Week 17 is always the toughest week to handicap. There are teams playing for their postseason lives, there are teams that are likely to rest players, and there are teams that have completely mailed it in, and that’s what makes things difficult to predict. There’s a huge variance in each team’s performance in the final week of the season.
Most people often make the mistake of blindly betting on the teams that need to win in Week 17. Frankly, that’s a dumb strategy. Oddsmakers aren’t stupid and they’ve ensured that you’ll have to pay a steep price for teams that need to win, inflating the lines by at least a couple of points. I’m not saying that some of these teams aren’t a good bet, but be aware that you’ll be paying a premium to wager on them. In Week 17 last year, the Raiders, Titans, and Broncos all needed to win their games—none of them covered due to inflated lines.
With that being said, it’s still extremely important that you’re aware of all of the playoff scenarios. For instance, the 49ers and Seahawks are battling for the NFC West crown and they both play at 4:25pm ET this week. Seattle is laying 11-points against the Rams but unless you have a strong feel on the 49ers-Cardinals game, the Seahawks-Rams game isn’t worth a wager. Why? Well, Seattle could head into the locker room at half-time and see the 49ers laying a beatdown on the Cardinals. They’d then be wise to rest their starters in the second half. Conversely, the Seahawks may head to the locker room and see that the Cardinals are giving the 49ers a run for their money. Seattle would then likely pour it on in the second half. That’s just one of the many scenarios that we’re faced with this week.
All in all, this isn’t the best week to be placing a lot of wagers. I’ll do my best to provide my outcomes using all of the information that’s currently available to me, but there’s always the risk that teams go out and do something completely different on Sunday. Head coaches frequently lie about their Week 17 strategies and that’s bound to happen in at least one game this week.
Anyways, without further ado, here are my Week 17 predictions.
Jets @ Bills: I know that the Jets are in complete shambles right now, but I just can’t fathom laying points with the Bills. You probably wouldn’t believe it but Buffalo has actually scored fewer points in their last three games than the bumbling Jets. That’s truly pathetic. Bills’ head coach Chan Gailey continues to ask Ryan Fitzpatrick to put the ball in the air thirty times a game and that’s continuously proven to be a recipe for disaster. I don’t know why things would miraculously change in the final week of the season. On the other side of things, Jets’ offensive coordinator Tony Sparano is somewhat competent and will lean on a physical ground game and high-percentage passes to try to restore some confidence to Mark Sanchez. The Bills surrender a league-worst 146.7 rushing yards per game, so the Jets may find some success on the ground. The deciding factor for me was the Jets’ recent dominance of the Bills. In the last three seasons, New York has won all five games against Buffalo, outscoring the Bills by an average margin of 19 points per game. Jets 20, Bills 17
[UPDATE: Weather could play a factor in Buffalo today. There's a 40% chance of snow with strong winds expected for most of the afternoon. Can Chan Gailey swallow his pride and consistently hand off the ball to C.J. Spiller, or will he ask Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw the ball thirty times again? It remains to be seen. The Jets suck but I'm still taking the points.]
Ravens @ Bengals: Your guess is as good as mine with this game. There’s a possibility that these two teams could meet in the first round of the postseason so you’d assume that both teams would rest their starters, but it doesn’t appear as though the Bengals will do so. Marvin Lewis rested his starters in Week 17 before the 2005 and 2009 playoffs, and the Bengals subsequently lost their postseason games to the Steelers and Jets. This is what Lewis had to say when asked about this week’s game:
“I think it’s important for our team to play well. We are going to play to win the football game. [We're playing for] improvement. Each and every time we go out. That’s what we have been doing since November 4th is working to play better every time we had an opportunity to play. We’ve done that we need to keep doing that.” [Source: CBSSports.com]
As for the Ravens, they beat Cincinnati in a meaningless game in Week 17 last season, but it sounds as though John Harbaugh will be looking to get into the postseason as healthy as possible.
“The thing we’re going to do for sure is we’re going to try and win the game. That’s the No. 1 thing we’re going to do. That’s what we do, and we’re going to try to win the game. We’re also going to try and make sure we are as healthy as we can be going into the playoffs. So, I think we’ll merge those two considerations.” [Source: BaltimoreRavens.com]
Personally, I think the Bengals are better than the Ravens, and it seems as though they’ll be going harder to try and win this game. Baltimore has been awful on the road this season, so there’s a good chance Cincinnati pulls this one out even if the Ravens play their starters all game. Bengals 31, Ravens 20
[UPDATE: Ray Rice was incorrectly reported as OUT earlier this morning, but he'll in fact play one or two series' with the offense. Bernard Pierce is a serviceable running back but isn't the pass catching threat that Rice is. If there wasn't so much uncertainty surrounding who the Bengals will play, I'd load up on Cincinnati today.]
Browns @ Steelers: The Browns and Steelers are set to battle in the Emergency Room Bowl on Sunday afternoon. Seriously, the injury report for this game is laughable. Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy both haven’t practiced this week, which means that we may see a Thaddeus Lewis sighting in Pittsburgh this weekend. For those of you who don’t know who Lewis is (I assume that’s 99% of the people reading this), he’s an undrafted quarterback out of Duke. Yes, Duke has a football program. Lewis was signed in 2010 by the Rams, then waived, then picked up by the Browns in 2011, then waived again, then signed to the Browns’ practice squad earlier this season, and now he’ll likely make his debut against a defensive coordinator that prides himself on shutting down rookie quarterbacks. Not good. To make matters worse for Lewis, Trent Richardson hasn’t practiced all week with an ankle injury so he won’t be able to rely on a workhorse running back to help him out. The Steelers have injury problems of their own, but Ben Roethlisberger is still capable of moving the chains without Heath Miller and Mike Wallace. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are still solid targets, and Pittsburgh is equipped with a plethora of running backs to keep the chains moving. The Steelers have struggled down the stretch, but this game won’t be close. Steelers 24, Browns 0
[UPDATE: Thaddeus Lewis gets the start for the Browns today in cold, snowy, windy Heinz Field. I don't see this ending well. I'm not laying 9.5-points with the Steelers because they've been an abomination lately but they should have no problems limiting the Browns offense in this one, especially with Trent Richardson officially OUT this week.]
Texans @ Colts: If the Colts decided to rest their players here, the Texans would be a gift laying only a touchdown. Houston will clinch a first-round bye with a win over Indianapolis, while the Colts are locked in the fifth seed no matter what happens this week. Chuck Pagano makes his return to the Colts’ sideline on Sunday and his presence will undoubtedly provide the Colts with an emotional boost, but that won’t be enough to derail the Texans. Houston walked all over Indianapolis’s starters a couple of weeks ago, so you can only imagine what they could possibly do to the backups. Earlier in the week, Reggie Wayne expressed his frustrations with the idea of sitting on the bench for this divisional matchup:
“We’re too young to rest. We probably need to put everybody out there and have them continue to play. I don’t think we can afford (to rest). I can’t speak for everybody, but I’m built to play.” [Source: ProFootballTalk.com]
Chuck Pagano echoed that sentiment yesterday:
“There are arguments and there are pluses and minuses to both sides. Again, I think our mindset coming in has been one of we’re going to play to win every single week, regardless of the situation, regardless of record. I think we owe it to everybody else — our fans are in the city, the state, the community, whatever — to go out there and play football.” [Source: Indianapolis Star]
So it appears as though the Colts will be playing their starters. I still like the Texans. Indianapolis doesn’t do anything well. Their defense is porous and while Andrew Luck is continuously getting hummers from various members of the media, someone ought to realize that he’s accounted for 23 turnovers in 15 games this season. In fact, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s touchdown to turnover ratio is actually better than Luck’s this season. Houston puts Indianapolis in their place this week. Texans 34, Colts 17
[UPDATE: Some late money has been pouring in on the Colts with the line down to +6 and even +5.5 in some spots. I like the Texans but I'm weary of laying this many points on the road, especially since Indianapolis could play inspired football with the return of Chuck Pagano to the sidelines. It also appears as though the Colts are going to roll with their starters...unless the game gets ugly early.]
Jaguars @ Titans: It pains me to write about this God awful game but I do have a strong lean to one of the sides. The Titans are in shambles right now. It appears as though they’ve completely given up on Mike Munchak and to make matters worse, their injury report is endless. Tennessee will be without four of their starting five offensive linemen which will make things extremely difficult for Jake Locker in the pocket. Locker is horrible when he’s under duress, as evidenced by last week’s debacle in Green Bay, so it’s pretty likely that the Titans offense will look atrocious once more. Chris Johnson hasn’t participated in practice all week with an ankle injury which makes Locker’s chances of success a whole lot worse. The Titans are also banged up on the defensive side of the ball, with middle linebacker Colin McCarthy missing practice all week as well. Tennessee just allowed Ryan Grant to pick up 80 yards on the ground which shows their inability to stop anything at this point in the season. There’s no chance in hell I’d put a cent down on the Jaguars this week, but they should be able to pull out the road victory. Jaguars 27, Titans 20
[UPDATE: The Titans are now up to 5.5-point favorites. Chris Johnson is listed as probable and reports indicate that Jacksonville will fire their GM Gene Smith after today's game. If both teams had something to play for here, I'd gladly take the points with the Jaguars, but I'm not sure what to expect so I'll pass.]
Eagles @ Giants: Normally, there’s no way in hell I’d consider wagering on Michael Vick, but this is a GREAT spot for Philadelphia. This line is inflated due to the fact that the Giants need to win this game, but in reality, New York knows that their season is over. They need way too many things to go right in order to back their way into the playoffs and I’m fully expecting a lacklustre effort this week. Even if the Giants do show up to play, the Eagles will give them all they can handle. The entire Eagles’ roster knows that this is Andy Reid’s final game in charge, and they’ll do their best to send him off with a win. Eli Manning was awful in Baltimore last week, in large part due to the fact that his offensive line was incapable of blocking anyone wearing a Ravens’ uniform. Philadelphia’s defensive front has been much improved in recent weeks and they’ll undoubtedly be able to put Manning under duress for the majority of the afternoon. Meanwhile, this is a HUGE game for Michael Vick. Vick will be released by the Eagles at the end of the season so this is his last opportunity to showcase himself to other teams. Vick has also owned the Giants in recent years. He didn’t turn the ball over in the Eagles’ Week 4 matchup with New York earlier this season and considering Joe Flacco was able to look like Joe Montana against the Giants last week; Vick will have little resistance in duplicating that success. The Eagles have won eight of their last nine meetings with the Giants and I think they’ll improve that run on Sunday. Eagles 23, Giants 20
[UPDATE: This game has passed through the key number of 7 and the Giants are now 6.5-point favorites. Good thing I got in on the Eagles yesterday. I'm extremely convinced that they're the right side for all the reasons outlined above.]
Bears @ Lions: The Lions just keep on finding ways to lose games. Detroit outgains their opponents week in and week out, but due to poor coaching and constant turnovers, the Lions always come out on the losing end. Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards record last week and he’ll be on a mission to hit the 2,000 yard mark this week. That means that Matt Stafford will be constantly forcing balls into Johnson’s general direction, allowing for the Bears’ opportunistic defense to force a bunch of turnovers. The Lions could always consider using Johnson as a decoy to try and eliminate their division rivals from playoff contention, but Jim Schwartz isn’t smart enough to come up with that type of game plan. If I had any faith whatsoever in the Bears’ offense, I’d make an enormous play on them this week. Unfortunately, I do not. Matt Forte is hobbled, Jay Cutler is confused, and opposing defenses are constantly using bracket coverage on Brandon Marshall. The deciding factor for me is that Nick Fairley is once again out for the Lions. Detroit couldn’t generate any pressure whatsoever on Matt Ryan without Fairley in the lineup next week, so the Bears anemic offensive line has a decent chance of holding up here. Chicago’s defense and special teams factor in here and they do just enough to hand Detroit another demoralizing loss. Bears 24, Lions 17
[UPDATE: I'm really surprised the Lions are getting 40% of the action in this game. This is a team that continuously finds ways to lose, and on top of that, there's a rumor circulating that Jim Schwartz could be fired at the end of the season. Detroit will be playing to get Calvin Johnson to 2,000 yards... Chicago will be playing to get to the postseason.]
Buccaneers @ Falcons: The Falcons have already wrapped up the #1 seed in the NFC, so there’s not a lot of incentive to win here. If you take Falcons’ head coach Mike Smith at his word, Atlanta will be playing to win:
“We’re gonna play the game to win. That’s how we’re gonna approach it. It’s an important game because it’s a division game. All games I think are important. Does it have no bearing? It really does because we want to win every time we go out and play.” [Source: CBSSports.com]
That quote is really tough to decipher. Smith is adamant that the Falcons will play to win, but they may be playing to win with their backups. NFL coaches can’t be trusted. Regardless of who starts for Atlanta, they’ll take solace in the fact that they’ll be playing a bunch of backups anyways. Josh Freeman is a loser and Doug Martin hasn’t done anything in the last month, so it’s not like the Bucs are going to be able to put up points at will here. In fact, the Falcons have fared pretty well in these meaningless Week 17 games under Mike Smith. Just like last season, the Bucs have completely mailed it in, so don’t be surprised if they get destroyed by a bunch of backups. Falcons 28, Buccaneers 13
[UPDATE: Atlanta is down to a 3-point favorite making it pretty clear that they'll be resting the majority of their starters today. They still remain the most heavily bet side on today's board and while I'd normally disagree, I don't see much of a difference between Atlanta's backups and Tampa Bay's starters. The Bucs have given up on their season so I would be really weary of betting them.]
Panthers @ Saints: Neither of these teams has anything to play for, but both have been playing solid football in the last month. Drew Brees has been outstanding in the past couple of weeks and single-handedly led the Saints to victory over the Cowboys last week. Brees struggled earlier this season against Carolina and the Panthers’ pass defense has been much improved in the last month, but if Brees plays up to par, he’ll be tough to stop. Carolina’s defensive ends Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson will give the Saints’ offensive line fits which could lead to some stalled drives, but New Orleans should be able to move the ball fairly consistently. Meanwhile, when Cam Newton hasn’t been busy harassing Jerome Boger, he has been quietly putting together an outstanding second half of the season. He’s thrown for 11 touchdowns and just one interception in the last six games, and should have no problems tearing up the Saints’ “pass defense”. This is a tough one to call because neither team really has much of an edge over the other. I’ll give the Saints the straight up nod because of their home field advantage, but I’ll gladly grab the points with Carolina. Saints 27, Panthers 26
[UPDATE: New Orleans is the second-most heavily bet side on today's board. The Saints are playing much better as of late but I don't think people realize how solid the Panthers have been in the second half of the season. Carolina is fully capable of matching points with New Orleans here so give me the dog.]
Dolphins @ Patriots: New England can only clinch a first-round bye with a loss from the Texans or Broncos. By this point, the Texans will have already beaten the Colts, so New England will know that they’ll be playing next week because there’s no chance in hell that the Broncos are losing to the Chiefs at home. Bill Belichick has never shied away from playing his starters in meaningless games, but there won’t be much incentive for New England here. The Dolphins are no pushover either. Their pass rush has been superb this season and they gave Tom Brady a ton of trouble in their Week 13 clash earlier this season. Miami also has the best red zone defense in the league, frequently forcing opponents to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. Meanwhile, offensively, the Dolphins have finally gotten Reggie Bush back on track. Bush has averaged 4.3 yards per carry over the past three weeks and has also been targeted 13 times in the passing game in that span. New England has struggled against opposing running backs all season long and they’ll likely have trouble keeping Bush in check this week. The Dolphins have lost by double-digits just twice this season, with one of those losses coming against San Francisco on a huge Colin Kaepernick run to seal the game. The other double-digit loss was in Week 1. With New England’s struggles in recent weeks, I think that ten and a half points with Miami is plenty enough to jump on. Patriots 26, Dolphins 23
[UPDATE: New England is down to 9.5-point favorite despite reports that Rob Gronkowski will return to action for the Patriots this afternoon. If you read my write-up above, I'm not expect New England to have much to play for at 4:00 so I'll gladly take the points. Miami has been competitive all season long.]
Packers @ Vikings: Finally, a game that is meaningful for both teams. The Packers clinch a first-round bye with a win here, while the Vikings clinch a postseason berth if they’re able to upset Green Bay. Somehow though, no one is talking about Minnesota making the playoffs. Everyone is talking about the 208 yards that Adrian Peterson needs to eclipse Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. Peterson ran for 210 yards in a Week 13 loss to the Packers, but that was without Clay Matthews in the lineup for Green Bay. Peterson will still enjoy a ton of success on the ground, because, well, he’s amazing, but Matthews’ presence will definitely make a difference. Even with Peterson’s 210 yards in that Week 13 contest, Minnesota lost the game by nine points, so I’m not sure what more they can do to improve their chances against Green Bay this week. Christian Ponder sucks and while he’s capable of occasionally putting in a good performance, he’s thrown five interceptions in his three career starts against the Pack. If Ponder can’t protect the ball this week, Minnesota is toast. Aaron Rodgers was running for his life earlier this season against Minnesota and still managed to put up 23 points despite constantly being harassed. Randall Cobb will likely miss this game with an ankle injury, but the Packers will welcome Jordy Nelson back into the lineup, which shouldn’t make things too difficult on Rodgers to adjust. I just don’t see the Vikings knocking off the Pack to get into the postseason. Packers 24, Vikings 14
[UPDATE: I've spent the last twenty minutes watching the ESPN crew blow Adrian Peterson so I'd like to keep this short. Both teams have something to play for... One team is way better than the other. Give me Green Bay.]
Chiefs @ Broncos: Denver needs to win this game in order to clinch a first-round bye. While the line is certainly inflated, I don’t believe it’s inflated enough. Denver is coming off of a thrashing of the Browns last week and there’s no reason to believe that they won’t do the same to Kansas City this weekend. Peyton Manning played one of his worst games of the season in Week 12 against the Chiefs, and Denver still managed to win the game by eight points on the road, with Matt Prater missing two field goal attempts. The Chiefs are 29th in the league defensively in yards per pass attempt, so I wouldn’t count on Manning struggling again. On the other side of things, the Chiefs will need a miracle to hit double-digit points. Kansas City ran for over 350 yards last week and still managed to lose to the Colts (who aren’t very good) by a full touchdown at home. Brady Quinn was horrendous against the weak Colts’ defense, so he has no realistic hope of moving the ball against the Broncos. This game will be over in the first quarter. Broncos 34, Chiefs 3
[UPDATE: The Broncos are up to 17-point favorites in most spots and I still can't make an argument for Kansas City. This one's bound to be a blowout and I don't think the Chiefs offense is capable of a backdoor cover.]
Raiders @ Chargers: I don’t have the time or patience to give a detailed write-up on this game. In fact, just thinking about watching a second of this game almost made me puke chunks of the maple glazed ham that I polished off last night. Here’s what you need to know… The Raiders have completely given up on head coach Dennis Allen. Allen will have to choose between Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor as his starting quarterback this week, neither of whom is capable of playing at the NFL level. Darren McFadden is no longer a good running back. And finally, the Raiders defense is as pathetic as Louisiana-Monroe’s starting quarterback (yes, I’m bitter about a lost wager yesterday). Chargers 24, Raiders 10
[UPDATE: The Chargers have gone from 10-point favorites to 8-point favorites with the news that Terrelle Pryor will get the nod at quarterback over Matt Leinart. Pryor is definitely a better option and more of an uncertainty, so I really have no interest in betting this game. There also may be some bad weather in San Diego today with a 50% chance of showers.]
Cardinals @ 49ers: The 49ers always tend to respond after a tough loss, but I’m still not comfortable laying more than two touchdowns here. Seattle’s beatdown of San Francisco last week created a blueprint for how opposing teams should attack the 49ers without Justin Smith in the lineup. Smith is a huge factor as a run stopper and the Seahawks’ coaching staff came up with a great game plan to continuously run the ball into the void left by the absent defensive end. Arizona will find themselves with an opportunity to do the same thing this week, albeit, not very well. The Cardinals offense also catches a break with Ryan Lindley and John Skelton’s asses parked on the bench. Brian Hoyer gets the start at quarterback and while he lacks experience, he’s a much better option than either Lindley or Skelton right now. Meanwhile, the Cardinals defense is steadily improving. Aside from the destruction at the hands of Seattle (everyone is getting destroyed by Seattle nowadays), the Cardinals have been able to shut down Jay Cutler, Matt Stafford, and Sam Bradford in three of the past four weeks. Colin Kaepernick will be facing a lot of pressure after his poor performance last week so the Arizona defense is fully capable of putting in another strong outing. San Francisco wins, but it’ll be closer than you think. 49ers 17, Cardinals 12
[UPDATE: I'm not wavering on this one. The 49ers are playing bad football right now and the absence of Justin Smith is huge. I have no interest in laying 16.5-points with San Francisco.]
Rams @ Seahawks: I don’t care that this line has been inflated three points in a week—I have no interest in betting against Seattle right now. Based on my prediction above, Seattle will still believe they have a chance to win the NFC West when the Cardinals are playing the 49ers tough, and they’ll pour it on against the Rams. St. Louis has been great in the role of the underdog this season, but they’re simply outclassed in this one. Russell Wilson is a defensive coordinator’s nightmare. He’s accurate, capable of making throws down the field, and most importantly, he consistently buys himself extra time to throw the ball. The Rams have a strong pass rush with Robert Quinn and Chris Long on the outside, but Wilson has only been sacked six times in the last four games, so I wouldn’t expect the rookie signal caller to be under constant duress. Even if the Rams are able to pressure Wilson, Marshawn Lynch should be able to pound the rock pretty effectively against a defense that allowed Adrian Peterson to go off for over 200 yards a couple weeks ago. Seattle’s going to get their points and St. Louis just can’t keep up. The most likely scenario here is that the Rams fall behind early and are forced to try to work their way back through the air. If you’ve seen any of Sam Bradford this season, that’s not going to end well. Seahawks 31, Rams 14
[UPDATE: Seattle is now up to a 12-point favorite as they've seen a ton of action this morning. Again, I can't argue with the line movement. The Seahawks may just be the most complete team in the NFL right now and the Rams don't have much of a hope of moving the ball in this one.]
Cowboys @ Redskins: All bias aside, this should be a great game to watch. I could conceivably make a great argument for both teams here. Tony Romo is known for choking down the stretch every season, but that hasn’t been the case this December as Romo has single-handedly kept the Cowboys in contention. Since the beginning of November, Romo has thrown for 17 touchdowns and just three interceptions—the only problem being that two of those three picks came against Washington on Thanksgiving. Washington’s secondary is deplorable and while they forced Romo into making a couple of mistakes in the first half of that game, a repeat performance is pretty unlikely. Dallas should be able to score fairly consistently. The problem for the Cowboys is that their defense doesn’t stand much of a hope of limiting the Redskins offense. Rob Ryan’s unit has suffered from numerous injuries this season and have struggled to limit most opposing offenses in the second half of the season. Washington’s bread and butter is their read-option running game, and considering Dallas has given up 5.3 yards per carry in the last four weeks, the Redskins are likely to pick up yardage in chunks. In the end, this is really a tough game to call. Dallas has been fantastic as an underdog in recent years so I’ll take them to cover, but in typical heartbreaking fashion, the Cowboys will find a way to lose. Redskins 27, Cowboys 26
[UPDATE: I really hope I'm wrong on this one. As a diehard Cowboys fan, I'll have a bottle of Jack Daniel's by my side as Robert Griffin III proceeds to carve up the Dallas defense. I'll just pray that Tony Romo can keep up. If you're using this game as a bailout tonight, I'd suggest taking the over instead of either side.]
I won’t spend too much time here. If you’re still in your survivor pool and you’re relying on my advice, think twice.
Assuming I have all teams remaining, here would be my top selections in order of confidence:
1. Denver vs. Kansas City
2. San Francisco vs. Arizona (this might be close, but Harbaugh doesn’t lose back-to-back games)
3. Seattle vs. St. Louis
4. New England vs. Miami
5. Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay (even with nothing to play for)
6. Houston at Indianapolis
7. San Diego vs. Oakland
8. NY Giants vs. Philadelphia (even though I’m taking the Eagles to pull the upset)
AGAINST THE SPREADSHEET
Week in and week out, you will get a look at my spreadsheet which shows my confidence in each selection.
The ‘Strength of Pick’ column indicates how confident I am in my selection with 1 being the most confident and 16 being the least confident.
The ‘Initial Reaction’ column indicates my confidence when the game lines were first released.
The ‘Mid Week’ column indicates my confidence on Wednesday.
The ‘Final Selection’ column indicates my final picks against the spread.
It’s one thing to show you a table indicating who I like in each game, but it’s another thing to actually show you where I’m throwing my money down.
I rate my plays on a scale of 3* to 6* with a 6* play qualifying as my top play. I would estimate that 1 out of every 25 plays earns a 6* distinction, with approximately 50% of my plays earning a 3* distinction.
I hate having more than a couple of plays in Week 17, but there are four games that stand out from the rest and I just can’t decide on which of those games to eliminate. I’m playing all four of them.
3* Philadelphia Eagles +7 (-110) – SIA
I would have made this a 4* play if I could still find a 7.5 on the board but it appears as though all of those have vanished. I’m placing the wager at SIA because there’s only 10-cents juice, as opposed to 15-20 cents at most other sportsbooks. I’m also considering placing a 0.5-unit on Eagles ML +280. This line will probably settle on 7 but I’d still bet it now just in case. It looks as though it’s more likely to go down to Eagles +6.5 than back up to Eagles +7.5.
3* Miami Dolphins +10.5 (+100) – SIA
Another great line at SIA. The Dolphins are up to 10.5-point dogs in almost every spot right now, but I can get them at even money at Sports Interaction as opposed to -110 everywhere else. I love being able to play a spread at even money. You could always hold off and try to grab a +11 tomorrow, but that likely won’t make much of a difference.
3* Green Bay Packers -3 (-120) – SIA
A lot of sportsbooks have already bumped this up to Packers -3.5, so I’m going to jump on this -3 right away. You can still find a Packers -3 -120 at SIA, BetUS, and Bookmaker so be sure to bet it quickly. I’m pretty confident in the Packers winning this game but I wouldn’t recommend this wager at -3.5.
3* Chicago Bears -3 (+105) – Pinnacle
This line looks like it may hit Bears -2.5 at some books very soon so I’m going to refrain from locking this in right away. I’d prefer to get Chicago -2.5 -105 than Chicago -3 +105 but that’s just my preference. If you’re really confident in the Bears, the line at Pinnacle is outstanding.
That’s it for me this week and this regular season. I will update my thoughts on each game on Sunday morning.
Good luck! Let me know your top selections.