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Bobby E.





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Fantasy football has experienced exponential growth over the past decade. What started as fun way for diehard geeks to manage their own make-believe team has morphed into a way for even casual fans to stay engaged throughout the season.

It’s no secret that Fantasy Football leagues are big business. All the major networks have implemented tickers with running statistical updates on skill players in an effort to increase viewership, knowing that a spectator with vested interests in a specific player’s performance is much more likely to continue watching a lopsided affair than one only interested in the final outcome. Meanwhile, purists of the game are dismayed by the rising craze and suggest that the focus on fantasy sports puts undo emphasis on the individual player and diverts attention away from what is actually the most important aspect of the battle: the final score.  

Variety is the Spice of Fantasy Life

Today, many online fantasy services are attempting to appeal to purists and geeks alike by offering a variety of options from which to participate. Confidence Pools and Survivor Pools have grown in popularity, but the oldest adaptation of all has begun to experience a recent renaissance. Pick ’em Pools are as straight-forward as gaming gets, and, over the course of the year, represent a true test of the participant’s NFL knowledge.

Pick 'em Pool Setting Variations

With Pick ‘em Pools, the object is simply to choose which teams you feel will win or cover the point spread. This is done by either

a)    choosing the outright victor
b)    choosing the point-spread winner

Outright Winner Option

In variation “a”, if you correctly choose the winning team, you are awarded a point. In the end, the individual that accrues the highest number of correct selections wins. A simple strategy would be to just pick the favored teams. Unfortunately, this is a widely-used approach within straight-up Pick ‘em Pools, so you’ll have to mix in a few upsets to differentiate your picks from other pool members.

Point Spread Option

In variation “b”, choosing the right side becomes an even greater challenge. Now you’re battling wits with the oddsmakers. Points are awarded only when you choose the team that covered The Spread. Though it may sound like a conservative figure, if you can somehow manage an accuracy rate of 55%, you’ll have a very good chance of winning your pool.

With fantasy sites now offering to manage your pools for free - many may offer alternatives that deviate or enhance the two methods above, including


  • Pick X Pools – the same concept discussed here, but focus on picking your best 5 or 10 games, for example
  • Double plays - where a handful of games are awarded higher values based on your certainty of the outcome
  • Using Totals – these pools add choices for picking the total points (Under/Over) of the games in addition to the spreads
  • Drop Weeks – this option allows you to drop your lowest scoring week(s) so your season is not ruined by a few bad choices made during that weekend on campus reliving your college escapades (you will have to face the consequences for certain bad choices as there are no real “Get out of jail free” cards)

Regardless of which configuration you end up in, Pick ‘em Pools are a great way to create a captivated interest in every game, week in and week out. So, if you’re looking for a good complement to traditional fantasy football, consider the Pick ‘em Pool and make the game’s outcome as relevant as your player’s performance; thereby satisfying the purist, the gambler and the geek that lives in all of us.

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