A successful Week 16 saw me go 3-0 on my Best Bets thanks to Washington and Arizona killing it and the Bengals just hanging in long enough on Monday night against the Broncos. As we enter the final week of the regular season I’m sitting at a very respectable 53.4% for the season. If you recall I said that the break-even point for spread betting is 52% so had I bet on every game this year I would have made a small profit! It’s a marked improvement from last year when I was at 47%, but we shouldn’t celebrate just yet… Week 17 is a tricky place to bet. Some teams are all done for the year with nothing to play for and yet they will have coaches and players who have next years employment status in mind going into this game. There are other teams with a playoff spot locked up and might only play their starters for a quarter. So where am I going to be placing my money this sunday? Well let’s have a look. All lines from William Hill, home teams are in capitals…
Pittsburgh Steelers (-10.5) over CLEVELAND BROWNS
The Steelers let themselves down last week with a defeat in Baltimore that takes their fate out of their hands. They will need to beat Cleveland and then get some help from elsewhere, which means no nail-biting game here. Get the job done and don’t mess about. Antonio Brown is too good for this Cleveland secondary to stop. In fact he’s been too good for anyone but Ben Roethlisberger’s injuries to stop. His numbers for this season are amazing, but with Ben Roethlisberger he’s been incredible. Isolating those stats and extrapolating for a full season Antonio Brown would have set a new single season mark for both catches and receiving yards. The Steelers front 7 has also come on this year, and while the secondary is a rather big problem they should have enough to keep the Browns offense in check and cover double digits.
New York Jets (-2.5) over BUFFALO BILLS
Like the Steelers the Jets have to win. But unlike the Steelers they don’t need help thanks to last weeks upset win against New England. The Bills aren’t playing for anything except some Rex Ryan pride against his former employers, making a 2.5 line extremely tempting. The Bills left side of the offensive line – Cordy Glenn LT and Richie Incognito LG – have been playing at an All-Pro level this season but they’ll have their hands full with the Jets exceptional defensive line, and it should be more than the right side can handle. Leonard Williams has been excellent in his rookie season and Muhammad Wilkerson has quietly amassed 12 sacks this year, good for 6th most in the NFL with JJ Watt as the only inside defender with more than him. There are also reports that LeSean McCoy will miss this game and while Ronald Darby might return I like Brandon Marshall & Eric Decker’s chances against this secondary.
NEW YORK GIANTS (-3.5) over Philadelphia Eagles
The Chip Kelly era is over. But what does that mean for this week? The uniqueness of Kelly’s offense means it will be tough for someone else to call it effectively this sunday, and there was minimal time to start introducing other elements properly. Sure, they might start giving DeMarco Murray some under center runs but they can’t do that all day. As for the Giants, well they have Odell Beckham back this week who will have a point to prove and some feel they’ll be playing for Tom Coughlin’s future with the team which is probably enough to get the Giants home this week.
Rest of the Bets
DALLAS COWBOYS (-4) over Washington Redskins New England Patriots (-10) over MIAMI DOLPHINS ATLANTA FALCONS (-5.5) over New Orleans Saints CHICAGO BEARS (PK) over Detroit Lions CINCINNATI BENGALS (-9.5) over Baltimore Ravens Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5) over HOUSTON TEXANS Seattle Seahawks (+6.5) over ARIZONA CARDINALS St. Louis Rams (-3) over SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS Oakland Raiders (+7) over KANSAS CITY CHIEFS San Diego Chargers (+9) over DENVER BRONCOS CAROLINA PANTHERS (-10.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers Minnesota Vikings (+3) over Green Bay Packers No Colts-Titans line Last Week: 11-5-0 (3-0-0) Overall: 124-108-8 (25-22-1)