Tuley's Takes on Week 17

December 28, 2021 10:10 PM

I know I keep repeating myself, but it was another roller-coaster week in the Tuley’s Takes home office.

We won with our best bets on the Titans last Thursday and the Browns plus the points against the Packers on Saturday, but then had a rough Sunday, though teasers again helped cut our losses. Our original teasers using the Ravens + 8.5 lost, but we flipped to the Bengals -7.5 in our “Tuley’s Takes Today” column when there was a change of favorites later in the week.

This is the craziest season I’ve ever seen when it comes to trying to handicap these games early in the week. It used to be that you just had to keep updated on quarterback injuries, which were about the only thing to significantly alter a line during the middle of the week, but now it’s a daily (and sometimes) hourly chore to keep up on all the players going on and off the reserve/COVID-19 list.

But we do our best.

Let’s get to the full NFL Week 17 card from my dog-or-pass point of view. Per usual, even if I don’t have a strong opinion on a game, I’ll give my pool-play strategy for those in contests that require picking every game. You can find my takes on the college football bowl games (11-4 ATS through Monday) on the VSiN CFB Best Bets elsewhere in this issue of PSW as well as in the VSiN College Betting Guide, which is still a valuable resource with the major bowls still to come.

Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts (-1.5)

Jonathan Taylor has carried the Colts into the playoff hunt, and many are regarding them as a top contender, making me finally feel good about my 35-1 future-book tickets bought last winter. But then came news Tuesday morning that quarterback Carson Wentz was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. This is good news for the Raiders, who are 8-7 and also fighting for a wild-card spot. Derek Carr has enough weapons to match the Colts score for score, and he might be getting tight end Darren Waller back this week. This line was more appealing when the Raiders were + 8.5, but with the line down to 1.5, this does put the Raiders in prime teaser territory as we can tease them back up over a TD. As always, check out the updates in our “Tuley’s Take Today” daily version of this column through the week and into the weekend.

Best Bet: Raiders in teasers (pool play: Raiders 55/45 in ATS contest, but Colts still 55/45 in SU pools. Basically a coin flip either way).

New York Giants at Chicago Bears (-6)

The Giants have finally worn me down as I’ve lost with them the last three weeks and can’t stand to back them anymore, whether it’s Mike Glennon or Jake Fromm under center. Nick Foles rallied the Bears past the Seahawks in the snow on Sunday in a game that showed they’re still trying. I didn’t expect the Bears to be teasable as a favorite this year, but I’m sure a lot of people will be teasing them down to basically pick-’em, and I might be one of them.

Best Bet: Pass, except for possibly Bears in teasers (pool play: Bears 55/45 in ATS contests and at least 85/15 in SU pools).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-13.5) at New York Jets

The Jets also showed a lot of effort on Sunday, though let’s not get too excited as it was just a 26-21 win over the Jaguars. Of course, they did also cover against the Dolphins in Week 15. The Buccaneers are obviously looking ahead to the playoffs and just trying to get out with a win here, but I’m not sure I’m willing to pull the trigger on the Jets. I’m passing for now, but if the Bucs start coming up short-handed on defense through injuries or COVID issues, I might take a flier on the Jets.

Best Bet: Pass for now (pool play: Jets 55/45 in ATS contests, but Buccaneers at least 90/10 in SU pools).

Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills (-14.5)

The Bills have somehow re-rallied to pass the Patriots for the lead in the AFC East as Josh Allen and Co. are playing up to preseason expectations. The Falcons are the worst team still in the playoff hunt, but they’re still there and capable of staying within two touchdowns with Matt Ryan getting the most out of his best weapons, tight end Kyle Pitts and running back/receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Weather could be a factor with a 50 percent chance of snow and temperatures in the 30s at game time, which tends to favor a lower-scoring game.

Best Bet: Falcons + 14.5 (pool play: Falcons 67/33 in ATS contests, though Bills still 80/20 in SU pools).

Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys (-5.5)

Besides the Chiefs, there is no team getting more hype these days than the Cowboys. Granted, they’ve won and covered four straight and are up to the No. 2 seed in the NFC, but let’s not crown their ass quite yet. The advance line for this game was Cowboys -2.5 last week before the Cardinals lost to the Colts and the Cowboys routed the Washington Football Team. The line was reopened at Cowboys -3 on Sunday, but now it’s up to 5.5 and getting out of control. The Cardinals are reeling with three straight losses to fall from the NFC’s No. 1 seed to No. 5 as they’ve been passed by the Rams for the NFC West lead, but they still have plenty of talent and should be able to match the Cowboys score for score. The only fear is the Cowboys’ ability to get turnovers, led by cornerback Trevon Diggs’ 11 interceptions. The closer the turnover battle is, the closer the game will be.

Best Bet: Cardinals + 5.5 or better (pool play: Cardinals 67/33 in ATS contests, and Cowboys just 60/40 in SU pools).

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-6.5)

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