CFB '23 - Week 13 Recap

Leaders both miss deadline on ducks in penultimate week, then win on cats. Is this a sign of upcoming tardiness?

CFB '23 - Week 13 Recap

Finding The 'Easy' Button

Olsen, Bertolina Speak Exclusively To HQ

  • Leaders Both Miss Deadline On Ducks, Then Win On Cats

  • 14 Contestants Remain As Onioners Have Winningest Week On Record

  • Once Again, Leaders’ Fate Rests On Outcome Of Louisville Game

  • House Of Goss Goes Against Itself, Guaranteeing Third-Place Positioning

Your Top 10

Read Me The News

No bittersweet recounting of early-season games. No diatribes on sports betting data. No creative writing exercises. That’s Week 7 material.

We’re pulling into the cul-de-sac of the season and the stakes are at their highest. This week’s recap is just the business.

Week 13 was a complete slaughter for HQ. The populus was feted with free Onions. It was the winningest week in competition history in terms of average amount won, with each contestant netting 1,239 Onions.

That amount might appear to make sense considering those left have large balances they’re putting in play, but that logic falls apart when one considers that OIC was at its second-lowest of the tournament (116,480) and that the percentage of all outstanding Onions that were wagered (the metric we refer to as OIC%) was a very low 57%, the third-lowest of the contest, at a time when most contestants should theoretically be putting 100% of what they have on the line.

These were the games, the decisions, and the moments that defined Week 13.

No. 2 Bertolina Fires 16,000 on Kentucky +6.5

At 7:17am PT on Saturday, Bertolina sent this wager in. This, however, was not the original plan. Speaking exclusively to Onions HQ, Bertolina revealed that the original intent was to wager on Oregon, but due to several factors, he missed the submission deadline for that game, since it was Friday afternoon. Notably, our man works graveyard shifts, so by the time he got around to submitting the following morning, bedtime was calling.

Perusing the offerings on Saturday morning, he settled on the Wildcats due a mixture of a supposed lack of Louisville motivation, and Kentucky’s strength of schedule: “This game didn't mean much to Louisville, as their bowl game would be decided based off the ACC championship result. I didn't think Louisville had any chance to make the playoffs this year, even if they won out. Kentucky was battle tested, playing the 20th toughest schedule in the nation.”

The gambit paid off. The 16,000 amount was calculated based off of the potential of Olsen going all in in Week 13 (which Olsen did not do) and winning, which would have put Olsen at around 81,000. If this had happened, Bertolina figured he had to win at least 16,000 in Week 13, in order to have a balance big enough (44,000) in Week 14 that he could then go all-in with and catch Olsen at 81,000. Bertolina wouldn’t have had to make such calculations, necessarily, had he bet after Olsen and known how much Olsen wagered in Week 13.

If nothing else, it is remarkable that Bertolina is in second place in a competition that, every week, takes place while he’s asleep.

“I think Olsen and I have been playing this game of chess the past few weeks to try to be the last one to submit the card,” Bertolina wrote to HQ.

You don’t say…

No. 1 Olsen Mimics Bertolina One Hour Later, Wagers 10,000 on Kentucky +6.5

They say great minds think alike. They certainly did Friday.

“I hadn’t really thought too much about the card before the Friday morning games,” Olsen wrote to HQ.

Without realizing Bertolina told HQ the same thing, Olsen said that he also was interested in wagering on the Ducks, and that he also missed the submission deadline for that game. Olsen also insisted he had no pre-set plan to submit his wager after Bertolina submitted.

“By the time Saturday morning rolled around, there were limited games available to choose from. I didn’t love any of the options. Rivalry games can do weird things. I noticed that Bertolina picked Kentucky (winners of four straight over Louisville). I debated between Ohio State/Michigan and Kentucky/Louisville, and settled on a betting a conservative amount that wouldn’t break me if I lost,” he wrote.

At 8:20am PT, Olsen fired that “conservative” 10,000 amount on the same side as Bertolina.

Lost in the chaos of it all was the fact that, for a second time this season, the leaders of the competition made a tournament-defining bet on the team playing against Louisville. Then-first place David “the Weisel” Carl did so notoriously in Week 7, fading the Cardinals against Pitt, which led to his demise.

It worked out differently for Olsen and Bertolina, who now sit 1-2 going into conference championship week

Nos. 3-4, The House of Goss, Go All-In On Opposing Sides Of The Same Game

The History Of Spider-Man's Pointing Meme Explained

This is not Mariticide (which is a word I just learned for when a wife kills her husband). This was strategy all the way.

With just minutes left to submit their wagers on Saturday morning, Tyson and Chelsea confirmed what several speculated they would do by each going all in on opposite sides of the Ohio State-Michigan game.

Note: For individual contestants, this practice is strictly prohibited. For example, Olsen cannot wager 150 Onions on one side of a game, and 150 Onions on the opposite side of the game, and guarantee he nets even in order to keep his balance where it is. But for separate contestants in the same household, this is allowed. House of Goss did check this with HQ in the weeks leading up to committing the act.

What taking opposing sides did for the couple was guarantee that one of them would win, and thus, one of them would have around 15,000 Onions headed into the final week of play.

Why does this matter if Bertolina and Olsen are so far ahead of them?

Because if Bertolina and Olsen both wager anything above roughly 20,000 Onions, and they both lose, then a winning Goss all-in not only catches the leaders, but surpasses them.

If Bertolina goes all-in, and Olsen goes nearly all-in in order to maintain his lead, and they both lose, then Goss is next in line to inherit the throne by a mile, and no one below her can catch her.

No. 5 and No. 6 Take A Different Tack

No. 5 Tim Twilliger, a name we have not devoted much air time to, had an opportunity to be sitting around 9,600 Onions with an all-in win in Week 13. This amount would have allowed him to put at least some pressure on the surviving Goss in the final week.

However, Twilliger wagered only 4,000 of his available 5,019, and spread his positions over four different games: the exact tactic you would employ in order to tread water. He ended up losing 753 Onions, and sits in 6th with 4,266.

No. 6 Jeff Lunsman, meanwhile, offers the most eye-popping story.

Similar to Twilliger, he forewent going all-in in order to put some upward pressure on Goss, and instead piecemealed a partial balance across many different games. He still netted a win on the week, albeit mildly, and is now in 4th place.

His tactics aside, Lunsman dropped jaws when he revealed to HQ earlier this week that for the entirety of the competition, he was under the impression that “+” indicated a team was a favorite, and that “-” indicated a team was an underdog.

In other words, he ascended to fourth place in the final week of a vaunted spread betting competition without knowing how spread betting works.

Put up another point for “luck” in the “is sports betting predominantly skill-based or luck-based” competition.

How Low Can You Go

In addition to Nos. 1-6, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the valiant all-in efforts of No. 7 Jamey Chandler and No. 8 Mike Durio.

The former backed the Jekyll version of the 2023 Oklahoma State Cowboys, not the Hyde version (they had wins over ranked Kansas State and Oklahoma, but lost by a combined 78-10 to South Alabama and UCF… figure that out).

The latter thought that Alabama could cover more than two touchdowns on the road in the ever-cursed Iron Bowl.

The reason we didn’t mention either of them above is because, even had they gone all-in and won, they still wouldn’t have mathematically had a shot to contend for the top spot in Week 14.

Nos. 3-6, on the other hand, would have. Here’s how.

Bertolina finished this week with 44,047 Onions. Olsen finished this week with 51,378.

If Bertolina goes all in in Week 14 — a move he could consider to put pressure on Olsen — and he wins, he will finish with an eye-watering 84,131 Onions.

In order for Olsen to finish with at least one more Onion than that amount, he must wager a mere 35,933 Onions. There is zero reason that Olsen should wager more than this amount, regardless of what Bertolina or anyone else does, as Olsen will never need to amass more than 84,132.

Were this scenario to play out, and both Olsen and Bertolina were to lose, Bertolina would be out of the competition with zero balance. Olsen would finish the competition with 51,378 - 35,933, or 15,445.

Nos. 3-6 are the only contestants that could have gone all-in this past week and won, and then gone all-in in Week 14 and won, too, and at that point would have exceeded that magic number of 15,445.

Nos. 3-4 tried to do this. 3 won and 4 lost. As chronicled, Nos. 5-6 chose not to, and are almost surely out of contention for the top spot.

Week 13 Vital Signs

Onions In Circulation Going In To The Week: 116,481

Onions In Circulation Coming Out Of The Week: 138,550

Total Wagered By All Onioners: 66,554

Average Wagered Per Onioner: 3,502

Average Individual Wager Size: 1,623

Total Collective Onioner Win or (Loss): 22,298

Average Win or (Loss) Per Onioner: 1,239

Games With Highest Handle:

  • Kentucky +6.5 @ Louisville — 30,277 (89% on Kentucky)
  • Ohio State @ Michigan -3.5 — 20,180 (61% on Michigan)

Biggest Win or (Loss) Either Way For Onioners: Kentucky +6.5 — 20,911


We entered the week with 18 of you and left it with 14 of you still remaining.

Deadline Deadbeats:

Finally, the first week of the season in which there were no failures to submit.

Those Who Submitted More Than Their Balance:

None anywhere to be found.

And Now, The Dearly Departed:

(18th) Jacqueline “The Honorary Consul” Hopkinson
— This is not just another indulgent literary shout out. Drawing from the law, let’s see if the nickname meets a three-part test. Does the nickname make literal sense? Does it involve a pun? Does it evoke, mimic or reference something known in culture? We’re getting into the stage of these obits (T-20s) where accolades are due (honorary), Jackie is a lawyer (counsel/consul), and the nickname evokes one of Graham Greene’s finest works (culture). So, on its face, yes, it passes all elements of the test. Instead of drawing parallels between Jackie and the novel’s titular character, a corrupted, washed up divorcee with no real influence, we draw here on the broader scope of what an honorary consul is: basically, an unofficial diplomat of an area or region. Mark the Commissioner’s words: Onions will grow in the coming months and years, and as it does we need people just like Jackie, who finished 18th out of 182 contestants in her inaugural contest, by the way, to serve as our unofficial ambassador to the masses.

(17th) Tyson “Just Wrap It In” Goss — Let it be stated here for the final time: The House of Goss (a term now mercifully retired, until next year) achieved unprecedented intra-household success in this competition. Marriage is hard, and yet this husband and wife duo raised two young kids and navigated their careers while piloting themselves to 3rd and 4th place respectively like it was no thang. The move to take opposite sides on the same game was perfunctory, not tragic. It was self-inflicted for the betterment of the organ, like popping a dislocated shoulder back into place or cutting off a limb in order to save a life. Now, your household is proud and alive, perched in 3rd place in the final week, exactly where you want to be, one all-in and a little mayhem away from a shot at eternal glory. All of this is to say, you dying on Ohio State isn’t even that serious of a wound. Just take some Tylenol, ice it, and wrap it in some gauze.

(16th) Mike “The Old Durio-sity Shoppe” Durio — Based purely on the availability of the pun-based nickname that we couldn’t resist, we envision Mike as the grandfather in this famous story, who runs the Shoppe and tries to provide for his young granddaughter’s future by gambling. He supposedly builds up this big fortune for her, but then, not so much. Kind of like how Mike ran himself impressively up into 8th place, but then wagered on a huge Alabama number, on the road, in a notoriously wild and close game, on the eve of a playoff-determining SEC Championship appearance for Alabama against Georgia. One of the reasons we want to develop Onions further is that it (hopefully) offers contestants a season’s worth of fun, for free. Some day, entry to the contest will be paid, but it will be a one-time, fixed cost. Everything about what we want to build is designed to foster connection and fun without a big price tag. Furthermore, we want to reimagine what “sports betting” can be for people that currently don’t touch the stuff. So, in retrospect, this nickname is totally wrong, but we’re sticking with it anyway. As an aside, another character in the Dickens story is named Dick Swiveller. You’re lucky — that could have been your nickname instead.

(15th) Jamey “The Chanhandler” Chandler - It sounds kind of cool. But what does it mean? Is it a play on “manhandling” someone? Not really. Jamey’s ascent through the standings over the last 10 weeks was much more subtle and delicate. He is a third finalist, along with “Sugar” Shane Foster and Jake “The COO” Williams for the “Run of the Contest” award, seeing as he rose all the way up from the 100s in the earliest weeks of the competition. “Panhandling?” Not really. That’s reserved for the little nibblers, some still among us, that have their beggar’s hats out for each of their seven 100-Onion bets, “pleaaa-se sihh, just a phew mohh unnn-yuns?” Jamey wasn’t about that. He went all-in (and would currently have been in fourth had he won) on the wrong side. I think Chan-handling is our own neologism — it’s about doing the hard thing and not succeeding. Hey, you could be known for way worse…

Your Leaderboard Heading Into The Final Week