how to win $1000000

3 foolproof tips to win $1 million Football Pick ‘Em contest

Football finally returns September 10. Check out to make watching this year even more fun. (Photo: Getty Images)

The 2020 NFL season is just over a month away. But before the action begins, you have a chance to participate in the free Football Pick ‘Em contest, which awards $1,000,000 to the winner.

To get your hands on the $1 million payout, you’ll have to be perfect with your NFL Week 1 picks. The contest format asks you to make 16 selections against the spread – picking which team will cover the point spread – and 16 over/under picks – predicting whether score goes over or under the total.

You’ll certainly need Lady Luck on your side, but we also have some expert contest tips to give you the best chances to win in any football contest this season.

But before you read the three contest strategies below, don’t forget to sign up for the Football Pick ‘Em contest. It’s fun and completely free so take two minutes and make your selections for a chance to win $1,000,000!

(Contest is 100% free to play. Registration is required. No deposit is required.)

Tip #1 – Wait to make your picks

Okay, we know this goes against what we just asked you to do (enter now!), but one of the biggest mistakes contest participants make is that they “bet it and forget it.”

Many contests open early so you can make your picks and go about your business. However, it’s advantageous to wait as long as possible to lock in your selections.

Why? Because waiting to make your picks allows you to assess the latest news, injuries, weather and line movements.

If Tom Brady gets hurt in practice leading up to the game, you might consider taking Tampa Bay’s opponent. Or if the forecast calls for wind and snow at Mile High, the “under” might be a good bet.

So, don’t make your picks early and forget about them. Wait closer to the contest cutoff time and take into account all of the information available before you make your predictions in the $1 Million Football Pick ‘Em contest.

Tip #2 – Don’t worry about the spread (too much)

One of the biggest challenges with pick’em contests is people often overthink the spread. If the team wins, will they cover? Can the underdog cover the spread even if they fail to win the game?

Historically, the numbers show that when a team wins the game, they cover the spread about 85 percent of the time. That means the spread comes into play in about 15 percent of the games.

So instead of agonizing over which team will cover the spread, keep it simple and just think about who you believe will win the game.

Tip #3 – Examine the odds

This tip largely pertains to the over/under picks for a football contest. In betting terms, we call the over/under a game “total.”

Oddsmakers set a projected total for the combined points both teams will score, and you have to determine whether or not the game will go “over” or “under” that projected total.

For example, the Titans at Broncos total is currently 42.5 points. If the game’s final score is Broncos 24, Titans 21, then the teams combined for 45 points, and therefore the game went “over” the posted total. However, if the final score is Broncos 17, Titans 10, then the game went “under” because the combined point total is 27, which is well shy of the 42.5 the oddsmakers projected.

When you’re filling out the total picks in a contest, it’s smart to lean on the oddsmakers. Of course, they’re not always right, but they are paid professionals who set lines for a living so use their numbers as a guide. You can look at the spread and individual team totals for the game to get a sense of what they link the final score will be.

You can also take into account any line movement to see which side the pros are betting. If a spread moves from -3 to -5 or a total goes from 42.5 to 45.5, you can assume the “smart money” is pushing those numbers. It’s usually a good idea to follow the movement when making your contest picks.

NFL Week 1 starts September 10

The 2020 NFL season will get underway on Thursday, September 10, when the Houston Texans visit the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The two teams squared off twice last season with the Texans winning in Kansas City during the regular season, and then the Chiefs exacted revenge in the playoffs.

In that playoff game, you might recall that the Texans blew a 24-0 first-half lead before getting blown out. The Chiefs are 10-point favorites in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL regular season.

Some of the other intriguing games for Week 1 include the Raiders, who are making their debut as the Las Vegas Raiders, visiting the Carolina Panthers. The Raiders are 1.5-point favorites in that contest.

Meanwhile, the first Sunday Night Football game of the year will be the Dallas Cowboys versus the Los Angeles Rams, and the Cowboys are 2.5-point road favorites.

The Monday Night Football doubleheader wraps up Week 1 on September 14. The Pittsburgh Steelers are 3.5-point favorites at the New York Giants in the early game while the Tennessee Titans are 1.5-point underdogs against your Denver Broncos. is a licensed sportsbook in the state of Colorado. Customers 21 years and older within Colorado state lines can wager legally through the website or mobile app beginning September 1. The content above is solely for informational purposes and does not guarantee future winnings.

Members of the editorial and news staff of the USA TODAY Network were not involved in the creation of this content.

Looking forward to (finally) watching some football? Check out these tips on how to win this $1 million Football Pick ‘Em contest.

How To Go From $0 To $1,000,000 In Two Years

Editor’s note: James Altucher is an investor, programmer, author, and several-times entrepreneur. His latest books are I Was Blind But Now I See and 40 Alternatives to College. Please follow him on Twitter @jaltucher.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how this was the year you had to quit your job. I gave the reasons why. It wasn’t a gung-ho “you have to be an entrepreneur” article. It was more: bad shit is happening in the corporate world and bit by bit you’re going to feel the urge to quit.

Correctly, many people asked, “Well, what’s next? What should I do?”

I’ve begun asking people who did it. What did they do? How do you quit your job and basically, make a million dollars?

Not everyone is Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page. Not everyone is going to drop out of college and create an iPhone or a time machine or a toilet that resizes itself automatically depending on who is sitting on it (although that would be pretty cool).

Some people would simply like to quit their jobs and make a good living. Some people would simply like to quit their jobs and make a million dollars. In that movie (the Justin Timberlake vehicle), JT says, “A million’s not cool. A BILLION is cool.”

Well, actually, very often a million is pretty cool. Not everyone is going to be a VC-funded $100 million hotshot. Sometimes it’s nice to make a million dollars, be your own boss, and use that financial freedom to catapult to success.

So I called Bryan Johnson, who started a company called Braintree. You might not have heard of Braintree but you’ve heard of their customers. They provide credit card transactions or payment services for companies like OpenTable, Uber, Airbnb, etc.

Completely ripped from the OpenTable blog. Apparently they were using OpenTable.

I’ve never spoken with Bryan before. I am not an investor in Braintree. As far as I know I’m not even an investor (unfortunately) in any of the clients of Braintree. I like to call people who I think have interesting stories and hear what they have to say. That’s the way I build my network of not only financial contacts but potential friends. I’m shy and ugly and don’t have many friends.

But I knew Bryan had an interesting story of how he set up Braintree and I figured it would fit this category of “what do I do next?”

In 2007, Bryan was a manager at Sears. He quit his job and within two years was making over a million a year. Eventually Braintree grew much bigger and raised $70 million from Accel and others, but that wasn’t what was interesting to me.

“How did you do it?” I asked him. “What are the initial steps.” And he told me. So I will tell you.

“I really disliked my job,” he said, “and I never believed in the idea of getting a fixed wage. I had been a salesman before in the credit card processing business where I would go out and get merchants like restaurants and retailers to switch their business to the company I was selling for. So I figured I could do this but work for myself instead of another company.”

Rule No. 1: Take out the middleman. Instead of Bryan going back to the company he used to sell for, he cut out the middleman and went straight to a credit card processor, worked out his own reselling agreement with them, and did all of this BEFORE leaving his job at Sears.

Many people ask me, “I”m at a job, should I raise VC money yet?” NO, of course not! First you have to hustle. VCs want to back someone who shows a little oomph!

Rule No. 2: Pick a boring business. Everyone is always on the lookout for “the next big thing.” The next big thing is finding rare earth minerals on Mars. That’s HARD WORK. Don’t do it! Bryan picked a business that every merchant in the world needs and he also knew that it was an exploding business because of all the online stores that were opening up. You don’t have to come up with the new, new thing. Just do the old, old thing slightly better than everyone else. And when you are nimble and smaller than the behemoths that are stuck with bureaucracy, you can often offer better sales and better service, and higher touch to your customers. Customers will switch to you.

Rule No. 3: Get a customer! This is probably the most important rule for any entrepreneur. I’ve written about this before (“The Easiest Way To Succeed As An Entrepreneur”). People want to go the “magical path” – i.e. get VC money, quit their jobs, build a product, and then suddenly have millions of customers. It NEVER works like that.

Bryan found 10 customers (out of the first 12 he approached) who would switch their credit card processing to him. He figured he needed to make $2,100 a month to quit his job. With his first 10 customers he was making $6,200 a month, so he had margin of safety. He quit his job and suddenly he was in business.

Rule No. 4: Build Trust While You Sleep. This rule is often “Make Money While You Sleep.” But Bryan already was making money while he slept. He was making money on every credit card purchase with his first 10 customers.

“I didn’t want to be going up and down the street looking for customers,” Bryan said. “I needed to find a way to get online businesses as customers. Someone suggested that I needed to blog. And to blog well you need to be totally transparent or it won’t work. So I started blogging about what was really happening in the credit card industry, including all the unscrupulous practices and how merchants were being taken advantage of. Then I’d put my posts on the top social sites at the time: Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon, and sometimes the posts would get to the top of these sites and my website would get so much traffic that it would crash.

“But I became a trusted source about credit card processing. So before long all these online sites that had previously had a hard time navigating this industry would start contacting me to switch their payment services.”

So a couple of things there.

Rule No. 5: Blogging is not about money. Blogging is about trust. You don’t sell ads on your blog (rarely), you don’t get the big book deal (rarely), but you do build trust and this leads to opportunities. In Bryan’s case it led to more inflow, rather than him going door to door, and it also led to his biggest early opportunity. My own blog has made me a total of zero cents but has created millions in opportunities for me.

“Basically, OpenTable called me and they wanted a software solution to handle storing credit cards, handing the data to restaurants, and being compliant from a regulatory standpoint. I signed a three year deal with them that allowed me to build a team of developers and we built them a solution. We now had more services to sell to customers.”

Rule No. 6: Say YES! He started out just connecting merchants with a credit card processor. Then OpenTable asked him to do software development when he’s never developed software before. He said YES! He got software developers, built a great product, and quadrupled his income or more. And then it put his business in a whole new stratosphere of services he offered customers. Suddenly, word of mouth was spreading and other online companies started using Braintree’s services: Airbnb, Uber, etc. And the VCs started calling because all of their clients were saying Braintree was providing all of their payment services. It’s not that easy for startup online companies to get payment services.

“When I first started, for each new customer we’d put together an entire package for our credit card processor on why we thought the customer could be trusted and would be a legitimate merchant.” Which leads to…

Rule No. 7: Customer Service. You can treat each customer, new and old, like a real human being. “We intuitively sort of knew what we didn’t like in customer service everywhere else: automated calling trees, slow response times, poor problem solving, etc., so we made sure there was as little friction as possible between the customer contacting us and actually getting their problem solved.” When you are a small business, there’s no excuse for having poor customer service. Your best new customers are your old customers, and the best way to touch your old customers is to provide quick help when they need it. Customer service is the most reliable touch point to keep selling your service to them.

By year 2 two, Bryan was making over a million a year and was doubling every year. They couldn’t hire fast enough.

In 2011, after four years in business, Braintree took in its first dime of money – $34 million in a Series A round. And right now, according to CrunchBase, they process over $8 billion worth of credit card transactions annually.

Not bad for someone who quit his job and just wanted to figure out a way to get his bills paid.

Editor’s note: James Altucher is an investor, programmer, author, and several-times entrepreneur. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how this was the year you had to quit your job. I gave the reasons why. It wasn't a gung-ho "you have to be an entrepreneur" article. It was more: bad shit is happening in the corporate world and bit by bit you're going to feel the urge to quit. ]]>