The NFL is officially underway and we have one week under our belts. We saw several betting upsets in Week 1, with the Cardinals going into Nashville to beat the Titans and the Steelers knocking off the Bills at Orchard Park. The Chiefs had a comeback win over the Browns on Sunday and the Raiders won a wild upset over the Ravens to close out the week on Monday Night Football.
The wild Week 1 cost a lot of people in their Survivor pools. The Ravens and Bills were popular picks in the pool I’m in, with the 49ers, Rams, Panthers, and Buccaneers the top four picks for Week 1.
If you’ve never played in a Survivor pool, it’s a fun alternative to traditional pick ‘em contests. You pick one team each week that you think will win. If your team loses in Week 1, you’re eliminated (unless it’s a double elimination pool). If your team wins in Week 1, you can make a pick in Week 2. If your team wins in Week 2, you can make a pick in Week 3, and so on. The catch is that you cannot pick the same team twice. You could use a heavy favorite in Week 1, but you would not have access to them later in the year if you’re alive in the closing weeks.
You’re welcome to just take the team favored by the most points this weekend, but there is strategy to consider if you want to survive to the end. DK Nation is here to help with a look at safe choices, value choices, and potential traps.
There’s a good chance the Texans and Falcons will be regular choices for team’s to pick against in Survivor pools. Houston did beat the Jaguars last week, but Jacksonville stinks. Cleveland is a whole different animal. These are safe picks, but not great value with both favorites projected to be double digit favorites at least one more time this year.
Best value picks
Green Bay could be bad after what we saw last week, but I’d consider taking my chances on a home game against the Lions in Week 2. It’s a divisional game, which isn’t the best option, but I think the Packers bounce back. You could save Green Bay for later, but they really don’t have a ton of great matchups remaining compared to Cleveland or Tampa Bay.
Pittsburgh and Las Vegas are both coming off Week 1 upsets, but the Raiders are primed for a letdown. As soon as they won that game, my thought was to go all-in on Steelers -6 (down to 5.5).
Jacksonville looked awful on the road while Denver won handily on the road over the Giants. The Broncos are going to be a popular pick this week as people think they can get some value against a bad Jags team. The Jaguars aren’t good, but I suspect we see a better effort against Denver and I’m inclined to stay away.