We’re down to the final…..2,479.
Entering NFL Week #4 — 6,788 Circa Survivor entries have been eliminated. The mass carnage to date represents a whopping 73.3 percent of the starting field. Only slightly more than a quarter of the initial 9,267 Circa Survivor tickets that were purchased remain alive.
I currently hold one of them.
As Jim Carey exuberantly pinned in Dumb and Dumber, “so, you’re telling me, there’s a chance!”
Indeed, there’s a chance. The bottom line is — I’m thrilled to be one week closer to the $9,267,000 top prize.
Before I analyze this week’s options and share my final decision, first I’d like to post more thoughts on contest strategy.
MY CIRCA SURVIVOR PEP TALK
If you’re reading this, chances are you are still alive in the contest too.
So, let’s give ourselves a pat on the back. There’s nothing wrong with taking a bow and feeling good about where we stand right now. Yeah, perhaps some contestants got really lucky (I’m talking to you, NY Giants ticket holders from Week #2). However, all that matters now is that we’re still in, and our chances are just as good as anyone to survive, advance, and win it.
Moving forward, this is a different contest now than when we began in early September. One significant difference is — many clueless contestants with little or no chance to win have been eliminated. I don’t mean that judgment to sound rude. It’s just a fact.
Each year in these contests, there is some percentage of entrants that don’t follow the NFL like the rest of us. Accordingly, they are more likely to make glaring mistakes when picking teams. However, this won’t be the case nearly as often now and in the weeks to come. Pretty much everyone will have some grasp of survival contest strategy.
Hence, the competition is getting tougher. The longer we last, the tougher the competition gets. We must remember that. This could also have some bearing on the picks we chose later this season, assuming we’re still in. There could even be some value to playing unpopular teams as the weekly pick if we really want to try and maximize a high-risk-high-reward strategy.
More to come on these considerations later.
WEEK #4 STRATEGY CONSIDERATIONS
I’m down to just one entry in the CircaSurvivor contest. Right now, there’s only one objective for me — and that’s to survive. I’m not even much concerned with other players or how many others get eliminated this coming week. All I care about is getting into the top 2K, then 1K, then 500, and then…..well, let’s get there first then worry about the rest.
I have used the following teams so far, which means I cannot pick them again for the remainder of the season:
ENTRY 1: BALTIMORE, BUFFALO, KANSAS CITY….
ENTRY 2: WASHINGTON, BUFFALO, BALTIMORE (ELIMINATED)
ENTRY 3: MINNESOTA (ELIMINATED)
Meanwhile, some of my colleagues here at SurvivorSweat.com still have multiple live tickets remaining. For this reason, they can afford to take more chances. In fact, diversifying becomes the optimal strategy, which is hoping for another chaotic week like NFL Week #1 and Week #3, And if their investment portfolio of picks is diverse enough, they will likely continue to survive while a significant percentage of the field gets eliminated. Their chances of winning increases substantially.
I’m adopting a different strategy, though: My selection this week will not be earth-shattering, nor particularly creative. It’s probably the one team that a majority of survivors will be on for Week #4. However, since there are 2,479 entries left, they’re not all going to be on the team I pick. I’ll be very happy to see perhaps a quarter to a third of the field eliminated once again. Or, just ten percent. That’s fine, too. Let’s remember, this is only the fourth week of the contest. I’m perfectly willing to advance in this contest in the most boring way imaginable.
As I’ve previously written, everyone’s goals, situation, and strategy are different. My goals here coming into the contest were to play smart, but also to learn and enjoy the experience of this Las Vegas handicapping contest.
So far, so good.
Let me acknowledge the fine work done by John Alesia, my contributor-colleague here at SurvivorSweat.com. Alesia writes a weekly column about “navigating” survivor pools.
My pick for this week was placed earlier in the week (at Circa), but when I read his most recent article where I see his analytics point to the same team, that makes me feel extra good about my selection.
Check it out here: NAVIGATING SURVIVOR POOLS FOR NFL WEEK 4
THIS WEEK’S SURVIVOR TEAM CANDIDATES
I’ve compiled a list of possible survivor picks in NFL Week #4 based solely on the point spreads. Note that higher point spreads aren’t always the best method of picking a survivor team, but it’s a reliable starting point.
These games are listed in order of highest spreads to lower spreads currently at the Circa Sportsbook (roughly a touchdown or greater)
- San Francisco -14 vs. Arizona
- Kansas City -9.5 vs. NY Jets
- Philadelphia -8 vs. Washington
- Dallas -6.5 vs. New England
I’m tossing out Dallas, which I’m saving for the short weeks later to come. I also want to conserve Philadelphia, if possible. I’m not sure the Eagles are optimal right now anyway, playing on a short week versus a division rival. That leaves one (obvious) pick.
MY FINAL PICK
With only one live entry, I’m picking the San Francisco 49ers on my remaining ticket. Based on the spread and moneyline probability, it doesn’t get any easier for the favorite.
San Francisco is given about an 88 percent chance to win versus the Arizona Cardinals. I also like the fact the underdog is coming off a huge upset and emotional high when upsetting Dallas last week. Now, on the road, I doubt the Cardinals can repeat such an impressive performance.
I’ll quote from Alesia’s article, mentioned earlier:
San Francisco is the clear top choice for this week. They have the strongest possibility of winning their upcoming game and are listed at the money line at 7:48 giving them an 88 percent win probability playing and hosting the Arizona Cardinals. There might be some validity to holding the 49ers and reserve (them) for later in the season. However, I’m comfortable playing a strong asset now and then hoping for some upsets in one or more of the other games likely to attract survivor contestants.
In an ideal week, San Francisco would win, and Dallas, Kansas City, and Philadelphia would lose.
San Francisco is my final selection in Circa Survivor Week #4.