaming Today’s Bookies Battle regular season contest, he doubled his success by beating nine others to win the special Playoff contest. Halpin took home $1,500 total for the Daily Double victory.
“It’s really amazing,” said Halpin, who is the race and sports manager of the MGM Strip property. “I was thrilled and surprised enough to win the regular season. But to win the playoffs too? I guess it’s just my year.”
Halpin went 8-3 for the four-round, 11-game NFL playoffs, culminating with his picking Kansas City (-1.5) over San Francisco in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Halpin won by two games over Tom Blazek of the South Point, Fiesta Rancho’s Cindy Ramirez, Johnny Aitken of PointsBet USA, Duane Colucci of Rampart and Steve Piccolo of Boulder Station, all of whom went 6-5.
He said he stuck with the game plan for the postseason that he used during his regular season run which saw him go 146-110 against the point spread (57 percent).
“I kept my same strategy for the playoffs,” Halpin said of not over-analyzing things and trusting his gut more often than not. “It seemed to be working so I wasn’t going to mess with it.”
In his analysis behind selecting the Chiefs, Halpin said: “Honestly? I’m just too scared to bet against Patrick Mahomes.” Yet for three quarters, Mahomes gave Halpin and all the Kansas City backers kittens as he struggled to get untracked.
But with the 49ers trying to protect a 20-10 lead in the fourth quarter and given Mahomes’ penchant for being able to rally his team, Halpin ultimately was able to celebrate as the Chiefs scored 21 unanswered points to win Super Bowl LIV, 31-20.
“I definitely had some worry about Mahomes through three quarters,” Halpin said. “He just didn’t look like his usual self. But if there’s one guy who can flip the switch and take over the game in a quarter, it’s him.”
Halpin moonlights as a stand-up comedian. And while the audience may not be aware of his success when it comes to picking football games, he may have to enlighten them if they don’t appreciate his act on stage.
“I might have to work something in there, or at least if I start washing out, l’ll offer them some picks to get them back on my side,” he said jokingly.
Halpin has plans to put his financial windfall to good use.
“Absolutely,” he said. “My wife and I are going to Europe in April so I think I can upgrade some of our hotels now!”