NFL Survivor Pool Picks for Week 7: Fade the Bills As 17-Point Favorites?

NFL Survivor Pool Picks for Week 7: Fade the Bills As 17-Point Favorites? article feature image
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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Jordan Phillips.

  • The Buffalo Bills are 17-point favorites, but are they among the best NFL survivor pool picks?
  • Travis Reed uses his model to determine the smartest picks to keep you alive through Week 7.

Last week, the chalk largely made it through with the only hiccup being the Cowboys, who lost to the winless Jets. The model was (and continues to be) low on Dallas, so I was able to steer clear of that upset which knocked out about 10% of entries.

Another 12-15% of entries squeaked out a win on Monday with the Packers after some blatantly horrible questionable calls went against Detroit.

This week is very straightforward and was my easiest selection of the season. It is also a great example of how game theory comes into play in these pools.

Here are the projected win percentages for the rest of the season.

There are four options worth discussing this week, and here are the stats for each team. For those new to the article, the “Games Left” column is how many games each team has remaining with a projected win percentage of 70% or more.

Over 70% of entries are taking Buffalo and I am not at all surprised. Most players are going to look for the highest spread or whichever team is playing Miami, and Buffalo happens to be both.

I am not taking Buffalo. The Bills are a negative expected value (-EV) play this week. You can follow the masses if you want, but let me lay out my case.

The goal of this game is to outlast everyone else, not advance each week. If you ride along with the 70% who are taking Buffalo, you have no chance to outlast them this week.

Also, can I let you in on a little secret? The Bills get to play the Dolphins again. If the Bills win this week (which is still highly likely), then in Week 11 a large chunk of your pool won’t have the option of taking Buffalo and you get to be contrarian and gain an edge again.

The Pick: Green Bay Packers

I have already used New England and I would imagine most of you reading this have too. If you haven’t, feel free to use the Pats this week. Or next week. I would map out your next four to five weeks and see if holding onto New England makes sense.

Even though the market has the 49ers as bigger favorites than the Packers, my model disagrees and still doesn’t believe in the Raiders just yet. Given the 21% of picks on the 49ers, I still like the Packers using the market odds.

Have I willingly given myself a higher chance of being eliminated this week? Yes.

But I have given myself a higher expected value of winning the entire pool and you always have to be thinking long term.