The 2019-20 NFL season is here, and there are many ways to cash in on your knowledge of the most popular professional sports league in the country.
At PlayPicks, we’re breaking down the NFL Survivor Pool landscape to bring you weekly options that will help you stay alive and ahead of the field in your pool.
For those new to Survivor Pools, the format is simple: pick an NFL team to win each week, advance if they win, and you can’t pick the same team twice. The last member of the pool standing takes home the cash.
In this article, we will identify three tiers of survivor picks, ranging from “lock” to “thrifty” to “contrarian.”
The lock is our safest and most obvious pick for the week. The thrifty pick is an option that comes with some risk but saves certain teams for later in the season. And our contrarian pick goes against the grain to potentially keep your pool alive when the defecation hits the oscillation in the NFL and thousands of survivors lose a supposed lock to an upset.
You can also use advice from this article to place bets on FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook. Many of the recommended bets can be applied to those New Jersey books. Just also be aware that the point spread could be considerable with these teams favored to win by over a touchdown in some cases.
Week 1 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
Philadelphia Eagles (-10) vs. Washington Redskins
Since oddsmakers have slotted the Eagles as the biggest favorites in Week 1, they will correspondingly be a very popular pick in Survivor Pools. Philadelphia is even more loaded with talent on both sides of the ball with NT Malik Jackson added to one of the best defensive lines in football. Plus, speed threat DeSean Jackson has rejoined his old squad to team up with rocket-armed Carson Wentz.
Washington is moving forward with veteran Case Keenum under center with precious few weapons at his disposal. Washington’s best receiver should be Jordan Reed, but the oft-injured TE has averaged only 39.4 receiving YPG in his career against Philly’s stingy TE defense. The Eagles have allowed the fourth-fewest rushing YPG (74.3) in the NFL over the past three seasons, and Washington ranks 27th in YPC (3.7) during that span. That running game could struggle even more with LT Trent Williams expected to continue his holdout through Week 1.
Only New England has a better home record than Philly (20-6) over the past three seasons although bettors should note that the Eagles are only 9-9 ATS during that span.
Schedule Notes: The Eagles’ next “easy” home game comes in Week 5 against the Jets, but Gang Green could be much improved this season. The next chance to definitively target Philly in Survivor Pools would be in a road matchup at Miami in Week 13.
Week 1 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Seattle Seahawks (-9) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
For all intents and purposes, the Bengals appear to be the worst team in the NFL this year. That becomes close to an indisputable fact over the first few weeks with A.J. Green (ankle) unavailable to jumpstart an anemic offense. Cincy finished 30th in Weighted DVOA defense last year, indicating a slide in terms of competitiveness that is likely to continue with WLB Vontaze Burfict no longer on the team.
Seattle went 5-2-1 against the spread at home last season and is 49-12 at home since Russell Wilson was drafted in 2012. While the Seahawks defense is no longer as fearsome, their run-heavy offense is elite and balanced. Seattle finished sixth in both rush and pass DVOA last season. Cincy gave up the fourth-most rushing YPG (137.8) last season, and that defense should offer little resistance for Chris Carson and company.
Schedule Notes: The Seahawks’ next “easy” game is at Arizona in Week 4. Seattle’s next “easy” home game is in Week 9 vs. Tampa Bay. The Seahawks won’t be a great Survivor pick again until they host Arizona in Week 16.
Week 1 Contrarian Survivor Pool Pick
Dallas Cowboys (-7) vs. New York Giants
The Cowboys might not draw as much action this week because of all the drama surrounding Ezekiel Elliott‘s holdout, but Zeke is expected to be active and ready to terrorize a Giants defense that allowed 118.6 rushing YPG last season. The Cowboys went 8-1 at home last year and 6-2 overall win listed as favorites. They’ve won four straight over the G-Men and 9 of their last 12 against the Giants. This is the time to pounce on the vulnerable Giants with defensive difference makers Olivier Vernon and Landon Collins gone along with Odell Beckham Jr. Then, Golden Tate is suspended for the first four games. And the Cowboys’ elite LB corps is capable of containing Saquon Barkley.
Schedule Notes: The Cowboys will also be a prime Survivor pick when they host Miami in Week 3. Otherwise, Dallas would not be a recommended pick until the Cowboys host Washington in the final week of the season.