How To Survive An NFL Survivor Pool

Surviving to the end of a survivor isn’t an easy task. One upset could send you packing. Get some tips and strategies on how to make smarter NFL survivor picks with Covers.

Jason Logan: Senior Betting Analyst at Covers
Jason Logan • Senior Betting Analyst
May 23, 2024 • 14:16 ET
Bills quarterback Josh Allen congratulates Latavious Murray after his touchdown.
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Sports gaming has plenty of options under its wide-reaching umbrella, from handicapping spreads and totals to the lighter touch of pick’em contests, including the popular NFL survivor pool. 

How to make value picks in a survivor pool

Winning your NFL survivor pool is simple enough: each week of the NFL season, you select one team to win its game. If that team comes through with the victory, you advance to the following week. If they lose, you’re eliminated from the pool.

There is a hook, though. You have to be very selective about picking top teams because you can only select a team once for the whole season. 

Here are some tips and strategies to make more strategic survivor pool picks.

Don’t jump on top teams

Siding with the NFL’s best teams is a viable NFL survivor pool strategy for only a few weeks. Once you burn through those elite clubs, you’re left with the bottom half of the league and relying on some shaky sides to get you deep into the season. Try to save those stronger teams as much as possible, as there will be weeks in which you need a bailout.

If you’re not a huge NFL fan and you don’t know which teams are the top NFL teams this season, we can help. Check out our NFL power rankings or the odds to win the Super Bowl (where the team with the lowest odds is considered by oddsmakers to be the best team in the league).

Let the odds be your guide

NFL moneyline odds will give you an idea of how safe a team is for your survivor pool pick. Using the odds to win outright, you can calculate the implied win probability of any NFL matchup. 

For example, a 7-point favorite will have moneyline odds around -350, which carries an implied win probability of 77.78 percent. A 3-point favorite would have moneyline odds around -160 and an implied win percentage of 61.54.

We can help when it comes to odds. Our NFL odds comparison tool lets you see the odds of all games in a given week, and our moneyline calculator helps you convert odds into implied probability. 

Counter the consensus

Zigging when everyone zags is a proven NFL survivor pool tip. Pay attention to the popular survivor pool picks or the pick percentages each week and see if there’s an opportunity to go against that consensus with a solid selection. If you’re sharp, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to slim the pool field and advance to the following week.

Covers gathers NFL consensus numbers from all the picks made by our contest players. Use this information to help you predict what the most popular survivor picks will be each week. 

Outside factors

When making NFL survivor pool picks, there are several outside factors to the win/loss column at play, including injuries, schedule, and weather. 

  • Be sure to monitor critical injuries to leading skill players like quarterbacks or cluster injuries at certain positions, such as the offensive line. 

  • Watch the weather reports and see how game conditions could impact a team’s performance. 

  • Size up the schedule and matchups to see if a potential selection is susceptible to a letdown, lookahead, or playing in a tough spot, like back-to-back road games or on a short week.

How to use a survivor grid or matrix

Most survivor pool providers produce a weekly survivor pool grid, matrix, or sheet to display each team’s win probability and the pick percentage in your respective pool.

You can use this grid to quickly sort the teams still available for selection, compare win probabilities, and find those picks with a higher expected value based on the pool’s pick percentages. 

Some of these sheets will also showcase each team’s future value, helping you set a winning NFL survivor pool strategy for the coming weeks.

NFL survivor pool strategy FAQs

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