Freedman’s NFL Week 17 Trends & Early Bets: Look to Bet These 3 Games

Freedman’s NFL Week 17 Trends & Early Bets: Look to Bet These 3 Games article feature image
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Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Rodgers.

Week 17. We’ve made it. Unbelievable. Not one game cancelled to this point. For as bad as 2020 has been, the football season could’ve been so much worse.

The football gods have been merciful.

Let’s take a look at some trends for the early spreads.

Although I’m not a trends bettor, I find that trends help me identify spots I should consider further when analyzing games. Using our Bet Labs database, I have uncovered some intriguing NFL trends for three games this week.

All lines are from our NFL Odds page.

Note: I am writing this before the Week 16 Sunday Night Football & Monday Night Football games. Results of those contests might impact the historical trend data as well as Week 17 lines below below.

Early Week 16 NFL Picks

Click on a pick to skip to that analysis.

Pick Bet Now
Packers -4 at Bears FanDuel
Browns -6.5 at Steelers FanDuel
Washington +1.5 at Eagles DraftKings

Green Bay Packers (-4) at Chicago Bears

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

Note: I am writing this before the Packers play in the Week 16 Sunday Night Football game. The result of that contest might impact the Week 17 spread for Bears-Packers.

I’m a pretty simple person: I like to bet on quarterbacks who win, and Rodgers wins.

For his career, he’s 117-84-5 against the spread (ATS), good for an A-graded 13.9% return on investment (ROI).

And he has been especially dominant against the NFC North, going 45-27 ATS (22.4% ROI) within the division.

As for the Bears, I’m not worried about them. Head coach Matt Nagy was 12-5 ATS in his first year with the team, but his opponents are 19-11-1 ATS (22.9% ROI) since the start of last season.

  • Action: Packers -4 (-110) at FanDuel
  • Limit: -6 (-110)

Cleveland Browns (-6.5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

The Browns need to win in Week 17 if they are to make the playoffs, and the Steelers might rest starters given that they cannot overtake the Chiefs for the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

So Week 17 offers us an intriguing situation: The superior team — one with a .800 winning percentage — is an underdog.

The sample is small, but in previous Week 17 situations like this — when a team that is at least 12-3 is an underdog, presumably because starters might rest — the favorite has gone 7-4-1 ATS (23% ROI).

This feels like a reasonable buy-low spot for the Browns coming off an embarrassing 23-16 loss to the Jets. They are likely to get some of their COVID-19-impacted wide receivers back, and against backup quarterback Mason Rudolph — a key figure in last year’s infamous Thursday Night Football Browns-Steelers melee — Cleveland’s defense should be especially fired up.

  • Action: Browns -6.5 (-110) at FanDuel
  • Limit: -7 (-110)

Washington Football Team (+1.5) at Philadelphia Eagles

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

I generally want to invest in road dogs off a loss.

My theory: Square bettors tend to avoid visitors, underdogs and teams that just lost, which means that in a market flush with new and unsophisticated money, we should see road underdogs coming off a loss provide excessive value.

And that is what we’ve seen since 2019, when many inexperienced bettors first entered the market with the widespread legalization of sports speculation. Since last year, road dogs coming off a loss are an A-graded 86-63-5 ATS (11.2% ROI).

The Football Team might get quarterback Alex Smith (calf) and wide receiver Terry McLaurin (ankle) back in Week 17, and it has every motivation to win with the NFC East title on the line.

As for the Eagles,  they were just dealt a 37-17 loss by the Cowboys, are notably injured on both sides of the ball and have been officially eliminated from playoff contention.

I think the wrong team is favored.

  • Action: Football Team +1.5 (-110) at DraftKings
  • Limit: PK (-110)

Matthew Freedman is 941-735-35 (56.1%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.

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