Week 3 NFL Pick'em and Survivor Pool Picks
After a savage start to the season, Week 2 settled down in terms of favorites, with many projected winners coming away victorious. There was redemption for both the Colts and Browns, who burned many pickers in Week 1.
With the help of TeamRankings' customizable tools and data, I’ll go over the best value picks for Week 3, along with the top suggestions for survivor pools. With this info, you should be able to make smart decisions in order to get back on track or keep you going if you’ve had a strong start to the season thus far.
Editor's Note: Try TeamRankings with a Week 3 free trial.
Week 2 Recap
Favorites ruled the slate last week, and with that, my picks went 5-0. The 49ers, Steelers, Buccaneers, Bills and Browns all put up winning performances, cashing in for those who rolled with them in Week 2.
TeamRankings also crushed it, as their recommendations to subscribers averaged 14.0 wins on picks in season-long pools, compared to 12.6 wins on average for the public.
Pick'em Pool Breakdown
Before I get into the picks, note I’m not suggesting you should make all of the picks listed below. The best Week 3 picks for your NFL pool depend on strategy factors such as your pool’s size, rules and prize structure, plus situational factors like your current place in the standings and number of weeks remaining.
However, these picks do provide some of the best opportunities to differentiate your Week 3 picks from your pool opponents, by taking on only a modest amount of risk, or no additional risk at all.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Jets
The Colts crushed many hearts and pools in Week 1, but they are in a great spot this week as double-digit home favorites (-11) against the struggle bus that is the New York Jets. Indy currently boasts 82+% odds to win by both Vegas and the TeamRankings model.
Cleveland Browns vs. Football Team
Washington is on the road for the second week in a row, while the Browns are extra rested coming off a Thursday night victory. I think this may be closer than the touchdown spread in favor of Cleveland indicates, but the Vegas odds for the Browns are at close to 75%, with the TeamRankings model at 72.8%.
The public is currently on the Browns at an 85% rate, as the ninth-highest pick on the slate.
New England Patriots vs. Raiders
The Raiders are coming off a primetime win over the Saints, which helps with betting due to recency bias. New England is a six-point favorite in this matchup, with 71.3% Vegas odds. If we look at the four other games with spreads between six and seven points, the public is taking the favorite over 90% of the time, but the Patriots only have a 76.3% pick popularity.
A Raiders upset may be popular in pools this week which means less reward for the risk, so in this case, it may be better to stick with the near-touchdown favorite.
Value Favorite Pick
Baltimore Ravens vs. Chiefs
This sets up for a stellar matchup and might even be a glimpse into the AFC Championship game. For betting purposes, I lean towards a Ravens win at home.
Kansas City does have 11 straight wins, but they struggled to outplay the Chargers in a comeback victory. Baltimore has been solid thus far, beating its first two opponents by a combined 49 points. Despite challenging the defending Super Bowl champs, Baltimore is still a 3.5-point favorite in this contest, with roughly 63% win odds (both in Vegas and via the TeamRankings model).
The public is only taking the Ravens 59% of the time, adding to the value of going with the favorite this week.
Survivor Picks for Week 3
Win Odds: Top 5 Week 3 Picks
Stating the obvious here, but higher is better when it comes to win odds. Everything else being equal, you want to pick the team with the best likelihood of making it through.
Here are the five safest teams this week, according to the TeamRankings Data Grid model (chances to win in parentheses):
- Indianapolis Colts vs. Jets (82%, 11-point favorites)
- Cleveland Browns vs. Football Team (73%, 7-point favorites)
- Philadelphia Eagles vs. Bengals (72%, 5.5-point favorites)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Broncos (71%, 6-point favorites)
- New England Patriots vs. Raiders (71%, 6-point favorites)
Diversifying your survivor picks from the crowd is an advantageous strategy, as the pool winnings can increase significantly if your pick hits and another popular pick loses.
Here are the five most popular survivor picks for Week 3 (referencing Data Grid mentioned earlier):
- Indianapolis Colts vs. Jets (45%)
- Arizona Cardinals vs. Lions (10%)
- L.A. Chargers vs. Panthers (9%)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Broncos (8%)
- Cleveland Browns vs. Football Team (6%)
The last piece of the survivor pool puzzle is future value. If you fire off a powerful team in Week 3, you won’t be able to use them later.
According to TeamRankings, here are the top five teams in future value entering this week for a 100-entry standard rules pool:
- Baltimore Ravens (10.2)
- Kansas City Chiefs (8.0)
- San Francisco 49ers (3.8)
- Green Bay Packers (3.4)
- Seattle Seahawks (3.3)
Note: The numbers in parentheses are a proprietary rating of future value found in the TeamRankings Data Grid, which is also impacted by factors such as pool size.