Graded Week 17 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
GRADED WEEK 17 SELECTIONS

CHUCK EDEL
Iowa -2.5 W
Saints +6 W
Tulane +2 W
Penn State +2 W
(BB) Texans +3 L
Record (points): 49-36 (49)
Best Bets: 6-11 (6)

CHRIS “THE BEAR” FALLICA
Browns +2 W
Saints +6 W
Colts +5.5 L
Jets -1.5 L
(BB) Kansas State +7 L
Record (points): 51-34 (51)
Best Bets: 12-5 (12)

JOEY “TUNES” FORTUNA
Ohio State +6 W
Bears +6 L
Rams +6.5 L
Bengals +1 (pending)
(BB) Vikings +3 L
Record (points): 46-37-1 (46.5)
Best Bets: 9-8 (9)

DOUG KEZIRIAN
Georgia -6 L
TCU-Michigan Under 58 L
Rams-Chargers Over 42.5 L
LSU -15 W
(BB) Alabama -7 W
Record (points): 48-35-2 (49)
Best Bets: 8-7-2 (9)

RANDY MCKAY
Kansas State +7 L
Eagles -6.5 L
Jaguars-Texans Under 43.5 W
Utah -2 L
(BB) Texans +4 L
Record (points): 45-38-2 (46)
Best Bets: 8-9 (8)

JAMES SALINAS
Georgia -6 L
Commanders -2 L
Seahawks +1.5 W
Bengals +1 (pending)
(BB) Rams +6.5 L
Record (points): 45-36-3 (46.5)
Best Bets: 8-9 (8)

PAUL STONE
Georgia -6 L
Ohio State-Georgia Over 62 W
Mississippi State -1 W
Tulane +2 W
(BB) Purdue-LSU Under 56 L
Record (points): 48-36-1 (48.5)
Best Bets: 7-10 (7)

JEFF WHITELAW
Iowa -2.5 W
Georgia -6 L
Seahawks +1.5 W
Purdue +15 L
(BB) Bengals +1 (pending)
Record (points): 42-39-3 (43.5)
Best Bets: 8-6-2 (9)

———————

MIKE PALM
Michigan -7.5 L
Panthers +4 L
Steelers +2 W
Jets -1.5 L
(BB) Utah -2 L
Record (points): 44-38-3 (45.5)
Best Bets: 9-7-1 (9.5)

MATT YOUMANS
Patriots -2.5 L
Rams +6.5 L
Bengals +1 (pending)
Purdue-LSU Under 56 L
(BB) Utah -2 L
Record (points): 41-42-1 (41.5)
Best Bets: 9-8 (9)