Week 9 NFL Pick'em and Survivor Pool Picks
We have some big spreads this week, a few high-scoring teams facing off and plenty of value to uncover for our picks. With four teams watching from home, we’re slightly limited on choices in Week 9.
With the help of TeamRankings' customizable tools and data, I’ll go over the best value picks for Week 8, 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 8 Recap
For the fourth straight week, my picks went 4-1 in this column. The Rams, Bills and Dallas won as expected, with a bonus of my upset pick Pittsburgh also coming through. The Falcons let me down with a 19-13 loss to Carolina.
This brings my season total to 27-13. Let’s press on to Week 9, where hopefully we find some more success in both pick'em and survivor formats.
Pick'em Pool Breakdown
Before I get into the picks, note that I’m not suggesting you should make all of the picks listed below. The best Week 9 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 9 picks from your pool opponents, by taking on only a modest amount of risk, or no additional risk at all.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos
This contest boasts a 9.5-point spread for Dallas at home and I think they get the win with or without Dak Prescott. Vegas has 80% win odds for the Cowboys while TeamRankings has them at a 77% chance of victory.
Denver has predictably won against really bad teams and lost to the good ones, so there’s no need to really overthink this one. Dallas should control the run and Teddy Bridgewater has been playing hurt, with his second-most targeted weapon (Noah Fant) likely put on the COVID-19 list. Public bettors are on Dallas 97% of the time, so you will win or lose with the pool.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chicago Bears
This game doesn’t have the biggest spread on this week’s slate, but it should be an easy one for the Steelers. They are a 6.5-point home favorite with current win odds of 69% on TeamRankings and 71% via Vegas. After a 1-3 start to the season, Pittsburgh has figured things out with a solid run game and stout defense.
On the other side of the ball, asking a shaky rookie QB to win in Pittsburgh is a tall order, and the Bears' defense seems to be falling apart. The public is taking the Steelers 92% of the time, so you’ll win or lose with most of your pool.
L.A. Rams vs. Tennessee Titans
The Titans just lost Derrick Henry, while the Rams’ already stacked defense gained former Bronco Von Miller. I could leave it at that but will go on. L.A. is a 7.5-point favorite at home, with 77% win odds via TeamRankings.
Public bettors are going with the Rams 93% of the time, which is high, but not as high as in the Dallas or Indy games, which have similar spreads and are being selected 97% and 96% of the time, respectively.
Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans
Even if Tyrod Taylor is back for the Texans, Miami should still pull out a win in this one with a pass-heavy, dink-and-dunk approach but may not cover the spread, which is not a concern for this column.
Las Vegas Raiders @ New York Giants
The Raiders are 2-0 without Jon Gruden and are coming off a bye week, while the Giants are playing on a short week and are banged up. Derek Carr and company have had ample time to prepare for this road trip and should pull off the win.
Vegas is a slight 2.5-point favorite in this one, with just 57% Vegas win odds. Only 85% of the public is rolling with the Raiders, so there is some value in the pick.
Survivor Picks for Week 9
Win Odds: Top 5 Week 9 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):
- Buffalo Bills @ Jaguars (89%, 14.5-point favorites)
- Indianapolis Colts vs. Jets (83%, 10.5-point favorites)
- Dallas Cowboys vs. Broncos (79%, 9.5-point favorites)
- L.A. Rams vs. Titans (76%, 7.5-point favorites)
- Miami Dolphins vs. Texans (72%, 6.5-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 9 (referencing Data Grid mentioned earlier):
- Dallas Cowboys vs. Broncos (26%)
- Indianapolis Colts vs. Jets (24%)
- Buffalo Bills @ Jaguars (13%)
- Miami Dolphins vs. Texans (12%)
- Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Bears (7%)
The last piece of the survivor pool puzzle is future value. If you fire off a powerful team in Week 9, 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:
- Buffalo Bills (6.4)
- Arizona Cardinals (3.9)
- Dallas Cowboys (3.0)
- L.A. Rams (2.3)
- Indianapolis Colts (1.6)
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.