It’s time to choose the ideal pick for our NFL survivor pool heading into Week 3. Last week featured plenty of upsets, but we won again with the 49ers over the Seahawks.
Winging it usually doesn’t get the job done. So, how should we strategize with an eye toward the rest of the season? Let’s talk survivor pool NFL betting strategy, and optimal team picks.
NFL Survivor Pool Week 3 Strategy
Picking one team that is a virtual certainty to win each week sounds easy in theory. However, most NFL survivor pool rules dictate that you can’t select the same team twice.
Sometimes it’s best to lock in a nearly guaranteed win. Other times it’s better to take a chance to preserve safer options for later. Here’s my favorite pick, with context based on last week’s recommended picks.
In Week 1, I started two full-season survivor tracks. Each week is designed to maximize the probability of reaching Week 18. It means taking some risks along the way, and one of those risks (Tennessee) didn’t pan out.
But the other one did, as the Ravens defeated the Jets. Then last weekend, I recommended San Francisco over Seattle, and despite Trey Lance’s horrendous season-ending injury, they had enough firepower to hold firm.
So, that second track is still chugging along ahead of Week 3. We could take the Bengals against the Jets next, though it might be wise to wait a few weeks while Cincinnati works out whatever issues they’re dealing with; clearly, they don’t (yet?) look like a playoff team.
We could be cute with a couple of sub-par home teams like Chicago over Houston or Seattle over Atlanta. But those are largely toss-up matchups, and September is the wrong time to reach for a toss-up.
We might also take the Saints in Carolina or Dallas at the Giants. But road teams’ win-loss record historically has paled in comparison to home teams, so despite the favorable odds, we’d already be at a disadvantage.
Strange things happen on the road (as any of you who’ve taken impromptu 3,000-mile road trips can attest). So let’s leave those on the trash heap.
NFL Survivor Pool Pick: Chargers vs. Jaguars
Last week featured several teams favored by 7+ points. This week has only two, including the Vikings at home against the Lions. But I view that as a toss-up game, and just as importantly, Minnesota is one of only two squads with seemingly favorable Week 13 odds (home against the Jets).
Our only other option that week is the Rams at home against Seattle, and I’d rather save the Rams until their offense (and defense) gel.
The other touchdown favorite is the Chargers. Now, this assumes Justin Herbert will play, though it doesn’t assume Keenan Allen will. All we need are Herbert, Austin Ekeler, and an above-average receiving corps led by Mike Williams, and that should be enough to hold off Jacksonville.
A big draw for starting L.A. now is that they’re essentially toss-up plays from Week 10 to Week 18, when they’ll face the 49ers (road), Chiefs, Cardinals (road), Raiders (road), Dolphins, Titans, Colts (road), Rams, and Broncos (road). If you feel very confident about starting them in any of those games, go for it. I’m cashing out on the Chargers now.
Keep in mind that injuries can upend teams (just look at the Cowboys), so we don’t know what shape L.A. will be in later in the year. We do know there are several teams each of those weeks well-positioned to win their contests. And yes, we could wait and play them in Week 7 at home versus the Seahawks. But four other teams have fantastic home matchups that week.
For short- and long-term reasons, as well as the context of our overarching season-long strategy, the Chargers are our best Week 3 survivor play.