Burke: Early Week 17 thoughts

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

December 27, 2021 10:18 AM

Who schedules a bowl game for 11 a.m. ET on a Monday morning? I mean, seriously? Who does that?

Burke’s Betting Blurbs didn’t make it into the subscriber newsletter in the race to get the newsletter out because, honestly, I forgot that the Quick Lane Bowl was at 8 a.m. PT. They should have pushed the start back since today’s other bowl game was cancelled. Speaking of cancellations, keep an eye out for those, as it seems to be happening more frequently right now.

Anyway, let’s talk about Week 17 in the NFL. There are big lines all over the place. San Francisco, New England and Buffalo are laying two touchdowns or more. Tampa Bay is laying close to that. Mediocre-to-bad teams like Chicago, New Orleans and Seattle are laying about a touchdown. Indy is laying over a tuddy. All of the sudden Dallas is laying 5.5 against Arizona.

The NFL is always in a fluid state, but we’re seeing some big adjustments late in the year. This is the time of year when you are pushed into paying a premium to back the good teams or the teams in “must-win” situations. “Must-win” is slang for “this team isn’t really that good, but they really need to win, so obviously they’re going to play better”.

My approach late in the NFL season has always been to be cautious about these teams that have extra incentive or extra motivation. Teams in playoff contention should have been playing to win every week. That shouldn’t change now, but all of the sudden, the price is inflated. It comes down to whether or not you can stomach taking the bad teams and if those bad teams show up and give an effort.

In what universe should the Bears be laying 6 or more to anybody? But, can you really take the Giants after last week’s display? Should the Chargers really be laying 6, even against a Drew Lock-led Broncos bunch? These two games are big question marks for me this week and we’ll see others like it in Week 18.

Maybe all of these heightened expectations come to fruition. Maybe they don’t. It’s just important to realize what is happening in the NFL market at this time of the year and think for a minute before getting caught up in all the playoff hoopla.

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