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 3 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.
NFL Survivor Week 3: The One Super-Obvious Chalk
Everyone who plays in survivor contests will have one clear play circled at first glance in Week 3: the Denver Broncos. It’s not hard to see why. They basically check every box:
- Strong home favorites — the market gives the Broncos > 80% chance of victory
- Awful opponent with little upside — the Jets have scored 20 points through two weeks and airing it out with rookie QB Zach Wilson just seems to result in more INTs
- Only favored big once rest of the season (Week 14 at home vs. Lions)
Easy game. Click the Broncos.
Except there is one box they don’t check, and it’s rather important: the Broncos figure to be the top selection precisely because they’re the only favorite north of 10. In a large pool, going down with the rest of the schlubs in the case of an upset is the worst-case scenario. You’ve made a pick with more downside than upside in that situation.
The equation changes a bit if the following teams have comparable pick rates, though.
The Jumble Of Favorites Just Below The Mega-Chalk
Here, we have an interesting group of teams. Each has pluses and minuses as far as use in NFL survivor Week 3.
The Ravens figure to be the most obvious play. Not only are they the biggest favorites of this bunch — best price — but they surprisingly don’t have a ton of easy home games the rest of the way. They have a rather backloaded schedule with the Browns twice, Packers and Rams all in the final seven weeks. A hurting Lions team on a short week should represent easy pickings.
However, they are on the road and coming off a massive win. Letdown potential exists here.
The Bills should in theory roll as well, but there are some factors to consider. Chiefly, they have a bunch of layup home games down the stretch, unlike Baltimore. Plus, they play on Thanksgiving, and Circa players may need to save some ammo for that since Thanksgiving is treated as its own week. Additionally, Washington has a similar team construction to Pittsburgh — very strong defensive front, at least on paper — which defeated Buffalo in Buffalo Week 1.
Of the remaining three teams, Carolina might represent the most interesting option.
The Texans have already announced QB Tyrod Taylor won’t play on Thursday thanks to a hamstring injury. Backup Davis Mills was not highly regarded as a pro prospect. He led Stanford to just an 8-10 record in two years as a starter after coming into school as the most highly touted pro-style QB in the country. Now, he takes over what most considered the worst roster in the NFL in the preseason.
He gets a short week to prepare for a Panthers defense that has had some teeth early on. Locking up the Jets was one thing but they followed up by strangling the Saints to a horrifying 80 yards passing with a pair of INTs.
Aside from perhaps hosting Atlanta Week 14, Carolina won’t be close to this big a favorite the rest of the season.
Three Sneaky, Contrarian Options for NFL Survivor Week 3
Perhaps the Titans wind up being fairly popular, but perhaps not since quite a few bigger favorites occupy the Week 3 odds board. The Titans have looked admittedly pretty poor so far this year aside from a stirring late comeback to beat the Seahawks.
But, a unique opportunity has arrived. Well, maybe not so unique, since Colts QB Carson Wentz sustaining an injury hardly counts as a surprise at this point. Still, second-year pro Jacob Eason will very likely be in a mile over his head. He threw an awful pick in his brief action this past Sunday and went in the fourth round of the 2020 draft for a reason.
The Titans do play on Christmas (also its own week in Circa’s contest), though, and have several other easy games remaining.
The Raiders have played tremendously in back-to-back upset wins to open the season. Now, they also get a backup QB traveling across the country in Jacoby Brissett and the Dolphins. The Raiders have relatively low future value. They’ll likely be short home favorites against Cincinnati, Washington and Chicago. None of those should have you running to the window to click on them.
Finally, if you want to play aggressively, and we do mean aggressively…there are the New York Giants. With an 0-2 record and so many big favorites on the board, it would count as a surprise if even 1% of the contests clicked on the Giants. There’s little to no chance you’d use them the rest of the year. Atlanta did show some life this week, but a home date should be very winnable for the G-men.
If chaos engulfs the rest of the board, you’d be in a golden spot going forward.