Early NFL bets for Week 17
Just two weeks of the NFL regular season are left and these can be tough weeks to handicap. Players with nagging injuries could shut it down. Teams could subtly (or obviously) tank for draft position. Teams in must-win situations will face inflated lines or experience faster line moves earlier in the week if the betting splits look imbalanced. There are a lot of moving parts at this time of the year and paying attention to the news and the playoff scenarios will be very important.
Check out the latest NFL odds and NFL betting splits.
With Week 16 mostly in the books, here are a couple of early lines I’m looking at for Week 17:
The Lions return to the friendly confines of Ford Field after suffering a huge setback against the Panthers in a 37-23 loss last week. It was a stark reminder of just how bad the Detroit defense has been most of the season. It was not smoke and mirrors for the Panthers like the Seahawks game with turnovers and short fields. Carolina averaged 8.8 yards per play en route to 37 points. They just did whatever they wanted against the Lions defense.
The Bears will hope to do the same with Justin Fields and they’ve found significantly more success since he started using his legs to move the offense. Fields has averaged 6.7 yards per carry this season and rushed for 7.6 yards per carry over the last nine games. As he’s gotten more effective as a runner, he’s also been better as a passer with a 13/6 TD/INT ratio and 20 total touchdowns.
The Lions have gotten some pretty good road performances lately from Jared Goff, which is a good indicator of how the entire offensive scheme has improved with OC Ben Johnson. That being said, it is still much easier to trust in the Lions offense at home. In their eight home games, they’ve averaged over 32 points per game. Detroit has scored 31 offensive touchdowns at home. Points have to be coming in this game with two subpar defenses and perfect conditions inside at Ford Field.
Pick: Over 51.5
The Texans are still playing really hard and I give them a lot of credit for the win over the Titans and the close losses to the Chiefs and Cowboys, but the Jaguars are surging at the right time. They’re finally living up to some of their underlying numbers from throughout the season and have ripped off three wins in a row while on a quest to win the AFC South.
Houston won the first meeting 13-6, but that was about as misleading of a game as you can get. Jacksonville outgained Houston by 1.4 yards per play and by 174 total yards. The Jaguars were 0-for-3 in the red zone and -2 in turnover margin, along with an 0-for-3 showing on fourth down. One of the interceptions came in the end zone.
This is a good revenge spot with a Jacksonville team playing at a high level against a Houston team getting too much respect for opponents taking them lightly and a win over a reeling Titans team with Malik Willis at quarterback.
Pick: Jaguars -4