Factoring the NFL Point Spread in your Survivor Pool Picks

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As an avid NFL handicapper, I am already thinking about next week’s lines while the current week’s games are still being played. The lines for the following week and posted soon after the games end on Sunday, and I always start my handicapping as early as possible to take advantage of any weak lines that may be on the board.

This strict attention to NFL point spreads has helped me immensely for my NFL Survivor Pool picks. Learning as much as you can about the point spread from how the lines are set, how they move, and NFL key numbers can only help you progress in your Survivor Pool. Even though there is no point spread involved in making weekly Survivor Pool picks, paying close attention to the betting markets can only help you achieve Survivor Pool success.

The first thing I do each week when making my pool picks is to look at the NFL lines and identify the biggest favorites of the week. It’s never as easy as just taking the largest favorite on the board from your available pool of teams, however. But it is a good benchmark to help you figure out which teams are the biggest favorites of the week. But you have to remember that just because a team is a 10-point favorite that this is not the number that the oddsmakers expect the favored team to win by. Instead it is a number that the oddsmakers believe will attract even money on both sides of the game in order for the sportsbooks to have the best chance of making a no-risk profit by virtue of the vigorigh, or commission that books charge for taking the bet (normally 10 percent on the standard NFL game, and if you win your bet you get the vig back).

Once the opening lines are set by the sportsbooks then the lines move during the week depending on how much action the books take in on certain teams. A hundred smaller bets on one team will probably not move the line, but if one bettor that the sportsbooks respect places a large wager on one team then that will normally be enough to move the spread at least a half point if not a full point.

Certain betting trends I pay attention to and use in my weekly NFL handicapping factor into my picks for Survivor Pools. For example, I pretty much avoid the Dallas Cowboys in my Survivor Pools unless I have no other better options but to take them. As a handicapper I always look to bet against the Cowboys when they are a betting favorite and bet on them when they are the underdog. This has been a very profitable strategy for me the last couple seasons as this team always tends to flourish in the underdog role while they normally wilt under the pressure of being a favorite.

Since I always look for strong home teams in my pursuit of my best weekly Survivor Pool picks, I almost immediately throw the Cowboys out of my pool of teams that I may use a pick from. Either they are on the road and I am not going to use a road team unless I absolutely have to or they are at home where I know they have traditionally struggled, at least against the point spread. Even when they do win games at home they are normally closer than expected, and since this team is “America’s Team” and always gets support from the average joes, I know they will often be a popular pick at home and I can avoid disaster if another home letdown knocks many people out of the pool.

Last season the Cowboys knocked a lot of people out of my pool either by pulling a big upset or by losing as a big favorite at home. I remember in Week 6 last year when the Cowboys went on the road and were getting 10 points against the Seattle Seahawks. They pulled off the 30-23 upset and knocked many out of my Survivor Pool. I avoided playing them in this game because from my NFL handicapping I knew they would play this game tougher than the oddsmakers gave them credit for. Even more were knocked out in Week 8 when the Redskins beat the Cowboys 20-17 in overtime when Washington was getting 11 points on the betting line. That was a tempting pick because the Redskins looked so bad and the Cowboys so good, but I avoided taking them because of this history I know by following the betting odds.

There is no exact blueprint to follow to achieve success in NFL Survivor Pools, but you have to pay attention to and learn about the betting odds in order to maximize your chance to win your pool.