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Protect Your Unit Pick-Em Game Is Back

Welcome to Year Five of fake gambling.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

College football season is underway! And In addition to everything else that's awesome about that, our Protect Your Unit college football pick'em contest is back!

For those not familiar, here's how it works: you get $1,000 in fake money, which you must build into the largest bankroll you can, by placing fake bets on college football games. We use real lines from real sports books, and a wide variety of bet types are available.

There is only major change from last year's rules: we are ending the grandfathering of former Big East teams to count towards the "you must bet one AAC game" requirement. We did this last season in hopes of keeping players from former Big East schools involved, but since it didn't accomplish that, we are phasing it out. You only have to bet one AAC game, and you can bet $1 on that game, so we don't think this is too onerous a requirement. Wagers on Navy games will still count towards meeting this requirement.

Just as last year, you will place your bets by logging into If you played last year, your username and password are the same. If you forgot your password, please email me at with your SBNation username, and desired password. (Please do NOT send me your SBNation password. I am asking you to create a password for use at only.)

The interface is the same as last year. Which means I still haven't fixed the front end of the parlay system yet, though I have fixed the backend. I plan to have the parlay interface ready to go by Week 3. Until then, email me any desired parlays.

As always, Friday afternoon will be the Picks Thread, in which picks are made public and the discussion is opened. We're trying to foment witty banter here, so feel free to weigh in on who you like this week and why, and explain any $1 Randolph and Mortimer dick bets you made. We award weekly recognition for the Randolph and Mortimer Dick Bet of the Week, and the Floyd's Money Team Most Degenerate Bet of the Week.

Questions? Please ask! You can make a comment below, or email me, the game administrator, at

The complete rules are below. They're almost identical to last year's, except for what counts as an AAC game, and some minor rewordings and clarifications. Any deletions are indicated by strikethrough. Additions are indicated by italics.


  1. THE SEASON: The 2014 contest begins Monday, August 25 (the Monday of the first week of the season), and will run for each week of the regular season, through Saturday, December 7. The entire bowl season will be the last week of the contest.
    1. The Army/Navy game on December 13th is considered part of Week 15, which otherwise includes games played on December 4-6. You may only bet as much you have left available to bet in Week 15, per rule 8.1 below.

  2. WEEK: The week begins on Tuesday morning and ends Monday night, except as noted in 1. above.

  3. THE SITE: We will use for all odds.

  4. ODDS: We will offer the most favorable -110 line for each point spread and over/under wager, and the most favorable money line wager. Odds will be updated approximately once a day. Only lines appearing at are official. We reserve the right to disallow any bets on erroneous lines. See Section 13, "Odds Fine Print" for full details.

  5. BANKROLL: Everyone will start with 1,000 units of fake money.

  6. ALLOWABLE BETS: Point spread, money line, over/under, parlays.

    1. All point spread and over/under bets are -110. That means you must bet $110 to win $100. (A bet of $100 would win $90.91.)
    2. Money line bets are not subject to vigorish. The money line for each wager is what you will be paid.
    3. Parlays are not subject to vigorish. Two-team parlays pay 2.6 to 1. Three-team parlays pay 6 to 1.
      1. Parlays may only include over/under and pointspread bets (not money lines).
      2. Only parlays of two or three bets are allowed.
      3. If any bet in a parlay is a push, that bet is removed, and the parlay is recalculated as a two-team parlay or single bet.
        1. If a parlay has to be recalculated as a single bet, that single bet is not subject to vigorish. A win pays 1 to 1.
    1. You must have between 5% and 25% (or between $50 and $250, whichever is greater) of your bankroll in play each week.
      1. (added 9-6-14, for clarity) Your bet maximum is set at the beginning of each week, and does not change during a week. In other words, if you win a game early in the week, that does not increase the maximum you may be on games later in the week. Your limit for the week is 25% of your amount as posted in the weekly standings thread.
    2. The minimum bet is $1. There is no minimum bet on a single game. $1 dick bets are allowed and quite honestly encouraged.
    3. You must bet at least three games, either individually or as part of a parlay.
    4. You must bet at least one game involving a current or future American Athletic Conference team, or a Big East 2005-2012 team. Those teams are: Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Navy, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Southern Methodist, South Florida, Syracuse, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa, West Virginia.
      1. The list of teams that count as AAC teams will not change during the season, even if realignment occurs.
  9. DEADLINE: The deadline for submitting bets is one hour before the game kicks off. There is no "week deadline." You may continue wagering as long as there is still a game that is more than one hour from kickoff, and as long as you have not exceeded your allowable maximum bet for the week.
    1. OFFICIAL BETS: Once a bet is submitted via the website, it is official and may not be changed. If you make a mistake, you must email Gary Stephen immediately for a correction.
    2. ALLOWABLE BETS: You may bet any combination of lines that is offered.

  10. SUDDEN DEATH BET: If you burn through your entire $1000, you will have one (1) chance to stay in the game.

    The week after you run out of money, you must successfully pick one AAC game from your school's conference against the spread. If you win the bet, you get $500 to continue playing in future weeks (although you are still in the books as -$1000 for the season). If you push the bet or lose, you are out of the game. Only one sudden death bet per customer. If you lose the entire extra $500, you are out of the game. Also, if you run out of money at the end of the regular season, your sudden death bet will be on the first game of bowl season.

  11. BYE WEEKS: While it's more fun if you play every week, if you're just not feeling any of the games, you are allowed up to two "bye weeks" where you don't place any bets. If you skip more than two weeks, you're not eligible to win the title but you may continue betting for fun and amusement.

    You are not allowed to use one of your bye weeks during the bowl season. If you bet during a week, but fail to meet all the betting requirements, that will count as a bye week.

  12. POSTING TO VOODOO FIVE: Friday afternoon, all bets are made public, and will appear in the "Weekly Bets" post. Note that this is not a deadline; you may continue to place bets up until one hour before kickoff. On Monday (or earlier, if all games are ended) results will appear in the "Weekly Results" thread.

    1. The first lines will be posted Monday night/Tuesday morning, and will be updated approximately once per day. The date/time of the most recent update will appear on the bets page.
    2. We will offer the most favorable line for each wager. If one sports book listed at OddsShark has the game at -6 and another has it at -5, we will let you bet the the favorite at -5 or the underdog at +6. However, see next item:
    3. Only point spreads and over/under wagers with a -110 payoff will be offered. Because they reflect the offerings of real sports books, the Oddsshark lines will occasionally offer a higher payout in exchange for a less favorable point spread, or vice versa. Since our house vig is always 10%, it's not realistic to offer the more favorable line without also charging the higher price tag.
    4. Oddshark's "Opening" line will not be used. This line does not seem to reflect any real lines offered by the books. It seems to be a very early guess, as opposed to initial lines offered by the sports books.
    5. Only lines appearing on are official. If a more favorable line appears on OddsShark, but disappears before we get it entered into our system, it may not be wagered. We try to keep our odds current, but we can't maintain a constant vigil over it, and live feeds are expensive.
    6. We reserve the right to disallow any wagers made on erroneous lines. We try to get things right, but we may accidentally mis-enter a +300 money line as +300 points, or some such thing. This extends to any errors that may appear on Any disallowed lines will be announced on
    7. In case of any disputes not covered by these rules, Voodoo Five's ruling is final. We will do our best to be fair to all players.
    8. (added Sep 6 2014) A football game that is ended early is considered complete if 5:00 or less remains on the game clock. A game called off before 55 minutes have been played is considered incomplete, and all bets on it are voided. The money wagered is neither won nor lost.
      1. If a game is cancelled or fails to play 55 minutes, any bets on that game still count towards meeting weekly bet requirements.