Nebraska Buddies Win $1.5 Million in Westgate Supercontest

  • Eric Jensen and Matt Kucera beat over 3,000 entries in $1,500 NFL picking contest
  • Participants choose five games against the spread each week
  • Jensen and Kucera jumped into first place after going 9-0-1 in Weeks 15 and 16
night view of the Westgate Casino
Eric Jensen and Matt Kucera of Nebraska won the 2019 Westgate Resorts Supercontest and the $1.5 million first prize. [Image:]

Supercontest is two decades old

A pair of childhood friends from Nebraska have won the famed Westgate Resorts Supercontest, taking home nearly $1.5 million in prize money.

Eric Jensen and Matt Kucera, pals since junior high school and now on the backside of their 30s, clinched the title with their final picks during Week 17 of the 2019 NFL season.

the most famous sports betting competition in the world

The Supercontest is the most famous sports betting competition in the world, debuting in 2000. To enter, participants must pay $1,500 and pick five NFL games against the spread each week. Wins count one point, pushes count half a point. The top points earner after the 17-week regular season is the champ.

There were 3,329 entries in this year’s Supercontest, with the top 100 entries making a minimum of $2,181.50. All contestants are required to make their picks in person at the Westgate Race & Sports Superbook or on the mobile app in Nevada. Those who have access to neither are permitted to submit picks via a proxy.

Late push put winners over the top

Jensen and Kucera, under their “It Ain’t Breezy” entry, went into the final weekend of the NFL season with a record of 55 wins, 23 losses, and two ties, good for a total of 56 points. They used a late-season rally to take the lead, going 5-0 in Week 15 and 4-0-1 in Week 16.

There were 14 other entries that had a mathematical chance to tie or pass them this past weekend, but specific game choices would still make some comebacks impossible. For instance, the closest team, “Crispr,” had 54.5 points, but could not pass It Ain’t Breezy because they each picked four of the same games. Thus, Crispr could only make up one point at most.

It Ain’t Breezy went 3-2 in Week 17 to finish 58-25-2 against the spread, a win rate of almost 70%. Based on a normal vig at a sportsbook, a bettor needs just over a 52% win rate to profit. Professional sports bettors consider a 55% win rate a good year.

For their victory, Jensen and Kucera won $1,469,644.80. The top eight places all won six-figure prizes. There were also bonus prizes for the best performers in the first quarter, first half, and final three weeks of the season.

Second time’s the charm

The two friends decided to enter the Westgate Supercontest for the first time last year after a number of annual trips to Las Vegas. They didn’t do poorly, going 42-40-3 for 43.5 points, but they were nowhere near making the money.

“We learned a lot last year,” Kucera told the Lincoln Journal Star. “We don’t do this as a career. This is more of a hobby.”

And though they just won $1.5 million, sports betting will likely stay a hobby. While Jensen is single, Kucera is married and said that his wife never thought “there was a chance in hell” that they would win.

“And you know how wives are when it comes to spending $1,500 on anything.”

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