Every Tuesday during the NFL regular season, Dave Tuley of ViewfromVegas.com will provide an update on the Hilton SuperContest.
LAS VEGAS -- Sharps lose sometimes, too.
The Hilton SuperContest has arguably the sharpest of the sharp handicappers. While that's true to a great extent, it's also true sharps don't win all the time, and in fact, they will lose with at least 45 percent of their picks over the long run.
So, no, sharps aren't guaranteed of winning every week, and in fact, as we've seen with the consensus plays in the SuperContest this year, they've been middling right around 50 percent most weeks, with the consensus plays at 71-70-5 entering this past weekend and the top five selections each week at 24-23-3 overall.
And then a week like Week 11 happens.
It started with the Jets minus-6 on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos, as Team Tebow pulled out the 17-13 upset. Fortunately for those tailing the Hilton consensus, the fact 69 players were on the New York Jets and just 35 on the Broncos wasn't known until the plays were released publicly on Saturday. But there was no protecting anyone from the plays on the early games Sunday.
The Cincinnati Bengals plus-7 (taken by 120 players) against the Baltimore Ravens ended in a push, and that was the good news. Here were the rest of the early consensus plays: the Buffalo Bills plus-2 versus the Miami Dolphins, the Minnesota Vikings plus-1 versus the Oakland Raiders, the Carolina Panthers plus-7 versus the Detroit Lions, the Green Bay Packers minus-14 versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys minus-7 versus the Washington Redskins.
Including the Thursday night game (and not including the Cleveland Browns-Jacksonville Jaguars game that was a pick-em with exactly 77 SuperContestants landing on each side), the consensus was a brutal 0-6-1 ATS after the early games on Sunday.
Things got better for consensus players the rest of the weekend, as well as their followers, but that was assuming any of those people had any money left to bet. The consensus ended up rallying to go 4-7-2 on the week, but now is below .500 on the season at 75-77-7. The top five consensus went 1-3-1, though the No. 1 selection on the Bears minus-3.5 against the San Diego Chargers was the winner for 188 players, to sit at 25-26-4 on the year.
With all the above facts in place, it's even more impressive what the leaders did in Week 11. Pagermager entered the week with a one-point lead and was able to navigate the minefield to go 4-0-1 against the spread to improve to 38-13-4 ATS (74.5 percent) for 40 contest points, as wins are worth one point and pushes are worth a half. Pagermager pushed with the Bengals and won with the Browns, Raiders, Lions and 49ers, as he avoided the top plays and increased his lead to 2.5 points over Iced Tea and Texasex91, who went 3-1-1 and 3-2, respectively. Both are 37-17-1, good for 37.5 points. Former leader Sans Souci is sticking around as he went 3-0-2 on the week sitting a half-point back at 35-16-4 for 37 points, finding both the pushes while also winning with the Browns, Raiders and Seattle Seahawks.
It'll be interesting to see if the leaders continue to look elsewhere on the board for winners, or if they start to play more conservatively and take the sharp (aka the lines that move the most during the week) sides.
Where is the money going in Week 12?
Even though the official contest lines don't come out until Wednesday, the Hilton posts its openers around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, so we can usually see what the wise guys have been betting early and project what the popular trends will be for the coming weekend.