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Survivor: Backing the Packers

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

The Ravens won last week (though not without a little drama), but so did everyone else, so your pool is probably more or less the same as it was heading into Week 3.

For this week, I've made a couple changes. First off, I've stopped using Yahoo!'s Survivor Pool numbers because it tends to attract more casual players, some of whom probably aren't even playing for money, and instead am using's numbers in the table below. It's not perfect, but it's probably closer to most of your more serious pools. Second, as there are 4-7 viable teams from which to pick, I'm not going to figure out and add up all the permutations specifically (which is the only proper way I know how to do it at this point). Instead, I'm working on a simpler survivor calculator in a spread sheet that's not quite finished. (I thought I had solved it, but there were some flaws I still have to iron out). So I'm going to lay out the relevant variables and give a more qualitative take below:

Team Opponent % Taken Spread Money Line "True Line"* Odds**
Saints Panthers 47.10% 14 -800/+600 +/-700 0.875
Packers Lions 19.30% 14.5 -900/+650 +/-775 0.886
Chargers Cardinals 13.30% 8.5 -400/+320 +/-360 0.783
Colts Jaguars 5.80% 7.5 -370/+300 +/-335 0.770
Falcons 49ers 5.60% 7 -290/+240 +/-265 0.726
Jets Bills 2.50% 5 -250/+210 +/-230 0.697
Titans Broncos 1.90% 6.5 -270/+230 +/-250 0.714

*"True line" is halfway between the two juiced lines.
** Odds are True Line/(True line + 100).

According to these numbers, the Packers are the better play than the Saints as they're both more likely to win and have less people on them. The question is really for those who have already used the Packers whether the Saints are a better play than the Cardinals or Colts.

My feeling is the Saints would still be the better play because the difference in expected equity is not enough to compensate for taking on vastly greater risk here.

In any event, here are my choices for this week:

1. Green Bay Packers

The Packers are the biggest favorite on the board, playing at home and facing a Lions secondary that so far has been as bad as it was last year. Coming off a loss, I expect the Packers not to take this game lightly, either. I give Green Bay an 89 percent chance to win this game.

2. New Orleans Saints

A lot of people are on the Saints, but the lower payout is still worth it given its greater likelihood. Like Green Bay, New Orleans is also playing at home and coming off a loss. Moreover, the Saints get to send their blitzing defense after a rookie quarterback in Jimmy Clausen. I give the Saints an 87 percent chance to win.

3. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts should roll, but Jacksonville has kept it within a touchdown or less in the teams' last five meetings. The game is in Jacksonville, and the Jaguars desperately need win to have any hope for the season. I give the Colts a 78 percent chance to win this game.

4. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers should handle an Arizona team that should have lost to Oakland last week, especially in San Diego, but the Norv Turner factor, and the Chargers' perennial early-season struggles make me a little nervous. I give the Chargers a 78 percent chance to win this game.

Notable Omissions

Atlanta Falcons: the Falcons should handle the Niners at home, but San Francisco is a wounded animal right now and should be extremely motivated to avoid 0-4.

New York Jets: The Jets could roll, but keep in mind Buffalo's pass defense is good, they're at home, their passing game is starting to improve with Trent Edwards gone, their special teams are dangerous, and the Jets are still missing their best player in Darrelle Revis.

Tennessee Titans: How much evidence is there that the Titans are better than the Broncos?