01/05/2012 3:54PM

Tuley: Few worries for SuperContest winners


LAS VEGAS – This season’s Hilton SuperContest was record-setting from beginning to end.

Despite all the uncertainty with the NFL lockout over the summer, the SuperContest attracted a record field of 517 putting up the $1,500 entry fee to make five plays a week against the spread with wins counting for 1 point and pushes worth half a point.

Sans Souci, the contest alias for a group of four Las Vegas friends, went 5-0 against the spread in the opening week of the season and set the early pace with a record of 23-5-2 (82.1 percent) through six weeks before being passed for the middle part of the season – as a contestant going by the name Pagermager went on an incredible run of 22-2-1 at one point and opened up a four-game lead – and then came on again at the end to finish 58-22-5 (72.5 percent) for a record 60.5 points.

The Sans Souci group is made up of Brady Kannon, 42, who runs BK’s Golf Services (lvteetimes.com), a tee-time reservation company; Robert Oseland, 45, a former casino executive; James Gallo, 42, an attorney and a Las Vegas native; and Paul Caruso, 40, owner of Express Bail Bonds and several other companies.

So how did they come up with their team name?

“Sans Souci is a French phrase meaning ‘without worry,’ ” said Kannon, who serves as the front man for the group since his name is on the entry form. “We’re all music fans, and there used to be a group called Old and In the Way with David Grisman, Peter Rowan, and Jerry Garcia. In the intro to one of their live albums” – “Breakdown Vol. 2,” – “Peter tells a story of how they first met Jerry, a banjo player who lived just up the hill, and there was a sign above his door that says ‘Sans Souci.’ Peter said it was French for ‘no problem.’ We thought it was a perfect name for our group. We said ‘Let’s pick winners and win this thing – no problem.’ ”

And they did. Sans Souci ended up cashing for $320,200 as the first-place prize was $310,200, plus they also earned $5,000 for topping 67 percent (Pagermager also won $5,000 in addition to his $124,080 second-place prize) and another $5,000 for splitting a mini-contest over the final three weeks of the season as they went 12-2-1.

“We wanted to get the clean sweep, as it had never been done before,” Kannon said.

The key turning point was Week 15, when Sans Souci went 4-1 and Pagermager had his only week below two points at 1-4. Sans Souci led by a game heading into Week 17 and clinched when they won with their first two plays on the Patriots and Texans and their nearest competitors lost with the Colts.

On a personal note, when I interviewed the group on Sunday night at the Hilton, I thought Oseland looked familiar but couldn’t place it. On Tuesday, I remembered a time when John Avello at the Wynn introduced me to his boss and said he always stopped by the book because he loved sports. It turns out that was Oseland. “I was COO, so I needed to know who the house needed every night,” said Oseland, who left Wynn Resorts early last year and is doing some consulting. “I’m glad people can see I’m out of work but still collecting a check.”

Back to the betting board

I went 0-2 last week with the Panthers +8 and the Bills +11 (though the Bills looked good when they jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the Patriots!) to end the season with an ugly record of 18-28-1 but hoping for new life in the playoffs.

Texans -3 vs. Bengals

The Bengals, a great story as they exceeded all expectations (especially from Vegas wise guys who bet them under their season win total) pretty much backed into the playoffs, going 3-5 straight up and 1-6-1 against the spread the second half of the season. Meanwhile, the Texans are only laying a field goal despite having the better offense and defense and impressing me by nearly knocking off the Titans last week when they had nothing to gain. So, yes, I’m taking a favorite.

PLAY: Texans for 1 unit.

Lions-Saints over/under 59.5

The Saints are 8-0 straight up and against the spread at home, so I’m not looking to fade them. But while they’re 5-3 with the over at home, including their last two games, I will take the under here, as I feel it’s overinflated considering these two met in the Superdome just five weeks ago and stayed under the total of 55.5 by a full TD in the Saints’ 31-17 victory. In addition, playoff games tend to be a little lower scoring, with teams playing a little more conservatively with more at stake. Granted, that might not matter with these teams, but with this total so high (a record NFL total, by the way) I think I have enough room for error.

PLAY: Under for 1 unit.

Falcons +3 vs. Giants

Both teams have been inconsistent this year (which is true of many teams playing the wild card weekend), but I’ll take the Falcons’ recent form, as they have won three of their last four with the only setback being in New Orleans, and there’s no shame in that. The Giants, meanwhile, have that recent loss to the Redskins that really troubles me, and the Falcons’ edge on defense (allowing 334 yards per game compared with New York’s 376) gives me more confidence in them shutting down the G-men.

PLAY: Falcons for 1 unit.

Broncos +8.5 vs. Steelers

Stats pretty much go out the window when handicapping the Broncos. Yes, I know everyone is saying how the Steelers are going to shut down Tim Tebow and the Broncos’ offense, but those same people usually don’t have an answer for how the Steelers (no offensive juggernaut of late) are going to score enough to cover the number. Pittsburgh’s recent games against teams with bad offenses: two non-covers against the Browns, including last week, and a 13-9 win at Kansas City. I expect this game to be about the same – low-scoring with Tebow doing enough to get the cover if not pull the outright upset. Don’t forget: The Seahawks were given no chance as 10-point home underdogs last January against the Saints.

PLAY: Broncos for 1 unit.