While there are always tons of options for bettors to choose from at online sportsbooks, there are other ways to make money while watching football, even if you aren’t looking at NFL odds and placing moneyline or spread bets.
One of the most popular alternatives for those who want weekly action on NFL games is a season-long survivor pool. Now that we’ve reached Week 12 of the National Football League season along with the Thanksgiving holiday, your continued existence in any survivor pool is a positive sign.
Below, we’ll get into what these pools are, plus we’ll offer up several games as ones to consider or avoid entirely when making your Week 12 NFL survivor picks.
NFL Week 12 Survivor Pool Picks
Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys () – Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET
This is a truly tough week to pick a survivor with the Cowboys opening as the only 7-point favorite on the entire slate. Of course, they play the Raiders on Thanksgiving and both teams have a short turnaround.
Dallas has been absolutely dominant at home with the exception of a blip in Week 10 against the Broncos. The Cowboys are 4-1 and averaging 36 PPG while rushing for 159.6 YPG at AT&T Stadium. Their offensive struggles in two of their past three games have a ton to do with the absence of elite LT Tyron Smith.
The Cowboys are expressing optimism that Smith will return from an ankle injury this week, and they’re averaging 152 rushing YPG in seven games with him compared to 91.3 rushing YPG in the three games he’s missed.
The Raiders are a perfect get-right opponent given their dysfunctional tendencies. After a solid start under interim HC Rich Bisaccia, Vegas has fallen apart with penalties and unhinged play from Derek Carr, who has three turnovers over his last two starts. The Raiders are 2-6 with a rest disadvantage over the past two seasons and are unlikely to pull off this upset on a short week.
Week 12 Survivor Lock: Dallas Cowboys
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens () – Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
Lamar Jackson had a rough game in Miami last Thursday and wound up missing a Week 11 win against the Bears with a non-COVID illness. He should be fine in time for Sunday night’s key AFC North clash with a struggling Browns team that has dropped three straight regular-season games against Lamar and the Ravens.
Baltimore is averaging 210.8 rushing YPG with 10 scores on the ground over its last five meetings with Cleveland. The Ravens are 4-1 at home this year, where they score 30.4 PPG (compared to 19 PPG on the road) and convert 42.6% of 3rd downs. Their defense allows the lowest 3rd down conversion rate (30.5%) and the lowest red zone TD conversion rate (42.9%) on the season.
Meanwhile, Cleveland’s offense has been abysmal lately with Kareem Hunt (calf) out and Nick Chubb (COVID) missing time. Baker Mayfield is dealing with shoulder and knee injuries and has been under consistent pressure since losing RT Jack Conklin (elbow). Jarvis Landry (knee) is playing at half speed and Donovan Peoples-Jones – the Odell Beckham Jr. replacement – was unable to suit up last week against Detroit.
If the Browns can’t beat this Ravens team through the air, they won’t be able to generate favorable matchups for their running game.
Week 12 Survivor Leverage Pick: Baltimore Ravens
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos () – Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET
The Chargers’ offense is getting flowers again after Justin Herbert pierced a shorthanded Steelers defense for 382 yards and Austin Ekeler added four TDs to his season totals. They could run into a brick wall this week in Denver.
The Broncos are allowing the second-lowest completion rate (57.9%) and the third-fewest rushing TDs (0.6) per game this year. They only give up 17.2 PPG at home and picked off Herbert twice en route to a 31-30 home win over the Chargers last November.
The Chargers can’t stop the run. They give up the most rushing YPG (145.1) and the fourth-most rushing TDs (1.3) per game. Denver is averaging 4.5 YPC on the season with Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams forming a good one-two punch.
There is a massive rest advantage for the Broncos in this matchup as they come off a bye week, while the Chargers had to play the Steelers on Sunday night. Denver is 2-1 with a rest advantage since last season. The Chargers are 2-3 with a rest disadvantage in the same span.
Week 12 Land Mine Survivor Pick: Los Angeles Chargers
NFL Week 12 Betting Odds
2021 NFL Survivor Pool Rules
The format for survivor pools is pretty self-explanatory. In order to survive, you must pick one NFL team each week to win their game. The catch is that each team can only be used once, limiting the number of choices you have as the season progresses. The last person standing wins the jackpot, which usually consists of entry fees paid by everyone in the pool.
Each week, we offer multiple survivor selections of varying risks. This includes the pick we’re most confident in along with an option that could offer leverage to help you save the elite teams for a later game. Our third and final selection is a land mine pick, which indicates a team you may want to stay away from this week.
If you are interested in betting on sports, this information can still be valuable. Feel free to take this analysis and head over to some of the leading brands in the industry including DraftKings, FanDuel, or BetMGM, which have a huge range of betting options for every NFL game. Many of these sites also have free-to-play survivor pools, which don’t require an entry fee.