971 The Ticket’s Stoney Goes 18-2, Splits Nearly $50K From Circa Millions NFL Picks Contest

Written By Matt Schoch on October 19, 2021 - Last Updated on October 21, 2021

In addition to a little accountability and entertainment, we acknowledge there’s a little schadenfreude here with this weekly Wiseguys feature.

We’ve been tracking NFL picks against the spread by Detroit media members who release them publicly, knowing full well some of our media brethren would fall on their faces some weeks — and maybe even some full seasons.

Handicapping games is hard, and most often a losing battle — even for the experts in Michigan sports betting.

But that’s certainly not the case with Detroit radio legend Mike Stone (pictured, in red sweatshirt), whose picks we had not been tracking here weekly. But as it turns out, the public should’ve been tailing Stoney from the get-go this season for NFL odds.

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Stoney and college friend won nearly $50K in first quarter

Stone, co-host of the 97.1 The Ticket morning show, was convinced for the second straight year to join the Circa Sports Million III contest by a friend at the station.

97.1 The Ticket radio personality Mike Stone (middle right) appears on a VSiN radio program to discuss his nearly $50,000 in winnings from the first quarter of the Circa Millions III NFL picks contest. At middle left is Circa owner and Michigan native Derek Stevens. (Mike Stone/courtesy photo)

It was a steep price for Stone, a novice bettor, so he went in with a college friend to split the $1,000 entry fee. Besides, Stone wanted to support the venture of friend Derek Stevens (pictured in main photo, at right), a Detroiter who has made a huge name for himself as a hotelier in Las Vegas.

With his friend tied up for the Week 1 picks last month, Stoney made the five weekly point-spread selections through the Las Vegas proxy on Friday after the radio show.

After a 4-1 week, Stone’s friend told him to keep the picking going, as he was on a hot streak. A 5-0 week followed, then a 4-1 mark in Week 3 and 5-0 again in Week 4.

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In total, Stoney picked the pair to an 18-2 start, finishing in a five-way tie for first place through four weeks (the quarter mark) and one of the chances to win prize money. The win netted the friends $49,350 to split between them in the contest, which drew 4,087 entries. With no rake, Circa Millions will give away $4,087,000 in prizes, including $1 million and a coveted blue jacket to the overall winner.

The Week 4 Las Vegas Raiders loss on Monday Night Football to the Los Angeles Chargers earned and his friend about $31,000 of additional winnings. True to form, Stoney didn’t bother checking the competition’s picks that week and didn’t realize until later he had that amount of money riding on a single game.

MORE: Why rooting for Matthew Stafford’s success in Los Angeles shouldn’t be frowned upon

Since then, Stoney’s Circa picks still holding strong

Stevens presented Stone a giant check at Circa Las Vegas last week, while he was in town doing live broadcasts from Sin City. (Yes, that means starting a “morning show” at 3 a.m. local time. The party is sometimes still going strong out there).

“I was just very lucky. I didn’t do a lot of research, I just went top of the head,” Stone told the Odds On show of VSiN last week. “My college friends call me Mush. Everything I do is wrong. They ask me what’s going to happen, they go the other way.”

Well … not this time.

Stoney, who hosts the show with former Michigan All-American lineman Jon Jansen and Heather Park, went 3-1-1 for Week 5 and then had his first sub-.500 week this weekend at 2-3. Stone was in second place heading into Week 6 and figures to fall down in the standings, thanks to some missteps. He’s now in a seven-way tie for ninth place in the season-long contest at 23-6-1.

Stoney’s strategy: Stay away from Thursday night and the Lions

So how did Stoney do it? Well, he’s stayed away from Thursday games, in addition to the Detroit Lions. A Philadelphia native, Stone has been in Detroit for many years and knows full well the havoc the Lions can cause.

“They’ll f**k you anyway,” Stone told PlayMichigan. “Whether you bet them or against them, they’ll screw you somehow.”

Stone’s losses in the early going were with Washington in Week 1 against the Chargers, and then a tough beat as the Miami Dolphins covered late against the Raiders in Week 3.

He’s had some good fortune, too. Like in Week 4, when Washington pulled out a close win against Atlanta with some late heroics.

“Everybody complains about their bad beats, but we have ‘good beats,’ too,” Stone said. “It’s so bizarre. Because I am really not very good at this.”

Beloved radio host has worked with Detroit’s best

Stoney is a fixture of local sports radio in Detroit, appearing with Mitch Albom on WJR-760 at the beginnings of the market’s sports radio scene.

Later, he most famously teamed up with Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News for the Stoney and Wojo show on WDFN-1130 AM. Wojo leads our Wiseguys picks compilation standings so far this season.

Stone also partnered with the well-loved Jamie Samuelsen for The Ticket’s morning show until Samuelsen died from colon cancer last year.

His plans for the money? Well, the Stones got a new roof this summer, and his daughters are in college.

“Everything will help,” he said.

Below are the rest of the Detroit media members we have been tracking with their public picks this season.

PickerWinsLossesTiesWin percentage
Bob Wojnowski, Detroit News71623.533
John Niyo, Detroit News69643.518
Mike Valenti, 971 The Ticket21211.500
James Hawkins, Detroit News63703.474
Justin Rogers, Detroit News54743.424
Rico Beard, 971 The Ticket18291.385
Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press350.375
Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press260.250
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press260.250
Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press170.125
Photo by Mike Stone/Courtesy photo
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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