Week 12 NFL Pick'em and Survivor Pool Picks
The spreads for this week are not nearly as large as the ones on our tables for Thanksgiving, so there is some value to be had in pick’em and survivor contests in Week 12.
With the help of TeamRankings' customizable tools and data, I’ll go over the best value picks for Week 12, 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: TeamRankings subscribers win football pools three times as often as expected, thanks to customized picks designed for your pool's size and rules. No one else does it.
Week 11 Recap
That makes my full-season total 36-19 for this column. Onto Week 12, where hopefully we continue to succeed in both pick'em and survivor formats.
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 12 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 the number of weeks remaining.
However, these picks do provide some of the best opportunities to differentiate your Week 12 picks from your pool opponents by taking on only a modest amount of risk or no additional risk at all.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Raiders
Both of these teams have struggled for the last few weeks, but only one has to travel halfway across the country on a short week. The Cowboys are 7.5-point favorites on Thanksgiving, with 78% TeamRankings win odds and Vegas odds of 75%.
Dallas will be short a few receivers due to injury, but it shouldn't matter as the Raiders are allowing the fourth-most rushing yards per game this season (132.1) and the Cowboys will just unleash their RB duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
The public is also taking Dallas 94% of the time, so you’ll win or lose with your pool.
Buffalo Bills @ Saints
This is a Thanksgiving revenge game for both of these teams after coming off of embarrassing losses. New Orleans plays well at home, particularly on holidays, but they are 0-3 since Trevor Siemian took over and are dealing with an inured backfield.
Buffalo is a 6.5-point road favorite, with 72% odds to win on Thursday night. I’m going with the better QB in this one, and so is the public, 82% of the time.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Giants
The Eagles are coming into this division battle with some momentum after two straight wins, while the Giants are a mess and just fired their head coach. Philly is a 3.5-point road favorite in this contest, with 63% Vegas odds and 65% via TeamRankings.
New England Patriots vs. Titans
Bill Belichick has yet to beat Mike Vrabel in two contests, and it seems like something that would stick with the Patriots coach. This time around, the Titans are without star RB Derrick Henry and their No. 1 wideout is dealing with several injuries. On defense, the Patriots are red hot and should shut down anything Ryan Tannehill tries to dish out.
New England is a 6.5-point favorite with TeamRankings win odds of 75%, yet the public is only backing the Pats 77% of the time, presenting value this week.
Minnesota Vikings @ 49ers
The Vikings are three-point road underdogs, with just 40% odds to win via TeamRankings. This should be a fun contest between two postseason contenders in the NFC. Minnesota has played close all season long, with six games decided by four points or less. The 49ers are also playing well on both sides of the ball, and this game should be another small-margin score, but the Vikings steal it on the road.
Only 37% of the public is taking Minnesota in this one, so if you gamble with it, there could be a big payoff.
Survivor Picks for Week 12
Win Odds: Top 5 Week 12 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):
- Dallas Cowboys vs. Raiders (75%, 7.5-point favorites)
- New England Patriots vs. Titans (72%, 6.5-point favorites)
- Buffalo Bills @ Saints (71%, 6.5-point favorites)
- Cincinnati Bengals vs. Steelers (66%, 4.5-point favorites)
- Baltimore Ravens vs. Browns (64%, 3.5-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 12 (referencing Data Grid mentioned earlier):
- Dallas Cowboys vs. Raiders (23%)
- Philadelphia Eagles @ Giants (14%)
- Chicago Bears @ Lions (12%)
- Baltimore Ravens vs. Browns (10%)
- L.A. Chargers @ Broncos (8%)
The last piece of the survivor pool puzzle is future value. If you fire off a powerful team in Week 12, 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:
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4.5)
- Buffalo Bills (3.5)
- L.A. Rams (2.3)
- Dallas Cowboys (2.0)
- Indianapolis Colts (1.8)
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.
TeamRankings has released a book on Survivor Pool Strategy, check out the e-version by clicking here.