The Final Week: Where Parlays Go To Die

Week 17 NFL Picks

Week 16 was a winning week (18-14). Three lines (overs and spreads) adjusted from the time the article was written until the time the article was published, and we went 2-1 on those adjustments. The Packers game weather projection affecting the total points line was the major one. Regardless, we had a pretty good week overall and are now sitting at 52.47% on the season.

This week, there are a lot of moving pieces between news and coaches announcing players sitting. Pay attention to the lines and my Twitter feed @CollinHulbert this weekend, as we might make some pick pivots as the games creep closer.

2020 Regular Season Record: 244-221 (52.47%)       

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A breakdown of Week 17 NFL picks

Here we take a look at all the main NFL Week 17 betting lines from the BetRivers Online Sportsbook. Got a minute? Check out a summary of Collin’s picks below. Got some more time? Read on for Collin’s in-depth analysis for his picks this week:

Matchup/LineCollin's PickTake With the SpreadOver/Under
Falcons @ Buccaneers -7     O/U: 50
Buccaneers 27 Falcons 24FalconsOver
Dolphins @ Bills -3.5     O/U: 42.5Dolphins 20 Bills 17DolphinsUnder
Ravens -13 @ Bengals      O/U: 43.5Ravens 31 Bengals 21 BengalsOver
Steelers @ Browns  -9.5    O/U: 42.5Browns 27 Steelers 14 BrownsUnder
Vikings -6.5 @ Lions      O/U: 53.5Vikings 31 Lions 24      VikingsOver
Cowboys -1 @ Giants      O/U: 44.5Cowboys 24 Giants 17CoyboysUnder
Jets @ Patriots -3      O/U: 40Jets 20 Patriots 19JetsUnder
Titans -7.5 @ Texans       O/U: 56Titans 34 Texans 31TexansUnder
Chargers -3.5 @ Chiefs       O/U: 44Chargers 31 Chiefs 10ChargersUnder
Cardinals -3.5 @ Rams       O/U: 40.5Rams 23 Cardinals 17RamsUnder
Raiders -3 @ Broncos      O/U: 51Raiders 27 Broncos 24PickPick
Saints -6.5 @ Panthers     O/U: 47.5Saints 23 Panthers 20PanthersUnder
Seahawks -6.5 @ 49ers      O/U: 46.5Seahawks 26 49ers 2349ersOver
Jaguars @ Colts -14     O/U: 49.5Colts 34 Jaguars 24JaquarsOver
Packers -5 @ Bears      O/U: 50.5Packers 27 Bears 23BearsUnder
Washington Football Team -2.5 @ Eagles      O/U: 44Washington Football Team 20 Eagles 17WashingtonUnder

Falcons @ Buccaneers -7     O/U: 50

The Buccaneers just need a win here to secure the 5th seed, ensuring them a road game against one of the awful NFC East teams. A loss could jeopardize that, forcing the Bucs to travel to either Seattle or New Orleans (in all likelihood).

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Falcons buried the Bucs for an entire half, until the Bucs sprung to life just in the nick of time to pull off the victory. In this game, I expect the Falcons (and their interim head coach) want to grab the win.

I don’t know to what extent the Bucs will be resting players, but their goal will be to win the game, so I’m not sure the Bucs will let off the gas. I like for the Bucs to win this one, but expect the Falcons to put up quite a fight.

Buccaneers 27 Falcons 24

Dolphins @ Bills -3.5     O/U: 42.5

This one is the big head-scratcher of the week. I’m not positive about what Buffalo’s plan is, but I have a pretty good idea. The Steelers have already announced they’ll be benching Ben Roethlisberger.

The Bills have come out and stated, “We have a plan in place for Sunday.” I’m no Nostradamus, but it’s fairly implied here the Bills intend to scoreboard watch on the Steelers game. The hope for the Bills is that they can trot the first-team offense out there until it looks like Pittsburgh has their game in hand. From there, it’ll be completely up to the Dolphins to close the game out.

My guess is the Bills rest their starters somewhere from midway through the second quarter to midway through the third quarter. If the game gets away from Buffalo at any point, I expect they’ll just let it go at that point.

There’s plenty of room to play this one, if you expect Buffalo to rest players. I like the Dolphins to rally late in this one, so a first-half bet on Buffalo, plus a Dolphins moneyline for the game would be my suggestion here.

Dolphins 20 Bills 17

Ravens -13 @ Bengals      O/U: 43.5

The Ravens are one of the NFL’s hottest teams. Over the past few games, the Ravens’ offense has finally come to fruition. Defensively, they’ve dropped off over the last month, but the offense resembles the one we saw in 2019, rather than the broken, disjointed one we saw earlier in the season.

The Bengals have been no pushovers as of late, scoring upsets in each of their last two games. It’s a big spread for the Ravens to overcome in this game, but the Ravens have the NFL’s best point differential for a reason. The Ravens’ dynamic rushing attack has been too much for the Bengals to deal with over the past two years.

Since Lamar Jackson took over midway through the 2018 season, the Ravens are 4-0 against the Bengals. I expect the Ravens will handle their business, and punch their ticket into the playoffs. Don’t forget how the Ravens ended their 2019 season with a tragic loss in the divisional round. They aim to not let that happen again.

Ravens 31 Bengals 21 

Steelers @ Browns      O/U: 42.5

The Steelers are resting some key players. The most notable is Ben Roethlisberger. This one may be particularly upsetting to those who want to see the Browns miss the playoffs again.

The problem the Steelers will have benching Ben is simple. Mason Rudolph can’t run the offense with the same tempo and efficiency as Ben. He’s a completely different style of quarterback, who will definitely play against the Steelers’ strengths on offense.

With a deceitfully poor offensive line in place in Pittsburgh, the entire offensive strategy of using quick passes was developed as a way to relieve pressure on the line itself. The Steelers already struggle running the ball, so I have this game going the way of a low-scoring boat race. With the Browns run game, set to face a weak linebacking corps, this one might get ugly.

Browns 27 Steelers 14 

Vikings -6.5 @ Lions      O/U: 53.5

The Vikings aren’t playing for anything of significance. The Lions definitely aren’t either, but you can be sure they want to accomplish two things by the end of the week. The first is to wash the bad taste out of their mouths after the blowout loss to the Buccaneers a week ago. The second is to finish the season on a good note, playing hard for their interim head coach.

The Vikings’ motivations are not exactly clear, but it does appear all their key players are a go for Sunday (minus Dalvin Cook, who is out for family reasons). I expect the Vikings to open up things a little more on Sunday. Alexander Mattison will get the nod while Cook is out, and he’s honestly one of the best backups in the league.

I expect Justin Jefferson will again be impossible to slow down, as the Vikings should pull out a win in a high-scoring affair with the prideful Lions.

Vikings 31 Lions 24      

Cowboys -1 @ Giants      O/U: 44.5

The Giants are an absolute bore to watch. Outside of their fan base, I can’t imagine too many neutral NFL fans will be eager to see them in the playoffs. Though I expect this game won’t ultimately matter, I love how the Cowboys have found themselves on offense lately.

I expect this to be a hard-fought game, with the edge to the talented Cowboys receivers. I don’t think scoring will be that hard to come by for the Cowboys in the game. Despite the ineptitude of the Cowboys defense, their pass rush should be able to trouble whomever the Giants decide will start at quarterback.

I wouldn’t expect near the shootout we saw a week ago with the Eagles and Cowboys, but I do like the Cowboys to seize control early in this game and minimize any big plays from the Giants’ offense, holding on for dear life to close it out.

Cowboys 24 Giants 17

Jets @ Patriots -3      O/U: 40

The Jets are playing some decent football at the moment. As much as we’ve joked about them being idiots for trying so hard to blow their odds for the top pick in 2021, they’ve now beaten the Rams and Browns in consecutive weeks.

Either this team has found a winning formula, or they just ran into a couple of teams dealing with some dysfunction. Though I lean the latter, they are facing another team this week dealing with their own set of issues. The Jets are traveling to Gillette Stadium this weekend to face the slumping Patriots (losers of three straight by double digits).

The Patriots are a mess right now offensively. They can’t pass the ball well enough to take any pressure off the box, so teams are just stacking the box and forcing the Patriots to beat them through the air. Defensively, the Patriots have been struggling as well.

For this game, it’s important for each team they finish the season on a high note. The first time around, the Jets nearly beat the Patriots with Joe Flacco at quarterback. Now, the Jets have some offensive potency, Darnold is playing decent ball, and the Jets defense hasn’t been a complete mess. As much as I find it hard to believe, I think the Jets are playing superior ball right now, and I think they can pull off the upset at Foxboro.

Jets 20 Patriots 19

Titans -7.5 @ Texans       O/U: 56

The Titans need to win to secure the division. A loss from the Titans and a win by all the other 10-5 teams would eliminate them from playoff contention, so they have all the motivation to try to go out there and win this one. The Texans are drawing dead, but stand to gain nothing by losing, since the Dolphins own the Texans’ first and second-round picks in the upcoming draft.

Despite the lack of incentive here, the Texans are still a dangerous team on offense. They are capable of hanging with most teams in the NFL, and the Titans don’t have the defense to exclude them from the list.

I think the Texans will be up for this one at home and this game will be a shootout from start to finish. I like the Texans to keep it very close the entire way.

Titans 34 Texans 31

Chargers -3.5 @ Chiefs       O/U: 44

This is one of the few games I feel complete confidence in this week. The Chiefs are going to be resting key players, including Patrick Mahomes this week. The Chargers have been playing hard for their coach over the past three weeks, going 3-0 over that span.

The Chargers also handled the Chiefs the first time the two played for most of the game. It took an overtime field goal to put the Chargers down the first time. With no incentive to win, the Chiefs will be severely outgunned in this game. I like the Chargers to win comfortably.

Chargers 31 Chiefs 10

Cardinals -3.5 @ Rams       O/U: 40.5

The Cardinals need to win to get in. The Rams also need to win to get in. Kyler Murray is banged up, but fighting through the pain. The Cardinals are hoping for a Bears loss and a victory over the Rams to snag the final playoff spot, so they’ll be rolling out a new quarterback, John Wolford, ahead of kickoff Sunday.

Wolford played college ball at Wake Forest and had a brief career in the AAF with Arizona, throwing for 14 TDs and 7 INTs. I think Wolford won’t be awful, and the lack of info on him as a passer will benefit the Rams in this game.

The Rams have a tough defense, and Kyler Murray should be limited with a leg injury. I think the public is a little too focused on Arizona this week, and I would rather put my faith in the Rams and Sean McVay, than Kliff Kingsbury.

Rams 23 Cardinals 17

Raiders -3 @ Broncos      O/U: 51

The Raiders and Broncos have nothing to play for here but pride. The last time these two played, the Raiders destroyed the Broncos. Drew Lock is finally being exposed for what he is, an overhyped mid-round talent. With that being said, I want no part of this game from a betting perspective.

Both these teams will be playing hard to show their front offices all is well. I think it’s a pretty close, fairly high-scoring game at the end of it all. Both teams have many holes on defense, with offenses capable of keeping up in higher-scoring games. I think this one will go chalk, but I’m not going near it.

Raiders 27 Broncos 24

Saints -6.5 @ Panthers     O/U: 47.5

The Saints are in a bit of trouble here. A win gets them a shot at the top seed in the NFC, but any hope of doing so will come without the assistance of Alvin Kamara. Kamara has drawn over 20% of Drew Brees’ targets in 2020. His role in the offense is the dynamic playmaker who gives them chunk yardage in various down and distances.

Now, the Saints will be leaning more on Latavius Murray, as they seek the NFC’s top seed. The Panthers (Teddy Bridgewater, in particular) are stellar as one-score underdogs in the past.

This game is ripe for upset potential, as the Panthers nearly pulled off the upset on the road in Week 7, without McCaffrey, but facing a heathy Brees and Kamara. I like the Panthers to keep this one very close throughout.

Saints 23 Panthers 20

Seahawks -6.5 @ 49ers      O/U: 46.5

These divisional games are tricky. Even with an outside shot at the #1 overall seed in the NFC, the Seahawks will likely come out of this as the #2 or #3 seed. It doesn’t leave a lot of incentive for the Seahawks to beat up the 49ers, though the Seahawks will likely decide at the half whether to rest starters or keep their foot on the gas.

I like the 49ers in this game. It should be another one of those “let’s win one for the coach” deals. Kyle Shanahan can’t be happy with the way the season has gone to this point, and I don’t expect them to lay down late here, even with a larger deficit.

I expect the Seahawks will see Green Bay winning by a healthy margin at the half, give Wilson one or two more series’ after the half, and rest their guy down the stretch, giving the 49ers a nice backdoor setup.

Seahawks 26 49ers 23

Jaguars @ Colts -14     O/U: 49.5

The Jaguars have beaten one team this entire season, the Colts. They have nothing to play for but have a cushion to still be able to win and land Lawrence atop the draft.

It makes sense here for the Jags to play their butts off and serve as a spoiler to the Colts’ postseason hopes. I don’t think the Jaguars will pull off the outright upset, but they have a talented group of receivers and an offense that doesn’t mind taking shots down the sideline.

This game is either going to be a snowballing blowout for the Colts, or a close, high-scoring game. I’m leaning towards the latter, given the way the Jags played in their opener.

Colts 34 Jaguars 24

Packers -5 @ Bears      O/U: 50.5

The Packers need a win to secure a bye. The Bears need a win to get into the playoffs. After losing six straight, the Bears opted to go with Mitch Trubisky to spark the offense, and it’s paid off quite well. Now, the Bears control their destiny with a home game against the red-hot Packers.

Something has got to give in this game, as both teams are highly motivated and playing great football. I’m optimistic the Bears will be able to keep this game close throughout, but will ultimately come up short against the NFC favorites.

Packers 27 Bears 23

Washington Football Team -2.5 @ Eagles      O/U: 44

Washington’s offense is on life support. Luckily for them, their defense is still great. I know the Eagles plan on playing their starters, but it appears Miles Sanders won’t be able to go, and neither will Fletcher Cox, a key piece of the defense.

Jalen Hurts is going to have a tough task this week with a defense far superior to the one he struggled against last week. Even with the issues at quarterback, I expect Washington will have smoother sailing in the rushing game against a weak Eagles defensive front.

I like for Washington to close the door on the NFC East once and for all this week in a low-scoring game.

Washington Football Team 20 Eagles 17

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Author: Collin Hulbert