We’ve talked a little bit about what to do if you’re way ahead in your pick’em contests (keep taking chalk) or way behind (go contrarian). What do you do if you’re mid-pack halfway through the season? Your NFL Week 8 pick’em plays need to find select spots where you can make up some ground.
That is, you don’t have to go wildly contrarian (or start aiming for the booby prize if your contest has one), but you should look to mix in some plays that are neutral or even slightly minus-EV.
The players at the top of the heap are going to be zeroing in on the biggest edges, as they should. You need to swim in different waters if you want to make up ground without drastically increasing variance and sinking your chances.
Let’s see where the Pick’em Edge Tool says the biggest edges are this week.
The two fattest edges in RunYourPool contests this week are on Seattle and Houston coming in with robust 18 and 14.5 percent marks, respectively. The downside here if you’re trying to get out of the middle or the basement is that 60.9 percent of players are rolling with the Seahawks, and 75.8 percent are taking the Texans at less than a field goal.
In fact, aside from the Saints, all our top edges this week are north of 50 percent. A little further down the list we get the Broncos (oof) at +7.5 against the Chiefs (OOF) with the Unabated Line swinging to 7. But hey, only 20 percent are on Denver. Sometimes, you have to hold your nose and go.
At DraftKings, Houston tops the list, but you have a couple of solid plays behind the Texans in the Jets and Bengals, with, respectively, a 7.8 and 7.4 percent edge against the consensus lines. That Cincinnati line has tightened to +4 against the Niners, who have Brock Purdy in the concussion protocol. (A San Francisco quarterback injured? Who knew.)
The Jets at -2.5 are the top value in the SuperContest after stretching out to a -3 favorite in the all-Meadowlands rumble with the Giants, who are without Daniel Jones and, more or less, everyone who isn’t a receiver or running back.
Houston is the top play in Circa Millions, but you can get the Eagles at just under a touchdown after the consensus line went to the full 7 against the Commanders. The Titans make their only appearance at Circa, where you’re getting a field goal at home against Atlanta. And who’s really all that mad about getting points against the NFC South?
Seattle was heavily selected last week – about 60 percent of players took the Seahawks in Circa Survivor. It worked out for them both with a dub and by using a team unlikely to be worth a lot in terms of future value.
Dusting off the Survivor Optimizer, the Chargers are a formidable selection against the Bears. Plenty of other teams offer similar win-now chances (with the Ravens a massive -419 moneyline favorite on the Unabated Line) but it’s more likely Los Angeles is available to you this week, and less likely you’ll want them down the stretch compared to the Niners, Eagles, Chiefs, etc.
After a 4-1 jolt two weeks ago in Circa Millions, Unabated was trying to claw back into the contest with another big week. And to do it, a little game theory was necessary.
Captain Jack Andrews wanted to avoid using a surplus of teams lined around 3, with ties becoming a potential headache when you need to make up ground.
The Eagles, Chiefs and Patriots emerged as strong candidates for teams that weren’t sitting on a 3-point line.
After a couple rounds of voting, the entry went in as Eagles -2.5, Chiefs -5.5, Patriots +8.5, Commanders -3, Rams -3.
The spread didn’t factor in either of the two latter picks after all, with both Washington and L.A. losing outright. Still, it was a 3-2 week, enough to bring Unabated’s entry to 20.5 points, six behind the overall leaders.
Looking for some feedback on your pick ‘em and survivor entries? Bring it to the Discord and see what everyone thinks.