Week 10 NFL Survivor Friday Update: Should We Stick With The Ravens?

posted in NFL, NFL Survivor Pools

This week’s Thursday game had very little impact on most Survivor pools. Indianapolis was one of the smaller favorites of the week, and were only picked by a few percent of the public. While it would have been nice to have those few percent knocked out, in the big picture the result made very little difference.

Given Thursday’s unattractive choices, many of you have probably delayed making your Survivor decision until now. Let’s get to work.

Here’s a look at the updated Survivor data table. As a reminder, this helps us answer the three main questions we ask ourselves about each team when making our Survivor pick.

1. How likely are they to win? (consensus sportsbook Spread at -110 payout odds, Pinnacle Money Line, and TR Odds from our NFL win picks page)

2. How popular is this team? (Average public Pick % from sites like Yahoo! and OfficeFootballPool)

3. Should I save this team for later? (Future Value: a quick rating created by giving 1 point for a future game with 75%+ win odds and half a point for a game with 65%+ win odds, with only partial credit for games late in the season when teams may be resting players; Near Value: a modified version of Future Value that places more emphasis on near term value and is more relevant to players in very small pools. Both are based on averaging projections from our NFL Survivor Tool [which uses data from only this season] and our NFL Season Projections [which incorporates our preseason team projections].)

Week 10 NFL Survivor Decision Factors (Updated)

Teams are listed in order of how attractive we think they are as a choice this week. They’re also separated into rough tiers. If two teams are in the same tier, you may want to choose among them based on which pros and cons are more important to your particular situation.

TeamOpponentSpreadMoney LineTR OddsPick %Future ValNear Val
Tier 1: Top Options
San Franciscovs St Louis-11.0-560 / +46882%13.8%1.81.8
Baltimorevs Oakland-7.5-325 / +28579%7.1%0.00.0
New Englandvs Buffalo-11.0-550 / +46176%8.6%3.94.9
Tier 2: Worth A Look
Seattlevs NY Jets-6.0-260 / +23171%4.1%1.00.8
Miamivs Tennessee-6.0-250 / +22268%2.0%1.51.4
NY Giantsat Cincinnati-3.5-185 / +16660%0.9%0.90.7
Pittsburghvs Kansas City-11.5-525 / +44279%56.8%2.02.1
Tampa Bayvs San Diego-3.0-164 / +14859%0.3%0.50.4
Denverat Carolina-4.0-200 / +18067%1.7%4.55.8
Detroitat Minnesota-2.0-133 / +11354%0.1%0.30.3
Dallasat Philadelphia-2.0-128 / +11654%0.1%0.81.0
Atlantaat New Orleans-2.5-131 / +11952%0.1%1.72.5
Chicagovs Houston-1.5-121 / +11054%0.1%2.32.9

Teams We Already Picked: Houston Texans (WIN), Cincinnati Bengals (WIN), Dallas Cowboys (WIN), Green Bay Packers (WIN), San Francisco 49ers (WIN), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (WIN), Minnesota Vikings (WIN), Chicago Bears (WIN), Seattle Seahawks (WIN)

What Has Changed Since Wednesday?

Whole lotta nothin’, that’s what.

Here’s the full list of even remotely relevant shifts

  • The San Francisco and Pittsburgh money lines have roughly flipped — the 49ers are the biggest Vegas favorite now, and the Steelers are third. But that’s a negligible difference, and it doesn’t change any of our Wednesday judgments. Pittsburgh is still way too popular to pick in normal pools, and the 49ers are still very attractive.
  • The public pick percentage for Pittsburgh is down a few points, but they are still absurdly popular, at 57%.
  • The money line for Denver rose from -184 to -200, and their TR Odds went up by a couple percent. However, it still doesn’t make much sense to pick the Broncos given their huge future value.
  • The TR Odds for New York are down from 62% to 60%. We thought about knocking them down to Tier 3, because the gap between the Giants and the other sub-200 money line favorites has shrunk. But they do still look like the best of that bunch, so we’re leaving them in Tier 2.

That’s it. No important changes. I bet you can guess whether we’ve flipped our pick, then…

Official Week 10 NFL Survivor Pick: Baltimore Ravens over Oakland Raiders

For a longer discussion of why the Ravens are our official pick, we’ll refer you to Wednesday’s Week 10 NFL Survivor preliminary strategy post. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:

  • Pittsburgh is way too popular. AVOID in medium and large pools.
  • New England has too much future value, so save them.
  • San Francisco is actually a decent pick, but we’ve used them.
  • The next biggest favorite is Baltimore. They are still fairly safe, are only being picked by 7% of the public, and have zero future value. Sounds good.

The Baltimore Ravens are our official Week 10 NFL Survivor pick.

Advice For Other Pool Sizes

Remember, all the discussion above is designed for large pools, where future value is still very important. Many of you are probably in pools with only a few people left. It’s important to remember that in small pools, the correct strategy can change considerably. Here’s a refresher on key three points about Survivor end-game tactics:

  • It’s less likely that your opponents’ picks will closely mimic the national public picking averages.
  • Future value means less.
  • Resist the urge to play overly conservative just because you’re close to winning.

For an expanded discussion on these points, see the Week 4 NFL Survivor post.

Here is our Week 10 small-pool advice. Nothing has changed since Wednesday:

Pools With 10-20 People — Future value is less important here, so the 49ers look like the clear best choice, and the Patriots are neck and neck with the Ravens. Though if one of these teams (or Pittsburgh) looks like they’ll be far less popular than the others, we’d opt for them.

Pools With 3-10 People — If you’re in a very small pool, where you can take some rough guesses about who your opponents will choose, all bets are off. Our picks are made based on the assumption that these public pick percentages roughly match the pick rates in your pool, and that won’t be true for your poolIn very small pools this week, it’s tough to lay out a one size fits all strategy. If your whole pool is split evenly between the three biggest favorites (SF, NE, PIT), it might be wise to take Baltimore. But if it looks like one of those safest three will be far less popular than the other two, they are likely the best pick.

Head-to-Head Pools— This is a very interesting week for head-to-head pools. Generally, we recommend taking the safest team. But there are three equally large favorites this week (SF, NE, PIT). Without knowing anything else about your particular situation, out of those three we’d suggest either Pittsburgh or San Francisco, due to their lower future value.

However, there’s another consideration: which teams your opponent has left. If he looks like he may have the upper hand in future weeks because he has better teams left, it’s probably wise to try to pick a different team than him this week. You’d be hoping to avoid playing out those future weeks by winning or losing the pool right now, with roughly equal chances of either happening (though the most likely result is still that you both survive). On the other hand, if you have the upper hand in the future, you should try to pick the same team as him, so he doesn’t get the chance to win now, and must fight against the odds later.

As always, feel free to ask questions about your specific situation in the comments section. If you’re in a small pool, be sure to include information about pool size, who you have available, and who you think your opponents will choose, as those are the key factors in small pools. If you’re in a large pool, please include info on why you think your pool is different than the generic Yahoo! and OFP pools.