The final week of the NFL regular season is here. While I know there are going to be some great playoff matchups coming up, it is still sad to know that this will be the final week of 16 games under next season.
Week 17 also brings many different scenarios and motivations, depending on the team. There are teams fighting for playoff spots and positions, while others are resting their players or would rather lose. This creates headaches, weird lines and a large amount of unpredictability. Still, I found five spots where I think there is some value for us to play with. Here are five of my favorite bets for Week 17.
Green Bay Packers (-12.5) at Detroit Lions
With the Packers needing a win to solidify a first-round bye in the playoffs, I expect them to put together a solid performance against the struggling Lions. The Lions have been one of the league’s worst teams over the last three weeks, averaging just 13.7 points (Last in the NFL) while allowing 28.3 points per game (ninth-worst in NFL). Green Bay has played some stellar defense as of late (13.7 points per game allowed in the last three). The Lions have also allowed 13 sacks over the past four games, while the Packers have averaged four sacks per game in their last three. Green Bay should have little trouble getting pressure on David Blough and forcing mistakes, which should lead to an early lead for the Packers and them covering the spread.
Cleveland Browns (-2.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati has been terrible in all three phases of the game this year, but their offense has easily been their biggest issue. Cincinnati is averaging just 16.4 points per game (PPG) both at home (No. 29 in the NFL) and on the season as a whole (Last in the NFL). Cleveland’s defense should be able to keep the Bengals’ offense in check and put the team in a position to win. With the Browns maintaining control, they should give a heavy workload to Nick Chubb, who has been the team’s best player this season. He has continued to play well, totaling 100+ rushing yards in two of the past three games, including a 106-yard day against the Bengals the first time out. Cincinnati has struggled to stop the run as a whole, allowing 4.65 yards per rush to running backs this season. This could very well be the difference in the game if Cleveland’s passing game doesn’t show up.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (Over 44)
The Titans have hit the over in eight of their last nine games. While the under has hit often for the Texans, they rarely see projected totals as low as this, with just one of their last 10 games having a total set below 46, and they hit the over in that game. Seven of their last 10 games have scored at least 45 total points. Yes, Deshaun Watson is questionable this week, but Titans corner Adoree’ Jackson has already been ruled out, creating an even easier matchup no matter who is taking snaps. I also do not mind taking the Texans’ spread in this game, but betting the over seems to be the better spot.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-1)
Coach Sean McDermott said that the “majority” of his starters will play in this game, including quarterback Josh Allen. While I do not think Allen will play the full four quarters in what is a meaningless game in terms of playoff position, Allen playing suggests the Bills want to win this game and keep momentum going into the postseason. In what is essentially a pick’em, I’ll take the home team, the better team and the team with the elite defense. The Bills should be able to find a couple of early touchdowns through the air, and that may be all that is needed to cover this spread, in what is the game with the second-lowest projected total of the week.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (+4)
Boy, wouldn’t it be interesting for the Cowboys to still make the playoffs? Well, that is very possible when looking at this game. In the first matchup, which was in Philadelphia, the Eagles needed overtime to beat Eli Manning. The Giants are a better team with Daniel Jones in the lineup, as shown by their 41-point outburst last week. The Giants have covered the spread in four of their last five games, while the Eagles have done so in just two of their past six games. Also, the offensive injuries continue to pile up for Philly, with Zach Ertz also out this week, making Dallas Goedert and Greg Ward Jr. the top two pass catchers. If the Eagles offense sputters, Jones and the Giants could not only cover the spread but win the game outright and spoil the party for the Eagles.
Week 16 Results: 1-3-1
Season to Date: 40-36-4