The long-awaited football season is at hand, and Las Vegas sports books have geared up their offerings with an array of contests tailored to every type of fan, from the casual to serious professional bettor.
This season, in addition to the traditional "pick and win" contests (no betting lines or point spreads to worry about), players have more to choose from in the "professional handicapper" category, and fantasy football players will finally be able to test their skills in their favorite sports book.
Station Casinos has also expanded its popular Last Man Standing contest to all of its properties (it was formerly restricted to Texas Station).
Let’s start with the blue chip contests, those designed to test the most serious of handicappers.
”¡ Super Contest: The Las Vegas Hilton reprises its $1,500 buy-in contest that has become a benchmark for professional touts and bettors alike. Contestants pick five NFL games against the spread each week while vying for a prize pool of $750,000 based on 500 entries. First prize is 40 percent of all entries, or about $300,000, with prizes paid through 20th place. There’s also a $10,000 bonus forpicking over 67 percent winners. Sign-up deadline is 1 p.m., Friday.
”¡ The Challenge: Station Casinos’ $1,000 buy-in contest offers liberal payouts, and with a smaller field, a better chance to win. Contestants pick five teams/week, one of which can be an NFL total and college side. Based on 200 entries and a minimum prize pool of $200,000, the guaranteed first place prize is $100,000 with additional prizes paid through 20th place. In addition, if the champion selects over 67 percent winners, he’s awarded a one-year lease on a new Mercedes. All contestants are also eligible for a $12,500 mini-contest over the last four weeks of the season. Deadline is 9 a.m., Saturday.
”¡ Friendly Frank’s Pro Championship Challenge: Sponsored by South Point and the El Cortez, this $2,500 entry contest has a guaranteed prize pool of $250,000 with a minimum $100,000 to the winner and prizes paid through fourth place. Contestants pick five NFL games against the spread, and there’s a $50,000 aggregate bonus for those eclipsing 65 percent winners. Entry deadline is noon, Saturday.
”¡ Glory of the Gridiron: Harrah’s $1,000 buy-in contest features an estimated $250,000 prize pool with 50 percent going to the winner and prizes paid through 10th place. Contestants pick six NFL games against the spread each week. There’s a $15,000 bonus (aggregate) for the leader after six weeks, $15,000 at the end of 12 weeks, and $20,000 for the best record over the last five weeks of the contest. Entry deadline is 2 p.m., Saturday.
”¡ Leroy’s College Challenge: College fans can sign up for $250 and pick seven college games against the spread each week. Guaranteed prize pool is $100,000 with 30 percent going to the winner and prizes paid through 40th place.
”¡ Last Man Standing: This is a challenging contest offered by Station Casinos but its payoff can be worth the endeavor. For a $25 entry (maximum of three), contestants pick just one NFL or college game against the spread each week. A guaranteed prize pool of $50,000 awaits the winner, the Last Man (or Woman!) Standing.
Pick ”˜em and win contests
”¡ $1 Million Great Giveaway: Now in its 21st year, Stations’ popular football contest offers the most payouts of any contest. For a $25 entry fee, contestants must pick the winner of every NFL game (no point spreads). Each week of the season, $30,000 is awarded for the most winners, and $15,000 for the most losers. By the end of the season, the top 225 contestants will score additional prizes totaling $235,000 for pick the most winners ($100,000), losers ($25,000) and for picking an equal number of winners and losers ($25,000). Contestants who sign up after the season has started can still compete for weekly prizes.
”¡ Pick the Pros Contest: Sponsored by Boyd properties, the $25 entry fee entitles contestants a chance to compete for $1 million in cash prizes. Contestants must pick the winner of all NFL games (no point spreads), with $100,000 going to the season-long winner and prizes paid through 305th place. There’s also $50,000 available in weekly prizes, with $10,000 to the winner each week.
”¡ Pigskin Payoff: The Palms’ contest features a $300,000 prize pool with $10,000 to the overall winner and payouts to 50th place. There’s also a weekly winner of $10,000 with $5,000 going to second place. For a $25 entry, contestants must pick winners of all NFL games (no point spreads).
”¡ Football Frenzy: Now in its sixth season, this contest is conducted at "smaller" Station casinos — Barley’s, Fiesta, Gold Rush, Magic Star, Wildfire and Wild Wild West. Entry fee is $10 and contestants pick winners of NFL Sunday and Monday games. Season long winner gets $5,000 with the top 10 finishers receiving cash and the next 40 paid in slot play. Weekly winners receive $2,000, with cash prizes to the top 10 and slot play for the next 40.
”¡ Pick Your Pros Football Contest: Offered through Club Cal Neva and satellite books in Reno and at Tuscany and Four Queens in Las Vegas. For a $25 entry fee, contestants pick all NFL Sunday and Monday games (no point spreads). Top prize is $25,000 to the overall winner with cash awards paid through fifth place; there’s also $3,000 awarded for least winners picked. Weekly awards are $7,500 for most winners and $1,000 for least winners.
”¡ Terrible’s Football Contest: Offered by Terrible’s casinos in Las Vegas and Pahrump, the $10 entry contest requires picking all NFL games (no point spread). Season-long champ receives $15,000 with additional awards paid through 15th place. There is also a $1,500 weekly prize for the most winner picks by a Las Vegas entrants, and $1,000 weekly prize for those in Pahrump.
Fantasy football contests
”¡ Fantasy Football Contest: Available at the Cannery and Rampart casinos, contestants pick from 12 head-to-head player match-ups each week. The $25 entry fee entitles contestants a shot at a $5,000 weekly prize for the top score, plus the weekly winner earns a spot in the postseason playoffs. At the end of the regular NFL season, the 17 weekly winners are joined by 50 "wild cards" who earned the most points during the year, and they compete from the wild-card games through the conference championships with the best fantasy picker winning $10,000 (postseason prized are paid through 10th place).
”¡ Fantasy Pick 3 Football Contest: Offered by the Hard Rock), this $20 entry contests lets the contestant pick the players and the teams. In the fantasy portion for weekly prizes, contestants pick a combination of 15 fantasy match-ups and straight-up (no point spread) NFL games. In the Pick 3 portion for season-long prizes, contestans pick three NFL games against the spread. There will be $4,000 in prizes each week, plus vacation packages; season-long prizes to be $27,700 as well as mid-season prizes (awarded after Week 8) totaling $4,750. Deadline to sign up for mid-season and season-long prizes is midnight on Saturday; weekly deadline to submit cards is 8 a.m. on Sundays.
”¡ Fantasy Pro Football Props: Offered by Station Casinos, these prop bets are based on a player’s performance on the field. Players bet over/under whether specific quarterbacks, running backs or wide receivers will attain a minimum point level, based on their accumulated statistics. Stats used to determine point totals include touchdowns (passing, receiving and rushing), passing yards, rushing yards, receiving yards, etc. See a Station sports book for details.