You can always count on crazy stuff happening in the last week of the regular season, but the sharps aren’t concerned about adding the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys to their Week 17 NFL picks.
Jason’s record after Week 15: 36-50-1 ATS, 18-26-1 Totals
Shenanigans, shenanigans everywhere. Week 17 of the NFL regular season can be a serious pain in the toches for handicappers; teams who have already locked down their playoff spots may end up treating this like the preseason, giving extra snaps to their reserve players and trying out all number of tricky formations. Other teams who have already been eliminated could end up doing the same thing. You have to stay on your toes when you make your NFL picks this week.
One way to protect yourself: Follow the sharps. Early action is usually sharp action, and according to our consensus reports, the early action this week is landing on three teams in particular: the Buffalo Bills, the Dallas Cowboys, and the plucky Minnesota Vikings. What is it about these three teams that makes the wiseguys’ eyes light up? Let’s dig deep, peel back the layers, and get to know what’s behind the Week 17 NFL odds.
Doug Flutie Says Hi
Sadly for the Bills (8-7 SU and ATS), their 2014 campaign will end just like each of the previous 14 seasons. They were eliminated from the playoffs after last Sunday’s 26-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders (+7 at home). Kyle Orton had some good moments for Buffalo, but he also threw two picks, while the Bills rushed for just 13 yards on the day.
The vanquished Bills opened as 11-point road dogs for this Sunday’s game (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) against the New England Patriots, who improved to 12-3 (9-6 ATS) after squeaking by the New York Jets (+10 at home) 17-16. But the Patriots have already clinched the AFC East title and a first-round bye in the playoffs, so aside from earning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, they have no need to give it 100 percent this week. The sharps, on the other hand, were 100 percent behind Buffalo in early betting. As we go to press, the Bills are still drawing a healthy 68 percent consensus. It’s a classic Week 17 NFL pick.
The Cowboys (11-4 SU, 9-6 ATS) have also clinched the NFC East after putting away the Indianapolis Colts (+3.5 away) 42-7. However, Dallas still has a shot at earning that highly valuable first-round bye, and maybe even home-field advantage. It’ll take some help from elsewhere, but first, the Cowboys have to take care of business Sunday afternoon (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) in Washington.
It’s not a given. Washington might be a laughing stock at 4-11 SU and 5-10 ATS, but this past Sunday, Kai Forbath booted a field goal with five seconds remaining to beat the Philadelphia Eagles (–7 away) 27-24, eliminating the Eagles in the process. This week’s football odds have Dallas laying seven points in D.C.; our consensus reports show 93 percent of early bettors on the Cowboys.
Last but not least, we have those plucky Vikings (6-9 SU, 10-5 ATS), who have endeared themselves to the sharps by covering their last five games in a row. Minnesota couldn’t get the win in Week 16 over the Miami Dolphins (–4.5 at home), but it took a late touchdown and a safety on a blocked punt for Miami to eke out a straight-up victory.
Do the Chicago Bears (5-10 SU, 6-9 ATS) have that kind of effort in them? They actually came up with a solid game against the Detroit Lions (–10 away), as Jimmy Clausen threw a pair of TD passes to force the Lions to engineer a come-from-behind 20-14 win. Maybe there’s something to this whole Marc Trestman, Quarterback Whisperer thing after all.
Then again, the sharps were pounding Minnesota (–7 at home) at an 88-percent clip for Sunday’s matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) before it was announced that Jay Cutler would be starting for the injured Clausen (concussion). Then the consensus quickly leveled off at close to 50/50. You know Cutler will be playing as if he has something to prove this week, so bet accordingly.