NFL betting duo wins SuperContest, falls shy of Circa Million

Circa Million II winner Dakota Reed is presented his check for $1 million by Circa Resort & Casino owner Derek Stevens.

Patrick Everson
Jan 9, 2021 • 00:30 ET
Circa Million II Dakota Reed
Photo By - Covers Photo

David Baker and Mark Gregorich knew they were in for a wild Week 17 of NFL betting on Sunday. The two, along with a silent third partner, entered the day leading not only The SuperBook's SuperContest, but the Circa Sports Million NFL picks contest, as well. They were looking squarely at a potential $1,435,623 payday.

As the sun set on Las Vegas, it appeared Baker and Gregorich would have to settle for just The SuperContest title – no small feat, mind you – as they needed the Seahawks to cover to remain alive for the Circa Million crown. And Seattle had been awful all afternoon. The Seahawks got a Tyler Lockett touchdown catch with 2:20 remaining in the fourth quarter against San Francisco, but that gave the Seahawks just a three-point lead at 19-16, short of the 6-point spread.

Two plays later, though, 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard was sacked and fumbled, giving the Seahawks the ball at the Niners' 17-yard line. With the two-minute warning and San Fran having timeouts, Seattle was all but compelled to score, and did so on Alex Collins' 8-yard TD run to go up 26-16, covering the number in the process.

That would've given ODBMG-2 – the name of Baker and Gregorich's Circa entry – a 3-1 record to put the entry a half-point behind new leader DSR90-1, the entry of Las Vegas native Dakota Reed. And Baker and Gregorich had Washington in the Sunday nighter, at -2.5, no less, while Reed was done for the day with a strong 4-1 finish.

"It's crazy, because we'd pretty much written it off. Seattle was in pretty bad shape," Baker said. "But the way the timeouts broke at the end of the game, we were in a good spot."

One small problem: there was 1:49 left in the Seahawks-49ers game, and Seattle wasn't interested in playing serious defense. San Francisco scored a TD with 40 seconds left to pull within 26-23, and Seattle then ran out the clock.

SuperContest winners

That knocked Baker and Gregorich out of the running for the $1 million top prize in the Circa contest. But there was certainly some consolation in the $435,000 top prize for the SuperContest, plus $200,000 from tying for second in the Circa Million.

"I'd be on cloud nine if we didn't have that second sweat. But we're still super pumped," Baker said. "Obviously, when you join these contests, you just hope to have a shot to cash. But the SuperContest has always been the premier football handicapping tournament, with a long history. It's amazing to win that."

Baker and Gregorich went into SuperContest Week 17 with a half-point lead over second-place entry Yugo77 and went 3-2, winning on the Steelers, Ravens and Washington, and losing on the Panthers and Cowboys to finish the season with 56.5 points. Yugo77 went 2-3 to finish second with 55 points.

In addition, the Baker-Gregorich team pocketed $100,000 by winning the first quarter of the SuperContest and $50,000 for taking second in the first quarter of the Circa Million. So all told, the gang of three won $785,000.

"Those guys were up there the whole year and deserve the crown," said Jay Kornegay, who runs The SuperBook as vice president of race and sports for Westgate. "I know they had some heartache in Week 17, but I can tell they're good people, and I'm very happy for them. The SuperBook looks forward to awarding them the big check and ordering their championship rings."

Circa Million

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Reed had a superb finishing kick to claim the $1 million top prize and the coveted blue jacket in the Circa Million contest. Reed went 4-1 on Week 17 picks, winning on the Steelers, Texans, Buccaneers and Ravens, with the lone loss coming on the Dolphins, to finish with 57 points.

The timing probably couldn't have been much better for Reed, a cook who lost his job due to the pandemic. A few years back, he played the SuperContest two consecutive years, but that was the total of his NFL picks contest experience until this season's Circa Million II.

"Just luck," Reed said after picking up his $1 million check during a Friday night ceremony at The D Las Vegas. "I didn't really look at the (standings) until the last three weeks. I didn't start sweating until the Seahawks started winning (vs. the 49ers)."

Baker and Gregorich went 3-2 to finish with 56.5, tied with Cris Zeniuk, who also pounded out a 4-1 Week 17 with wins on Washington, Green Bay, Detroit and Baltimore. so those two entries won $200,000 apiece.

"The Seahawks-49ers ending was the difference between first and second," Circa Sports operations manager Jeffrey Benson said. "The backdoor is always open when it comes to the point spread. An incredible finish to a wild Week 17. We are thrilled for our Circa Sports players who cashed. We are excited for what next year holds."

Zeniuk made the most of his second entry, as well, storming to the finish line over the last four weeks to tie for fifth. Zeniuk went 5-0 in Weeks 14, 16 and 17 and 2-2-1 in Week 15, for a 17-2-1 run that took his second entry from outside the top 50 – the final spot that cashes – into the top five for another $33,333. That entry also was part of a nine-way second-place tie for the fourth-quarter prize money, with a five-week total of 19.5 points, giving Zeniuk another $11,111.

Furthermore, Zeniuk had Washington as the final pick on both his Circa entries, at -2 against Philadelphia, a win which clinched the second-place and fifth place ties. But the Washington-Philly line moved a lot by Sunday night kickoff, so he hedged with a $13,200 bet on Eagles +7, and hit that in Washington's 20-14 victory. All told, Zeniuk pocketed $244,444 from the contest and $12,000 from the hedge bet.

"Everything just came together," Zeniuk said. "I never thought about the money, it was an afterthought. I always played to win, I didn't play defense. I never really got nervous all season until I turned in Week 17. Then it dawned on me that I was punching the button for a million dollars. I can't relate to a million dollars When you realize it's over, and you've submitted your last picks and you have no more control, that's when I was nervous."

Zeniuk didn't get that million-dollar payout, but a quarter-million-dollar-plus bankroll boost is a pretty good return on a $2,000 investment.

More NFL contest winners

Circa Sports also held the Circa Survivor contest, which had a prize pool of $2.39 million. As it turned out, 35 entries made it through the entire season, so each earned $68,286. In the SuperContest Gold, a winner-take-all, $5,000-per-entry contest, the BrettFavre 44 entry went 4-1 in Week 17 to win with 54.5 points, collecting $360,000.

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