There won’t be a bona fide New Jersey version of the famous Las Vegas Westgate NFL SuperContest for the 2019-2020 NFL season, but as of Sept. 3, folks can enter what’s now the second NFL betting contest available in the NJ sports betting market: SugarHouse’s “Million Dollar Streak.”
Like Resorts Casino’s $40K freeroll contest “The Super Pick ’Em” announced in mid-August, the “Million Dollar Streak” bears very little resemblance to the SuperContest, which awarded $1.3 million to the first-place finisher in 2018 (contestants pick five games ATS each week of the NFL season). The new PlaySugarHouse contest is something, and it spices up Thursdays, but is there much value in this promotion?
Here’s how the SugarHouse NFL betting contest works
- For each Thursday night football game — 17 total including the Thanksgiving tripleheader, beginning this Thursday between the Packers and Bears in the season opener — pick the winner against the spread.
- To enter, you must place a single, real money wager of $25 or more on the Thursday game at PlaySugarHouse.com (in New Jersey only), within the “Million Dollar Streak” category.
- Longest streak among all contestants wins the top prize: an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Super Bowl LIV in Miami in February 2020. (You can enter and begin a streak at any time, so theoretically if you don’t enter until Week 2 or even Week 8, you could still win the trip based on performance of other entrants.)
- Bonuses begin at a seven-game streak, and if someone manages to run the table, they’ll win $1 million cash.
Although it’s billed as the Million Dollar Streak, nobody is winning $1 million cash. The approximate odds of hitting a 17-leg parlay are 131,000/1 (based on a 50% chance of winning each leg).
It’s nice to have more sportsbooks offering up different contests (really, it is), but there’s not a lot of value to be had in this one. Is it worth entering? Depends on your betting appetite, approach, and style (e.g. recreational or advantage player). (Complete written rules here).
Before we unpack the contest a bit, here are the prizes for running a streak of three or more:
- 3-game streak: $25 bonus (sportsbook credit)
- 4-game streak: $50 bonus
- 5-game streak: $100 bonus
- 6-game streak: $150 bonus
- 7-game streak: $250 bonus
- 8-game streak: $500 gift card to VividSeats.com
- 9-game streak: $500 gift card to VividSeats.com and $500 bonus
- 10-game streak: $500 gift card to VividSeats.com and $2,000 bonus
- 11-game streak: $5,000 in cash
- 12-game streak: $10,000 in cash
- 13-game streak: $25,000 in cash
- 14-game streak: $50,000 in cash
- 15-game streak: $100,000 in cash
- 16-game streak: $250,000 in cash
- 17-game streak: $1,000,000 cash
Notes, inside the numbers
Some important language to keep in mind, especially in light of the current spread of 3 for the first Thursday night game, is the rule regarding a “push” (game lands on the spread number exactly):
Per the rules, in the event of a spread on Thursday night pushing, the following occurs:
- The Sunday night NFL game for that given week is now opened, and users are given an opportunity to continue their streak with that game;
- If the Sunday night game pushes, the Monday night NFL game is opened and the same opportunity is given, with the first game on Monday night being eligible;
- If the Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games all push, no credit is given for the week with the week becoming “null” and users can still advance further by picking the following week.
It’s very unlikely three games would fall on a whole number, but even one pushing means the odds of winning one of the six-figure streak prizes goes up significantly. So, not ideal. Consider that from 2003 to 2013, approximately 18% of games landed on 3, the most common margin of victory. This was before the extra point rules changed, which will have lowered that percentage.
What if instead of trying to roll up a streak of 17 (or in addition to), you took $25 for the first game and applied a rollover strategy for each contest in the slate? This means you win the first game, then take the winnings plus the initial bet and wager it all on the next game, until you reach and win the 17th leg (with no pushes during the duration). According to my math (extremely subject to error), you’d walk away with about $1,526,460. Individual winning bets of $25 each week of 17 weeks would to amount to under $400, but perhaps if you won 10 in a row you might get emboldened to throw down an extra unit or five.
Notwithstanding the very tall odds of entering the cash-prize range (11 games) — a 2,047/1 proposition — there are still some other nice things you can pick up if you anticipate betting $25 on each Thursday night anyway. Do these longshot parlays ever hit? Yes, rarely, they do. People do hit the lottery. And someone is going to get the trip to Miami and the Super Bowl, so take a peek at your bucket list.
We reached out to find out approximately how many entrants PlaySugarHouse had received at the timing of this writing, and how many it expects. A representative did not have those figures immediately available. Probably a majority of the entries (remember, a $25 straight bet or more is required, not a traditional sign-up) will come on Thursday.
There’s no mention of this contest yet on Twitter. It appears this contest came together pretty quickly (first we heard of it was Sunday), in part due to what appears to be a reluctance by the Division of Gaming Enforcement to open up contests akin to the big prize-pool contests seen in Nevada. As in football and sports, there’s always next season.