How to win your survivor pool for the 2021 NFL season

Shane Jackson
Lions head coach Dan Campbell looks on during the first quarter against the Bills at Ford Field on Aug 13, 2021.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell looks on during the first quarter against the Bills at Ford Field on Aug 13, 2021. / Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports (Imagn)

Plan to compete in a survivor pool for the first time, or just tired of losing and need more of a plan? As a part of the launch of our new site, WynnBET is here to provide five rules to winning your NFL survivor pool: 

1. Know your pool

Much like playing fantasy football or competing in a March Madness bracket challenge, it is important to factor in how many people you are competing with and to understand everyone's tendencies.

In a smaller pool, it isn’t necessary to save certain teams for later in the season. Game theory, meanwhile, becomes more crucial when competing in a larger pool. For example, fading a popular pick that ultimately loses in a given week can provide a huge edge.

No matter the size of the pool, it is beneficial to have an idea of what your opponents might do. If your pool features a lot of Tampa Bay fans in Week 1, for example, it might be wise to pick another near-touchdown favorite to kick off the season.

2. Pick against obvious bad teams early

The NFL is such a challenging league to project, with teams unexpectedly emerging (or failing) every season. That is why we should try to reserve the early picks for the teams we are most confident in — good or bad.

In this case, WynnBET’s oddsmakers seem to believe that Houston and Detroit will struggle, as reflected in their win totals of 4 and 5 wins. So, it would make sense to pick against those teams early on.

In Week 1, Houston hosts Jacksonville, and Detroit hosts San Francisco. Houston is set to travel to Cleveland the following week, while Detroit plays at Green Bay on Monday night.

Houston has the easier matchup in Week 3 with a home meeting against Carolina on TNF, but a Thursday night game means a shorter turnaround, which can lead to erroneous play. Detroit will host Baltimore in Week 3, and then proceed to travel to Chicago in the first weekend of October. Houston will likely be a bigger underdog when it travels to Buffalo in Week 4.

3. Don’t forget to play the long game

While getting through that first month is important, you should always have a big-picture outlook on your survivor pool. This might seem like a week-to-week game, but the goal is to make it to the end of the season.

With that in mind, don’t be afraid to save certain teams for later in the season. Make sure to have an idea of what teams your opponents have available, and see if you can find an advantage down the stretch of the NFL season.

According to Survivor Grid, a site that tracks data for survivor pools, the highest number of players (39.30%) were eliminated in Week 1 last season. Yet Week 15 and Week 16 both posted elimination rates above 35%, highlighting the importance of having strong picks to close out the year.

4. You can pick road teams or division rivals

In the spirit of trying to find an edge in your pool, don’t be afraid to pick road teams or a rivalry matchup.

Most common players might stay away from such picks because they view it as more of a risk, but that’s not entirely true! Spreads already factor in home-field advantage, and division matchups don’t actually lead to more upsets compared to non-division battles.

According to Survivor Grid, the top-10 upsets based on pick percentage only featured three road teams (IND at JAX in Week 1, CLE at NYJ in Week 16, and TEN at CIN in Week 8) last season. The Colts’ 27-20 loss to the Jaguars in the opener was also one of two division matchups in the top-10 upsets, along with the Chiefs’ 40-32 defeat to the Raiders in Week 5.

5. Have fun, and follow us at WynnBET

Similar to winning a fantasy football league, it is going to take some luck to ultimately win your survivor pool.

You can set yourself up for success by reading our website. Keep up with all the latest news, and monitor how it changes the spreads each week. Follow where the sharp money is going to help make your picks.

Have fun, and good luck!