September 23, 2015By Erez Ladetzky, Smack Zone Contributor Football season is in full swing. With it, naturally, comes a lot of gambling. Most of the time, that’s good news for Las Vegas. Except, as happened in the opening week, all of the heavy favorites cover the spread. Whoops: Worst ever loss for Vegas on an opening weekend. On the other hand, when the house loses, the people win. Easy, right? Break out the bankroll and go get rich! Not so fast, my friends. Remember the old gambler’s saying: Live by the spread, die by the survival pool. (What? It’s a saying. All right, I made it up. But it's a saying now. Shut up.) One way to have an entertaining football season is to, as I mentioned in that old saying I totally just made up, join a survivor pool. Here’s how it works: Each week you pick a team to win. If that team wins, you survive to the pick again the following week. If they lose, you are eliminated, and you must walk the Fan Duel Walk of Shame. This whole survivor pool thing sounds a lot easier than it actually is. I have been participating in one for the past six years. The rules of my survivor pool of choice say that every week there are restricted teams that you are not allowed to select. For the first three weeks, the two most favored teams that week are banned. In weeks four-six, the top three most favored teams are restricted. And so on. There were more 14,000 entries this season, and after week two, that number dwindled to just more than 3,000. You read that right: After two weeks, ELEVEN THOUSAND entries had gone up in smoke. Picking any team to win sounds easy enough, until we get to game time. Then? Anything can happen. Just ask the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins, and Baltimore Ravens. These three teams were the heavy picks this week, and all of them lost. BOOM. One so-so week for Nick Foles, one fluke game for the Jaguars, and one frankly strange day for the Oakland Raiders, and your survivor pool is shot. And it could have been worse: In our pool, the Saints were heavily favored against the Bucs and were therefore restricted. Imagine if they had been available to select – NO ONE WOULD HAVE SURVIVED. Here’s the point: No matter how much of a lock you think you have, you just never know. That is why the game is played on the field and not on paper. I’ll leave you all with this fun fact, especially for all you stat nerds out there. Sunday was the first time that Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tampa and Oakland all won on the same day since November of 2007! Let that sink in, and proceed with caution in what’s left of your survivor pools. Speaking of winning stuff ... The Smack Apparel weekly PICKS CONTEST IS LIVE!!!!!! Go to the PICKS CONTEST website at this link: Smack Apparel Contest. Log in or register on the site, then make your picks. Share it on Twitter and Facebook, and dare your friends to try to beat you. First place winner each week receives three Smack Apparel t-shirts. Runner-up receives one Smack Apparel t-shirt. Check back each week for your chance to win! Good luck!
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