NFL survivor pools are annually one of the most popular contests at sportsbooks. When played correctly, they can present a challenging and exciting week-to-week knockout competition that can have some serious payouts. If tense, strategic games sounds like a good time to you – read on. Below, we’ll lay out what NFL survivor pools are, how to play them, and where you can find them for the 2022 NFL season.
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DraftKings $1 Million NFL Survivor Pool
DraftKings returns this year with its classic $1 million NFL survivor pool. The goal is to correctly pick one team to win each week of the season. If you pick wrong, you’re out. If you pick correctly, you survive to make a pick the following week.
As is the case in most survivor pools, you cannot pick a team twice during the season. For instance, you could not pick the Bills to win every week. Once you “use” your pick on the Bills, you cannot use them for the remainder of the time you are in the survivor pool.
This pool does have an entry fee of $100 and is winner-take-all. There is no limit to the amount of people that can sign up for this contest. Each user can submit up to 10 entries.
Free FanDuel $100,000 survivor pool contest
One of FanDuel’s most popular pools each year is their $100,000 survivor pool. The best part about this one is that it’s 100 percent free. The $100,000 prize pool is guaranteed to pay out to the player that makes it the longest. In the event of a tie, FanDuel will split the prize pool among the winners.
NFL Survivor Pool: What are survivor pools?
Survivor pools are a cousin to weekly pick ’em pools. Each week, a player picks a team they believe will win. If that team wins, the player moves on to the next week where the process is repeated – simple!
Those who pick incorrectly are out or may have to buy back in, depending on the rules. Players continue picking one team each week until there’s only one player standing.
Typically, once a team is used, the player cannot select that team later on in the season. For example, if a player sees a layup win for the 49ers over the Bears in Week 1, the 49ers will no longer be available in the weeks following. This affects strategy in a big way, which we’ll get into later.
Best survivor pool practices
Successful survivor players don’t just blindly pick teams each week. There’s delicate strategy in place that greatly increases the odds that a prepared player will win. Of course, that doesn’t eliminate bad beats and the luck factor – but it minimizes it.
First, look at all 18 weeks. Do you go with the 49ers in Week 1 even though they are on the road versus the Bears? Perhaps you “save” the 49ers for the following week when they play at home against the Seahawks?
Hand-picking weeks where mediocre teams play the worst teams in the league also offers an advantage. For example, the Eagles host the Jaguars in Week 4. Philly is expected to be good, not great, but they should be able to take care of the Jags at home. This would be a decent spot to “use” your Eagles selection.
Basically, selecting the more difficult teams earlier on allows you to hold onto elite teams like the Chiefs, Packers and Bills for when the pool thins down and things get tougher.
Keeping a close eye on implied win percentage each week can help players make their picks and give themselves a higher win probability.