ESPN Streak for the Cash Strategy
ESPN's Streak for the Cash is a pick'em style game where the goal is to build the longest winning streak. Currently, the prize for having the longest streak of the month can net a prize of $50,000 plus bonuses of up to $550,000. This is enough incentive for just about anyone to sign up for an ESPN account and start making picks. Also, the person who makes the most correct picks during the month receives a prize of $2,500. An average winning streak for the month has been anywhere between 25 and 32 correct picks in a row.
I have played Streak for the Cash on and off for the last few years, starting back when the top prize was $1 million and the contest went for months at a time. The longest streak that I've had was 14 wins. After you hit double digits, each game starts to mean a lot and makes it very exciting to watch the games that you pick, even though you are still less than halfway to the overall goal. Below are some tips for people who are just starting out.
Tip #1: Just Have Fun
Crazy concept, right? How can you actually have fun when you're trying to make money online by picking sports and winning $50,000?! That's some serious dough, and you have to be dedicated, focused, and forget about picking games and sports that you enjoy because if you enjoy it, you have no chance (kind of like making money on HubPages!). There can be no fun, or else you will fail and not make your $50,000.
But seriously... have fun. Pick games that you'll actually watch, even if you're not sure of who will win the prop. Go with your heart if your home team shows up on the list and cheer even louder than normal.
Streak for the Cash is about getting involved in sports that you don't normally watch and getting to know teams other than your favorites. During one of my longer streaks, I actually watched a soccer match that was on TV because I had picked one of the teams to win by two goals. I'm from the United States, so soccer is not something that I normally watch, but I really got into the game and enjoyed it. I'm a college basketball fan, but I generally only watch my two or three favorite teams. But with Streak, I'll end up watching a game on ESPN U or having gamecast running in the background at work and checking a score.
Everyone wants to win the cash, but only one person out of the thousands who play this game every day will walk away with the paycheck. You can take your picks seriously, but also make sure that you're having fun along the way.
Tip #2: Research
Every prop that shows up on Streak for the Cash has its own message board where hundreds of people chat about the prop. Keep in mind that this game is a competition and some people may be trying to lead you astray by posting false information (or they may just be wrong). In my experience, many of the regulars to these message boards are posting their legitimate picks and opinions about the games or props, so scanning through the postings before you make your pick can be helpful.
One of the main ways that I will research a pick will be to look at the game logs from each team. For example, if college basketball team A is 5-0 at home against ranked opponents, and they are playing a ranked opponent at home, that information will influence my decision on the prop. ESPN.com is a great resource for looking into statistics and trends, and you can also search the internet for game previews and predictions by the experts. Like with all sports betting, going with the percentages does not always work out, so go with your gut and take a few risks. To win the big prize, you will have to get lucky and make some gutsy picks to put together a winning streak.
Streak for the Cash Trends
- In Men's NCAA Basketball, the home team wins nearly 70% of the time.
- In the NFL, the home team wins around 60% of the time.
- NBA is one of the most inconsistent sports to pick on Streak for the Cash.
- Golf, soccer, and cricket games are usually some of the easier props to pick and are usually played in the mornings or afternoon, leaving NCAA, NBA, and MLB games to be picked in the evenings.
Tip #3: Join a Group
Streak for the Cash gives you an option to create or join groups, which allows you to have mini-competitions between your friends (or random people online). My college friends and I have a group where we keep tabs on how each other is doing, which makes it fun when someone strings together a streak of five or more wins. If I know a buddy is on a streak, I'll give him a call and see what props he/she is looking at picking next. It's a good excuse to catch up and also gives me some insight into how others are playing the game and their strategies, which can improve my own strategy.
Streak for the Cash can be a hot topic between friends and can result in some good times around the TV or at the bar watching a game that may not have meant much without the prospect of winning $50,000.
Tip #4: Watch Sportscenter
There is not an easier way to get a wealth of sports knowledge than by incorporating an hour of Sportscenter into your daily life. Even if you don't care about the NBA, you will hear about it. You'll get information and background on nearly every team that will show up on Streak for the Cash (other than soccer), and the more informed you are about your picks, the better chance you have of building a streak. Listening to "Mike & Mike" in the morning or other sports talk radio will help as well.
What is your longest winning streak?
Tip #5: Don't Pick Every Day
Unless you are going for the $2,500 monthly prize of the most correct picks, there is no shame in picking and choosing the games that you pick. Sometimes there just isn't a game that you feel confident about. There have been plenty of times that I've put together 3-4 streaks and blown it by picking an NBA prop that I wasn't confident about or going with a soccer game where there wasn't a clear favorite. Then I'll lose, and get the next 4 picks right... meaning that if I hadn't made the extra pick, I could have put together a streak that was approaching double digits.
Middle of the Month Leaderboard
As you can see by the example of the leader board (February 2011), there are several strategies that seem to work for different people. Some of the leaders have picked around 20 games for the month, while others have picked close to 40 games. It all depends on your preference and how you want to play the game.
To reiterate, the most important thing to remember when playing Streak for the Cash is to have fun. Sports are one of the best forms of entertainment, and this game allows us to feel like we have a stake in each and every game that we pick, even though the odds of actually winning the competition are slim to none at best. Good luck, and happy streaking!