Having used the Giants and Colts already, I had initially picked the Niners, and I wish I had stuck with them. I wound up switching to the Steelers and going down in my last pool on Sunday night.
I specifically steered away from the Bucs because 55 percent of all pools were on them, and hence the payout was poor, even relative to their greater likelihood of winning. While I'm convinced using both variables (win likelihood AND expected payout) is the best strategy for winning your pool, I'm also sure it'll cause me to lose earlier rather than later, and also more frequently (in the column at least).
I accept that completely in my own pools because I know I have a better chance to win it all doing it this way, so if I lose Week 2 or Week 6, no big deal. But in writing the column, frankly it looks bad. It looks better to win for 12 weeks and lose in Week 13, than it does to gamble in Week 2, lose, gamble again in subsequent weeks, lose and keep gambling. Even though *when* you lose doesn't change how much you owe to the pool.
So I have a dilemma here. On the one hand, I can't not pick the teams which give you the best chance to win the whole thing based on pot equity just for cosmetic reasons. On the other, even if I'm 100 percent right, the odds of winning your pool are slim, no matter what method you use. So picking the uglier and riskier one - even if it doubles your chances of winning from say 1 to 2 percent - is likely never to be vindicated - unless I do this for 20-30 more years, and we compare results over a much larger sample.
So I think the answer is to keep doing it this way, but to note even more clearly which team I'd pick if I didn't care about the payout. I don't want to have two teams, so the expected equity pick is always going to be my real one, but for those who just want to play it one week at a time, I'll highlight that separately. (I already do put the percentage chance to win for each team, but it seems people are missing that. Yes, I had Tampa ahead of Pittsburgh and San Francisco as a 1-week propositon. But my pick was Pittsburgh based on the expected equity.
As for this week, let's take a look at the numbers:
|Rank||Team||Opponent||% Picked||Vegas ML*||Vegas Odds|