We’ve reached the final week of the NFL regular season, and with it, our final chance to gamble on a full Sunday slate of games. It’s been a profitable year for our NFL bets – with the help of a little Christmas magic from the Eagles on Monday night, our picks went 10-6 last weekend to bring us to a hearty 123-108-9 on the season.
With this in mind, I recommend you be careful with your bets during Week 17. With some teams already locked into a playoff spot and other teams fighting to extend their seasons, motivations are varient across the league and the lines in Las Vegas are especially volatile.
So we will proceed with caution as we take a look at the Week 17 spreads. If you’re a fan of a team with a fringe chance of making the playoffs, consider the prudent thought of placing an emotional hedge bet, so that if your postseason hopes crash and burn on Sunday you’ll at least make a profit off of your misery. Other than that, stick to what you know, watch the lines as they move, and make sure you have the most up to date information on who is sitting and who is starting before laying down any serious cash on a game.
Let’s get to the picks.
LAST WEEK: 10-6
Green Bay Packers (+6.5) at Detroit Lions (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Packers +6.5
The logic: The Packers offence looked bewildered last weekend in their shut out loss to the Vikings, but as home dogs in the final game of the season between two teams with nothing to play for but divisional pride, I like them to keep things close. The Lions are going to be cold and still licking their wounds from blowing a chance at the playoffs last week with their loss against the Bengals. The Packers will just be cold, and they’re pretty used to that.
Houston Texans (+3.5) at Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Colts -3.5
The logic: I have no faith in either of these teams, but the Colts haven’t won at home since October and when in doubt I take the side I’d rather cheer for.
Chicago Bears (+11.5) at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Bears +11.5
The logic: The Vikings still have something to play for, as a win will secure a first round bye in the NFC playoffs. But despite their dismal record, the Bears have lost by double-digits just once since Week 4 of the season – even in losses, the Chicago defence has been able to keep things close.
The Vikings present a difficult matchup for the Bears, as the Minnesota defence should be able to stifle some of Chicago’s most explosive weapons, but I still like Mitchell Trubisky and company to keep things within a touchdown.
New York Jets (+15.5) at New England Patriots (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Jets +15.5
The logic: While in any other week I’d be betting on Tom Brady over Bryce Petty no matter how high the spread got, in Week 17 with their first round bye in the AFC already sealed, it’s just tough to see Belichick risking injury to any of New England’s most important players. Brady shouldn’t play more than a half in this game and Gronk shouldn’t play a snap.
This is all a guess, mind you, but I’d rather take the points and hope than find myself in the second quarter hoping that Brian Hoyer and the Patriots second unit and win by two touchdowns.
Washington Redskins (-3) at New York Giants (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Redskins -3
The logic: It’s possible that this is Eli Manning’s final game in New York, and what would be a more fitting send off than a drubbing at the hands of a division rival?
Jokes aside, Kirk Cousins is still playing for his next contract, be it in Washington or elsewhere, and the Giants defence can’t stop arguing with each other long enough to shout out coverages to each other.
Dallas Cowboys (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Cowboys -3
The logic: The Cowboys looked about as bad as a football team can possibly look last week against the Seahawks, losing what was essentially an elimination game despite the fact that Seattle had more penalty yards than they had actual yards.
But this week they’re going against the Eagles, who didn’t look to sharp themselves, and have already sealed the top seed in the NFC no matter what happens on Sunday. And with injuries already plaguing the Philadelphia roster, it’s hard to imagine starters staying in for too long in what is a meaningless game to them.
Chances are you want to stay away from this one, but if you have an urge to potentially bet money on or against Nate Sudfeld, this is likely the best chance you’ll get.
Cleveland Browns (+11) at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET)
The pick: Browns +11
The logic: It’s my last chance to lose money on the Browns this season, and there’s no way I was going to miss it. If you need me this offseason, I’ll be swimming in a lake with Hue Jackson.
Carolina Panthers (+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Panthers +3.5
The logic: The Falcons need to win to make the playoffs, while a win for Carolina could get them in position to win the division and get a home game in the Wild Card round. While I don’t doubt the Falcons ability, watching the Panthers of late they look like a Super Bowl contender, and I don’t see them rolling over when they have a chance to end a division rival’s season.
Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5) at Denver Broncos (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Broncos -3.5
The logic: It’s Paxton Lynch vs. Patrick Mahomes this Sunday! Should be a barnburner. Backing the home team as the Chiefs are locked into their spot.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) at Tennessee Titans (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Jaguars +3
The logic: The Titans need a win if they want to control their own destiny to get into the playoffs, and I can think of no end more fitting to their mediocre season than losing to a Jaguars team with close to nothing to play for.
San Francisco 49ers (-3) at Los Angeles Rams (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: 49ers -3
The logic: I am going to continue to blindly back Jimmy Garoppolo until the strategy fails me. It has not failed me yet. And while I normally have concerns about motivation in Week 17, I am absolutely positive that the Niners are going to be giving their all this week to keep their late-season surge going and bring the momentum into the 2018 season.
Buffalo Bills (-2.5) at Miami Dolphins (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Bills -2.5
The logic: This line feels incredibly suspect, as the Dolphins don’t have anything to play for and the Bills can still make the playoffs with a win. It’s so suspicious I almost want to back the Dolphins because it makes me feel like Las Vegas knows something that we don’t. But for now, we’re sticking with Tyrod Taylor and Shady McCoy as they try to make the postseason for the first time since 1999.
Oakland Raiders (+7.5) at Los Angeles Chargers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Raiders +7.5
The logic: The Chargers can still make the playoffs with a win on Sunday, but knowing the Chargers, they will blow it at the last second thanks to an errant throw from Philip Rivers. Also, the Raiders surprised me with their effort Christmas Day against the Eagles – if they can step up for a meaningless game in the cold on Christmas, they should have an easy time playing in sunny California.
Arizona Cardinals (+9.5) at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Seahawks -9.5
The logic: The Seahawks need a win and a Falcons loss to make the playoffs, and with the games both kicking off at 4:25 p.m. ET, there will be plenty of scoreboard watching in Seattle. Since I like the Panthers to beat the Falcons, I’m imagining a scenario where the Seahawks get the ball after a stop, see that Carolina has taken a lead over Atlanta, and the Seattle crowd starts going nuts and willing Russell Wilson and company to a blowout victory.
New Orleans Saints (-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Buccaneers +7
The logic: The Buccaneers may have lost five straight games, but their last four have all been one score games. Tampa Bay is still winless against the NFC South, but I think Jameis Winston has enough spite in him to bring his best on Sunday.
Cincinnati Bengals (+9.5) at Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET)
The pick: Ravens -9.5
The logic: The Ravens opened their 2017 season with a 20-0 win over the Bengals and continued to beat up on bad teams all season. The Bengals have continued to be a bad team since that Week 1 loss. The Ravens can still make the playoffs with a loss in this one, but they have little reason to risk it when they could just roll the Bengals with ease again instead.
Now take a look at our best bets you can still make this college bowl season
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