Stuckey’s Week 17 NFL Betting Picks: Browns vs. Bengals & Falcons vs. Buccaneers
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones
- Stuckey identifies his two favorite NFL betting picks on the Week 17 board.
- He details how he's betting the Browns-Bengals spread and Falcons-Buccaneers over/under.
Stuckey highlights his favorite NFL picks for Week 17 below.
Let’s run through how he’s betting Browns vs. Bengals and Falcons vs. Buccaneers.
Odds as of Sunday morning and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Stuckey: Bengals +3 vs. Browns
1 p.m. ET
Joe Mixon could have a big day against Cleveland. 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: Falcons-Buccaneers Under 48
1 p.m. ET
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 Mohamed Sanu and lost Calvin Ridley to injury. Give me the under here in this late season divisional matchup outdoors in Tampa.