- Nate Ravitz, Fantasy
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Blake Thompson, a 31-year-old from San Francisco, won the $1 million grand prize in the ESPN.com Streak for the Cash Pick-Off when he tabbed the Queens Park Rangers (QPR) to win or tie with West Bromich Albion in a Football League Championship match on Monday.
The game ended in a 2-2 draw. The correct pick extended his winning streak to nine correct picks in a row, while the remaining three contestants -- all of whom picked West Bromich Albion -- all saw their streaks come to an end.
On Sunday, three of the "Streak 7" were eliminated when their streaks ended at seven or fewer. That left four contestants with only three windows to choose from on Monday.
Thompson and Mike Valentine of Watseka, Ill., each had active streaks of eight, while Kevin Connors of Doylestown, Pa., and Jason Winters of Hendersonville, Tenn., each had seven. Connors, however, was a perfect 7-0 entering Monday afternoon, and with winning percentage being the first tiebreaker, he may have forced the others to pick.
Thompson, who was also behind Valentine on the basis of winning percentage, said he felt pressure to try to make something happen.
"I knew the game was probably a 60-40 proposition, but I had to try to do something to get ahead," he said.
Once the game began and the picks locked, all four contestants knew that it could all be over in a manner of hours. After a scoreless first half, QPR quickly tallied two goals in first 17 minutes of the second half, the first coming on an own goal. West Bromich rallied with a goal in the 67th minute, but as Thompson needed only a draw, that still left him with a cushion.
A civil rights lawyer from San Francisco, Thompson advanced to the Pick-Off by accumulating a streak of 29 correct picks during the qualifying portion of the competition, which ran from April 1 until Dec. 6. During his winning streak of nine during the Pick-Off, Thompson correctly picked Alabama running back Mark Ingram to win the Heisman Trophy and UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn to defeat Diego Sanchez, among other games and props.
Thompson said he planned to use some of the money to take a vacation, but surely bigger plans await.
1dMarc Stein and Ramona Shelburne