The 2019-20 NFL season is rolling, 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 2 Lock Survivor Pool Pick
New England Patriots (-19) at Miami Dolphins
The Patriots have actually had trouble in Miami, dropping five of their last six road games in the sweltering heat. But the gulf in talent between these teams is so immense that New England is the biggest favorite of the Week 2 slate by far. It may be prudent to save the defending champs for another week, but the Pats are clearly the safest play on the board.
Sure, there is a narrative for Miami pulling off a monumental upset. New Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is a Bill Belichick disciple, and Matt Patricia handed his old boss some humble pie in Detroit early last season. Yet Flores has such little talent to work with and has apparently already lost the locker room, as several Dolphins requested a trade following Sunday’s 59-10 drubbing at the hands of the Ravens. New England is simply too talented and too well coached to drop another decision in Miami.
Schedule Notes: The Patriots have one of the easiest first-half schedules in the NFL, including two meetings with the Jets and a home game against the Giants. The middle of their schedule gets a bit more difficult, so it makes sense to either use New England early or hold onto the Pats until they host the Bills and Dolphins in the final two weeks of the season.
Week 2 Thrifty Survivor Pool Pick
Baltimore Ravens (-12.5) vs. Arizona Cardinals
This spread is a bit reactionary following Lamar Jackson‘s dismantling of a truly awful Dolphins squad. But it does appear as though Jackson has made significant strides as a passer. That gives the Ravens a very potent offense to complement a top five defense.
Baltimore went 6-3 at home last year and held opposing QBs to a 54.9% completion rate and 73.5 passer rating in those contests. Kyler Murray showed plenty of limitations as a passer in his debut. The Cardinals’ best weapons are David Johnson and the ageless Larry Fitzgerald, but the Ravens ranked first in DVOA pass defense against RBs and third in DVOA pass defense overall last year. Throw in one of the best special teams units in the game led by all-time kicker Justin Tucker, and you have a reliable, yet thrifty pick to take in Week 2.
Schedule Notes: The Ravens have good home matchups against the Browns (Week 4) and Bengals (Week 6), but divisional matchups are much tougher to call. This may be their best home matchup of the year on paper.
Week 2 Contrarian Survivor Pool Pick
Kansas City Chiefs (-9) at Oakland Raiders
Frankly, this isn’t a week to take a big chance since it’s so unlikely the Patriots or Ravens falter at home. The Chiefs are another very safe play considering they’re 8-2 against the Raiders since 2013 and are now sporting one of the most unstoppable offenses in NFL history. The Raiders are an emotional team that should crash after a good showing on MNF. They actually hung within a possession of the Chiefs in their last two meetings at the Black Hole, but KC was 5-2-1 against the spread on the road last year and should win this one handily.
Schedule Notes: Arguably the next best chance to roll with the Chiefs in Survivor is when they host the Raiders in Week 13. Their schedule is otherwise very difficult with a Week 4 trip to Detroit standing out as the next best bet for Survivor pools.