NFL betting, week 17: Looking for outliers, pitying the Eagles
The only week of the NFL season worse for lucratively picking winning bets than week 17 is week 1. On opening day, every team is literally untested, every team full of unknowns, every preseason futures proposition bet impossible to win.
But by week 17, the proper NFL bettor has a pretty good hold on things, with both the playoff picture and the immediate postseason head coach firings are reasonably clear. Unfortunately, any such expertise run up during the regular season is thrown out the window for the seasons’ final week.
In 2019, we’re looking at a week 17 schedule in which five of the 16 games are completely irrelevant, except for a few potential job openings here and there. Another nine pit one playoff-bound team against an already eliminated side and these lines, i.e. Miami Dolphins -15 at New England Patriots, are the real trappers for the NFL bettor. We know the Jacksonville Jaguars are collectively already gone on vacation, but how loose will a non-contender such as Miami or Detroit play just to backdoor cover on a double-digit point spread when the playoff side benches starters in the second half?
Nevertheless, in leaning on some outliers, NFLbets found some viable options for NFL bettors in week 17 – because why wouldn’t you wager? We’ve got to beef up the bankroll in time for the playoffs and Super Bowl! For picks of the week for betting NFL week 17, then, we’ll start with…
Philadelphia Eagles -4 at New York Giants, under 45 points
Ah, yes – one more week to gaze upon the pitiable NFC East. Remember way back at season’s beginning when the sportsbooks were figuring on a dogfight for the division title between the seemingly well-armed Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, just one season removed from their Super Bowl upset of the New England Patriots? Well, we got a fight between (beat)dogs, at least…
After the Cowboys’ pathetic display of last week replete with numerous dropped catches, Ezekiel Elliott coming off the field for 3rd downs and the allowing of 10 points in the first quarter despite a turnover on downs and a missed FG, the Eagles are now “in control of their own destiny”, as the cliché masters like to say. Or are they…?
The truth is that the Eagles are just 1-4 SU against teams with winning records, and the sole W came in week 4 against the Green Bay Packers. Philly appears to be capable of taking care of business in the NFC East at 4-1 SU, but their 2-3 ATS record against those teams should give NFL bettors pause – particularly since the ATS wins have come the last two weeks.
As if this isn’t enough to destroy one’s faith in betting the Eagles, consider that they’re coming into this game with, likesay, no wide receivers to speak of. Between the IR and the DNPs figured for this game, the Eagles are leaving nearly 2,000 receiving yards on the bench, over 51% of the team’s total. Philadelphia’s leading active receivers are TE Dallas Goebert at 542 yards and RB Miles Sanders at 510 – this when they’re facing the NFL’s second worst passing defense per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.
In short, NFL bettors will have to be serious spendthrifts to wager on a winner here plus or minus points. That’s why we’re recommending bettors take the under on an O/U of 45 points. The Eagles defense has kept (mostly bad) opposing offenses to 17 or fewer points in six of the past eight games, including the overtime game against these Giants in week 14. Plus, New York has averaged just over 16 points per game against playoff or still-contending teams.
Sure, the Eagles might win and even cover the spread. But NFLbets feels a lot better just knowing all we need is for two low-watt teams to do their (lack of) stuff one more time in 2019…
Oakland Raiders +3 at Denver Broncos, over/under 40½ points
Don’t get NFLbets wrong here: The Broncos’ achievements this season have been extraordinary, considering they essentially ran the offense without a quarterback for the first 11 games and have subsequently turned to rookie
Andrew Luck Andrew Lock Drew Lock. Though just 6-9 SU, Denver is 9-5-1 ATS (or 9-6, depending on where you caught the week 4 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars), better than all but four teams.
But while Lock appears a fine young QB and Broncos fans would certainly appreciate a shift to younger blood after the Elway Era “highlighted” by big-name/low-production dudes like Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco. However, the fact that Denver is calling for 79 pass plays in the past two games points to a still-imbalanced offense. Homefield advantage may help Lock, where he’s 2-0 SU/ATS, but let’s just say more on this below.
(Note: Current weather reports have temperatures in the 30s for Sunday with a 0% chance of snow or rain. Adjust bets accordingly.)
Coming into cold ‘n’ sunny Denver are the Oakland Raiders in their last game before morphing into the Las Vegas Raiders. At 7-8 SU/ATS, Chucky’s guys have generally exceeded expectations in what might have been yet another money-saving tank year. And in 2019, this Raiders team has demonstrably been the NFL’s streakiest: After winning SU/ATS on opening day versus Denver, they took two SU/ATS losses followed by a 5-2 SU/ATS run, followed by an 0-4 SU/ATS losing streak and finally winning both ways in Los Angeles last weekend.
Entering the game as one of the few remaining bubble teams, the Raiders’ season in hindsight makes the team appear exactly that: Against sub-.500 teams, the Raiders went 7-2 SU (6-3 ATS) and 2-1 SU/ATS in games outside of Oakland. (Look, there’s no way NFLbets is calling last week’s game against the Chargers in Los Angeles an away game.)
In terms of intangibles and specifically the will to win, the Raiders hold all the cards. Jon Gruden has done a surprising job creating what should be a competitive team next season out of draft picks, castoffs and low-budget options. Though Derek Carr looks more physically limited than ever, i.e. can he throw the ball more than 15 yards downfield, Gruden is seriously living up to his “quarterback whisperer” reputation.
And despite some glaring shortcomings such as a bottom-10 red-zone scoring offense and a bottom-5 standing in points allowed and turnovers generated, reality says that the Raiders will a) be playing this game with a spot in the playoffs in the mix and b) be reaching deep into the playbook in an “anything goes” situation.
But here’s the big one – and we did promise outliers. Reputation says that Denver enjoys one of the NFL’s biggest homefield advantages. The truth, though, is that the Denver Broncos have the second-worst record ATS at home over the past 20 seasons. This year? They’re 5-1-1 with the sole loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. Ugly beatdown at the hands of the New York Jets notwithstanding, the Raiders have been beating these kinds of odds all season. Take the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders +4 at Denver.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week last week: 3-1-1.
NFLbets’ Picks of the Week this season: 41-27-1.
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