Expert Week 15 NFL Picks Advice: Tips for Pick ’em Pools, Survivor Pools

For the second straight week, the public is overlooking some major value favorites in their NFL pick ’em pools. For those in survivor pools, the choices are drying up quickly, and you might have to take some risks with your pick this week. The experts from TeamRankings can help with tips and strategy advice for your Week 15 NFL picks. 

Armed with the information below, you can make calculated bets on high-value Week 15 picks in your football pools and avoid trendy upset picks that aren’t worth the risk. TeamRankings is the only site that provides customized picks that maximize your edge in survivor pools. Since 2017, TeamRankings subscribers have reported nearly $1.5 million in survivor pool winnings.

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Week 15 NFL Pick ’em Pool Tips, Analysis

Review of last week’s pick ’em analysis

Last week, we discussed three teams: Titans, Chargers, and Cowboys. All three were favored, but the public was picking their opponent more frequently than the win odds suggested. Dallas opened the week struggling at Chicago, but Tennessee and Los Angeles both rolled to blowout road victories. The public averaged getting 1.5 wins in those three games, while our picks hit on two of those games.

That was part of a larger trend last week and in recent weeks. Our overall “best win odds” recommendations gained 1.9 wins above the public picking average last week. Over the past four weeks, our “best win odds” recommendations have gained more than five games on the average pool entry (in a pool that picks game winners for every game).

WEEK 15 FANTASY RANKINGS: 
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Value picks for NFL Week 15 pick ’em pools

Getting the biggest edge in your NFL pick ’em pool requires knowing not only every team’s win odds (i.e. how risky of a pick it is), but also how popular of a pick it is. Why? Because when you pick less popular teams and they win, you’ll shoot up your office pool standings.

Based on win odds and pick popularity, the three teams below offer some of the best opportunities to differentiate your Week 15 picks from your pool opponents. To get all our pick recommendations for your pool — customized for its size, rules, and prize structure — check out our Football Pick ’em Picks product.

Note: Win odds and estimated national pick popularity data below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want to see the latest numbers, our football picks product updates multiple times per day.

Unpopular Toss-Up

When a matchup is pretty much a 50/50 proposition, it usually makes sense to pick the less popular team. To win an NFL pick ’em pool, you’re probably going to need some luck in these “coin flip” games, and when you get it, you want to maximize the upside by scoring points the majority of your opponents miss. We say “usually” because that strategy could differ if you are leading your pool late and want to cover the most likely pick your opponents will make. So, for our subscribers, make sure you use your customized advice that takes into account your place in the standings when deciding on these kind of plays.

Dallas Cowboys (vs. Los Angeles Rams)

The public is down on the Cowboys after three straight losses. They are a public and prominent team, and reactions tend to be extreme when it comes to “America’s Team.”

Here’s a crazy-but-true stat, though: The Cowboys still have a better point differential than the Packers, Saints, Seahawks, and Rams. The perception might be that the Cowboys have performed far worse than all those teams, but the reality is that they are not really all that different from those playoff contenders.

That’s why the point spread in this one is pretty much a toss-up. The Rams are currently favored by one point, but it would not be surprising to see this one bounce around throughout the week. Our projections are even more bullish on the Cowboys, giving them a 56-percent chance of victory. The public, meanwhile, is taking the Rams 70 percent of the time so far. That means that the Cowboys present some good value as a near-toss-up play that the public is picking against.

Value Favorite

Week 15 features two favorites that the public is picking at a lower rate than their chance to win. These types of teams are as close as you can get to “no-brainer picks” in NFL pick ’em contests since both win odds and value are on your side.

Tennessee Titans (vs. Houston)

Tennessee was in this spot as a value favorite just a week ago and rolled to a win over Oakland. The public still seems slow in responding to the Titans, who are now 6-1 since Ryan Tannehill took over as the starting quarterback. Houston, on the other hand, is coming off a poor performance at home against Denver. It’s Tennessee who has a plus-63 point differential on the year (versus plus-8 for Houston).

Tennessee is a three-point home favorite in this key AFC South showdown, and our projections give them a 63-percent chance of winning. The public is picking Tennessee at a 60-percent rate, but that means it is actually a good value. Consider that Minnesota (2.5-point favorite) is being picked 84 percent of the time at the Chargers, or that the Browns (two-point favorite) are being picked 71 percent of the time at Arizona. In comparison, Tennessee looks like a pretty good value this week, allowing you to take the favorite and gain on a good chunk of your pool if they win.

Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Buffalo Bills)

Pittsburgh has won seven of its past eight games, giving up only 16 points per game over that span. But the public is taking Buffalo 65 percent of the time in this one despite the game being in Pittsburgh. So, you can get a team that has played great defense for two months and looked like a playoff team — at home — as the 1.5-point favorite. If Pittsburgh prevails, you gain a win on nearly two-thirds of your pool, so this is likely to be a key swing game in weekly pools.

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Week 15 NFL Survivor Pool Pick Tips, Analysis

Review of last week’s survivor pick analysis

Week 14 was a pretty rare week where our recommendations mirrored the public. The three most popular choices were also our three most frequent recommendations (though at slightly different distributions). Houston was the biggest loss of the week for survivor pools. The public popularity rate and our recommendation rate for the Texans were both near 25 percent. That loss accounted for all of our subscriber-recommended losses. The public did also lose a few other teams that were being selected at lower rates.

As a result, our recommendations survived at a 75.5-percent rate while the public survived at an estimated 71.1-percent rate. That result still leaves TeamRankings’ recommendations ahead of the public on the year. We estimate that 0.4 percent of the public has survived compared to 3.6 percent for our subscriber recommendations.

Week 15 survivor pool breakdown

The Kansas City Chiefs are the most popular choice, but their 21-percent pick popularity is the lowest “most popular team” pick rate of the year. The last time the most popular choice was below 30 percent was back in Week 2 (When New England and Baltimore were co-favorites at 28 percent and 26 percent, respectively).

The Chiefs are a solid choice, as they are a 10-point favorite at home against Denver and have win odds near 80 percent. There are some other teams with similar (or better) win odds this week that have been more frequently used and thus are less likely available. We also project that almost 30 percent of the public will have to take a team with under 70-percent win odds this week.

The New York Giants (vs. Miami) and the New England Patriots (at Cincinnati) are the next most popular plays this week, each drawing around 13 percent of public picks. 

The Giants are a riskier choice, with only 65-percent win odds. New York is 10th in our projected win odds this week, but the nine teams in front of them have all been far more heavily used by survivor entries thus far. New York (two wins this year) also becomes a more valuable choice in pools that have season wins tiebreakers for everyone that survives through Week 17.

The Patriots are a solid 10-point favorite with win odds near 80 percent. The question for those that still have them is whether you want to use them now, or save them for Week 17 when they play Miami. We project New England to have the highest win odds that final week. A few weeks ago, it looked like they might be resting starters in that game. But with recent losses to Houston and Kansas City, the chances that they will be playing for a first-round bye (or the AFC East title) in that game have gone up dramatically. 

Those are the most popular options, but some other options this week might be the best play for your pool. In fact, a team not discussed above is currently our most frequent recommendation to subscribers. If you need help deciding who to use this week, check out our NFL Survivor Picks product for customized advice for you pool.

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Get our Week 15 Survivor Pool pick recommendation

Once you know the best value opportunities of NFL Week 15, you can increase your odds to win your pool by making educated gambles on them. But there are a lot of potential decisions to make. Not all of them will make sense for your specific pool(s), and it takes a lot of data and math to get to the right answers.

Fortunately, we’ve built technology to do all the analytical heavy lifting for you. You can use the links above to learn more about our data-driven game predictions, betting picks, and customized picks for pick ’em and survivor pools:

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