How to Win 2021 NFL Survivor Pool: Advice and Expert Strategy
The return of college football this past weekend was tremendous. We were treated to some real electric games and some crazy finishes. If Week 1 of the NFL season is even half as crazy, we are going to be in for one hell of a season. The NFL kicks off its 2021/22 campaign with a Thursday Night showdown between “America’s Team” and the defending Super Bowl Champions. That’s right, it’s the Dallas Cowboys taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Kick-off is set for 8:20pm.
Doc’s Sports offers NFL picks for every game on our NFL predictions page.
Throughout the season, I’ll be bringing you a copious amount of content spanning from Survivor Pool picks, office pool plays, basic strategy teasers and everything in between. I’ll be doing something a little different than just written content as I’ll be bringing you video content as well.
To start, let’s help you understand what a Survivor Pool is and what you need to know about how to win it and make some money.
Survivor pools, AKA Suicide Pools, offer football fans a chance to pick a single game per week and focus all of their attention on that one game. While it may sound as simple as picking a team to win a game, it’s far more complex given the fact that if they lose you are out of the pool (and lose your money) and the fact that you cannot use that team again the rest of the year.
If you are in a friendly or low stakes survivor pool, you might have little regard for the strategy that comes into play for this variation of betting on the NFL. That’s fine. But if you’re in a serious pool and want to win, I’ll talk to you about the strategies that should be used.
Survivor Pool Rules
As per the name of the pool, the goal is to survive and be the last person standing at the end of the season (or however long the pool goes). The most basic format of this pool is as follows:
You must pick one team per week to win the game straight up. If the team you pick wins, you live to pick again the following week. If that team loses, you are eliminated from the pool. This happens every week until one person is left standing. The person left standing wins the entire purse money. This pool could last one week or could last all 17 weeks depending on the number of entrants or the number of big upsets that occur.
Sounds easy enough right? Not so fast.
Survivor Pool Strategy
Primetime Games: One of the biggest mistakes a player can make while playing a survivor pool is taking a primetime game, whether that be Thursday, Sunday, or Monday. Primetime games typically bring out the best in both teams, and the matchups are generally even because the NFL wants competitive games. Thursday night games are typically sloppy and turnover-filled, resulting in some weird results, while Sunday and Monday are so heavily bet on, it’s almost impossible to find value on either team.
Pick Popularity: While this may seem like it’s contradicting the first strategy, it’s important to understand how popular a certain team is going to be on any given week. Typically, when everyone on the pool is on a certain team, it’s more of a sweat than it should be as Vegas doesn’t give out free money. If your plan allows you to be flexible and avoid the most popular pick, it’s never a bad idea to do so. If that team were to lose, the majority of the pool will be eliminated while you’ll be left standings because you planned ahead and adjusted accordingly.
Plan Ahead: Survivor pools are such a unique way of betting on the NFL that you forget how hard winning a football game can be. As the saying goes, on any given Sunday, any team can win. That’s why you have to plan out your team picking strategy in advance and always have a backup plan if things like injuries occur. It’s imperative to remember that you can only pick a team one time throughout the whole season, so you better think twice about taking a team like San Francisco, who is 7.5-point favorites in Week 1. There will likely be better spots to play them later on in the season. We understand that name of the game is to survive the week and advance to the next round, but if you burn out all the top teams (KC, TB, BUF, BALT, GB, etc), within the first four weeks, come Week 5, you’ll be in a precarious position as you’ll have to rely on second-tier teams to get the job done.
Fading certain teams: Every year there are teams that finish well below .500. However, not since 2017 has there been a team that’s gone 0-16 (good job, Cleveland). Picking a team to pick against every week is generally a good idea since they won’t get good overnight. However, remember to pick your spots wisely as even the worst teams win 1-4 games on the season. Last year, the Jets and Jaguars were the teams to fade, but even they combined to win 3 games as underdogs against teams in bad spots.
Most Recent NFL Survivor Pool
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- How to Win 2021 NFL Survivor Pool: Advice and Expert Strategy
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