Week 1 plays for the 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:

CIRCA FRIDAY FOOTBALL INVITATIONAL

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).

Here are the Week 1 plays from the contestants:

Week 1 plays

BOBBY “BUCKETS” BRUBECK

Georgia State %plussign% 7.5

UNLV %plussign% 13

Arizona State-Oregon State Over 57.5

Arizona %plussign% 10

(Best Bet) Virginia %plussign% 4

CHUCK EDEL

Northern Illinois-Tulsa Over 63.5

Mississippi State-Arizona Under 57

Dolphins -3.5

Buccaneers-Cowboys Under 50.5

(BB) 49ers-Bears Under 40.5

BRIAN EDWARDS

Appalachian State %plussign% 19

Arkansas -9

Baylor %plussign% 3

Fresno State PK

(BB) Wake Forest -12.5

CHRIS “THE BEAR” FALLICA

Jets %plussign% 6.5

Browns PK

Texas A&M -19

Kentucky %plussign% 6

(BB) Mississippi State -10

STEVE FEZZIK

Texas-San Antonio -2

Arizona State-Oklahoma State Over 57.5

Mississippi State-Arizona Over 56.5

Steelers %plussign% 6.5

(BB) Middle Tennessee-Colorado State Under 58

JOEY FORTUNA

Charlotte %plussign% 26

Appalachian State %plussign% 19

Houston %plussign% 4

Cardinals %plussign% 6.5

(BB) Washington State-Wisconsin Under 49

DOUG KEZIRIAN

Vanderbilt %plussign% 12.5

Colorado State -11

Panthers PK

Buccaneers-Cowboys Under 50.5

(BB) Tennessee -6

MARC LAWRENCE

Boston College %plussign% 2.5

BYU -2.5

Cowboys %plussign% 2.5

Seahawks %plussign% 6.5

(BB) Steelers %plussign% 6.5

RANDY MCKAY

Ohio-Penn State Over 54

Missouri-Kansas State Under 56.5

Marshall-Notre Dame Over 50

Chargers -3

(BB) Steelers %plussign% 6.5

MIKE NORTH

Bengals -6.5

Bears %plussign% 7

Cardinals %plussign% 6.5

Giants %plussign% 5.5

(BB) Seahawks %plussign% 6.5

ERIN RYNNING

Old Dominion-East Carolina Over 50.5

Georgia Southern-Nebraska Over 62.5

Boston College-Virginia Tech Under 46

Browns-Panthers Under 42

(BB) Broncos-Seahawks Over 44

DAN SALEY

Ohio State -43.5

Kansas State -7

Virginia %plussign% 4

UAB -6

(BB) Central Michigan -4.5

JAMES SALINAS

Saints-Falcons Under 43

Steelers %plussign% 6.5

Buccaneers -2.5

Broncos-Seahawks Under 44

(BB) Kentucky %plussign% 6

PAUL STONE

South Alabama-Central Michigan Over 59

Memphis-Navy Under 49

Virginia %plussign% 4

Kentucky %plussign% 6

(BB) Central Michigan -4.5

JEFF WHITELAW

Southern Miss-Miami Under 51

Middle Tennessee-Colorado State Under 58

UAB -6

Chargers -3

(BB) Vikings %plussign% 1.5

CRIS ZENIUK

Patriots %plussign% 3.5

Browns PK

Texans %plussign% 7

Vikings %plussign% 1.5

(BB) Steelers %plussign% 6.5