FairwayJay's NFL Underdog Picks for Week 17
Plenty of playoff positions still up for grabs heading into Week 17, which kicks off the New Year on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Lots of quarterback changes and injuries down the stretch and to monitor as well, with Thursday Night Football showing the Tennessee Titans having a slew of injuries and quarterback change in their 27-13 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
So follow the injury reports, and note too that QB Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders has been replaced and has stepped away from the team with his 9-year tenure as Raiders quarterback likely over. BetOnline has posted a prop with 4-teams co-favorites at +220 to be Carr's next team - Jets, Saints, Seahawks, Falcons.
The betting lines at the leading online sportsbooks continue to move including the San Francisco 49ers up from -6 to -9.5 at Las Vegas (-10 at Bovada) since the announcement of Carr being benched and replaced. Here are the Week 17 betting lines and notable line moves since early week.
Week 17 Lines (BetOnline)
- CAR at TB (-3.5), Total 40 - up from -3
- CLE at WSH (-1), 40.5 - down from -2.5
- NO at PHI (-6.5), 42 - down from -7
- AZ at ATL (-3), 42 - down from -3.5
- JAX (-4) at HOU, 43
- CHI at DET (-6), 52.5 - down from -6.5
- MIA at NE (-3), 41 - up from -2.5
- DEN at KC (-12.5), 45 - down from -13.5
- IND at NYG (-5.5), 39 - down from -6
- NYJ (-1) at SEA, 42.5 - down from -2.5
- SF (-9.5) at LV, 42.5 - up from -6.5
- MIN at GB (-3), 48
- LAR at LAC (-6.5), 42.5
- PIT at BAL (-2.5), 35 - down from -3
- BUF at CIN (PK), 49.5 - was BUF -1.5
We move onto Week 17 with a 9-1 ATS run after last week's tough Week 16 loser on the New England Patriots (+3.5/3). Read the play-by-play online rather than a rant here about our misfortune in a 22-18 Cincinnati Bengals win at New England. Sure, a pair of missed PAT's, missed 2-point conversion and Patriots fumble on first down in the final minute with first and goal at the Bengals 5-yard line all contributed to our loser. But the Bengals led 22-0 and were dominating the stats before three turnovers helped let the Patriots recover. The 442-285 yards edge was enough for the Bengals to overcome a -2 turnover differential (4-45 ATS this season). More disappointing was leaving some other winners that were bet off the card with much going on Christmas week. That included the Rams as underdog in their 51-14 beatdown of the Broncos - ugh.
Teams that are +3 or greater in turnovers in a game this season are now 31-1 SU and 30-2 ATS. Teams that are exactly +2 in the turnover column are 41-9 SU and 45-5 ATS.
No major NFL weather concerns this week, even with key rivalry and playoff-impacting games between the Vikings and Packers in Green Bay, and Steelers and Ravens in Baltimore Sunday night. Weather looks fine for two other key games impacting the playoff picture in Seattle for the Jets and Seahawks, and Foxboro where the Dolphins and Patriots battle in another key division game with playoff hopes in the balance.
NFL Week 17 Underdog Picks
Carolina (+3.5) at Tampa Bay - Panthers moneyline +170
Chicago (+6) at Detroit - Bears moneyline +210
New Orleans (+6.5) at Philadelphia - Saints moneyline +240
LA Rams (+6.5) at LA Chargers - Rams moneyline +230
Las Vegas (+9.5 / 10) vs San Francisco - Raiders moneyline +380
Check back this weekend for any additional game analysis or picks as we review more. That includes for the huge Monday Night Football game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, which I previewed for Forbes. Plenty of 'Dogs of interest, and lets see if we can provide the correct picks and game selection management this week. Note we could get key numbers of +7 in two posts above without current analysis below. If QB Jalen Hurts is able to play for the Eagles, we'll take the added points. The biggest discrepancy in YTD turnover margin this week is Eagles (+12) vs Saints (-7). Philly's poor-ranking special teams get overlooked due to their strong stats and performances, but the Eagles are without All Pro OL Lane Johnson this week and others including perhaps RB Miles Sanders.
Some ugly 'Dogs with better situations and ATS profiles despite not as strong Xs and Os against playoff teams. That includes the Raiders, who we are still considering with QB Jarrett Stidham starting, but a number of defensive starters out. The San Francisco 49ers are on a 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS run with the league's best run defense. Know that we're going with the best of it in the running game with teams projected to have a solid edge in the ground game for the Panthers and Bears.
Update: Adding Raiders, who hit +10 Sunday morning at select online sportsbooks.
But as my sharp sports betting colleague Sherwood concurs, NFL winners and losers each week are those teams (and bettors) that get more breaks, bounces, penalties and turnovers in their favor. Predicting NFL winners is tough, and trying to get value when betting is of significance. Still, we add analysis and proven guidelines and situations to our point spread prognosis and picks, and have provided added benefits and winning NFL underdog picks for six seasons at OSGA as an added bonus.
Carolina at Tampa Bay
The Panthers have averaged 35 rushing attempts per game (without a running QB) over their last three contests. That includes 43 for 320 rushing yards last week in a 37-23 home 'Dog win over the surging Detroit Lions. Carolina (6-9) has a shot to win the weak NFC South with a win over Tampa Bay (7-8) and a win next week at New Orleans. The Panthers are 4-2 in their last six games and 5-1 ATS. Brady and the Bucs have been overrated and underperformed all season (league 3-11-1 ATS). And while Tampa is just a -3.5 point favorite after laying -13 point at Carolina back in Week 7, the rushing situation and edges played out when Carolina ran over and through the Bucs in a 21-3 upset win after Baker Mayfield was replaced at quarterback. Now Sam Darnold is leading the Panthers surge after taking over for PJ Walker, and Darnold provides better balance as needed passing and has zero turnovers in the Panthers last four games. By the way, the Buccaneers run for a league-worst 77 rushing yards per game, and are No. 31 in the NFL in rushing attempts at 22.7 per game - see below if those numbers were to continue this week and our positive ATS chances of winning with the Panthers.
Chicago at Detroit
The Bears lead the NFL in rushing (180/game) and are also No. 1 with 34.3 rushing attempts per game. That's due to running QB Justin Fields, who is top-7 in league rushing (1,011 yards, 6.7 YPR), but the Bears are still 0-8 SU and 2-6 ATS slide in their last eight games, despite strong running game stats and profiles. We're not buying the media hype on Fields, as he's still too incompetent at times with too many turnovers while ranking among the worst passing quarterbacks. He's learning, but a risk, yet we'll buy-in this week and likely next week at home with the Bears hosting the Vikings. Both the Bears and Lions rank in the bottom quartile of Football Outsiders Rush Defense DVOA, and the two worst teams in weighted (recent) rush defense DVOA. We've been on and bet the Lions a number of times during their current 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS run including when the Lions (+3) beat the Bears 31-30 in Week 10 and lost to the Bills on Thanksgiving 28-25 taking 9.5 points in Week 12. That was part of our season-ending surge of 9-0 ATS until last week's loss. Fields rushed for 147 and passed for 167 and 4 total touchdowns in defeat to the Lions in Week 10. Look for the Bears QB to have a “Fields day” with the Lions feeling the playoff pressure and fitting a negative ATS profile below (via Action Network/Stuckey).
ATS Note: Eliminated teams playing teams that need to win over the final two weeks of the season have gone 95-57-4 ATS (62.5%) since 1990.
Running to Profits
NFL teams that out-rush their opponent by at least 30 yards in a game went 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS last week and are a 74% ATS winning profile again this season - right at the historical 20 year average. Teams that run the ball at least 30 times in a game (when their opponent does not) are a 78% ATS winning profile this season. Of additional note, teams that run the ball less than 23 times in a game went 1-7 SU/ATS last week and are covering the point spread at just a 17% success rate this season.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper with unparalleled success in NFL pointspread prognosis. Fairway is recognized as one of the sports industry's insightful analysts, and he chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at OSGA.com and on Twitter @FairwayJay for more betting insights.