Week 17 NFL Betting Picks & Predictions: Your Guide to All of Sunday’s Games

Week 17 NFL Betting Picks & Predictions: Your Guide to All of Sunday’s Games article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: Mike Tomlin, Carson Wentz, A.J. Brown

  • Week 17 of the NFL season is here and our experts have you covered with previews for every game.
  • Find betting odds and picks for all of Sunday's main slate games, complete with matchup analysis.

The final Sunday of the NFL regular season gifts us a full slate — and our experts are here to help you find the best betting angles to end 2019 right.

They preview all 15 of the main slate game, featuring analysis of key matchups and picks:

  • Packers at Lions: 1 p.m. ET
  • Jets at Bills: 1 p.m. ET
  • Dolphins at Patriots: 1 p.m. ET
  • Bears at Vikings: 1 p.m. ET
  • Chargers at Chiefs: 1 p.m. ET
  • Browns at Bengals: 1 p.m. ET
  • Saints at Panthers: 1 p.m. ET
  • Falcons at Buccaneers: 1 p.m. ET
  • Colts at Jaguars: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Eagles at Giants: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Cardinals at Rams: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Steelers at Ravens: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Titans at Texans: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Raiders at Broncos: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • Redskins at Cowboys: 4:25 p.m. ET

Now let’s dig in!


Go To: GB-DET | NYJ-BUF | MIA-NE | CHI-MIN | LAC-KC | CLE-CIN | NO-CAR | ATL-TB | IND-JAC | PHI-NYG | ARI-LAR | PIT-BAL | TEN-HOU | OAK-DEN | WAS-DAL


Packers at Lions Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Packers -12
  • Over/Under: 43
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

All odds as of Friday and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


The Packers have, at worst, secured the NFC’s No. 3 seed with a chance to finish at the top depending on how Week 17 shakes out.

As of Thursday the Packers are double-digit favorites on the road, but bettors seem to be split on the spread and the total. About 53% like the Green Bay to cover and 51% of bets are on the over.

Can we expect a competitive game between two teams headed in very different directions? Our experts preview the key matchups to watch and what bets to make in this NFC North showdown.

Packers-Lions Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Lions

The Lions’ season is over and they don’t have too many key injuries heading into Week 17. None of the injuries on their report consist of skill players, but the two players who have been absent from practice are defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson (shoulder) and offensive lineman Rick Wagner (knee).

Perhaps the biggest injury DFS players should pay attention to is to Jamaal Williams, who missed practice on Wednesday with a shoulder injury.

Since the Packers will be motivated to play their starters this game, that could improve the outlook for Aaron Jones even more if Williams were to miss this game. Justin Bailey

Note: All injury info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Packers Pass Defense vs. David Blough

Under Blough, a third-string undrafted rookie out of Purdue, the Lions’ pass offense has stagnated in a major way, averaging just 4.84 net yards per attempt in his four starts. Meanwhile, Mike Pettine’s defense is starting to hit its stride.

The Packers haven’t allowed multiple touchdown passes since Week 12 and have done so only three times over their last 10 games. Green Bay’s pass defense ranks 11th in schedule-adjusted efficiency, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, and it also sits third in interception rate (3.1%) and 10th in Adjusted Sack Rate (7.7%).

Keyed by edge rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith who both rank top-eight in sacks with 13.5 and 12.0, respectively, as well as defensive tackle Kenny Clark, who grades out No. 2 in pass rushing among all interior lineman in ProFootball Focus’ grades, the Packers should be able to limit Blough’s efficiency and force him into bad decisions that players like ball-hawking cornerback Kevin King (five interceptions) can capitalize on.

The under is 9-6 in Packers games this season, and their edge on defense against Blough should be enough to finish out the year with a 10-6 under mark. — Chris Raybon

Expert Pick

Raybon: Under 43

The first thing that comes to mind with the Packers is how dangerous the offense can be with Aaron Rodgers, but Green Bay’s pass defense has been every bit as good as its pass offense — both rank 11th in DVOA.

This has created value on the under, particularly when the Packers are going up against divisional opponents with whom they have increased familiarity with. Per our Bet Labs data, the Packers are 36-28 (56.3%) to the under all-time in Rodgers’ divisional road starts.

The under is 5-0 in Packers division games this season, and given how overmatched Blough will be against Pettine’s unit, that mark is a good bet to remain perfect on the season.

Raybon is 188-143-10 (56.8%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Jets at Bills Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Bills -1.5
  • Over/Under: 36.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

The Bills have locked in the AFC’s No. 5 seed, meaning there’s a good chance they’ll rest some starters this week. Does that mean you should trust Sam Darnold and the Jets instead?

Even if Josh Allen plays a couple of series, our experts anticipate Buffalo’s passing attack to aggressively target New York’s weak secondary in a low-scoring game. Let’s get to their full analysis and a staff pick.

Jets-Bills Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Bills

The Bills have been healthy most of the season and Week 17 is no different. Shaq Lawson (hamstring) and Ty Nsekhe (ankle) were the only notable players on the injury report. Nsekhe hasn’t played since Week 11 and since the Bills have nothing to play for, I wouldn’t expect him to be active.

Robby Anderson (calf) has been limited in back-to-back days, so we’ll see if he ends up playing. Typically, everyone on the Jets who has been limited has suited up on Sundays. Demaryius Thomas (hamstring/knee), and offensive linemen Tom Compton (calf) and Alex Lewis (ankle) are trending towards sitting since they’ve missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Bills Passing Attack vs. Jets Secondary

The Jets secondary has struggled all season, allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. In their Week 1 matchup at home against Buffalo, New York allowed to Buffalo wideout John Brown to produce the overall No. 9 PPR fantasy WR performance with seven receptions, 123 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott has vowed to play his starters for a majority of the game, giving Brown and Allen plenty of time to attack the Jets pass defense.

Buffalo slot receiver Cole Beasley has been incredibly efficient in home games, averaging a robust 7.71 targets and 0.71 touchdowns per game. The Jets will likely struggle to limit the short to intermediate work of Beasley as well as the deep ball prowess of Brown.

The Jets defense has been significantly worse on the road, allowing over 28 points per game with a point differential of -11.9 points. I expect that trend to continue on the road at Buffalo, where the Jets have lost five of the last seven games.

Even with the likelihood of reduced playing time, the Buffalo aerial attack should find success against an overmatched Jets pass defense. Mike Randle

Expert Pick

Chris Raybon: Under 37

The Bills are locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC, which means key offensive pieces like Allen, running back Devin Singletary and wide receiver John Brown are unlikely to see their normal amount of snaps. The same is true on the defensive side of the ball with players such as cornerback Tre’Davious White, of course, but I don’t think that will have as big of an impact on a Jets offense that ranks dead last in schedule-adjusted efficiency according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA.

According to our Bet Labs data, the Bills under is 29-19 under McDermott, registering a profitable mark in all three of his seasons as head coach.

As 37 is a key number for NFL totals, I would lean towards taking Jets +1.5 or Jets moneyline if a 37 isn’t available since this bet is predicated on the Bills offense not living up to its end of the bargain. Stuckey and I discuss this game in more detail in the Sunday Six-Pack segment of our Week 17 NFL Betting Action Network Podcast.

Raybon is 188-143-10 (56.8%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Dolphins at Patriots Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Patriots -16
  • Over/Under: 44.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

When these two teams faced off in Week 2, the Patriots closed as 18-point favorites — a number they easily covered.

The public seems to think the Dolphins have a better shot at covering another double-digit spread as 64% of tickets are backing them as of Thursday compared to 38% in September.

Will this game be a repeat of the first installment? Our experts preview the key matchups to watch for in this game and make their pick.

Dolphins-Patriots Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Dolphins

Everyone on the Dolphins’ injury report has at least been limited, suggesting they’re all trending towards playing. Allen Hurns (ankle/neck) was limited, but that’s been the case for him the past few weeks.

Per usual, Julian Edelman (knee/shoulder) has been limited in practice, but he’s still been suiting up every Sunday. Other names to monitor include cornerbacks Jason McCourty (groin) and Jonathan Jones (groin), along with linebacker Jaimie Collins (shoulder). Collins grades out as one of Pro Football Focus’ best pass rushers on their team. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Patriots Pass Defense vs. Dolphins Pass Offense

Limiting opposing passers to NFL-lows in completion percentage (55.7%), yards per attempt (5.8), TD rate (2.7%), and interception rate (5.1%) this season, the Patriots defense has been nothing short of a gauntlet where opposing quarterbacks go to die (no wonder Sam Darnold was “seeing ghosts” — he was already dead).

Look for Bill Belichick’s unit to coax Ryan Fitzpatrick into mistakes, as he has thrown 13 interceptions in 12 starts and is not one to check the ball down (his 18.8% target rate to running backs is well below the league average), while the Patriots rank No. 1 schedule-adjusted efficiency on targets to wide receivers and No. 5 vs. tight ends, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA

On the Week 17 Fantasy Flex Podcast, I told Sean Koerner and Matthew Freedman that Fitzpatrick’s matchup against New England essentially broke my interception model, popping with a ghastly projection of 1.7 picks for Fitzpatrick — to which Koerner immediately responded, “over!”

Fitzpatrick has been a DFS revelation this season, hitting value in eight of his past 10 games on DraftKings with a Plus/Minus of +6.32, but our FantasyLabs NFL Player Models have Fitzpatrick pegged for the second-worst value among all quarterbacks on the Week 17 slate. — Chris Raybon

PRO System Match

Unders have been a smart play in division matchups as increased familiarity between teams creates a lower-scoring environment — unders have gone 843-744-29 (53.1%) since 2003.

It may seem obvious to some bettors, but it’s been more profitable to take the under in division games with high totals (more than 44 points) — it’s just easier for unders to cash when more points are expected to be scored.

Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 195-114-3 (63.1%) since 2003. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $7,135 following this strategy.

The Patriots-Dolphins total has increased a full point from 43.5, but history suggests the under is the smart play. John Ewing


PRO Systems are data-driven betting strategies that turn winning long-term trends into easy-to-follow picks, all handpicked and monitored by our team of analysts. Try Action PRO now and instantly access real-time game matches for every PRO System.


Expert Pick

Matthew Freedman: Dolphins +16

I respect the Patriots, but they’re not as dominant as they once were, and they’re dealing with injuries to starting cornerbacks Jason McCourty (groin) and Jonathan Jones (groin).

Against free-wheeling downfield-throwing nothing-to-lose quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the absence of McCourty and Jones could be significant.

Say what you want about the Dolphins — they’ve allowed an NFL-high 31.3 points per game — but at least they are giving full effort and playing as if they want to win.

And they have been significantly better since their Week 5 bye.

  • Weeks 1-4 (four games): -34.3 point differential | 6.5 points scored | 40.8 points allowed
  • Weeks 5-16 (11 games): -4.9 point differential | 23 points scored | 27.9 points allowed

After going 0-4 against the spread in September, the Dolphins are 8-3 ATS (40.6% ROI) since the bye week.

Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Bears at Vikings Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Vikings -1
  • Over/Under: 37
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Vikings are locked into the No. 6 seed for the NFC, so how much will they play their best players in Sunday’s matchup against the Bears? The line has crashed from an opening of -7 to -1 for Minnesota, so is it time to bank on the Vikings or trust Mitchell Trubisky?

Our experts preview the matchup and make their pick.

Bears-Vikings Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Both are banged up

Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and Alexander Mattison (ankle) have returned to limited work, but I’d be surprised if the Vikings play them much since Minnesota is locked into the No. 6 seed for the playoffs.

The Bears are probably a bit more banged up than the Vikings with Taylor Gabriel (concussion), offensive lineman Bobby Massie (ankle) and defensive linemen Akiem Hicks (elbow) and Eddie Goldman (concussion) all on the injury report. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Vikings Safeties vs. Bears Tight Ends

Normally I don’t focus on matchups as inconsequential as this one; the outcome of this game will likely not be determined by how the Vikings safeties handle the Bears tight ends.

But this matchup is just so uneven that I have to talk about it.

The Bears have a subpar passing game: Mitchell Trubisky has regressed in his third season, dropping from a respectable 7.3 adjusted yards per attempt last year to a bottom-feeding 5.9 AY/A this year. And the Bears are dangerously thin at tight end. Starter Trey Burton (calf, IR) is out. Backup Adam Shaheen (foot, IR) is out. Third-stringer Ben Braunecker (concussion, IR) is out.

At the position, the Bears are going with J.P. Holtz and Jesper Horsted. Those sound like like characters in a Mark Twain book.

Holtz is a fourth-year undrafted veteran who opened the season on the Redskins and never played a snap in the NFL until Week 3. And Horsted is an undrafted rookie Ivy League wide receiver who has been pressed into action as a tight end because of all the injuries.

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Harrison Smith, Anthony Harris

Opposite them are safeties Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith, who are respectively Nos. 1-2 at the position in Pro Football Focus coverage grade. Thanks to their outstanding safety duo, the Vikings are No. 1 against tight ends in pass defense (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric).

The Vikings have allowed a league-low one touchdown this year to tight ends.

Since the Vikings are locked into the sixth seed, they may not rely too heavily on their starters. That means Harris and Smith could rest some of the game.

But even if that happens, I won’t be too worried about Holtz and Horsted going off. For each guy, this literally might be his last game in the NFL. Matthew Freedman

Expert Pick

Chris Raybon: Under 37

I feel like my brand has become betting the under on disgustingly low totals. Nevertheless, it’s hard to ignore the likelihood of a disgustingly low-scoring game. On one side, we have a top-10 Bears defense going up against a Vikings offense that will likely hold out Dalvin Cook (shoulder) while limiting key players like Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen. On the other, we a Mitch Trubisky-led offense with a bad offensive line (and expiring tight ends according to Freedman’s blurb) squaring off against a Mike Zimmer defense that shouldn’t be expected to fold at home even if its best players see limited snaps.

According to our Bet Labs data, the Bears under is 22-10 (69%) all-time in Trubisky’s starts when the total is 44 or less, and the Vikings under is 29-18 (62%) all-time at home under Mike Zimmer. This line initially opened at 41.5, but reopened at 37.5 when the prospect of Minnesota resting starters became a more likely reality.

Despite 64% of money on the over at the time of this writing, the line has dropped to 37 at many books with nary a 38 in sight. I’d bet it down to the key number of 37.

Raybon is 188-143-10 (56.8%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Chargers at Chiefs Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Chiefs -8
  • Over/Under: 45.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Chiefs close out the regular season at Arrowhead Stadium against their division rival Chargers. Bettors are heavily backing the AFC West champions with 86% of tickets taking Kansas City to cover. However, just 39% of betting tickets are on the over in this matchup.

Will these two defenses keep the scoring low? Our experts preview the key matchups to watch for in this game below.

Chargers-Chiefs Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Chiefs

The Chiefs had their usual suspects on the injury report in cornerback Morris Claiborne (shoulder) and offensive lineman Andrew Wylie (ankle/shoulder). Both have at least been limited in practice.

The Chargers had Philip Rivers (thumb) pop up on the injury report Wednesday with a thumb injury, but I’d be incredibly shocked if he didn’t play in this game. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Chiefs Defense vs. Chargers Offense

Despite a strong collection of skill-position talent in running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and tight end Hunter Henry, Rivers has led the Chargers offense to a disappointing 21.1 points per game (21st in the NFL).

Only five times in 15 games have the Chargers topped 20 points, including just 2-of-9 without left tackle Russell Okung, who is iffy to play this week with a groin injury.

The Chiefs are known for their explosive, Patrick Mahomes-led offense, but they’ve quietly turned in a strong campaign on the other side of the ball. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s unit ranks seventh in points allowed per game (19.1) and 10th in schedule-adjusted efficiency, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

It’s also peaking at the right time, with its last five opponents able to muster just 9.6 points per game. Over the past two contests, the Chiefs have given up two field goals. Six points. That’s it.

K.C. held the Chargers to 17 points in Week 12 in Mexico City and should be good for a similar showing at Arrowhead, where the under is 36-22-1 (62.1%) in the Andy Reid era. — Chris Raybon

Expert Pick

Matthew Freedman: Under 45.5

Whenever the Chiefs are home, I almost always automatically bet the under.

That might seem counterintuitive: If the team with one of the best offenses in the league is at home, shouldn’t we expect that team to score more points than usual? And wouldn’t that drive the game to the over?

With the Chiefs, that historically hasn’t been the case.

Under head coach Andy Reid (since 2013), the Chiefs have actually scored 2.9 fewer points at home than on the road. That’s easily the most negative home/away offensive scoring differential in the league.

In fact, Chiefs games have an NFL-worst home/away total differential of -7.8 points. In Kansas City, NFL games rank No. 27 with a mere 43.3 points. On the road, Chiefs games blow out with 51.0 points, the No. 2 mark in the league.

Arrowhead Stadium is a tough place to score, for both the home and visiting teams. In the Reid era, no home team has made under bettors more money than the Chiefs have with their 36-21-1 under record (including playoffs, 23% ROI).

I would bet the under on this game down to 45.

Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Browns at Bengals Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Browns -3
  • Over/Under: 43.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Cleveland Browns’ playoff hopes are dead. The Cincinnati Bengals already secured the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft. What else is there to play for?

Our experts preview this AFC North matchup, complete with a pick on the 3-point spread.

Browns-Bengals Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Browns

It only took 17 weeks, but the Bengals finally placed A.J. Green (ankle) on injured reserve. They’ll continue to run out Tyler Boyd, John Ross and Alex Erickson in three receiver sets. Three of their cornerbacks are also banged up: Darqueze Dennard (knee), Will Jackson (shoulder) and Tony McRae (concussion).

Most of the Browns players are getting in limited practices except for tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (illness), who has missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. If he can’t go, maybe they’ll have David Njoku active. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Joe Mixon vs. Browns Rush Defense

When these teams first met in Cleveland earlier this season, Mixon had 23 carries for 146 yards in addition to three catches for 40 yards. As a team, Cincy ran for 179 yards on 31 carries at 5.8 a pop.

I think the Bengals can duplicate that success against a Browns defense that’s allowing 5.0 yards per carry — Cleve is one of only three teams allowing five or more yards per rush on the season.

The defensive front can be pushed around, ranking 27th in adjusted line yards, and the help in the second level doesn’t get much better. Per Football Outsiders, the Browns rank in the bottom-five in both 2nd level rank (carries between 5-10 yards) and open field rank (carries longer than 10 yards). They also rank 24th in defending opposing backs in the passing game.

The Browns run defense is horrendous and is trending in the wrong direction without Myles Garrett (suspended) and Olivier Vernon (questionable) on the edge in recent weeks. Without those two, the Browns don’t have a single edge player ranked in the top 100 in run stop percentage among the 124 with at least 50 run snap plays. The three options without Vernon and Garrett all qualify and rank outside the top 100. It’s basically Sheldon Richardson on the interior, and that’s it. And as I mentioned before, the situation at LB isn’t great. Per Pro Football Focus, of the 61 linebackers with at least 500 snaps on the season, Mack Wilson and Joe Schobert rank 56th and 54th, respectively.

If you go by PFF, only the Panthers grade out worse against the rush. Stuckey

bengals-steelers-fantasy-monday night football-koerner
Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK. Pictured: Joe Mixon

PRO System Match

Unders have been a smart play in division matchups as increased familiarity between teams creates a lower-scoring environment — unders have gone 843-744-29 (53.1%) since 2003.

It may seem obvious to some bettors, but it’s been more profitable to take the under in division games with high totals (more than 44 points) — it’s just easier for unders to cash when more points are expected to be scored.

Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 195-114-3 (63.1%) since 2003. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $7,135 following this strategy.

A majority of tickets are on the over but more than 50% of dollars are on the under indicating that sharp bettors expect a lower scoring game. John Ewing

Expert Pick

Stuckey: Bengals +3

As I mentioned, I think Mixon can have a big day. I’ll concede that one could say the same thing about the Browns backs against the Bengals linebackers, but this comes down to effort for me. I just don’t see the Browns showing up after last week’s meltdown against the Ravens. That loss cost them any hope of the playoffs and effectively ended a disappointing season. Now they travel to Cincy and take on the one-win Bengals in what should be an empty stadium.

This screams flat spot for an undisciplined team that has been poorly coached from the opening kick of the season.

I also think the Bengals are slightly undervalued as a result of that one win. But you have to remember how bad this team was when Ryan Finley took over under center. They averaged only 11 points per game over three losses. However, with Andy Dalton back, that production has doubled over the past four games with improved quarterback play and the return of a few pieces on the outside.

And don’t sleep on the Bengals special teams, which have been one of the top units in all of football this season. Per Football Outsiders, they rank No. 1 overall while the Browns have been slightly below average in that department.

Stuckey is 316-262-8 (54.7%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Saints at Panthers Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Saints -13
  • Over/Under: 45.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Saints have plenty of motivation heading into the final week of the regular season as they have a chance to finish with the NFC’s No. 1 seed and get home-field advantage. As of Thursday, the Saints have received 77% of spread bets wagered on the game.

Can they cover this double-digit spread on the road? Our experts preview the key matchups to watch and what bets to make in this NFC South showdown.

Saints-Panthers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Panthers

The main injury on the Panthers is D.J. Moore (concussion). It appears he won’t be ready for this game as he’s still in the concussion protocol. His potential absence would free up 24.5% target share.

The Saints had Drew Brees (knee) and Michael Thomas (hand) on their injury report on Wednesday. The Saints said Brees is just dealing with some knee inflammation, but is expected to be OK.

Thomas wasn’t seen at the open portion of practice on Thursday, so it’s worth monitoring as the week progresses. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Saints Run Offense vs. Panthers Run Defense

The Panthers are #NotGood against the run: They have a notable funnel defense that ranks No. 8 against the pass and No. 32 against the run (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric).

The Panthers have been without run-stuffing Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short (shoulder, IR) since Week 3, and in his absence, they have been a ground game sieve.

The Panthers have allowed a league-worst 351-1,909-25 rushing stat line to opposing backfields this season, and they are No. 31 in running back rush success rate allowed (per Sharp Football Stats).

In Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, the Saints have one of the league’s best backfield duos. Against the Panthers in Week 12, they combined for 118 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries.

And in Taysom Hill, the Saints have perhaps the league’s best “offensive weapon”/wildcat quarterback.

As big favorites, the Saints seem likely to rely on the running game, and against the Panthers, Kamara, Murray and Hill could combine for 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns. — Matthew Freedman

Expert Pick

Freedman: Saints -13

The Saints are in the running for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and the Panthers have lost seven straight games. Last week, in third-string rookie quarterback Will Grier’s first NFL start, the Panthers suffered a pathetic 38-6 defeat at the hands of the mediocre Colts.

Since head coach Ron Rivera was dismissed after Week 13, opponents are 2-0-1 against the spread (70% ROI) against the Panthers.

How have top-tier teams with something to play for historically done at the end of the season against bottom-feeder divisional rivals with limited motivation?

If we look at Week 17 divisional matchups between teams that are at least .650 and teams that are no greater than .350 — and if we exclude underdogs with strong records, since they are likely to be resting players — we get the answer: 21-14 ATS (18% ROI).

Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Falcons at Buccaneers Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Pick ‘Em
  • Over/Under: 48
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

It’s a disappointing end to the season for the high-flying Falcons and Buccaneers, but the NFC South rivals match-up to end the 2019 campaign.

Our experts preview the game, featuring analysis of the biggest mismatch and a staff pick.

Falcons-Buccaneers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Falcons

With just one game remaining, it’s not shocking to see Atlanta scale back on Julio Jones’s (shoulder) practice participation. That’s been the story the last few weeks.

Wide receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring) still isn’t practicing and I wouldn’t expect him to play in the last game of the season. Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson will continue to get the primary run at receiver. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Julio Jones vs. Bucs Cornerbacks

In Week 12, Jones had a disappointing 5-68-0 receiving performance on 10 targets against the Bucs, but this week I expect much more production.

No. 2 wide receiver Calvin Ridley (abdomen, IR) is out, and without Ridley over the past two weeks, Jones has exploded, turning 35 targets into 300 yards and two touchdowns.

The only wide receivers on the team competing for targets with Jones are Russell Gage and Christian Blake, neither of whom opened the season as a starter. We shouldn’t expect Julio to get 15 or more targets like he’s seen in each of the past two games, but an eight-target minimum seems reasonable.

In his 15 career games against the division rival Bucs, Jones has averaged 117.5 yards and 0.73 touchdowns on 10.5 targets and 7.1 receptions per game. I usually avoid putting too much weight on player-vs.-team splits, but in the case of Julio and the Bucs, there really might be something there: The Bucs have been consistently bad for so long, and the Falcons know how best to attack them because they play each other two times per year.

jaguars-vs-falcons-picks-predictions-betting-odds-week-16-2019
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones

The Bucs have a funnel defense ranked No. 1 against the run but No. 15 against the pass (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric). So the Falcons should be incentivized to pass against the Bucs, and it’s not as if the Falcons need extra motivation to throw: They lead the league with a 67.1% pass play rate.

The Bucs have allowed an NFL-high 221 receptions and 2,968 yards receiving to wide receivers, and they have yielded the third-most air yards and yards after the catch combined to opposing teams with 462.3 per game.

Cornerbacks Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting are not without promise, but they collectively form one of the league’s most inexperienced starting trios.

Against the Bucs, Julio has 150-yard, multi-touchdown potential. Matthew Freedman

PRO System Match

Unders have been a smart play in division matchups as increased familiarity between teams creates a lower-scoring environment — unders have gone 843-744-29 (53.1%) since 2003.

It may seem obvious to some bettors, but it’s been more profitable to take the under in division games with high totals (more than 44 points) — it’s just easier for unders to cash when more points are expected to be scored.

Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 195-114-3 (63.1%) since 2003. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $7,135 following this strategy.

More than 70% of tickets are on the over but the total has decreased from 49.5 to 48. The line movement suggests over bettors will be disappointed by the outcome of the game.  John Ewing

Expert Pick

Stuckey: Under 48

These are two defenses that have been trending up in the second half of the season. The Falcons have clearly remained motivated despite a 1-7 start with questions surrounding the future of head coach Dan Quinn. Since their bye, Atlanta has gone 5-2 since with a pair of road wins over the two potential top seeds in the NFC: New Orleans and San Francisco.

What has been the biggest difference? The defense. After allowing a total of 250 points in the first 8 games (31.25 average), Atlanta has only allowed 127 points in its past seven for an average just above 18 points — almost two touchdowns lower than the first eight. The third down defense in particular has been terrific over that stretch and players have just generally been in better position.

So, what changed? Quinn surrendered his play calling duties on the defensive side of the ball right around when the turnaround occurred. It also took some time for the Falcons to figure out how to replace Keanu Neal and the young corners are playing much better in the second half of the season. It also hasn’t hurt that Vic Beasley came to life after the bye.

Regarding the Buccaneers, the run defense has been stout all year and they currently lead the league with an opponent average of 3.3 yards per attempt. But the biggest improvement has been in the secondary which was an absolute mess in the first half of the year.

Rookie corner Jamel Dean, who didn’t even see more than two snaps in a game until week 9, has been a revelation at one corner spot. Per Pro Football Focus, Dean now ranks sixth in coverage among 116 corners with at least 300 snaps on the season. Also, Carlton Davis looks like a different player than we saw early in the year at the other corner spot. And his improved play has him up to 18th on that same list with Dean.

This unit has gone from one of the worst pass defenses in the league to two corners now grading as top 20 cover guys. You gotta give credit to Todd Bowles, who now has this defense up to No. 6 DVOA — No. 1 against the run and now all the way up to No. 12 against the pass.

Basically, we have two rapidly improving defenses that I think are being undervalued by the market taking on two offenses that have lost a plethora of talent on the outside. The Bucs lost Chris Godwin and Mike Evans while the Falcons traded Sanu and lost Calvin Ridley to injury. Give me the under here in this late season divisional matchup outdoors in Tampa.

Stuckey is 316-262-8 (54.7%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Colts at Jaguars Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Colts -3.5
  • Over/Under: 43
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

The Colts and Jaguars are each finishing off disappointing years, but they’ve got a final divisional matchup to finish their 2019 seasons. Should you trust the Colts even at the key number of 3.5?

Our experts preview this AFC South tilt, featuring a pick.

Colts-Jaguars Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Jags

Similar to Week 16, the Jaguars listed over 10 players on their injury report again, but every single one of them was removed from the injury report on Friday. I’d expect that to be the case again in Week 17.

Most of the injuries on the Colts are on the defensive side of the ball. The most notable are defensive lineman Denico Autry (concussion), cornerback Kenny Moore (ankle) and linebacker Darius Leonard (back). Autry is third on the team in pressures and hurries, Moore is their best cornerback in coverage and Leonard is one of their best pass rushers. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Colts Running Backs vs. Jaguars Linebackers

The Colts like to run the ball, ranking No. 6 with a 46.2% rush rate, and as home favorites, they seem especially likely to lean on the ground game.

The Colts don’t have an elite backfield, but their running backs are No. 8 in rush success rate and No. 11 in pass success rate (per Sharp Football Stats). At worst, they are competent, and against the Jags, competence can look like brilliance.

In Week 11, Colts running backs combined for 291 yards and two touchdowns against the Jags, and that was no fluke.

Just two years ago, the Jags had one of the league’s most feared defenses. They are now No. 31 in rush defense and No. 27 in pass defense against running backs (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric).

Since November — over the past eight weeks — the Jags have allowed 220.3 yards and 1.9 touchdowns on 26 carries and 6.9 targets per game to opposing backfields.

draftkings sportsbook promo code-bonus-monday night football-december 16 2019
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Marlon Mack

The problem lies primarily with the Jags linebackers: Starters Myles Jack (knee, IR) and Quincy Williams (hand, IR) haven’t played well this year anyway, but they’re both out, and backups Donald Payne and Austin Calitro are undrafted third-year special-teamers with little experience on defense.

And with their limited playing time this year, they’ve produced some incredibly poor Pro Football Focus grades.

  • Donald Payne: 27.2 overall grade, 38.3 run defense, 27.5 coverage
  • Austin Calitro: 43.9 overall grade, 47.9 run defense, 44.5 coverage

It almost doesn’t even matter who the running backs are: If they’re facing the Jags, they have a huge edge.

With Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins, Jonathan Williams and Nyheim Hines, the Colts have a stable — pun intended — of backs capable of putting up yards.

With this matchup, Colts running backs could combine for 200 yards and multiple touchdowns. Matthew Freedman

Expert Pick

Freedman: Colts -3.5

Since joining the Colts last year, head coach Frank Reich has had notable opponent-based against-the-spread splits.

  • Divisional Opponent (12 games): 8-3-1 ATS, 38.1% ROI
  • Non-Divisional Opponent (21 games): 8-11-2 ATS, -16.1% ROI

It helps that the Jaguars are in the AFC South. In 2017, they almost made the Super Bowl, but since then, HC Doug Marrone’s team has sensationally underwhelmed, and just last week, Executive VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin was fired.

I’d say there’s an above-average chance the Jags fire Marrone after the season, and it’s hard to say it wouldn’t be deserved. Marrone’s offense over the past three years has been one of the league’s least imaginative.

Since last season, opponents are 18-11-2 ATS (19.7% ROI) against Marrone’s Jags.

Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Eagles at Giants Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Eagles -4
  • Over/Under: 45
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Philadelphia Eagles are 4-point road favorites in a win-and-get-in game against the New York Giants. If Carson Wentz and Co. can pull out the victory, the NFC East and the NFC’s final playoff berth is theirs.

With the stakes in mind, our experts preview this divisional matchup and make their pick.

Eagles-Giants Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Giants

The Giants could be down their best pass-rusher with Alec Ogletree (back) missing practice to begin the week. Darius Slayton (knee) also popped up on the injury report, but Daniel Jones targeted him just twice in Week 16.

Jordan Howard (shoulder) is expected to be back, but it sounds like the Eagles will continue to ride Miles Sanders. Most notably, Zach Ertz (ribs) was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Ertz has a legitimate chance to be out, leaving Dallas Goedert to take on the primary tight end work in a must-win game. Justin Bailey

fantasy-football-ppr-rankings-te-week-12-2019
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Zach Ertz

Biggest Mismatch

Eagles Pass Offense vs. Giants Pass Defense

Despite a decimated Eagles receiving corps, this is still the biggest statistical mismatch between these two NFC East rivals.

In their Week 14 meeting, Carson Wentz tallied 325 passing yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 23-17 win. Since then, the Giants have allowed an average of 38.5 points to the Dolphins and Redskins, who have a combined seven wins.

The Eagles’ passing attack should find success against a Giants’ pass defense that allowed a combined three passing touchdowns last week to rookie Dwayne Haskins and journeyman Case Keenum. The Giants funnel defense currently ranks No. 8 against the run but No. 31 against the pass in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

Even with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery out for the season and fellow wideout Nelson Agholor likely to miss yet another game, Philadelphia still has plenty of receiving weapons to attack this weak New York secondary. The Giants are the fourth-most generous to opposing wide receivers.

Philadelphia found success in its first meeting by attacking with the tight end position, with Ertz totaling nine receptions, 91 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Even with Ertz hobbled by a broken rib, Goedert should be able to continue that positional success for the Eagles.

Wentz can also attack New York through the air via running back receptions, as Boston Scott and Sanders totaled 10 receptions and 93 yards against the Giants three weeks ago.

Despite starting wideouts with limited NFL success (Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside), I expect the Eagles to still find success against their rival with the division title at stake. Mike Randle

PRO System Match

Unders have been a smart play in division matchups as increased familiarity between teams creates a lower-scoring environment — unders have gone 843-744-29 (53.1%) since 2003.

It may seem obvious to some bettors, but it’s been more profitable to take the under in division games with high totals (more than 44 points) — it’s just easier for unders to cash when more points are expected to be scored.

Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 195-114-3 (63.1%) since 2003. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $7,135 following this strategy.

A majority of tickets are on the over but history suggests the under has value. John Ewing

Expert Pick

Randle: Under 45

As John outlined above, divisional matchups tend to skew under 45 points, and with the divisional title at stake, I expect this game to follow the same model.

While the Giants will struggle to stop the Eagles’ passing attack, this total failed to crest 40 points in their Week 14 matchup. The 325-yard passing performance by Wentz equated to only 23 total points in a home matchup.

The Giants rush defense has been strong all season, especially since acquiring DT Leonard Williams from the Jets in late October. The Giants are motivated to play spoiler to their divisional rival at home, especially since the Eagles have won 11 of the past 12 matchups.

I expect an inspired Giants efforts in a low-scoring Eagles win that supports the historic trend.

Randle is 243-233-5 (51.5%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Cardinals at Rams Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Rams -5
  • Over/Under: TBD
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

This is a matchup between two teams with nothing to play for in Week 17, but a potential injury could provide some value in this game. Our experts preview the key matchups to watch and how they’re betting divisional game.

Cardinals-Rams Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Rams

The healthier team is contingent on whether Kyler Murray (hamstring) suits up. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said they were going to be smart about his status on Sunday. It’s also notable Christian Kirk (ankle) wasn’t listed on their Wednesday report after he was a game-time call last week.

The Rams have already ruled out Jalen Ramsey (knee) for this game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them sit more of their injured players in this meaningless game. Head coach Sean McVay has already said he may sit some of their starters in this Week 17 finale. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Rams TE Tyler Higbee vs. Cardinals Pass Defense

Arizona’s defense has been ruthlessly exploited by opposing tight ends to the tune of a league-leading 1,107 yards and 15 touchdowns on 89 catches this season — they’re essentially turning every tight end they face into the equivalent of Michael Thomas.

Tyler Higbee
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tyler Higbee

Higbee has enjoyed a fourth-year renaissance, breaking out for career-highs in catches (61), yards (650), and 100-yard games (four). He has topped the century mark in four straight games, including a 7-107-0 effort in Week 13 to get the streak started.

The over on Higbee’s receiving yards prop is 8-3 this season, and sportsbooks will struggle to set his Week 17 line high enough. — Chris Raybon

PRO System Match

Unders have been a smart play in division matchups as increased familiarity between teams creates a lower-scoring environment — unders have gone 843-744-29 (53.1%) since 2003.

It may seem obvious to some bettors, but it’s been more profitable to take the under in division games with high totals (more than 44 points) — it’s just easier for unders to cash when more points are expected to be scored.

Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 195-114-3 (63.1%) since 2003. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $7,135 following this strategy.

The Rams have been one of the most profitable over teams in 2019 going 9-6. The public will be tempted to bet the over but history implies the under is the better bet. John Ewing

Expert Pick

Matthew Freedman: Cardinals +5.5

With their 34-31 loss to the 49ers last week, the Rams have been officially eliminated from the playoff race, and big organizational changes are expected this offseason.

The Rams are in disarray, and they have no motivation for Week 17.

The Cardinals, though, are a young-and-hungry team with back-to-back wins and the desire to prove themselves. Kingsbury has flashed at points in his first year with the team, and Murray (hamstring) could win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award with a big game.

Given that Murray left Week 16 early with a soft-tissue injury, hold off on betting this game until we know more about his status, but if he’s healthy enough to play, he provides an edge.

As road dogs, Kingsbury’s feisty Cardinals are 5-1-1 against the spread (52.8% ROI).

Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Steelers at Ravens Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Steelers -2
  • Over/Under: 37
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes are hanging in the balance of Sunday’s result against Baltimore, as well as Tennessee-Houston. With a win and a Titans loss, the Steelers are in. The Ravens, on the other hand, already have the AFC’s No. 1 seed locked in and are resting starters.

With the stakes and context in mind, our experts preview this matchup and make their pick.

Steelers-Ravens Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Ravens

Mark Ingram (calf) isn’t expected to play after suffering a calf strain last week. Additionally, Marcus Peters (chest) and Mark Andrews (ankle) are banged up. That said, the Ravens aren’t expected to play most of their starters since this game is meaningless for them.

Even if Andrews and Peters play, I’d doubt they play the whole game.

The Steelers already ruled out offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey (knee), and James Conner sounds like he’s in jeopardy of missing this game with his quad injury that forced him out of last week. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Steelers Rush Defense vs. Ravens Rush Offense

This mismatch is a direct result of the Ravens resting starters to prepare for playoffs: Likely MVP Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and starting guard Marshal Yanda will all sit. That represents the core of a Ravens’ rushing attack that’s been the most dominant in the NFL this season.

The Steelers, by contrast, will be at full strength with a playoff spot still in their sights. They’re the third-most efficient against the run by Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. They also allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and had success at limiting the Ravens rushing attack in their earlier Week 5 meeting. In that game, the Steelers held Ingram to 44 rushing yards on just 2.3 yards per carry. In fact, all Baltimore running backs combined for just 68 yards on 26 carries.

I expect a strong performance from the Steelers defense against a severely-undermanned Ravens rushing attack. Mike Randle

Mark Ingram
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mark Ingram

Expert Pick

Matthew Freedman: Steelers +2

The Ravens have almost no incentive to play this week. But the Steelers will be motivated.

The Steelers are losers of two straight, but have been a winning team since they lost Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2 and added defense-altering safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in Week 3.

  • Weeks 1-2 (two games): -16 point differential, 14.5 points scored, 30.5 points allowed
  • Weeks 3-16 (13 games): +2.8 point differential, 19.2 points scored, 16.5 points allowed

Since Week 3, the Steelers are 9-4 against the spread (36.1% ROI). I’d bet them down to a pick’em.

Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Titans at Texans Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Titans -3.5
  • Over/Under: 45
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

This is a win-and-get-in game for the Tennessee Titans.

Entering the week as the AFC’s current No. 6 seed, the Titans would officially clinch the conference’s final spot with a victory over their division rivals. But the Texans still have a chance at the No. 3 seed (pending whether the Chiefs can beat the Chargers), so it’s not like Houston has nothing to play for.

With the stakes in mind, our experts preview this matchup and make their pick.

Titans-Texans Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Titans

The Titans could be without cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (foot) and Adam Humphries (ankle) as they’ve still been unable to practice. After his week of a rest in a game that didn’t mean much, Derrick Henry (hamstring) is back to practicing in full. He should be a full go on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Will Fuller (hamstring) isn’t expected to suit up and DeAndre Hopkins is currently battling an illness. Based on my tracking of nearly every injury all season, players have rarely missed games due to illness. However, the biggest question here is the Texans’ motivation.

Bill O’Brien claims he’s playing everyone, but if the Chiefs win in the early window of games, the Texans will have nothing to play for. It seems foolish for them to risk the health of their starters, especially since Deshaun Watson is listed on their report with back injury heading into this game. Justin Bailey

Deshaun Watson
John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Deshaun Watson, Bill O’Brien

Biggest Mismatch

Texans Special Teams vs. Titans Special Teams

The Titans are now on their fourth kicker of the season in Greg Joseph, who they plucked from the Panthers practice squad. That’s not ideal for a special teams unit that’s struggled across the board. Meanwhile, the Texans have had one of the NFL’s better special teams units this season.

Just take a look at the discrepancies in most of the important categories:

  • Texans 80% field-goal conversion rate vs. Titans 44.4%
  • Texans lead NFL in kick return coverage vs. Titans 21st
  • Texans lead NFL in punt return coverage vs. Titans 24th
  • Texans 15th in kick return average vs. Titans 24th
  • Texans fifth in punt return average vs. Titans 11th

DeAndre Carter, who was a substitute teacher only a couple years ago, has done a nice job for Houston. Tennessee’s return game has been better since Khalif Raymond took over punt and kickoff return duties, but he suffered a concussion in last week’s loss, so his status remains uncertain.

The one area that’s essentially a wash is punting: Both teams rank in the top-five in net average. If you remove the two games Texans punter Bryan Anger missed this season, they actually have superior punting stats — although the difference is marginal.

Per Football Outsiders, the Texans have the fourth-best special teams unit while the Titans come in at 28th.

In the first matchup a few weeks ago, the Titans had their only field-goal attempt blocked. They lost by three in a game in which the Texans made their only attempt. That ultimately part of the reason the Titans need to win this game and no longer have a shot at the division.

The Titans also had another field goal blocked at the end of the Bucs game — it was returned for a touchdown and should’ve cost them a win if the refs hadn’t incorrectly blown the whistle. Don’t be surprised if special teams haunts Tennessee once again this week. Stuckey

PRO System Match

Unders have been a smart play in division matchups as increased familiarity between teams creates a lower-scoring environment — unders have gone 843-744-29 (53.1%) since 2003.

It may seem obvious to some bettors, but it’s been more profitable to take the under in division games with high totals (more than 44 points) — it’s just easier for unders to cash when more points are expected to be scored.

Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 195-114-3 (63.1%) since 2003. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $7,135 following this strategy.

This total is on the move, decreasing from 49 to 45. Bet the under before the total goes any lower. John Ewing

Expert Pick

Matthew Freedman: Over 45

The Texans have one of the league’s most explosive offenses thanks to Watson and Hopkins, and since Ryan Tannehill became the starter for the Titans in Week 7, they’ve put up points with ease.

  • Tannehill’s starts (nine games): 29.9 points scored, 25 points allowed
  • Other starts (six games): 16.3 points scored, 15.3 points allowed

In Tanny’s nine starts, the over is 8-1 (75.4% ROI).

Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Raiders at Broncos Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Broncos -3
  • Over/Under: 41
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

The Raiders aren’t technically eliminated from the playoffs yet, but they’ll need to win on the road in Denver if they want any prayer at making the postseason. Should you risk betting on Oakland on the road or put your faith in Drew Lock instead?

Our experts preview the matchup and make their pick.

Raiders-Broncos Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Broncos

The Broncos’ offensive line is the big question mark in this game with Ron Leary (concussion), Ja’Waun James (knee) and Elijah Wilkinson (ankle) all missing practice to begin the week for Denver. Outside of that, everyone at least got in limited sessions.

Josh Jacobs (shoulder) still isn’t practicing, but head coach Jon Gruden is acting like Jacobs will play on Sunday. Unless he returns to practice in some fashion, I have a hard time believing that. Jacobs also had surgery on Wednesday night for a superficial skin infection on his leg. Offensive lineman Richie Incognito (ankle) is still banged up after missing Week 16. He grades out as one of the best pass-blockers in the league, so his potential absence would be a huge loss for the Raiders. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Philip Lindsay/Royce Freeman vs. Oakland’s Defense 

The Raiders travel to Mile High Stadium with a run defense that ranks 24th overall by Football Outsiders’ DVOA measure. They will face a Denver running back duo that is a threat in both the running and passing game.

Phillip Lindsay gashed the Lions for 109 rushing yards and 5.7 yards per carry average last week in Denver’s 27-17 win. His production is peaking at the end of the season with two overall top-17 or better PPR RB finishes in the Broncos past three games. Lindsay ranks in the top 20 among all running backs in rushing yards (958) and yards per carry (4.7).

The Raiders have not only struggled to contain running backs on the ground, but have also been a sieve or opposing backs through the air. Oakland has allowed the eighth-most receiving yards to opposing backs and the third-most receiving touchdowns.

Freeman has emerged as the receiving back of choice for Denver, and has caught all of this last 16 targets. He ranks in the top 20 at the position in targets (49) and receptions (42).

lions-vs-broncos-picks-predictions-betting-odds-week-16-2019
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Phillip Lindsay

Both Lindsay and Freeman struggled in their first meeting against Oakland, a 24-16 road loss. However, that was back in Week 1 and the Denver rushing attack has greatly improved while the Raiders rush defense has regressed.

The Denver defense has held its opponents to 20 points or less in each of their past three home games, lending support to a close game between these two AFC West rivals.

With a likely conservative game plan behind rookie quarterback Drew Lock, the Raiders will need to focus on stopping the dynamic and versatile dual backfield threat of Lindsay and Freeman. Mike Randle

Expert Pick

Matthew Freedman: Broncos -3

I’m by no means a stan for quarterback Drew Lock, but he’s probably the best passer the Broncos have had this year, and they’re 3-1 against the spread (45.6% ROI) in his starts.

More importantly, Denver is a tough place to play in December, and home opponents are 10-5 ATS (32.5% ROI) against the Raiders under HC Jon Gruden (since 2018).

Based on his arbitrarily laissez-faire coaching style, I don’t think Gruden’s road record with the Raiders is random: He’s the type of guy who would have a team that underperforms when traveling.

Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.


Redskins at Cowboys Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Cowboys -10.5
  • Over/Under: 45.5
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Cowboys’ playoff hopes now hinge on their ability to beat the Redskins — and the Eagles losing to the Giants.

A loss to Washington means the season is over for Dallas.

With the stakes in mind, our experts preview this matchup and make their pick.

Redskins-Cowboys Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Both are banged up

In a must-win game, I expect Dak Prescott to play through his sprained AC joint, but the Cowboys still continue to limit his throwing in practice. And by limit, I mean they’re not letting him throw at all — he’s been listed as ‘DNP’ the past two days. As double-digit favorites, I wouldn’t think he needs to do much through the air to beat the Redskins.

Washington will be without Dwayne Haskins (ankle) and recently placed cornerback Quinton Dunbar (hamstring) on injured reserve. The Redskins could also be incredibly shorthanded in the secondary with safeties Landon Collins (shoulder) and Montae Nicholson (neck/ankle) on the injury report, along with cornerback Fabian Moreau (hamstring).

Their biggest injury of note is Terry McLaurin (concussion), who was listed as DNP on Wednesday and Thursday. This is shaping up to be an incredibly difficult spot for the Redskins if they’re down their best offensive weapon. Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Cowboys Passing Attack vs. Redskins Secondary

The Redskins have been decimated by injuries on both sides of the ball, but especially at corner.

This could get ugly for their secondary against Prescott and a trio of solid receivers indoors in Jerry World. Washington is now down to about its ninth and 10th corners of the season.

Just take a look at what has happened to this unit over this season:

  • Greg Stroman and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were placed on IR earlier this season.
  • Quinton Dunbar (their best corner by far) and Danny Johnson were placed on IR on Christmas Eve.
  • Jimmy Moreland was also recently placed on IR.
  • Josh Norman continues to be a healthy scratch as the second-highest paid corner in league, despite all of the injuries in the secondary.
  • Moreau is now battling an injury.

If Moreau can’t go, that would leave the following projected starting corners:

  • Aaron Colvin (released by Texans earlier this)
  • Coty Sensabaugh (released by Broncos; signed last week)
  • Kayvon Webster (didn’t make final cuts of Saints roster this summer; signed last week)

The situation is so dire for the Redskins that they just signed two undrafted players — Breon Borders and Dee Delaney — off the Jags’ practice squad to help with depth.

Amari Cooper-Michael Gallup
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup

Good luck against the Cowboys’ trio of dangerous receivers on a passing offense that ranks fifth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. Even if Dak can’t throw it deep as much with his lingering shoulder injury, the Cowboys might be able to simply play pitch and catch up and down the field with ease. Stuckey

PRO System Match

Unders have been a smart play in division matchups as increased familiarity between teams creates a lower-scoring environment — unders have gone 843-744-29 (53.1%) since 2003.

It may seem obvious to some bettors, but it’s been more profitable to take the under in division games with high totals (more than 44 points) — it’s just easier for unders to cash when more points are expected to be scored.

Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 195-114-3 (63.1%) since 2003. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $7,135 following this strategy.

A majority of tickets are on the under and the data suggests that is the sharp play. John Ewing

Expert Pick

Matthew Freedman: Redskins +10.5

Under head coach Jason Garrett (since 2010), the Cowboys have been the NFL’s worst team against the spread as home favorites. The problem is Garrett.

Road dogs are a delicious 36-20-1 against the spread against Garrett’s boys, good for a 26% return on investment, and I doubt the team will get up for this game after disappointing in such ignominious fashion last week with the NFC East title at stake.

If you bet on the Cowboys this weekend, you must hate money.

Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

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