Final NFL Week 17 Picks for Every Game: Bets for Dolphins, Saints, More
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images. Pictured: Teddy Bridgewater.
Week 17 is here and we’re on the brink of the postseason. All eyes are on potential playoff scenarios, and motivations are key with some teams starting to close up shop and 1-2-3 Cancun themselves into the offseason.
We’ve still got exactly half of the playoff berths and division titles up for grabs, and there’s not a single playoff seed on lock yet with under 10 days to go. That should make for a juicy couple weekends of football.
We’ve already made decisions for almost every Week 17 game, so be sure to check the full explanations there. A few games have seen significant changes, enough to merit an update:
- Derek Carr benched — Smells fishy, worried about the Raiders quitting. I’ll flip sides to 49ers -9.5 but ultimately stay away.
- Colt McCoy out — David Blough will start for Arizona, but is that really a three-point downgrade? I can’t make the winless Desmond Ridder a TD favorite in a meaningless game, so I’m upgrading Cards +6 to a Lean and will Bet the ML
- Jaguars line down to -3 — Some questions on Trevor Lawrence’s health and whether Jacksonville cares here, but the Texans are terrible. If this stays at -3 and Lawrence is good to go, we have to Bet the Jags.
Let’s update those picks and recap our other Bet, Lean, and Pass decisions now that the lines have shifted, then get to our final four Week 17 decisions.
- Cowboys -9.5 at Titans
- Lions 1H -3.5 vs Bears (Lean Lions -6)
- Packers -3 vs Vikings
- Jets -1.5 at Seahawks & Under 42.5 SGP at +233 (Jets to make playoffs +500)
- Browns-Commanders Under 41 (Pass Browns +2.5)
- Jaguars -3 at Texans (Bet if Lawrence is cleared)
- Panthers +4 at Bucs
- Cardinals +6 at Falcons (Sprinkle +215 ML)
- Rams +6.5 at Chargers (Sprinkle +230 ML)
- 49ers -9.5 at Raiders
- Colts +5.5 at Giants
- Broncos +12.5 at Chiefs
- Week 17 Saints +235 ML & Week 18 Cowboys +175 ML parlay at +821
- Week 17 Broncos +575 ML & Week 18 Patriots +370 ML parlay at +3072
- Week 17 Browns +110 ML & Week 17 Jets -125 ML & Week 18 Lions +167 ML parlay at +909
- Week 17 Texans +170 ML & Week 18 Vikings -135 ML parlay at +370
Tua Tagovailoa is out, and it remains to be seen if or when we’ll see him again this season. Miami has the league’s best pass offense by DVOA and are third overall in full Tagovailoa games versus 25th in the other four games, so it’s fair to say his absence looms large.
Both secondaries are in shambles injury-wise. Miami has dealt with this all season and may not be too worried against an anemic Patriots attack, but New England is extremely short-handed at corner and could be in trouble against Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill.
But can Teddy Bridgewater get them the ball?
This is technically Bridgewater’s second start of the season, but he was injured in the opening minutes of the first, and he came off the bench in two other games where he played a big role. This is his first chance to start for Mike McDaniel’s offense with a full week of preparation, and that could be key.
Besides, they don’t call him Teddy Covers for nothing. Bridgewater is 42-22 ATS (66%) as a starter, including an incredible 24-7 ATS (77%) on the road. He’s also 26-9 ATS (74%) as an underdog, the single most profitable quarterback in our Bet Labs system.
Miami’s offense has really struggled over the past month, but in a toss-up game, those Bridgewater trends are enough to back the Dolphins.
I prefer the total, though, and I like under 41. Bridgewater also has good trends to the under, 14-10 (58%) with a total below 44 and 20-10-1 (67%) on the road. Miami’s defense has quietly played well over the last six weeks, up to eighth in DVOA to offset the struggling offense, and we know New England can defend without offering much of a threat offensively.
Unders in division games from Week 14 forward hit at 58% with a home favorite under a TD and at 56% with a total from 40 to 47. Patriots games are under this line in six of the last eight, and for all the hype of Miami’s offense, the Dolphins have scored 21 or fewer in nine of 15 games (60%), including all four without Tagovailoa.
I bet the under 43 earlier in the week but I still like it at 41, and I lean Miami and the points in a close, unpredictable game.
The Pick: Bet Under 41 (Lean Dolphins +2.5) | Previously: Wait for Tagovailoa news
The injury report isn’t pretty for this one.
The Saints offense is in terrible shape. The entire interior of the offensive line is missing, and there isn’t much to offer at receiver. It’s possible the Eagles defense alone will be enough to dominate and secure the win and the 1-seed.
But Philly is starting to pile up injuries in a troublesome way. Jalen Hurts is out again, and I don’t think this number has downgraded enough to account for an MVP candidate, even with as well as Gardner Minshew played last week. The Eagles are also missing their most important lineman, Lane Johnson, and key nickel corner Avonte Maddox.
The Eagles badly need to win this and get some rest, but this is no gimme. Philadelphia is still the better team, but not by as much as this line suggests. New Orleans, still alive for the playoffs, rank 10th in DVOA over the last six weeks, including top 13 on both offense and defense, and elite against the pass.
The injuries and total suggest a low-scoring game that should give the Saints a real chance to make things uncomfortable for Philadelphia. This is a classic spot to play the number, not the matchup, and take the points.
At +215 on the moneyline, I’m compelled to back the Saints there, too. If New Orleans does win, that leaves the 1-seed in play for Week 18 and compels us to back other teams like Dallas now, before the lines adjust to reflect the change, probably dramatically.
I wrote on the Week 18 Lookahead about parlaying a Saints ML with a Cowboys ML in Week 18 at +821, and I think that’s the best way to back the Saints aggressively here.
The Pick: Parlay Saints +215 ML with Week 18 Cowboys ML (Lean Saints +6.5) | Previously: Wait for Hurts injury news
We already got the best of this number and then some on last week’s Lookahead, snagging Steelers +6.5 and under 42 well in advance. That total has dropped a full 6.5 points since, and the spread has dipped four points with Lamar Jackson out, giving us huge CLV.
If you tailed early, you can bet the other side now with Ravens -2 and over 35 — a juicy middle if that’s your thing.
I still like the Steelers if you’re coming in fresh. When Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh face off, it’s just about always a good idea to back the underdog. Dogs in Tomlin vs. Harbaugh games are 21-5-3 ATS (81%), and Tomlin is a perfect 7-0 ATS as a division underdog from Week 14 forward, covering by over 12 PPG.
I’m not sure why the Steelers aren’t favored at this point. Both teams are playing elite defense, but Baltimore hasn’t found any offense under Tyler Huntley and the passing game has been particularly bad.
These are the top two run defenses in the NFL over the past six weeks, and Pittsburgh ranks top 13 both running and passing on both offense and defense during that stretch.
This certainly looks low scoring again, but the line is so low that it has robbed the value. Still, it’s worth noting that 16 of the last 21 games (76%) with a total at 37 or fewer have gone under.
Expect this game to be exactly what you think — ugly, defensive, low scoring and close. Should be a black-and-blue Sunday night.
The Pick: Lean Steelers +2.5
This is the big one. Our last Monday Night Football game of the regular season will have a massive impact on the entire playoff bracket and how the rest of this season plays out.
The Bills control their destiny for the 1-seed. Win out and Buffalo secures the bye week and a much-needed week of rest. If the Chiefs lose, a Bills win locks up the 1-seed here. A Chiefs loss would also put the Bengals in position to grab the 1-seed with a win here and in Week 18.
That 1-seed is massive. It’s not just the week off. The AFC is loaded, and the best way to advance will be not playing anyone at all with a bye week. It’s just as big the following week. Two of these three teams will likely be playing each other there in an all-out brawl, while the rested 1-seed would instead get a bad AFC South champ or a banged-up team like the Ravens or Chargers.
If you knew right now who would win the 1-seed, that would tell you exactly who to bet on for AFC and Super Bowl futures. The 1-seed should be the favorite. If you feel strongly about a side here, that’s your best and most aggressive way to play this game.
In a huge game for the Bills, my first instinct is always to look for Josh Allen rushing overs. Buffalo has established a clear pattern with Allen over the last couple seasons.
They save his legs against opponents they can beat otherwise, but break out their battering ram and give Allen designed runs and more freedom to scramble in the biggest moments.
Take a look at how strong Allen’s splits are:
- 11 games vs. non-playoff teams last season: 5.7 rushes for 38 yards
- 8 games vs. playoff teams last season: 9.5 rushes for 59 yards
- 6 games vs. presumed non-playoff teams this season: 5.8 rushes for 36 yards
- 9 games vs. presumed playoff teams this season: 9.3 rushes for 60 yards
The pattern is clear and the numbers are consistent from last season to this. When Buffalo plays its biggest games, Allen runs more, typically around 10 times for 60 yards.
Allen’s rushing attempts prop is at 8.5. He’s gone over that in 12 of 17 games (71%) against playoff opponents across these two seasons. He’s run for at least 44 yards in 13 of the 17 (76%), and he’s 10-7 (59%) to the posted 48.5 yards over with several close misses.
I love both overs for Allen. Cincinnati ranks bottom five against designed QB runs, and both of its best pass rushers are banged up so containing Allen could be a serious chore. Add in a 50% chance of rain and that’s even more of a setup for Allen to tuck and run.
I expect around 10 rushes for 65 yards, so I’m compelled to play an Allen rushing yards escalator as well. At FanDuel, we can play 60+ yards at +174 and 70+ at +300. Allen has hit 60 in nearly half of these games against playoff opponents (8-of-17, 47%). He’s also hit 70 five times this year, all against possible playoff opponents.
As for the game itself, the line feels about right to me. I love how Cincinnati has been playing and have been eyeing them as a playoff sleeper, but the injuries are starting to pile up at the wrong spots.
La’el Collins is a huge loss on the offensive line while Chidobe Awuzie is a huge hit to the secondary. Both Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard are also hurt, which cripples the pass rush. Allen could have a huge game with both his legs and his arm.
If you’re looking to fade Patrick Mahomes for MVP, you obviously want to back whatever QB you think wins this game. This is a real chance for an MVP moment, and if Mahomes stumbles — he’d probably have to lose to the Broncos with a few picks — the door could be open for Allen or Joe Burrow to put up a big line and make a push. Either of them would have the AFC 1-seed and head-to-head wins over both, and that’s a pretty strong case.
I lean under 49.5. Unders for games featuring home underdogs are a very strong 65% this season. Primetime unders continue to hit well, and Bills and Bengals unders are both 10-5 on the season (67%). Allen road unders have also been profitable at 22-13-2 (63%) over his career, and the possible rain could help.
You’ve got a lot of options here, but I don’t think a side is the right way to go. If you like one side, sprinkle the MVP race and/or play futures for that team. My favorite bet here is Josh Allen rushing yards overs.
The Pick: Bet Josh Allen over 48.5 rushing yards (and Allen escalator 60+ at +170, 70+ at +300)
Previously: Wait to see where the line settles and dive in on Saturday
Other Angles: Lean Under 49.5; Bills -1 (Pass)
Futures Angles: Back the side you like for conference/title futures, or back the QB for MVP