NFL Survivor Pool Picks: Week 1 Win Probabilities Tool

Written By Mo Nuwwarah on September 6, 2021
NFL survivor week 1

Survivor pools have become one of the most popular gambling options for NFL fans in recent years. Big brands like DraftKings and Circa are among those offering monster prizes in 2021. Each week, TheLines will run through some of the best survivor options to help you win your pool. Read on for NFL survivor Week 1 plays.

Remember that you must plan for the long term, and you must take into account the size of your pool. The larger the pool, the more contrarian a path you should plan. It’s not as simple as clicking the biggest favorite every week.

Reaching the end and splitting the pool 50 ways kills much of your expected value. Plus, avoiding the top pick of the week gives you a chance of seeing the biggest chunk of your rivals knocked out.

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NFL Survivor Week 1: The Obvious Chalk

Moneylines below from DraftKings Sportsbook. Pick percentages via SurvivorGrid as of Monday.

TeamML Implied Win%Opp.Pick%
Rams-400~76%vs. CHI19
Buccaneers-365 ~75%vs. DAL11.5
49ers-365~75%@ DET24.6

While Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season does feature a few very likely winners, you won’t find any slam dunk two-touchdown favorites with win probabilities pushing 90%. That’s fairly typical since the talent levels of NFL teams tend toward the middle.

The absolute dregs of the league who will compete for the No. 1 pick haven’t yet fully revealed themselves, even if we have a couple of prime suspects. Looking at you, Detroit and Houston.

Speaking of the Lions, everyone is already lining up to fade them in NFL survivor Week 1. Almost a quarter of the logged entries on SurvivorGrid have circled the 49ers. The one possible sticking point here: the 49ers do play on the road.

That might make the Rams the superior play. They get Chicago at home at night, their moneyline odds are stronger, and they’re slightly less popular. Furthermore, the 49ers have the easier schedule down the road, according to Warren Sharp, so you may find better opportunities to play them later compared to LA.

Less Popular But Still Strong Favorites

TeamMLImplied Win%Opp.Pick%
Bills-320 ~73%vs. PIT4.5
Chiefs-310~72%vs. CLE5.7
Panthers-260 ~69%vs. NYJ10.1
Ravens-220 ~66%@ LV2.8

Beyond the clear chalk picks, a few more teams sit a little south of a touchdown favorite for Week 1.

Of these, the public has gravitated most toward the Panthers. It isn’t hard to see why. This one simply comes down to availability. While Kansas City, Baltimore and Buffalo figure to be favored and favored big many times this season, you likely won’t find Carolina north of -250 for the rest of the season. Even -200 might be tough to find.

Fading the Jets also figures to be sharper sooner compared to later. Rookie QB Zach Wilson and the young offensive line should improve as the year goes on. The Panthers’ prospects improve by catching them before they gain cohesion. The Jets also sustained defensive injuries in the preseason and will trot out a very unproven unit on that side.

Two Sneaky, Contrarian Options for NFL Survivor Week 1

TeamMLImplied Win%OppPick%
Falcons-190~63%vs. PHL1.8
Vikings-165~60%@ CIN2.8

Those looking to play more aggressively have a couple of solid options.

Perhaps the best of the sneaky plays: the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta hosts an Eagles team that’s a huge question mark due to a brand new coaching staff taking the reins. QB Jalen Hurts played quite poorly in 2020, but the Falcons defense could very well ruin everything here as they have league-worst potential.

Still, at less than 2% ownership and more than 60% win probability, the Falcons do sport some ideal sleeper characteristics.

Finally, the Minnesota Vikings face Cincinnati on the road as short favorites. The Vikings have one of the toughest home schedules of any team. The only other attractive spots to play them look to be both Detroit games. It may also be prudent to fade the Bengals earlier before QB Joe Burrow gets his bearings and gains comfort on his surgically repaired knee.

Mo Nuwwarah Avatar
Written by
Mo Nuwwarah

Mo Nuwwarah got his start in gambling early, making his first sports bet on his beloved Fab Five against the UNC Tar Heels in the 1993 NCAA tournament. He lost $5 to his dad and got back into sports betting years later during a 15-year run in the poker industry. A 2011 journalism graduate from Nebraska-Omaha, he combines those skills with his love of sports and statistics to help bettors make more informed decisions with a focus on pro football, baseball and basketball.

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