Betting Tips and Underdog Picks for NFL Week 17
Last season it was a 3-0 sweep in Week 16 and a 6-0 finish in the final three weeks that propelled us to a 35-19 ATS (65%) season picking only underdogs on these pages. That included 26 outright underdog winners. Last week it was a disappointing 0-3 result in Week 16 plus a push for those that shopped lines at 5Dimes and the leading online sportsbooks. That drops the season mark to 25-26 ATS and our 3-year record on these pages picking NFL underdogs each week to 76-53 (59%).
I could make the case it could have been a 4-0 week even with the Bengals miraculous comeback to force overtime before another loss had us licking our wounds. From Cleveland's clueless coach mismanaging the clock again near halftime leading to a Ravens touchdown, along with mind-boggling play calls and decisions against Baltimore, Kitchen's will be one of many coaches handed a pink slip and fired next week. How 'bout the Patriots late score and 2-point conversion to take a 24-17 lead with five minutes remaining before the Bills failed to score the tying touchdown after a first and goal in the final minute? Those losses only add to the frustrating results. Frankly, it's nearly miraculous we've been able to stay at or near .500 this season with so many close losses or contests failing to fall our way.
I'm not alone here and it was not a terrible Week 16 after our strongest play hit as the Saints - Titans game went 'over' the total in a 38-28 New Orleans win. But holding a Tennessee (+3) ticket turned into another loser when, as Warren Sharp points out in this tweet, the Titans were moving tie the game or take the lead with just over four minutes remaining when a key non-call affected the fortunes of both teams and bettors.
Play was on 1st & 10 on the Titans 38, down 3. Huge catch downfield & illegal hit to the head. Should have been TEN 1st & 10 at the NO 47 after the flag. Instead, Saints ball 1st & 10 at the Titans 25 after the no call and fumble return and a Saints TD follows.
The Titans ou-gained the Saints 397 (6.8 yards per play) to 377 (5.7) and out-rushed New Orleans 149-102. The game and result could have gone either way. The Titans were the only team on Sunday that out-rushed their opponent by at least 30 yards and lost (9-1 on Sunday). Teams that rushed for at least 150 yards went 6-0 SU/ATS in Week 16, and you can see the impact of those numbers in my recent Inside the Numbers article.
Officials calls are just part of the hazards when betting on the outcome of games, and like turnovers or (stupid) penalties by players that change the flow of the game or are game-changing plays, they are out of our control. Deal with it and move on, no matter how difficult it may be or amount of wager the impact has on your bankroll or emotions. Continue to do your best and hope the ball bounces your way more often when the game (and point spread) is on the line.
We continue with our NFL picks and predictions with our point spread prognosis selecting underdogs. Last year we picked one ugly 'Dog in Week 17 and the Browns nearly knocked the Ravens out from reaching the playoffs in a spread-covering defeat. We'll take a pair of ugly underdog in Week 17 looking to knock off division rivals and impact their playoff position.
We're taking some risk in a tricky and challenging Week 17 supporting two ugly underdogs with rookie quarterbacks that started the season on the bench. In the Lions case, it's a backup to the backup. For added insight and information on this year's betting results and teams that are powering their way to profits and success in the running game, read my recent Inside the Numbers article. Hopefully you'll gain more insight into NFL handicapping and betting, and add additional arsenal to your game to learn as you earn.
Let's roll with a pair of home underdogs and some added value hoping our teams young quarterbacks make plays, minimize mistakes and and show better as home underdogs against division rivals with something to play for in Week 17. Home underdogs went 3-4-1 ATS last week and are now 36-42-1 ATS this season.
NFL Week 17 - Dec 29
116 NY Giants (+4.5) vs Philadelphia - Giants Moneyline +180
124 Detroit (+13) vs Green Bay - Lions Moneyline +500
Philadelphia at New York Giants
The Eagles (8-7) win the NFC East and host a playoff game next week with a victory over the Giants (4-11). Recall in Week 13 the Giants were a 6.5-point home underdog to Green Bay and out-gained the Packers in a 31-13 defeat. Three turnovers for the G-Men (zero for GB) was another example of the impact of turnovers. The Giants lost to the Eagles 23-17 in overtime the following week on Monday night football when New York struggled to adjust to pre-snap motion by the Eagles offense. New York was out-gained by more than 150 yards, but Eli Manning was a sub-par 15-for-30 passing in place of rookie Daniel Jones while Eagles QB Carson Wentz passed 50 times in victory. Giants RB Saquon Barkley rushed for 112 yards in two TD's last week and admitted he's finally back to 100% healthy. The Giants have won two straight games entering the season finale while gaining 412 (6.5 yards per play) and 552 (8.0) yards. The Eagles defense is most vulnerable against the pass, and Giants QB Daniel Jones will need to be efficient and handle the pressure the Eagles are expected to bring. More Eagles injuries and questionable status this week includes TE Zach Ertz (ribs/back) along with WR Nelson Agholor (knee) and tackle Lane Johnson (ankle). The Eagles play their third-straight division game to finish the season and after last week's huge win over Dallas to put Philly in the drivers seat for the division title and playoffs, this final road game in New York will be tougher to navigate than planned noting too the time change to a late-afternoon kickoff at MetLife Stadium.
Green Bay at Detroit
This line keeps rising and is borderline ridiculous. The Packers (12-3) secured the NFC North title with a dominating 23-10 win at Minnesota on Monday night. That followed another division duel the week prior when the Bears out-gained the Packers 415-292 at Green Bay but lost 21-13 thanks to a 3-0 turnover disadvantage. The Bears took money and closed a 5.5-point favorite at Detroit on Thanksgiving in rookie QB David Blough's starting debut for the Lions (3-13-1). Chicago scored a late TD to escape with a non-covering 24-20 win. Now the Packers are laying 2 TD's on the road? The Lions will come to play, and hopefully Blough will be better as since his debut, Detroit has failed to reach 300 yards offense in their last three games. Officials had a major impact in these two teams first meeting in Week 4 when the Lions led the Packers 22-13 in the fourth quarter, but some questionable officiating helped lead the Packers to 10 unanswered points including the game-winning field goal at the gun. The league admitted the referees made a mistake on a late penalty call, and it's been all downhill for the Lions since. This line could push upward further by kickoff at some leading online sportsbooks, so take the best number on the Lions and show some balls betting on Detroit.
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay