First off, apologies for last week. Zero winners from three is not good. And on Christmas as well! There were few missed opportunities in there, but no point dwelling on it, because i LOVE the Week 17 board.
There are some superb opportunities to bet into inflated lines against the ‘must win’ teams, and just doing so blindly can hit around 58% according to Bet Labs. More on the methodology behind that trend here.
So lets dive in, in the order I like them. First off, the NAP is Miami at home at 2.25 on the moneyline, (+2.5 on the spread) against the Bills who need to win to punch a playoff ticket. Lovely stuff. I actually bet Miami +3.5 in Buffalo two weeks ago because their stats in the second half of the season suggested they were the better team. Of course they lost that day, but the line has essentially moved five full points since then if accounting for home field as well.
The must-win factor is literally the only reason for that move, and now the game is being played in 24C weather rather than zero. Back Miami any way you can, moneyline, first half, alternate spreads.
Next up, I’m on the Arizona Cardinals +9.5 in Seattle, with the Seahawks also needing to win to get in, giving us another inflated number. The Seahawks stats in recent weeks have been truly dire. Last week they won a game despite averaging about 2.5 yards per play and passing for fewer yards than they gave away in penalties. The week before that they were obliterated by the Rams and the week before that they were smashed by the Jags.
Yet suddenly they’re laying 9.5 against a divisional opponent with recent success in Seattle, because they have to win. I’m happy to back the Cardinals, who will be going all out for Bruce Arians in his last game as head coach, and who looked competent on offense with Drew Stanton under centre last week. There are a lot worse 5.0 shots that Arizona on the moneyline too.
Next up on the fade list is the Los Angeles Chargers. They’re laying 7.5 against a Raiders team which actually ‘won’ the stats on Monday night in Philadelphia, and clearly haven’t quit.
A fair line for this game is around 6, while the Raiders are also expected to have the LA crowd on their side, giving us another point of edge.
Marshawn Lynch really got going against the league’s best run defense last week, and expect to see him near a hundred yards against a Chargers team missing two key run stoppers up the middle in Corey Liuget and This is another spot to back the Raiders plus the points and on the moneyline at 4.5.
Along the same lines, i have backed the Cincinnati Bengals +9.5 and 4.9 in Baltimore against the must-win Ravens. Again a fair line is around 5 or 6 and the Bengals proved last week they haven’t quit on the season, despite the narrative, and are a completely different side when Vontaze Burfict is in the middle of the defense.
Expect AJ Green to have some big success after a series of tough matchups, against a Ravens defense missing top corner Jimmy Smith.
I’ve also backed a couple of first hand handicaps this week which will be available on Matchbook closer to game day.
First up is the Jacksonville Jaguars, currently a 3 point dog in Tennessee. Now, a fair line is probably Jags -3, but they have nothing to play for in theory, while Tennessee can still make the playoffs. But Jags coach Doug Marrone told the press this week the starters will play to try and build some momentum for the playoffs after last week’s sloppy outing in San Francisco.
The reason i’m going first half only here is that if the Jags do come out and redeem themselves, the starters could be pulled in the second half at some point. But getting any points at all in the first half with the far superior team is an absolute gift.
There’s a similar theory behind my Eagles first half bet. They are home dogs to the Cowboys, so you’ll be able to get +1.5 or 2 on the 1H handicap. Coach Doug Pederson said he would be playing Foles and most starters early since they have a bye next week anyway, but would likely give the backups some playing time in the second half. With the starters on the field and a dead Cowboys team with nothing to play for, this is another gift in my opinion.
Finally, in the last game we’ll see Jimmy G until next year, it’s only right we continue riding his glorious coattails. The Niners are laying three on the road, but are playing a Rams team that is playing its key starters, including Jared Goff and Todd Gurley on offense, and Aaron Donald, Mark Barron and Alex Ogletree on defense.
The Rams also have a genuine incentive to lose this game, as it would put them into the fourth seed, which would then be more likely to travel to Philly in the divisional round of the playoffs rather than Minnesota. Back Jimmy GQ to finish his season in style.
See y’all in the playoffs.
Brad’s Week 17 Picks:
- Miami on the Moneyline
- Cardinals +9.5
- Raiders +7.5
- Raiders on the Moneyline
- Bengals +9.5
- Bengals on the Moneyline
- Jaguars on the First Half Point Spread
- Eagles on the First Half Point Spread
- 49ers -3