Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Vikings wide receiver Stefan Diggs
- The Action Network experts break down their favorite Week 17 NFL bets, including Bears-Vikings and Eagles-Redskins.
- We've also got against-the-spread and over/under picks for Jaguars-Texans, Jets-Patriots, Colts-Titans and much more.
Chaos! I think we are walking into a little bit of chaos in Week 17.
Motivation questions, games with extremely large spreads, a ton on the line in the last week of the season, I’ll go with underdogs. Over the past three seasons, underdogs of at least 3-1 (closing line at Pinnacle) are 4-9 straight up, profiting bettors $446 on a $100/game wager. Those dogs went 2-2 straight up last season in Week 17. Jets, Raiders, Bengals, Cardinals, 49ers… welcome aboard!
Week 17 in the NFL is all about strategy, and I’ll throw a few strategic darts this week. — Evan Abrams
Aaaand we’re off!
Our staff has angles on the meaningful (and not so meaningful) Week 17 matchups, one of which we have a massive consensus on: Bears at Vikings (-4.5). And for even more in-depth analysis on Sunday’s slate, check out our betting guides for every single game.
Let’s close out the regular season strong with our 17 favorite bets for Week 17, which can hopefully help you find a winner or two you otherwise wouldn’t have spotted. Our NFL staff picks are 130-118-14 (52.4%) for the season.
>> All odds pulled from 5Dimes on Dec. 27, so slight line variations are possible. Download The Action Network app to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets.
EARLY AFTERNOON ACTION
Stuckey: Jaguars +6.5 (at Texans)
1 p.m. ET on CBS
For a team that came within a few plays of the Super Bowl last season, a Week 17 spoiler role is the Jaguars’ Super Bowl in 2018.
When the Jags are on defense, there is nobody on the Texans who can contain the pass rush of Calais Campbell. It is Campbell, not Khalil Mack or J.J Watt, who’s actually Pro Football Focus’ highest graded edge-rusher this season:
- Campbell: 90.9
- Mack: 90.6
- Watt: 90.2
- Trey Flowers: 89.6
- Cam Jordan: 89.5
He will take on what I feel is the worst offensive line in all of football. And the advanced metrics agree, as the Texans rank 32nd in adjusted sack rate and have allowed a league-high 56 sacks. Campbell should wreak havoc in the backfield on Sunday in Houston.
The Jags have two of the most talented corners in the league, and both are capable of staying with DeAndre Hopkins. That will essentially shut down Houston’s passing attack. The Texans just really don’t have many other options in the passing game as a result of the group being decimated by injury.
In the first meeting (20-7 Texans win), Watson only threw for 139 yards and six of his 12 completions went to Will Fuller, who is out for the year.
On the other side of the ball, I think Bortles can carry some of the momentum from last week against a vulnerable Texans secondary in what will basically serve as a job audition for him.
As with most Week 17 NFL games between a contender and eliminated team, we are getting value with the lame duck, which can play looser in a game they should want to show up for — not only for job auditions, but to play spoiler and to avenge an earlier season loss to a division rival.
That loss should give Bortles a little extra motivation, too, as it was the game he was benched for Cody Kessler. Wait for the +7, but I still like +6.5 if it never pops.
Matt LaMarca: Bills -5.5 (vs. Dolphins)
1 p.m. ET on CBS
This game is one of the most straightforward on the slate, which makes it one of the easiest to handicap in my opinion.
We don’t have to worry about quarterbacks being pulled mid game. We don’t have to worry about scoreboard watching. We don’t have to worry about inflated spreads because of “motivation.”
We can simply focus on the two teams, and I think the Bills are the superior squad despite owning an inferior record. Miami currently ranks 30th in DVOA, while the Bills check in at 25th.
They outgained the Dolphins by a ridiculous margin in their first meeting, winning the yardage battle 415-175, but were ultimately done in by three turnovers.
If Josh Allen can avoid gifting the Dolphins field position in this contest, I like the Bills’ chances of covering the spread.
BlackJack Fletcher: Falcons -1 (at Bucs)
1 p.m. ET on FOX
This game goes back to a theory I mentioned last week.
The Bucs are in all likelihood firing Dirk Koetter after the season and may well be cleaning house altogether. Who knows who will be playing quarterback for them next season? There is no incentive to play hard, and they are just itching to get to the offseason.
The Falcons know head coach Dan Quinn will be back, which is why I think players will continue to play hard for him. At such a short number, I love the Falcons in this spot.
John Ewing: Jets +13.5 (at Patriots)
1 p.m. ET on NBC
The Patriots have something to play for in Week 17. With a win New England secures the No. 2 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye.
The Pats should be properly motivated for this matchup, but the line is still inflated. According to The Action Network’s NFL simulations, New England is projected to win by 9.1 points on average.
The Jets should be able to score and keep this relatively close. New York has averaged 27.3 points per game in its past four games, while the Patriots defense ranks 19th in Football Outsiders DVOA. They are also allowing 21.5 PPG, the worst mark for a New England defense since 2002 (21.6 PPG).