Week 17 NFL Pick'em & Survivor Pool Picks: New Year...Same Solid 49ers
With just two more weeks in the NFL season, things become a little different in the pick’em and survivor world. Some teams have already clinched their spots in the postseason, others are still fighting for a playoff berth, and eight teams have already been eliminated. This leads to differences in motivation which could create some value over the next two weeks.
Our friends at PoolGenius have a beneficial article on endgame strategy in those NFL season-long pick’em contests, highlighting the best way to adjust your approach as we head down the stretch.
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Week 16 Recap
Both the Bengals and Chiefs lost last week, but the Bills and Rams came through for me. That brings my record to 34-17 since starting this column in Week 5.
San Francisco 49ers @ Commanders
There’s no shame in making a slam dunk pick, and the 49ers are just that this week. They’re going from facing a solid coverage and pressure defense on SNF to the Commanders, who are quite the opposite. This should be an easy get-right win for SF on the road. They are favored by 13.5 points with 88% Vegas odds but are being selected by 98% of the public so you’ll win or lose with your pool.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Panthers
The Jags have been all over the place in 2023 with a five-game win streak mid-season and now a current four-contest skid. Carolina has yet to win on the road this season and Jacksonville has just enough weapons on defense to keep that from happening. It’s a touchdown spread with the home team favored, with 72% win odds via both PoolGenius and Vegas. Public bettors are rolling with Duval 97% of the time so you’re in this with your pool mates.
Sensibly Priced Favorite
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Bengals
Thanks to their Christmas Prime Time implosion, the Chiefs present some value this week in pick’em contests. They are favored by seven points at home against the Bengals, whose defense is weak agaisnt the run and the TE position. Win odds are 74% in this AFC matchup with just 91% of the public backing the Chiefs. While that's a high number, it’s not as high as contests with similar spreads like the Browns (97%), or the Jaguars (97%).
Chicago Bears vs. Falcons
The Falcons aren’t great on the road and Chicago has won their last two home games with Justin Fields averaging 197 passing yards and 78 yards on the ground. The Bears are three-point favorites in this battle of playoff bubble teams, with 60% odds to win. Only 73% of the public is currently selecting Chicago here so there is some value in the pick.
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Survivor Picks for Week 17
Win Odds: Top 5 Week 17 Picks
Stating the obvious here, but higher is better when it comes to winning 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 PoolGenius Data Grid model (chances to win in parentheses):
- 49ers @ Commanders (88%, 13.5-point favorites)
- Bills vs. Patriots (85%, 12-point favorites)
- Eagles vs. Cardinals (83%, 10.5-point favorites)
- Browns vs. Jets (76%, 7.5-point favorites)
- Chiefs vs. Bengals (74%, 7-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 17 (referencing Data Grid mentioned earlier):
- Jaguars vs. Panthers (19%)
- Eagles vs. Cardinals (16%)
- Browns vs. Jets (10%)
- Bills vs. Patriots (9%)
- Broncos vs. Chargers (9%)
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