The start of the NFL season is filled with hope and excitement. Not only for the return of football, but for the opportunity to fatten our wallets. We draft our fantasy teams, load up our betting accounts and join every single survivor pool, spread pool, pick'em pool that we get invited to. It doesn't matter who sends me the invite. There are people who I talk to once a year, and it's when they invite me to join their pool or league. I'll join anything.
On the surface, a survivor pool seems easy enough. You just need to pick one team to win every week. There are some bad teams in the NFL that you should be able to fade on a weekly basis. Spreads don't matter. Just survive and advance.
However, after just one week, 63.53% percent of survivor entrants have been eliminated. Hopefully you bought multiple entries and some of them survived. Or maybe someone random from your past texts you about a "second-chance survivor" pool in the coming weeks.
It was a bloodbath
At Yahoo, the Baltimore Ravens were the most popular survivor pick in Week 1. They got the job done for those that backed them, as they defeated the New York Jets comfortably by a score of 24-9. Overall, 23% of entries had the Ravens as their selection.
However, once you get past Baltimore, the other popular picks resulted in an absolute bloodbath. Here were the five next most popular selections:
San Francisco (6.66%)
All five teams were favored to win their games by at least five points. All these teams were at least -250 favorites on the moneyline as well.
Tennessee lost late after the Giants went for two to take a lead with 1:06 remaining and then Randy Bullock missed a game-winning field goal attempt.
The Colts erased a 20-3 deficit to force overtime, but Rodrigo Blankenship missed a game-winning field goal in overtime. Ties are treated as losses in most survivor pools.
The Broncos lost Russell Wilson's debut as he was beat by his former team on Monday night. Brandon McNamus missed a 64-yard field goal in the final seconds that would have given Denver a win.
San Francisco lost a game in a monsoon on the road in Chicago.
The Bengals missed a game-winning extra point and then another field goal in overtime because their long-snapper was injured. The Steelers won it in overtime thanks to a Chris Boswell field goal.
It was almost even worse. The seventh most popular selection was New Orleans. The Saints erased a 26-10 deficit against the Falcons thanks to a 17-point fourth quarter. If New Orleans failed to comeback, another 4.05% of entries would have been done.
What about next week?
Hopefully you're one of the lucky 36.47% percent that is still alive in their survivor pool. You probably went with Baltimore or Kansas City. If not, you went with a riskier choice and for that you deserve applause. We'll have a more in-depth breakdown of Week 2 survivor options later in the week but here are the biggest favorites on the Week 2 slate:
LA Rams (10.5-point favorites, -550 on moneyline) vs. Atlanta
San Francisco (10-point favorites, -500 on moneyline) vs. Seattle
Denver (10-point favorites, -500 on moneyline) vs. Houston
Green Bay (10-point favorites, -500 on moneyline) vs. Chicago
Buffalo (10-point favorites, -450 on moneyline) vs. Tennessee
Cincinnati (8-point favorites, -350 on moneyline) @ Dallas
Cleveland (6-point favorites, -250 on moneyline) vs. NY Jets
Five of these big favorites are coming off losses. Seattle, Houston and Chicago all spoiled survivor entries last week. Atlanta almost did as well. Can they do it again?