- Every week we pick each game of the NFL schedule against the spread.
- Heading into Week 17, motivation is key when considering how to bet the games, with some teams and players having much more at stake than others.
- This week, we like the Eagles and Bears to win and set up Philadelphia’s return to the postseason, and the Browns to spoil the playoff hopes of the Baltimore Ravens.
After 16 weeks of football, we’ve finally reached the end of the NFL regular season. This Sunday will mark the final full slate of NFL games to bet on until next year, making it a bittersweet day for football fans and bettors.
While it’s difficult to say goodbye to our Sunday’s full of football, Week 17 always provides some intriguing matchups for gamblers, as teams can often differ wildly in their motivations heading into the final game of the year.
We’ll waste no time and get straight to the picks (* indicates home team).
LAST WEEK: 8-7-1
New York Giants* (-6) over Dallas Cowboys
The Giants led the Colts for almost the entirety of their matchup on Sunday, falling short of an impressive upset victory in the game’s final minutes. With the Cowboys already having locked in their spot in the postseason, look for the Giants to end the season on a solid win.
Oakland Raiders (+14) over Kansas City Chiefs*
This is too many points. The Raiders looked solid on Sunday in what could have been their final game in Oakland, and Jon Gruden doesn’t seem likely to give up that momentum after such a disappointing season.
New Orleans Saints (-7.5) over Carolina Panthers*
Teddy Bridgewater will be starting for the Saints on Sunday in what will likely amount to an audition for a contract with any number of teams next season. With the Saints elite set of offensive weapons at the disposal of a motivated quarterback, New Orleans is in position to roll over an already defeated Panthers team.
New York Jets (+13.5) over New England Patriots*
Again, this is too many points. The Patriots have not looked like the world-beaters they have been in years past all season, and while they might turn that around for the playoffs, don’t expect Bill Belichick to reach into his bag of tricks in order to win big in Week 17 when winning by a point or two will do just as well.
Philadelphia Eagles* (-7) over Washington Redskins
The Eagles need a win on Sunday, as well as some help from the Bears if they have any hope of defending their Super Bowl title. I’m not betting against them to hold up their end of the bargain.
Green Bay Packers* (-8) over Detroit Lions
Aaron Rodgers put up big numbers against the Jets last weekend, but it was still rather shocking that the Packers needed overtime to take down such a poor opponent. After a disappointing season that included numerous inexplicable home losses, the Packers should be motivated to win big at Lambeau in their finale.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5) over Houston Texans*
Blake Bortles is set to start for the Jaguars again on Sunday after having been benched the past few weeks in favour of Cody Kessler. Bortles is playing for his future, either with Jacksonville or for another team watching, and will have every reason to put up some numbers.
Cleveland Browns (+5.5) over Baltimore Ravens*
The Browns’ first campaign with Baker Mayfield came up short of the postseason, but Cleveland does have the chance to do something special in Week 17 – spoil the playoff hopes of the team that started the curse, the Baltimore Ravens. There is no game I would rather bet on this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers* (+1) over Atlanta Falcons
When betting on a game between two unmotivated teams that played through rough years, I’m always going to favour taking the home team in Week 17.
Buffalo Bills* (-5.5) over Miami Dolphins
Same logic as before, with the added fact that the Bills defence played an otherworldly season that was essentially hamstrung from the start by one of the worst offenses in the league.
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) over Tennessee Titans*
I don’t see how Andrew Luck misses out on the playoffs. The Titans had their shot at the AFC last year and wound up getting trounced by the Patriots. This Colts squad has been one of the best in the NFL since Week 7 and could cause real havoc should they get to play into January.
Pittsburgh Steelers* (-14.5) over Cincinnati Bengals
The Steelers need to win after blowing the game late against the Saints last Sunday. Thankfully, they’re playing the Bengals.
Chicago Bears (+4.5) over Minnesota Vikings*
The Bears still have a shot at a bye week should they beat the Vikings. Also as an Eagles fan, I’m not going to bet against our potential postseason saviors.
Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) over Denver Broncos*
The Chargers still have a shot at jumping the Chiefs to win the AFC West, and Philip Rivers still has one week left to make his case for NFL MVP. The Broncos have only pride to play for, but it’s tough to believe it will be enough to keep pace with Los Angeles after an embarrassing loss to the Raiders.
Arizona Cardinals (+13.5) over Seattle Seahawks*
In a year where it’s felt like every scoring record imaginable was broken in the NFL, the Cardinals offence was an anomaly, almost unable to find the end zone as touchdowns poured in across the league. Still, this is too many points to spot a team against the Seahawks, whose can’t improve their playoff position.
San Francisco 49ers (+10) over Los Angeles Rams*
The Rams have been awful at covering big numbers all season long. Aside from their big win against the Cardinals last week, Los Angeles has just two double-digit wins since Week 3 of the regular season.
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