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Week 17 NFL capsules

COWBOYS at GIANTS

 

The stakes couldn't be higher for this NFC East grudge match. Both teams are still alive for the postseason, and the winner could sneak in with a Washington Football Team loss. The Cowboys (6-9 SU, 5-10 ATS) have won three straight, including a 37-17 upset over the Eagles last week as 3-point home dogs. Meanwhile, the Giants (5-10 SU, 8-7 ATS) are stumbling down the stretch, having lost three straight. Last week New York fell to Baltimore 27-13, failing to cover as a 9.5-point road dog. The early lookahead line on this game was Giants -3. We’ve seen a massive wave of Cowboys money hit the market, flipping Dallas to a 3-point road favorite. Sharp money targeted the Cowboys at -2.5 or lower. The Giants have buy-low inflated line value getting the key number of + 3. The Giants also have value as a home divisional dog (63% ATS this season). The Cowboys beat the Giants 37-34 in Week 5. We’ve also seen some respected money hit this Under, dropping the total from 47 to 45. The Cowboys have been an Over team this season (9-6) while the Giants have been big to the Under (11-3-1).

 

STEELERS at BROWNS

 

This AFC North grudge match features teams handling the regular-season finale much differently. The Steelers (12-3 SU, 9-6 ATS) snapped a three-game losing streak last with an impressive 28-24 come-from-behind win over the Colts, winning as a home pick-’em. Pittsburgh has locked up the division and clinched the No. 3 seed, prompting coach Mike Tomlin to rest quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and other key starters. Meanwhile, the Browns (10-5 SU, 6-9 ATS) have struggled down the stretch, losing two of their last three, including an embarrassing 23-16 loss to the lowly Jets on Sunday as 6.5-point road favorites. The Browns are tied with the Colts for the final playoff spot and must win to make the playoffs. This game opened with Cleveland as a 4-point home favorite. We’ve seen pros hammer the Browns with the news that Pittsburgh will start Mason Rudolph for Roethlisberger and rest other starters. This lopsided action has pushed Cleveland all the way up to -9.5. Despite being short-handed and having nothing to play for, Pittsburgh has value as a divisional dog (58% ATS this season) and a road dog with a low total. 

 

JETS at PATRIOTS

 

Both of these bitter AFC East rivals are eliminated from the playoffs. But one team is trending up while the other is crumbling down the stretch. The Jets (2-13 SU, 6-9 ATS) started 0-13 but have won two in a row, most recently upsetting the Browns 23-16 on Sunday and winning outright as 6.5-point home dogs. Meanwhile, the Patriots (6-9 SU, 6-9 ATS) have lost three straight and just got crushed by the Bills 38-9 on Monday night, failing to cover as 7-point home dogs. The lookahead line on this game was Patriots -7.5. The public still thinks the Pats are better than the Jets, but sharp money seems to be fading New England. Wiseguys have gotten down hard on New York, dropping the Jets from + 5 to + 3. Pros targeted New York anything with the hook (+ 3.5) or better. The Jets have value as a short road dog + 6 or less (62% ATS this season) and a divisional dog (58% ATS). The Jets also enjoy a rest advantage as the Pats are on a short week. The total has fallen from 43 to 41. Both teams have been profitable to the Under this season with New York 9-6 and New England 10-4-1. The Pats beat the Jets 30-27 in Week 9. 

 

VIKINGS at LIONS

 

This NFC North matchup doesn’t mean much as both teams have been eliminated from the playoffs. The Vikings (6-9 SU, 6-9 ATS) have stumbled down the stretch, losing three straight. Last week they were waxed by New Orleans 52-33 on Christmas Day, failing to cover as 6.5-point road dogs. Similarly, the Lions (5-10 SU, 6-9 ATS) have lost three straight and just got crushed by the Bucs 47-7, failing to cover as 12-point home dogs. This line remains off the board as we await word on Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is questionable with multiple injuries. Some books posted a lookahead line of Vikings -7. If Stafford plays, Detroit would have value as a home divisional dog (61% ATS) and a dog off a blowout loss of 20-plus points (54% ATS this season). The Vikings beat the Lions 34-20 in Week 9. Keep an eye on this total. Both teams have been profitable to the Over this season, with Minnesota 10-4-1 and Detroit 9-6. 

 

FALCONS at BUCCANEERS

 

This one features NFC South rivals trending in opposite directions. The Falcons (4-11 SU, 7-8 ATS) have dropped four straight, although they hung tough against the Chiefs and lost only 17-14 on Sunday, covering as 11-point road dogs. Atlanta has long been eliminated from playoff contention and is gunning for the fourth pick in the draft. Meanwhile, the Bucs (10-5 SU, 8-7 ATS) have won three straight and just clinched a playoff berth after crushing the Lions 47-7 on Saturday, easily covering as 12-point road favorites. This line opened with Tampa Bay as a 7-point home favorite. The public is hammering Tom Brady and the Bucs at home, yet we’ve seen this line fall to 6.5. This signals some respected money hitting the Falcons plus the points. Atlanta has value as a road dog off a loss (54% ATS this season) and a divisional dog (58% ATS). These teams met two weeks ago, with Tampa winning 31-27 but Atlanta covering as a 6-point home dog. Bruce Arians has said he will not rest his starters for this one. If Tampa wins, they get the No. 5 seed and will play the lowly NFC East winner. If they lose, they could fall to the No. 6 seed and have to play either the Saints or Seahawks. Tampa will be in prime teaser territory (-6.5 to -0.5).

 

RAVENS at BENGALS

 

At first glance, this AFC North matchup looks like a David vs. Goliath blowout. The Ravens (10-5 SU, 9-5-1 ATS) are playing their best football and have won four straight, most recently crushing the Giants 27-13 on Sunday and easily covering as 9.5-point home favorites. Baltimore, holding the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs for now, can clinch a postseason berth with a win. On the flip side, the Bengals (4-10-1 SU, 9-5-1 ATS) have long been eliminated from the playoffs and are looking at picking fifth overall in the draft. However, the Bengals haven’t quit, winning their last two games, including a 37-31 win over the Texans on Sunday, winning outright as 7.5-point road dogs. This line opened with Baltimore as a 13.5-point road favorite. The public is once again rushing to the window to lay the wood with the Ravens, However, despite this lopsided support we’ve seen this line tumble to Ravens -11.5. This signals some sharp reverse-line movement on the contrarian home dog. Cincinnati has value as a divisional home dog (61% ATS this season) and a double-digit dog (55% ATS this season). The Ravens crushed the Bengals 27-3 in Week 5. 

 

DOLPHINS at BILLS

 

This AFC East grudge match is one the biggest games of the Week 17 slate. The Dolphins (10-5 SU, 11-4 ATS) have won two straight and are 9-2 over their last 11 games. Miami just edged Las Vegas 26-25 on Saturday night, though they failed to cover as 2.5-point road favorites. This is a huge game for the Dolphins, who currently hold the No. 5 seed. They can clinch a postseason berth with a win or they’ll need help. Meanwhile, the Bills (12-3 SU, 10-5 ATS) have won five straight and eight of their last nine. Buffalo just crushed the Patriots 38-9 on Monday night, easily covering as a 7-point road favorite. The Bills already clinched the division and can lock up the No. 2 seed with a win. This line opened with Buffalo listed as a 4.5-point home favorite and hasn’t budged. The next move is critical. If you see it rise to 5, that will indicate some Bills money hitting the market, while a drop to 4 will signal respected Dolphins action. Miami has value as a divisional dog (58% ATS this season) and a short road dog + 6 or less (62% ATS). The referee, Bill Vinovich, has historically favored road teams (56% ATS). Miami holds a pronounced rest advantage having played on Saturday while Buffalo played on Monday night. The total is 47.5. The Dolphins are 9-6 to the Under while the Bills are 10-4-1 to the Over. The Bills beat the Dolphins 31-28 in Week 2.

 

JAGUARS at COLTS

 

These AFC South rivals have polar opposite motivations in this one. The Jaguars (1-14 SU, 6-9 ATS) have lost 14 straight games and have locked up the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, which likely will bring Clemson star Trevor Lawrence to Jacksonville. The Jaguars look like a team that has packed it in, losing 41-17 to the Bears on Sunday and failing to cover as 9.5-point home dogs. The Jags have failed to cover big spreads in their last three games. On the flip side, the Colts (10-5 SU, 8-7 ATS) are desperate for a win. After last week’s 28-24 loss to the Steelers as a pick-’em, Indianapolis lost its hold on a playoff spot. They must now win this game and get help in order to sneak in. This line opened with the Colts listed as hefty 13-point home favorites. We’ve seen pros and Joes both pounce on Indianapolis, driving this line up to -14. The Jags look terrible but have value as a divisional dog (58% ATS this season), a dog off a 20+  point blowout (54% ATS) and a double-digit dog (55% ATS). We’ve also seen some Over money push this total up slightly from 49.5 to 50. This game will be played indoors at Lucas Oil Stadium. Both teams are profitable to the Over, with the Jaguars 8-6-1 and the Colts 9-6. The Jags shocked the Colts 27-20 in Week 1, earning their only win of the season.

 

PACKERS at BEARS

 

This NFC North matchup has playoff implications for both teams. The Packers (12-3 SU, 9-6 ATS) have won five straight and just crushed the Titans 40-14, easily covering as 3-point home favorites. Green Bay has clinched the division and a playoff spot but has something big to play for: it can clinch the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye with a win in Chicago. Meanwhile, the Bears (8-7 SU, 8-7 ATS) were once left for dead but have won three straight behind Mitch Trubisky, most recently crushing the Jaguars 41-17 and easily covering as 9.5-point road favorites. The Bears control their destiny. They hold the seventh playoff spot and can clinch a postseason berth by beating the Packers. A loss would mean they’d need Arizona to lose in order to get in. This line opened with the Packers as 5-point road favorites. We’ve seen this line rise to -5.5 behind heavy Packers action. The Bears have value as a contrarian bet and a home divisional dog (61% ATS). Keep an eye on the next move. If it goes to 6, that will indicate further Packers support. If It falls to 5, that will signal Bears sharp action. These teams met in Week 12 and the Packers rolled 41-25. 

 

TITANS at TEXANS

 

Only one of these AFC South rivals has something to play for in the regular-season finale. The Titans (10-5 SU, 7-8 ATS) just had their two-game winning streak snapped, falling to the Packers 40-14 on Sunday and failing to cover as 3-point road dogs. Tennessee holds the fourth seed in the AFC playoffs and can clinch the division with a win over Houston. But the Titans could also miss the playoffs if they lose to Houston and the Colts beat the Jaguars. On the other hand, the Texans (4-11 SU, 5-10 ATS) have lost four straight and have long been eliminated from playoff contention. Houston just fell to the Bengals 37-31, losing outright as a 7.5-point home favorite. However, there is no reason for Houston to tank for a high pick as former coach/GM Bill O'Brien already traded away their first-round pick. This line opened with Tennessee as a 7.5-point road favorite. The public is pounding the Titans, yet we’ve seen this line remain frozen at 7.5. Some shops are even showing juice liability and a possible drop to 7. The Texans have value as a home divisional dog (61% ATS) and a December home dog of + 7 or more. Pros and Joes are both hitting this Over, driving the line up slightly from 55.5 to 56.5. The Titans are a big Over team this season (11-3-1) while the Texans are 8-7 to the Under. The Titans beat the Texans 42-36 in Week 6. 

 

SAINTS at PANTHERS

 

This NFC South matchup looks incredibly lopsided on paper. The Saints (11-4 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) snapped a two-game skid last week with a commanding 52-33 win over the Vikings on Christmas Day, easily covering as 6.5-point home favorites. New Orleans has clinched a playoff spot and won the division. The Saints hold the No. 2 seed in the NFC but would love a win to solidify that — or possibly move up to No. 1. Meanwhile, the Panthers (5-10 SU, 9-6 ATS) have long been eliminated from the playoffs. However, Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak last week by beating Washington 20-13 as a 1-point road favorite. This line opened with New Orleans as a 6-point road favorite. We’ve seen the public and some early sharps lay the points with New Orleans, pushing this line to -6.5. If it rises to 7, expect some buyback on the Panthers. Carolina has value as a home divisional dog (61% ATS this season). Teddy “Two Gloves” Bridgewater is 7-3 ATS as a dog this season and 24-6 ATS (80%) as a dog in his career. Pro money also has targeted this Under, dropping the total from 50 to 48. The Saints have been great to the Over this season (10-5), while the Panthers are dead even with totals (7-7-1). The Saints beat the Panthers 27-24 at home in Week 7, but Carolina covered. 

 

CHARGERS at CHIEFS

 

There’s not much on the line in this meeting of AFC West rivals. The Chargers (6-9 SU, 7-7-1 ATS) have been eliminated from the playoffs but have continued to fight and play well down the stretch. Los Angeles is riding a three-game winning streak and just beat Denver 19-16, covering as 2-point home favorites. Meanwhile, the Chiefs (14-1 SU, 6-8-1 ATS) don't have much to play for as they’ve wrapped up the No. 1 seed and the first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. Kansas City has won 10 straight and just beat the Falcons 17-14, though they failed to cover as 11-point home favorites. Andy Reid is expected to rest several starters in this game, including Patrick Mahomes, with backup Chad Henne standing a “good chance” to play. This game remains off the board as we await word on who will start for the Chiefs. Kansas City beat the Chargers 23-20 in overtime in Week 2. 

 

SEAHAWKS at 49ERS

 

This NFC West matchup features one team looking to improve its playoff seeding and another looking to play spoiler. The Seahawks (11-4 SU, 8-7 ATS) have won three straight, including a 20-9 beatdown of the Rams on Sunday, easily covering as short 1.5-point home favorites. The Seahawks have clinched a playoff berth by winning their division and can rise higher than the No. 3 seed with a win and some help. On the other hand, the 49ers (6-9 SU, 6-9 ATS) have been eliminated from the playoffs. However, San Francisco snapped a three-game skid and beat the Cardinals 20-12 last week, winning outright as a 6-point road dog. This line opened with Seattle as a 6.5-point road favorite. The public is rushing to the window to back Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, yet we’ve seen this line fall from -6.5 to -5.5. This sharp reverse-line movement indicates pro money backing San Francisco plus the points. The 49ers have value as a home divisional dog (61% ATS this season). We’ve also seen respected money back the Under, dropping the total from 47 to 46. Both teams are profitable to the Under, with Seattle 9-6 and the 49ers 8-7. The Seahawks beat the 49ers 37-27 in Week 8. 

 

RAIDERS at BRONCOS

 

This game doesn’t mean much as these AFC West rivals have been eliminated from the playoffs. The Raiders (7-8 SU, 8-7 ATS) were once sitting pretty at 6-3 but have stumbled badly down the stretch, going 1-5 in their last six games. Las Vegas just fell to Miami in heartbreaking fashion 26-25 on Saturday, although it managed to cover as a 2.5-point home dog. Similarly, the Broncos (5-10 SU, 8-7 ATS) have lost two straight and six of their last eight, most recently losing to the Chargers 19-16 on Sunday and failing to cover as 2-point road dogs. The early lookahead line on this game was Broncos -2 at home. But we’ve seen a steady dose of Vegas money hammer this spread, flipping the Raiders to a 2.5-point road favorite. The Raiders enjoy a one-day rest advantage, having last played on Saturday. If this line reaches 3, expect some buyback on Denver getting a key number, The Broncos have value as a home divisional dog (61% ATS this season) and a home dog with an inflated line. Pros also have leaned on this Under, dropping the total slightly from 51 to 50.5. The Raiders have been the top Over team in the NFL (12-3), while the Broncos are 8-7 to the Under. The Raiders crushed the Broncos 37-12 in Week 10. 

 

CARDINALS at RAMS

 

The stakes couldn’t be much higher in this NFC West showdown as the winner clinches a playoff spot. The Cardinals (8-7 ATS, 7-8 ATS) suffered a setback last week, falling to the 49ers 20-12 and losing straight up as 6-point home favorites. If the playoffs started today, Arizona would be out. But they can sneak in if they win this game. If they lose, they’re out. Similarly, the Rams (9-6 SU, 8-7 ATS) have been crumbling at the wrong time, losing two straight, including a 20-9 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday, failing to cover as 1.5-point road dogs. The Rams also lost starting quarterback Jared Goff to a broken thumb and running back Darrell Henderson to a high ankle sprain. They will turn to a rookie quarterback, John Wolford from Wake Forest, to replace Goff. If the Rams lose this one, they’ll need a Chicago loss in order to get in. The Cardinals also have quarterback concerns as Kyler Murray is questionable with a leg injury. The line remains off the board as we await word on Murray’s status. If Murray can go, expect the public to load up on the Cardinals, which could provide buy-low value on the Rams as a short home divisional dog. The Rams also could be without star wideout Cooper Kupp, who was placed on the COVID-19 list. The Rams beat the Cardinals 38-28 in Week 13. 

 

WASHINGTON at PHILADELPHIA 

 

This “Sunday Night Football” showdown is one of the most consequential games of the week. Washington (6-9 SU, 8-6-2 ATS) has lost two straight, most recently falling to the Panthers 20-13 on Sunday and failing to cover as a 1-point home dog. However, Washington still controls its destiny. With a victory over Philadelphia, it wins the NFC East and punches its ticket to the playoffs. A loss would hand the title to the winner of the Cowboys-Giants game. So the Eagles (4-10-1 SU, 5-10 ATS) can play spoiler. Philadelphia has lost two straight and is just 1-6 over its last seven. The Eagles got rolled by the Cowboys 37-17 on Sunday, losing outright as 3-point road favorites. The lookahead line on this game was Eagles -4 at home. However, we saw heavy wiseguy action pound Washington, flipping this line to Washington -2, based on the belief that Alex Smith will start at quarterback. Referee Ron Torbert has been historically profitable for road teams (59% ATS). The Eagles will have value as a buy-low prime-time dog and home divisional dog (61% ATS). Both teams are profitable to the Under (Washington 9-5-1 and Philadelphia 8-7), yet we’ve seen the total rise slightly from 42 to 43. Washington beat the Eagles 27-17 in Week 1. 

 

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