Koerner’s NFL Power Ratings: My 3 Best Bets for Week 17
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo
- Sean Koerner uses his NFL Power Ratings to find the best bets for Week 17.
- Find his projected spreads and over/unders for three matchups, along with his picks.
Like every week, I’ll use my projected spreads and over/unders to identify the best NFL bets for Week 17.
My favorite picks involve the following three games:
- Browns at Bengals: 1 p.m. ET
- Chargers at Chiefs: 1 p.m. ET
- 49ers-Seahawks: 8:20 p.m. ET
Note that I highlight differences in teams’ actual record vs. their Pythagorean expectation (which you can learn more about here).
Now let’s dig in.
Odds as of Thursday and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Browns at Bengals
Current odds: Browns -3; 43.5
My Projections: Browns -2; 48
With the Browns eliminated from playoff contention and the Bengals having already locked in the first pick of the 2020 draft, this game is meaningless for both teams.
Week 17 is very tricky to forecast because motivation is not only tough to predict, it’s usually the most important factor. I try to avoid making speculative bets like this as a result, but I’m willing to take a stab at the total here.
There are certain factors that favor the over. Since opening at 46, the under has been hit hard with 63% of the money bet, sending the line down to 43.5 (see live public betting data here). A big influence could be the forecast calling for 90% chance of rain. While I’m not a fan of making bets based on weather 72-plus hours out, I’ve found the market can often create value by attempting to do just that.
I’ll be monitoring this forecast along with line movement in order to try to time getting this number at its lowest point.
I have this projected as the sixth-fastest paced matchup with the highest explosive play potential. The Browns defense will be without Myles Garrett, and Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon are listed as questionable. And the Bengals will be without William Jackson, who was responsible for shutting down Odell Beckham Jr. when these teams met just three weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the Bengals have a much better offense with Andy Dalton under center — the under is 3-1 since he replaced Ryan Finley. Joe Mixon had been rolling since Week 10 and was slowed by what was believed to be a stomach bug last week. Expect him to be back to 100% this week and run all over the same Browns defense he dropped a 23/146/1 line on the ground against in Week 14.
The Browns offense will also be looking to end a very disappointing season by putting up some points. This is a great get-right spot for them as the Bengals have allowed the fourth-highest rate of explosive runs and the second-highest rate of explosive pass plays on the season.
Give me the over.
PICK: Over 43.5
Chargers at Chiefs
Current odds: Chiefs -8.5; 45
My Projections: Chiefs -9.5; 46.5
I’ve always known the biggest edge in NFL betting is the player props market. (Be sure to follow me in our app to get alerts on my player prop picks, which have hit at a 62.8% rate this season.)
I believe the second-biggest edge is in-game betting. Often I’m able to find an edge that the market overlooks. And Chargers-Chiefs could be one of those spots this week.
The Chiefs need to win and have the Patriots lose in order to lock up the AFC’s No. 2 seed. And considering the Patriots are at home against the Dolphins, I think it goes without saying the Chiefs’ odds of doing that are fairly slim. Obviously anything can happen in the NFL, so I expect the Chiefs starters to open the game playing at 100%. But if the Patriots have a big lead by halftime, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chiefs decide to take out Patrick Mahomes in order to protect him for the first round of playoffs.
It’s not a great idea to bet based only on one factor that’s speculative in nature, but the in-game line will offer a ton of value at a certain point with that exact scenario having maybe a 10-15% of actually happening.
I also tend to like betting on the Chargers on the road, where they’re 14-7 compared to 7-14 at home since moving to Los Angeles in 2017. I bet the under on their nine-win total because I don’t think the market factors in how little home-field advantage they have. The bitter truth is that nearly all of their games feel like away games as seen just last week when Philip Rivers had to go to a silent count at home against the Raiders.
Another factor that could favor taking the Chargers in the second quarter or at halftime is just how bad Rivers has been early in games. In his first 10 attempts this season, he’s averaged a brutal three-to-seven touchdown-to-interception ratio with a QB Rating of 77.4. From his 11th attempt on, it jumps up to a 18-to-11 TD-to-INT ratio with a QB Rating of 95.2.
We all know that the Chargers are way better than their 5-10 record and their Pythagorean expected record is 7.6-7.4 — slightly above .500. A lot of that has to do with their 2-9 record in one-score games. You could make the argument that this is simply due to bad coaching and that we can’t expect them to regress up toward a team’s expected 50/50 win rate in one-score games. However, the fact is that an incredibly high percentage of their games result in one-score games, so the fact that they’re getting nine points means that if they lose another game by one-score, it would be a win for us.
I’m expecting to snag the Chargers anywhere from +10 to +17 in-game here.
LEAN: Chargers In-Game
49ers at Seahawks
Current odds: 49ers- 3.5; 47
My Projections: 49ers -2; 47.5
The Seahawks come into this high-stakes game incredibly thin at running back. They recently lost Rashaad Penny to IR then Chris Carson (and even C.J. Prosise) just last week, forcing them to bring back Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin.
The loss of Carson hurts, but it would be unwise for the market to make this cluster injury worth more than one point. It’s all going to come on Russell Wilson’s shoulders, and as the likely MVP runner-up, he should be up to the task.
The market is all over the 49ers here with 75% of the tickets and 82% of the money backing San Francisco as road a favorite at a critical number of -3.5. I think the market has opened up a great value opportunity getting Wilson as a home dog. He’s only been one seven times over his career and he’s 6-1 against the spread.
I’m waiting to see if Jadeveon Clowney is able to suit up. If he’s listed as expected to play or active and we can still get a key number at +3.5, I’ll lock the Seahawks in as my play of the week.
PICK: Seahawks +3.5
More Week 17 NFL Picks
News can greatly impact Week 17 lines, so it’s critical to react as soon as it breaks. Be sure to follow me in our free app to get notifications whenever I make a new pick.
Koerner is 173-128-3 (57.5%) overall betting on the NFL.