The Favorites Choose Them Contest: NFL Week 2 Playoff Strategy

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With the launch of The Favorites NFL Draft Contest, which is free, we decided to use tiebreaker props to decide the winners of the $3,000 in weekly prizes. With approximately 10,000 entries in the contest, we expect a little over 300 of them to get 5 out of 5 on selections distributed each week, even if they choose at random.

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The $3,000 is divided among the top five finishers, so accurately guessing the tiebreaker is a crucial part of the challenge.

Using estimated numbers from our own Sean Koerner, here’s how I’d attack the Week 2 tiebreaker prop.

Important note: You can enter this contest at any time during the season.

The Favorites Podcast Free 0,000 Pro Football Pick 'Em Contest Image

Week 2 Playoff: Steelers’ Longest Reception

Longer reception Probability percentage
less than 20 yards 16.00%
21-25 yards 16.60%
26-30 yards 20.70%
31-35 yards 26.20%
36-40 yards 8.80%
Over 41 yards 7.80%

The most likely outcomes are clustered in the 26 to 35 yard range, and account for just under 47% of the outcome. Within that range, higher numbers are a little more likely, with the peak somewhere around 30. Of course, it’s difficult to break down the probabilities by specific yards, since the difference between, say, a 31 catch or 32 yards, is largely random.

If you’re trying to maximize your chances of getting it right, or minimize your distance from the actual answer, choose around 32 yards. However, if you’re trying to maximize the amount of money you make, that’s a completely different question.

As we saw last week when 10 people got all five distribution picks correct. and the tiebreaker is exactly right: going a little “contrarian” can help you differentiate yourself from the field. It’s better to have a 5% chance of winning the $1,500 first prize with a single answer than a 10% chance of splitting $3,000 10 ways when a chalky answer appears. Those numbers are rough estimates, but the point is valid.

With that in mind, I’d choose a significantly higher answer.

Public perception of the Steelers’ offense is likely low following their blowout at the hands of San Francisco in Week 1. While Cleveland also has a tough defense, Pittsburgh is unlikely to struggle as much (just because of the variance).

It’s also worth noting that while there are 100 possible answers, that doesn’t mean the expected 300+ players sweeping the spreads will distribute their picks evenly. Hopefully no one picks zero yards and I doubt anyone picks 99.

The other overlooked consideration is that while choosing the exact distance is ideal, what you’re really trying to do is minimize how far away your choice is. With this in mind, the range to aim for should be clear.

My recommendation: low 40s

The reason for this is simple. By choosing a number that is a little above the most likely range, we position ourselves ahead of the competition. Think of it as if the price is right: we want to bid $1 more than the previous high, so we win with any number above that.

Determining the ideal number requires a bit of guesswork, but my guess is that most of the field will have picks in the 20s or 30s. While those people have a better chance of winning, they will most likely reduce the prize pool considerably if they do. .

Based on 300 entries that went 5 out of 5 on spread picks, a third of them picking in the most likely range would mean about 10 on each individual number. Not only would you have to be perfect to win, but the prize would be considerably less. If the longest reception is between 10 and 40, there are likely several exact answers.

By shooting just above that, you have a chance to take the prize yourself and/or finish in the top five without needing to be on the exact yardage total. This is how I would play if I were eligible for prizes. Of course, if you want to increase your odds of winning a smaller prize, something under 30 is the best option.

One last caveat: depending on how many people read this article, the optimal strategy could end up being different. If you think enough people are following this advice to have an impact, you should increase your total appropriately to try to stay ahead of the field.

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