Best Bets Against the Spread – Week 17
Happy New Year to all! We hope everyone had an excellent NFL season. It’s hard to believe it is finally Week 17. The regular season ends, but the postseason is just beginning! Come back all postseason for more picks!
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The Patriots travel to South Beach to take on the Dolphins in the final week of the season. Both Miami and New England are securely in the playoff, but both teams can improve their seed with a victory.
These two AFC East division mates faced off in Week 2 on September 18th in Foxboro. Miami lost that game 24-31 but rallied late to almost send the game to overtime.
New England dominated the Jets last week and easily covered their -17 number by winning 41-3. The win gave the Patriots a 13-2 mark on the season. They must win Sunday’s game to lock up the AFC’s No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Miami notched their ninth win in the last ten games and clinched a playoff spot in the previous week’s victory against the Buffalo Bills in overtime 34-31. With a 10-5 record, the Fins have made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
The Dolphins are currently the No. 6 seed in the playoffs but move up to the No. 5 seed if they beat New England, and the Chiefs happen to lose to San Diego at 4 pm. That latter scenario is unlikely, but Miami won’t be coasting through this game or resting starters.
The Patriots opened as -6 favorites in this game, but that number has moved to -9 or -9.5. Betting action hasn’t been too lopsided either way, but about 60 percent of the public has put their money on New England.
Divisional games are always tough and for that reason, the underdog is simply more appealing. Dolphins’ starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill has begun practicing again, but likely won’t suit up for Sunday’s game.
Unless he recovers quickly over the next day or so, it will be Matt Moore under center again for Miami. Moore is one the most underrated backups in the league. He has thrown for over 500 yards and six touchdowns and just two interceptions in two starts this season for Tannehill.
The home team should keep this one within double-digits. There are some bookmakers out there dealing Miami +10, which a price that bettors should just on immediately.
Pick: Dolphins +9
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers -6 Total 43
The Browns head to Heinz Field to finish out their season against their AFC North “rival,” the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both the Browns and Steelers don’t have much to play for this Sunday. Cleveland has long been out of the playoff race, and the Steelers can’t gain any ground by playing their starters.
The Browns finally got their first win last week against the visiting San Diego Chargers. Cleveland is now tied with San Francisco for the worst record in football at 1-14.
Pittsburgh clinched a playoff spot and an AFC North crown with a victory over the Baltimore Ravens last week at Heinz Field. They did it dramatic fashion, with wide receiver Antonio Brown stretching his arm over the goal line in the final seconds. The victory gave the Steelers a 10-5 record as we head into Week 17.
Pittsburgh is firmly entrenched as the No. 3 seed as we head into the playoffs. Head coach Mike Tomlin has announced that he will sit many starters for Sunday’s game, including Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell.
The odds initially opened with the Steelers as -12.5 favorites, but that number has moved to -6 now after Tomlin announced many starters would sit. The public is liking Pittsburgh. So far, over 70 percent of wagers have come in on the Steelers.
The Steelers defense is suspect in general, but with all of their starters out – even the lowly Browns should be able to put up points. Also, let’s not forget how bad Landry Jones looked last season.
The Browns major weakness is on defense, where they are historically bad. However, they still do boast a considerable amount of offensive talent. They’re also going to be facing backups for most of, if not all, of the game.
I like the Browns in the spot. Pittsburgh will still likely win the game, but Cleveland should keep this one within a field goal or win outright.
Pick: Browns +6