NFL Week 17, the final week of the regular season, is a unique beast where lots of value can be found. However, I’ve always found the best way to approach this week is similar to how I’d approach a prop bet. The idea is to use simple analysis and sound strategy to make a few wagers likely to be +EV without spending much time on each. This because time is easily wasted Week 17, the week where stats and math have the least value due to each team playing their final game of the regular season. With this said, I’m going to now walk you through my entire Week 17 analysis. Consider these my journals notes as I’m actually placing bets and doing analysis as I write this. The disorganized nature might be difficult to follow but this better provides you with a look at how I approach week 17 betting.
Games without Meaning
The first thing I looked at this week was games where both teams have been eliminated fully from the playoffs. I found there are four of these games and here are my thoughts on each:
1:00PM Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles – Eagles for sure want to win their final game at home, and with a point spread of -8 and a moneyline of Redskins +324 Eagles -373 this an awesome better than standard basic strategy teaser leg.
1:00PM Chicago Bears @ Minnesota – Tough call on motivation here, I’m going to pass on this game.
1:00PM Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars – If the Colts win they risk losing the #1 draft pick. If the Jaguars win they drop from #3 or #4 in the draft to as low as #7 in the draft. Both teams are hyping this up that all that is important is winning, but winning is truly a bad move for both teams. I’m not going to find much of an edge in this one so will pass.
4:15PM Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals – No reason to believe these teams will not be playing all out. Seattle is basically +2.5 but most sites have them shaded to +3, this is strong candidate for basic strategy teasers.
From these four games I came up with a single bet. A 2-team 6-point teaser -110.
Week 17 Correlated Parlays
The next thing looked for was any correlated games. I ended up discovering two sets of these, and the set with the most value is:
1:00PM Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers
4:15PM Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons
If the Lions win they clinch the #5 seed and play either the Cowboys or the Giants in the playoffs. If they lose and the Falcons win they fall to the #6 seed and play the Saints which is a much worse draw. However if the Lions win here is nothing left for Atlanta to play for. Altanta has had their share of injuries this season including Matt Ryan so if Detroit does win, then all Atlanta starters playing a full game with an important match the week to follow against the Saints would make no sense. At Intertops.eu the Lions are -3 -120 and the Buccs +11.5 -115. This correlated parlay makes complete sense as Tampa Bay’s players are rallying around and supporting their coach already and might play the later portion of the game against backups.
A second correlation I found was:
1:00PM Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
4:15PM Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
Here we have the same scenario and I absolutely LOVE the Ravens -1.5 -110 in this match. The problem is at the time I’m writing this review the Steelers/Browns game is off the board and I expect the line will probably be something like Browns +6.5 when it does open. This isn’t enough for me to bet as the Browns have too many injuries and if it turns out there is no spoiler opportunity for them, I question how much motivation they’ll have even against the Steelers backups. It’s still probably correct to parlay and hedge but expecting a line of +6.5 ish for the Browns I’m going to pass. However, I am going to bet the Ravens -1.5 -110 (this is available at the time of this post in the 5Dimes drop down menu).
Free Picks #3: Ravens -1.5 -110 @ 5Dimes.
Of the remaining games I pulled the ones with the most meaning to look to see if there was any further value. This is what I came up with:
1:00PM San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams – The Rams with a loss have a chance at the #1 draft pick if the Colts win, while the 49ers can clinch the NFC #2 seed in the playoffs with a win. The point spread of -10.5 makes sense, but unless I find an 8 to 10 point teaser somewhere that also makes sense I’m going to pass.
1:00PM Buffalo at New England – The Bills have all sorts of motivation to play the spoiler here and would love to sweep the Patriots on the season stopping them from betting the AFC’s #1 seed. This is very important match to the Patriots however, with a point spread of 10.5 I’m going to consider the Bills or look to tease the Patriot if a 3rd leg shows up.
4:15PM Kansas City @ Denver – Motivation is no question here and Kansas City has it in them to pull off the upset and is priced at +3.5. My initial lean is betting KC to pull off the upset, but I’m not looking for excuses to make marginal week 17 bets so am going to pass.
4:15PM San Diego @ Oakland – I have the same feeling about this game as I do the one above, the Chargers are a live dog here at +3 and if I was pressed for a reason to bet I might take it, but once again am going to pass.
8:20PM Dallas at NY Giants – Neither team deserves to be in the playoffs but the winner will be. The home team favored by a bit less than 3 as shocking as is it, at this stage of my analysis I’m probably going to pass.
This leaves me with two teams that might be ideal to put into a 3-team 10-point teaser, but before bothering with the math I’m going to look and see if there is even a third leg worth using here to bet this. The only games I see where that might make sense is Atlanta -11 and we have a parlay on the other side already but this might not be live if we lose the first bet. So it’s worth taking a look at the math.
Using the same math I shared multiple times this season in past pick articles I calculate the no vig money lines via Pinnacle Sports as Patriots -0.5 -440 49ers -0.5 -441 and Falcons -1 -449. I can get this 3-team 10-point teaser at -120 via Bookmaker.eu. Again using math I shared many times this season I see 3-team 10-point teasers are a parlay where each selection is priced -446. It appears I have very close to a neutral value bet (slight –EV, I stress “slightly”). If you’re in the mood to gamble this would be a great blind bet. Not in the mood to gamble I’m going to pass.
So to recap you can reread my post to find a few additional leans but by actual bets for week 17 are:
This concludes my regular season picks here as a TheSportsGeek.com. It’s been an awesome 17 week NFL season, and I’ll still be here 3 more weeks. You guys will have me for the Wild Card Round, Division Championships and Conference Championships sharing picks. As always I wish you the best of luck.