Week 17 is finally here! Before we begin, I just wanted to give a shout out to everyone that has read this column all season long. Thank you for reading, and riding the highs and lows of NFL gambling with me throughout the season. I’ve said it before, but if gambling were that simple, we’d all be rich and traveling the world. Unfortunately it is not, but overall, it has been a positive season for us, so it is important to keep trusting the process and we do that again today as I go through my picks for Dec 28.
We’re now in the final week of the season, and there are still a ton of playoff implications on the line. But, Week 17 is also very tricky to forecast because motivation for a lot of these teams is also tough to predict. That’s what makes this slate so interesting and exciting, so let’s get to it.
Vik’s Picks Dec 28
Here are our three favorite bets for this weekend:
New York Jets-Buffalo Bills under 37
If you’ve read this column in the past, you know I love me some Bills unders. In this weeks picks for Dec 28, I love it even more. With the Bills locked into the 5th seed, they’ll probably pull a lot of their starters late in the game. But, while they are in, Buffalo’s defense should be able to do what they do best, limit the Jets passing offense from putting up touchdowns. In addition to that, Buffalo unders are 27-17 under coach McDermott.
The public seems to disagree, with 60%+ of the public taking the over. But, the line has dropped from 37.5 to 37 in most books, indicating reverse line movement on the under. It looks like the sharp money is on the under as well, which makes me feel even better about this wager.
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals +3
Call me crazy, but I like the Bengals in this spot. While both teams are out of the playoffs, I love fading the Browns on the road in this spot. Cleveland is undisciplined, and with all coaching turmoil, I just don’t see Cleveland showing up after last week’s complete meltdown against the Ravens.
The Bengals offense should be able to move the ball with ease in this one and the biggest mismatch they can exploit is Joe Mixon vs. this Cleveland run defense. This Browns run defense is horrendous, and Mixon was able to run wild on them in their first matchup earlier this season. Now with Myles Garrett out and Olivier Vernon questionable, look for more of the same this Sunday.
Lastly, the public is hammering the Browns at an 80% clip.While the public is looking at an easy Browns win for a more talented team, there is some value on the Bengals at home in this one. Cincinnati has been playing teams tough this last quarter of the season, so I’m riding with them in this spot.
New Orleans Saints -12 at Carolina Panthers
The Saints are a good situational bet this weekend. Motivation is there for sure. There is a chance for New Orleans to secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC and clinch home-field advantage if they win and things break their way.
This Saints team has run up the score on teams all season long, and I see that continuing in this game. The biggest matchup they will exploit when they are on offense is their run game against Carolina’s putrid run defense. The Panthers currently rank 32nd in DVOA against the run. Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray already torched Carolina once in Week 12, and there is no reason they won’t be doing the same again on Sunday.
Defensively, the Panthers should be able to feast against Will Grier. Carolina’s QB struggled last week against a softer matchup for him, so I just don’t see it happening against New Orleans in this spot.
Usually I like fading the public, but this game I agree with them and am laying the points. Here is also a fun nugget. Since Ron Rivera was fired, Carolina’s opponents are 2-0-1 ATS against them. Just too many matchup issues for the Panthers to ignore. Look for New Orleans to blow out Carolina in the second half.
Tennessee titans -3, Washington Redskins +11
We’ve hit on a couple of these this season, so why not? If you are looking to sprinkle on a fun parlay, these two teams might be it. These are always risky, but there is some value in the Titans. I’ve personally lost betting on Tennessee the last two weeks, but if not for a couple of fluke plays, they could’ve won both games. Here they are in a must-win situation to make the playoffs, so I like their chances as they are a good football team. The Redskins have also quietly been competitive late in the season, while the Cowboys have to go down as one of the most disappointing teams in football with the Bears and the Browns. Dallas has also been the worst team against the spread this season, and it is a division game. I’ll take the points.
So, there you have it for my NFL picks and parlays for Dec 28. Good luck with your wagers and hopefully this Sports Intel helps with your Sunday NFL card.