NFL Confidence Pools: Strategy, Advice and Tips
by Aaron Smith - 9/5/2012
The popularity of the National Football League has led to the rise of all sorts of contests where fans can get involved. Fantasy football is still the most popular, but NFL confidence pools are quickly becoming another major player in the contest arena. Confidence pools tap into that fan interest and provide another NFL office pool type of game for fans to get even more involved in the sport.
First, let’s take a look at what NFL confidence pools are and examine the rules of the game. Then we’ll investigate possible strategies and tips to help you come out on top of your next confidence pool competition.
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NFL Confidence Pools: The Rules
How do NFL confidence pools work? In these pools, you will select a winner for every single game on the NFL schedule each week. A traditional confidence pool sheet will have 16 rows with the numbers 1-16 in descending order. The confidence part comes in because you must rank every selection from 16 points all the way down to a single point. Select the game that you feel most confident about the winner of for the 16-point line. The game that you are most unsure about should be on the one-point line.
Points are awarded for winning selections depending on what line you put the game on in your confidence pool sheet. For example, if you put the Green Bay Packers on the 16-point line and they win you will receive 16 points. When the team you select loses a game, you will receive no points for that particular game. The most cumulative points at the end of the season will win the pool. Some pools even give small payout amounts for each weekly winner. Keep in mind that most NFL confidence pools ask you to pick straight-up winners rather than against-the-spread winners.
NFL Confidence Pools: Benefits
Why is there such a boom in popularity for confidence pools? This allows you to use your knowledge on overall teams rather than individuals like you would in fantasy football leagues. In addition, every single game matters to you each week because you have selected a winner for each matchup. Since you are in control of how many points you place on each game, you are never out of the running in a confidence pool. These pools are a great way to try to earn bragging rights among a group of friends or coworkers.
NFL Confidence Pool Strategy: By the Books
Using the pointspread assigned to each game is a popular strategy. In this strategy, you would always pick the biggest favorite as your 16-point pick and the smallest favorite as your one-point pick. By using this strategy, you are simply ranking the favorites and hoping there aren’t many upsets. This is the equivalent to picking chalk all the way through a March Madness bracket. It doesn’t require any effort or thought, but you’ll probably do pretty well in the end if you select all your games by the books. Keep in mind that this strategy will work much better in a small pool. If you are in a large pool, you’ll likely have to use some brain power at some point in the season.
NFL Confidence Pool Strategy: Go Against the Grain
One of the best ways to win a March Madness bracket is to go against what you assume most of the competition will select. In the same way, this can be a very good strategy in a NFL confidence pool. For example, if you live in Pittsburgh; you can be pretty sure there are going to be a lot of people picking the Steelers as one of their highest confidence picks every week. Go against the home crowd by selecting the opposite team on occasion to try to get a differential from the rest of your peers. Do you think there is a big underdog that has a decent chance at pulling the upset? Select the underdog as one of your lower confidence picks to try to get a large point differential from the rest of the pool. This is a higher risk strategy, but it can pay big dividends to differentiate yourself from the group.
NFL Confidence Pool Strategy: Watch the Standings
A wise confidence pool player will always know what the current standings are after each week. You should absolutely change the way you select your plays depending on where you are in the current standings. A great example of this is if you are in first place in the league with only two weeks to go, you would be a fool to try to pick large upsets or go against the grain. When you are at the top of the pack you want to mirror the picks of others. On the other hand, when you are behind with a small amount of time left; be sure to pick some large upsets and hope for the best.
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