NFL Week 16 Survivor Pool Analysis, Percentages & Pick: Ravens, Browns Highlight Top Options

NFL Week 16 Survivor Pool Analysis, Percentages & Pick: Ravens, Browns Highlight Top Options article feature image
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Todd Olszewski/Getty Images. Pictured: Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker.

It seems like every week we’ve been waiting for the big NFL upsets to turn survivor pools on their heads. Needless to say, that finally came to fruition on the Week 15 card.

There was not just one, but two massive upsets as the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals scored victories as underdogs of two touchdowns or more.

Around 30 percent of entries lost with either the Los Angeles Rams or Pittsburgh Steelers last week. I am here to tell you that picking either one of those teams was NOT a mistake.

The market (and my model) both had them as big favorites for a reason. We just saw the low-percentage outcome for both contests.

It’s important to separate the decision from the outcome. Knowing what we know now, of course you wouldn’t take the Rams. However, at the time of the decision, the Rams were a +EV play and a good decision.

Now, for those of you who survived the recent minefield, I have projected percentages for the next two weeks.

If you are looking ahead to next week, there are a couple of teams that may have a lower projected win percentage than you might think.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills could both be locked in to their respective playoff spots next week. Will they rest their quarterbacks? Will they sit most of their starters?

I am not going to say I know the answer to either question, but there is some chance that one or both aren’t the favorites you would expect.

If you have saved either team to this point, it may make sense to use them this week if you don’t want to take the chance they become a waste next week.

Of course, that depends on your options for this week. Here are the top choices, with their projected pick percentage and expected value.

Team Pick % Model EV
Ravens 4.4% 81.8% 1.24
Browns 31.7% 80.0% 1.04
Saints 3.4% 75.0% 1.14
Texans 11.2% 74.8% 1.09
Cardinals 2.7% 74.0% 1.13
Chiefs 7.4% 72.4% 1.06
Buccaneers 6.5% 71.0% 1.06
Dolphins 0.1% 68.8% 1.06
Bears 26.0% 68.0% 0.88

There are plenty of teams to choose from this week. Even if you have used most of the better contenders in the league, teams like the Houston Texans appear on this list for the first time in a while.

The top option this week is Baltimore. However, the Ravens have an even higher projected win percentage next week against Cincinnati.

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No way the Jets can win two in a row, right? Well, that appears to be most people’s thinking as the Cleveland Browns are this week’s most popular pick. Even with that popularity, they are still +EV with an expected win percentage of 80 percent.

Then, we have a bunch of teams with similar win percentages and expected values. Your choice will be largely based on your remaining options. If you are in this group, it’s probably as simple as picking the team with the highest percentage you have left.

The only team that my model doesn’t like compared to the market is the Chicago Bears. I’d much rather take a team like Houston, even though they are currently both -7.5 favorites at most sportsbooks.

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