CES Picks & the $25,000 Winner
Justin Backus downloaded the CES Picks app because a group of friends told him he should join. One week into the season, he won $25,000.
“I couldn’t believe it at first,” Justin said. “I was like, ‘Is this real? Is this happening?’ Not only did I win $1,000 in NFL Shop gift cards week one, but I also qualified for the $25,000 cash prize.”
If you don’t know what CES Picks is, it’s a sports app unlike any other. Friends, family, coworkers, and rivals compete against each other — with thousands of other players — for the ultimate bragging rights and weekly prizes.
It plays out over the course of the entire NFL regular season, and all you have to do is pick who you think is going to win week to week.
As for the 2019 season of CES Picks, Justin Backus was the only player who qualified for the $25,000, which involved picking the winners of each NFL game in a single week, as well as the tiebreaker score — the total number of points scored in that week’s final two games.
“I didn’t find out until the end of the NFL season that I won,” Justin said. “I was the only one to have an absolute perfect week. It sure sounds easy, but I was only able to do it once the entire season.”
After the first week of playing, Justin told all of his friends and family about CES Picks, and he even got his fiancée to play as well.
“We were actually competing against each other,” Lindsey Johnson, Justin’s fiancée, said. “Every Tuesday we’d place our picks, but we wouldn’t tell each other anything until the day of. Then when the week was over, we’d check to see if anyone else had a perfect week. I probably reminded Justin 15 times every single week that he was still the only one who qualified for the $25,000.”
“I started thinking about everything we could use the money for,” Justin admitted. “We sat down and made a game plan, and we were going to stick to it if I ended up winning it.”
The game plan? Justin and Lindsay are set to be married in October of this year, so some of the money was going to pay off the wedding, like the DJ, the photographer, and the venue. But one of the main things they were happy to help with? The down payment on the land they recently bought together with their family’s help.
“It was a blessing,” he said. “It has set in, but it really hasn’t set in. We were saving before, but with the winnings, we were able to stop wishing and do other things, like help family and friends for everything they’ve given us over the years.”
And even when it came to the $1,000 in NFL Shop gift cards Justin won in week one, they spent as much as they could on their friends and family, even if it meant buying gear for their own rival teams.
“I’m a diehard Tennessee Titans fan. Lindsey is a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan. I’m sad to say this, but we did end up buying a lot of Buffalo Bills stuff,” he laughed. “My father and soon-to-be mother-in-law were huge Dallas Cowboys fans, and my uncle is a big New York Giants fan, so of course we bought them some things, too.”
The best part? They’ll be getting married this October wearing their team’s shoes. Got to represent, even on the big day.
“No dress shoes for us,” Justin said. “We’re only wearing our team shoes all the way.”
For Justin and Lindsey, it’s also just another excuse to keep up with friends and family — with a little bit of football thrown in the mix.
“CES Picks is a fun way to bring everyone together,” Justin said. “It brought our family together, and it brought friends together. There’s so much you can do to have fun with it even outside of just playing. You can get rivalries going against each other within your own leagues. We even made a game out of it where whoever got last place would have to make dinner.”
Now with one season of CES Picks under their belts, Justin and Lindsey are looking forward to playing again. And they definitely want to take another shot at the $25,000 prize.
“We’re not missing a single week,” he said. “You only have to take a few minutes to put your picks in, and you never know what can happen. You might win it all, you might win some gift cards, but you’ll always have some fun.”