Graded Week 15 NFL and college football selections for Circa Friday Football Invitational

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On Friday nights in the fall for more than a decade, football bettors would crowd a small, smoky sportsbook on the Strip to see two handicappers go head to head in a $10,000 winner-take-all contest. The contestants’ names were lit up outside on the marquee, adding an element of prestige to being a part of the Stardust Invitational.

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The contest concluded after the 2005 season — the Stardust closed on Nov. 1, 2006 and its two hotel towers were imploded in March 2007 — and it has been missed.

So it’s time to bring back memories of an old friend. In a tip of the cap to the Stardust Invitational, Circa owner Derek Stevens is putting up his money and putting his support behind a new VSIN-produced event, the Circa Friday Football Invitational.

The theme is the same, but the contest format is slightly different and improved. While there are still 16 handicappers in a bracket, all contestants are involved each week in a season-long competition, as opposed to the Stardust format that pitted only two handicappers a week in a head-to-head elimination duel. Stevens has boosted the prize money to $25,000.

The 16-handicapper field is officially set. Here are the contest details:

Sixteen handicappers compete — with no entry fee required — in a season-long contest with $25,000 in prizes awarded.

When: Friday, September 9 through Friday, January, 6, 2023 (18 weeks)

Where: VSIN studio at the Circa sportsbook

Contest plays: Five plays, college and NFL sides and totals (no props, team totals, first-half plays etc.) with one designated as the Best Bet (BB).

CIRCA FRIDAY FOOTBALL INVITATIONAL
(Updated through Week 15, Dec. 19)

STANDINGS

X-BOBBY “BUCKETS” BRUBECK (fifth eliminated)
Record (points): 29-34-2 (30)
Best Bets: 4-9 (4)

CHUCK EDEL
Browns -3 W
Fresno State -4 W
Florida +10 L
Connecticut-Marshall Under 41 L
(BB) Marshall -10 W
Record (points): 44-31 (44)
Best Bets: 6-9 (6)

X-BRIAN EDWARDS (sixth eliminated)
Record (points): 33-37 (33)
Best Bets: 7-7 (7)

CHRIS “THE BEAR” FALLICA
Colts +3.5 W
Dolphins +7 W
Jets +1.5 L
Jaguars +4 W
(BB) Buccaneers +3.5 L
Record (points): 45-30 (45)
Best Bets: 11-4 (11)

X-STEVE FEZZIK (second eliminated)
Record (points): 21-28-1 (21.5)
Best Bets: 6-3-1 (6.5)

JOEY “TUNES” FORTUNA
Oregon State -9 W
Texans +14 W
Broncos -3 W
Titans +3 P
(BB) Fresno-Washington State Under 53 W
Record (points): 44-30-1 (44.5)
Best Bets: 9-6 (9)

DOUG KEZIRIAN
Cincinnati +2 L
Fresno State -4 W
Bills -7 L
Dolphins-Bills Over 44 W
(BB) SMU -4 L
Record (points): 44-29-2 (45)
Best Bets: 7-6-2 (8)

MARC LAWRENCE
Jets +1.5 L
Jaguars +4 W
Buccaneers +3.5 L
Air Force +5 (pending)
(BB) Bears +9 W
Record (points): 37-35-2 (38)
Best Bets: 9-6 (9)

RANDY MCKAY
Boise State-North Texas Over 59 W
South Dakota State -5 W
Ravens +3 L
Bears +9 W
(BB) Bills -7 L
Record (points): 43-30-2 (44)
Best Bets: 8-7 (8)

X-MIKE NORTH (first eliminated)
Record (points): 16-26-3 (17.5)
Best Bets: 3-6 (3)

X-ERIN RYNNING (third eliminated)
Record (points): 24-30-1 (24.5)
Best Bets: 3-7-1 (3.5)

X-DAN SALEY (seventh eliminated)
SMU -4 L
Fresno State -4 W
Florida +8 L
Liberty +5 (pending)
(BB) Louisville -2 W
Record (points): 35-37-2 (36)
Best Bets: 7-8 (7)

JAMES SALINAS
Ravens +3 L
Lions -1.5 W
Bears +9 W
Broncos -3 W
(BB) Connecticut-Marshall Under 41 L
Record (points): 42-30-3 (43.5)
Best Bets: 7-8 (7)

PAUL STONE
Louisville-Cincinnati Under 38.5 W
SMU -4 L
Giants +5 W
Bears +9 W
(BB) Connecticut-Marshall Under 41 L
Record (points): 40-34-1 (40.5)
Best Bets: 6-9 (6)

JEFF WHITELAW
Ravens +3 L
Vikings -3.5 L
Bills -7 L
Buccaneers +3.5 L
(BB) Panthers -3 L
Record (points): 40-32-3 (41.5)
Best Bets: 8-5-2 (9)

X-CRIS ZENIUK (fourth eliminated)
Record (points): 26-32-2 (27)
Best Bets: 4-8 (4)

———————

MIKE PALM
Ravens +3 L
Bills -7 L
Lions -1.5 W
Bengals -3.5 W
(BB) Chargers -3 P
Record (points): 41-31-3 (42.5)
Best Bets: 9-5-1 (9.5)

MATT YOUMANS
Fresno State -4 W
Jaguars +4 W
Buccaneers +3.5 L
Raiders -1.5 W
(BB) Bears +9 W
Record (points): 39-35-1 (39.5)
Best Bets: 9-6 (9)