Close calls but few upsets means the vast majority of contestants continue at least one more week.
WHAT HAPPENED IN WEEK #4
Finally, a “normal” week in pro football.
Week #4 was the most predictable we’ve seen, so far. Most of the teams that were supposed to win did exactly that. The betting favorites performed pretty much as expected, though there were some really close calls.
Nevertheless, from the previous field of 2,473 advancing into Week #4, fewer than 100 contestants were eliminated. By the end of Monday’s game, 90 were knocked out, leaving 2,383 entries currently in contention.
The two biggest upsets of the week were undoubtedly Pittsburgh losing to Houston and New Orleans losing to Tampa Bay. Those two upsets accounted for 47 and 28 eliminations, respectively.
It could have been far worse. Philadelphia, LA Chargers, and Kansas City also struggled late in their games and were in danger of adding significantly to the number of contest fatalities due to a large number of selections on those teams. However, the big favorites each won their games, thus avoiding what could have been yet another catastrophic day for CircaSurvivor players.
Here’s a look at last week’s picks, by team:
It should also be mentioned that 5 more entrants failed to pick any team this past week, and therefore were eliminated. The large number of contest entries this year (9,267) inevitably creates some unforeseen outcomes. Presumably, a few entrants make errors, have technical issues, family emergencies, health problems, and perhaps a few entrants even pass away during the course of the season. We certainly hope that isn’t the case, but it should be mentioned that the “dead tickets” do create an overlay in this vig-free contest.
MAKING STRATEGY ADJUSTMENTS
Remember when the season started? That was just a month ago, but it now seems like an eternity.
Most contestants figured that fading the so-called “bad” teams would be a wise strategy. That makes perfect sense, when you think about it. Never mind picking great teams, just pick against the terrible ones.
For example, when the 2023 regular season kicked off, many contestants (and bettors) expected both Arizona and Houston to be awful. Many thought those two would be the NFL’s worst teams, based on season-win projections. For survivor contestants, one of the most popular strategies each week was thought to be picking the opposing teams during weeks when they play either the Cardinals or the Texans. However, both of those teams have way outperformed expectations. Meanwhile, some teams expected to be “good” have been awful. Cincinnati is the most glaring example at the moment.
Hence, some surprising results from the NFL’s first month (Weeks 1-4) requires that we rethink previous opinions. For instance, Cincinnati plays at Arizona this upcoming week. Some time ago, the Bengals would have been an easy selection given how both teams were expected to play this season. But after watching the Cardinals cover the spread in 3 of their 4 games – including a home upset of the Cowboys two weeks ago – this isn’t an easy win for anyone, let alone Cincinnati. In fact, the Bengals have been utterly dreadful, so far. They’re just 1-3 straight up (and against-the-spread, as well). We may have thought Cincinnati was an obvious pick a few weeks ago when looking ahead at this matchup. Now, they might not even be the better team in this game (full disclosure — Cincinnati did open as -6 point favorites).
The bottom line for me is this: Right now, I wouldn’t want to have the other side any game involving the Cardinals or Texans.
Now, Carolina and Chicago are another story altogether. They appear to be solid fades each week.
AN EARLY LOOK AHEAD TO WEEK #5
Looking ahead to Week #5, at first glance this looks like the toughest card we’ve seen, so far. Early week lines show only 2 games out of 12 lined at a touchdown or higher.
Those two games do stand out. Accordingly, we’re very likely to see picks in the CircaSurvivor pool concentrated on these two games. Both of the big favorites are playing at home.
- Detroit vs. Carolina (Line: Lions -8.5)
- Miami vs. NY Giants (Line: Dolphins -9.5)
We could also see some action on Washington (at home vs. Chicago), which is the Thursday night game. Philadelphia (vs. LA Rams) may also attract a few tickets, though this seems a bad week to take the Eagles, especially since they’re playing on the road.
MY CIRCA SURVIVOR TICKET(S)
I have just one ticket alive going forward. Note that one of my entries was burned in Week #1. Another entry was burned In Week #3. I’ve used the following teams so far, which means I cannot pick them again:
ENTRY 1: BALTIMORE, BUFFALO, KANSAS CITY, SAN FRANCISCO….
ENTRY 2: WASHINGTON, BUFFALO, BALTIMORE (ELIMINATED)
ENTRY 3: MINNESOTA (ELIMINATED)
This year’s season-long 2023 Circa Survivor contest attracted a record 9,267 entrants. Each entrant paid $1,000 in the winner-take-all contest. Heading into Week 5, only 2,383 entrants still remain.
Later, I’ll have more thoughts about the CircaSurvivor contest, including my strategy and reasoning behind making my final team selection.
Are we having fun yet?