Heading into Week 14 I said that my gambling season was just like this year’s version of the Steelers. The Steelers were a confusing 7-5 but still had a chance to make the playoffs if they finished strong. I was coming off a terrible 5-11 week and was only a few games above the line of profitability for the season. I also needed to finish strong to ensure that I finished above 52.4% for the year.
Fast forward to Week 17 and the Steelers have won three straight and have a home game to win the division and lock up the three seed in the AFC. Following suit I’ve had three consecutive winning weeks, including a blazing 11-4-1 last week. That brings me up to 55.4% on the year and I’m sitting pretty.
G-Hunt was in the middle of a couple week slide but managed to right the ship to the tune of a 9-6-1 week. He’s sitting at 51.5% for the year so he needs a big week to make up that last percentage point.
Week 17 is a tough week to handicap because everything isn’t whole. Some teams just got eliminated from playoff contention last week and there is a giant letdown factor (the Eagles and Saints). Some teams have been bad all season and winning a game now only hurts their draft pick (the Buccaneers, Titans and Bears). Other teams have locked up a playoff spot and the outcome of their game doesn’t really matter (the Patriots, Colts and Cowboys). Throw in the fact that the Chiefs, Browns, and Cardinals are all starting backup quarterbacks due to injury and that leaves only a handful of games that are “normal.” That makes for a dicey gambling week.
Further adding to the uncertain nature of Week 17 is the fact that there are zero games in which the 80/20 Rule applies. That means that the betting public has no strong lean what’s gonna happen either, which sucks for me because I’ve been betting against the public all year.
Let’s all raise a beer and cheers to a fantastic NFL and gambling season. The cream of the crop is rising to the top and here’s to one last good week!
Here are our NFL Week 17 Picks ATS (lines are from Tuesday):
Panthers @ Falcons -4
Greg: Panthers +4
Rob: Panthers +4
In each of their last five matchup’s against the Falcons, the Panthers have either won straight up or would have covered a four point spread. In their last ten games played this season the Falcons have won by four points or more only three times. This game is gonna be close and when in doubt I’m taking the points.
Lions @ Packers -7.5
Greg: Lions +7.5
Rob: Lions +7.5
The Packers haven’t been so high and mighty when it comes to betting. They are only 8-6-1 ATS on the year and 2-3 their last five. They are, however, 5-1-1- ATS at home. I have a very hard time trusting Matthew Stafford and the Lions as they are yet to prove that they can win a big game, none the less a big game on the road. They are only 3-6 ATS their last nine, which isn’t exactly a trend I like. The Lions beat the Packers by 12 earlier this year, but that was months ago and these teams are different now. Taking the Packers is the obvious public thing to do, but this has been my Year of Minority where I get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In seven of the last nine matchup’s the Lions would have covered a 7.5 point spread or have won straight up. That tells me they play the Packers well and I’ll just cross my fingers that the Lions D plays like they have all season.
Colts -7 @ Titans
Greg: Colts -7
Rob: Colts -7
There is zero motivation for the Titans to win this game or even show up. They are 0-5 ATS their last five and a juicy draft pick is waiting for them at the end of this game. Sure the Colts got destroyed last week vs the Cowboys but that’s what this Colts team does. They lose to the good teams (Steelers, Patriots, Cowboys) and then beat the crappy teams. The Titans are a crappy team.
Chargers @ Chiefs -2.5
Greg: Chiefs -2.5
Rob: Chargers +2.5
Last week the Chargers miraculously got their second cover in the last ten games. It was a game they had to win and a victory here gets them in the playoffs. The Chiefs actually played OK against the Steelers but field goals don’t win games, nor does Andy Reid’s clock management. The Chiefs are 5-2 ATS at home and the Chargers are dinged up all over the place. However, I expect the Chargers to focus on stopping the run and the Chiefs down the field air attack has been pedestrian. The Chargers find a way to win, somehow, which will lead to numerous Philip Rivers face memes.
*Update* Word came out that Alex Smith isn’t playing because of a lacerated spleen . It would be so San Diego Chargers to somehow find a way to not win this game against a backup quarterback.
Jets @ Dolphins -5.5
Greg: Dolphins -5.5
Rob: Jets +5.5
Leave it to Rex Ryan to get his craptacular Jets to finish the season strong. They have covered two in a row and three of their last four. Apparently “this team never quits” is actually resonating in the locker room. At one point this year Dolphins looked like a legitimate playoff team, but unfortunately they couldn’t beat a good team (Ravens, Patriots, Lions, Broncos) and their true colors were shown. They are 0-4 ATS their last four and homie don’t play that.
Bears @ Vikings -6.5
Greg: Bears +6.5
Rob: Vikings -6.5
The Vikings have been the gift that keeps on giving. They’ve covered in five straight and eight of their last nine. I’m not about to bite the hand that feeds me. This is a season that Bears fans will never forget and a win here would actually be a loss. The best case scenario is a four interception Jay Cutler performance (adding fuel to the “Jay Cutler is the worst” fire, which is justified yet overblown since the Bears have tons of problems), getting a better draft pick, cleaning house, and re-evaluate everything. Everything.
Bills @ Patriots -4.5
Greg: Bills +4.5
Rob: Bills +4.5
Motivation is a huge factor in this one as the Patriots have locked up the number one seed in the AFC. The Bills have a chance at a winning season and what better way to end a better than expected season than beating the hated Patriots (regardless of who is on the field for them). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed rooting for and watching the Kyle Orton experience this season. The Bills have far exceeded expectations and I’d love to see Kyle Orton ride off into the sunset by holding up one finger as he runs off the field in victory.
Eagles @ Giants -3
Greg: Eagles +3
Rob: Giants -3
The Giants have covered three in a row and four of their last five. The Eagles aren’t making the playoffs and are 0-3 ATS their last three. That’s simple math.
Saints -4 @ Buccaneers
Greg: Buccaneers +4
Rob: Buccaneers +4
The Saints are only 2-5 ATS their last seven and what better way to end this disaster of a season than by not showing up on the road against one of the worst teams in football. The Buccaneers are 4-4 ATS their last eight so at least that’s something positiveish. The Buccaneers need a win here to avoid going winless at home for only the second time in franchise history. That’s actual motivation.
Cowboys -7 @ Redskins
Greg: Redskins +7
Rob: Redskins +7
The Cowboys have covered in three straight but how much will they play their starters? A win here by the Redskins and they will have swept the season series from the Cowboys. In a season that has been a disaster of Waterworld proportions that would at least be something positive to take away for the Redskins.
Browns @ Ravens -9
Greg: Ravens -9
Rob: Ravens -9
The Browns are 6-1-1 ATS as an underdog this season, but none of those games were starting an undrafted rookie free agent taking his first NFL snaps. The motivation without question is there for the Ravens, but that was the Case last week when Keenum lead the Texans to a double digit victory. Five of the last six games between these teams has been within eight points. That being said, I wouldn’t feel confident starting Connor Shaw against Alabama none the less the Ravens on the road.
Jaguars @ Texans -10
Greg: Jaguars +10
Rob: Texans -10
The Texans have covered in four straight and are getting hot at the right time. The problem is it might be too little too late (you said it was a good size?!) The Jaguars have covered in two straight and three of their last four. The Texans are 6-1 ATS as a favorite, but five of the last seven tilts between these teams has been within ten points or less. The deciding factor for me is that the Texans are 9-5-1 ATS on the season, which is tied for third best in the NFL. The Jaguars are 5-9-1, which is fourth worst in the NFL.
Raiders @ Broncos -14
Greg: Raiders +14
Rob: Raiders +14
I don’t like what I’m seeing out of the Broncos. They are 2-4 ATS their last six and Peyton Manning doesn’t look healthy. The problem is the Broncos have won by double digits against the Raiders in each of their last six meetings. Two touchdowns is a lot and I’ve been a fan of the scrappy Raiders, who have a better ATS record this season than the Broncos (8-7 vs 7-8.) I already see myself betting against the Broncos in the playoffs.
Cardinals @ 49ers -6
Greg: 49ers -6
Rob: Cardinals +6
Can the 49ers just get done with this season and move on? The Cardinals are heading to the playoffs and on their defense alone I’m trusting them more than the 49ers.
Rams @ Seahawks -13
Greg: Rams +13
Rob: Seahawks -13
Two teams trending in different directions. Win this game and the Seahawks have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Seahawks have covered in five straight whereas the Rams have lost straight up and not covered in each of their last two. 13 points is a crapton and the Rams have a legit defense, but in the Seahawks five game win streak they’ve won each by double digits and held the opposition to single digit points in four of them. I just don’t see the Rams scoring and it goes without saying that the 12’s are going to be rabid, giving the Seahawks the best home field advantage in football.
Bengals @ Steelers -3
Greg: Steelers -3
Rob: Steelers -3
The Steelers have won six of the last eight games against the Bengals by seven points or more. However, the Bengals are 6-1 ATS this season as an underdog. It was a huge victory last week over the Broncos for the Bengals, but history tells me that Andy Dalton isn’t going to put together two good primetime games in a row. Plus, Dalton has thrown for less than 176 yards or less in three of his last four games this year and that’s not a positive trend, especially considering the Steelers weakness is covering the deep ball.
Head-to-Head weekly victories and season record:
G-Hunt (4-10-2): 119-112-9 (51.5%)
Rob (10-4-2): 128-103-9 (55.4%)