The last week of the NFL’s Regular Season is upon us and it’s starting to look like many of the teams who made the Postseason last year will again be a part of the festivities this year, save for some like (maybe) the AFC’s Indianapolis Colts who saw their fortunes fall with the injury to QB Andrew Luck earlier this season. From the world’s largest sportsbook, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook here in Sin City, here is the NFL Week 17 Advanced Line along with our The Gold Sheet meets Hunter S. Thompson thumbnail sketches of the week’s 16 games for our devout and intelligent readers. And, as always, and fresh from The Grinch himself, two Turtle Doves and some first-instinct and healthily free from other’s opinions’ ATS picks in the Holiday spirit as our assault on “The Man” continues
Fear and Loathing and Backup Backup QBs in NFL Week 17
The nature and play seen in NFL Week 17’s is much different than seen in Weeks 1-16, as different teams have different realities heading into next week’s play—which sees all 16 games being played on Sunday—so therefore, the same approach and betting amounts and seriousness for the week just can’t and shouldn’t be applied. Some NFL teams don’t care for different reasons, but finding those that do, in terms of maybe keeping an unbeaten record (Carolina Panthers) or trying to lockdown a Home-field Advantage (New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals) will be crucial for sports bettors diving in for Week 17. My advice would be to go much lighter, or maybe not all all in some cases, as when we are hearing that names like Jimmy Clausen and Matt Schaub (Ravens), Kellen Moore (Cowboys), AJ McCarron (Bengals), Brandon Weeden (Texans), Zach Mettenberger (Titans), Case Keenum (Rams) and a number of other names you’d expect to hear around this time of year or during the Summer when backup QBs are trying to make the cut will be actually starting. So with all of this uncertainty and a number of odd QBs starting for their respective NFL teams in Week 16, it’s probably best, in the word of the immortal Walter White, to “tread lightly” next week in Week 17 as things just aren’t the same. But then again we shouldn’t be too cynical about guys like Moore and Keenum and others who actually could have some value for some NFL teams down the line. Both the Broncos’ Brock Osweiler and the 49ers’ Blaine Gabbert have shown us that this season.
Sunday, January 3, 2016
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills -1½
The New York Jets (9-5 SU, 8-5-1 ATS, vs. Patriots on Sunday) head upstate to Rich Stadium in Buffalo to celebrate the New Year and end the Regular Season with an AFC East Week 17 affair against Virginia Tech product Tyrod Taylor and the Bills (6-8 SU, 6-7-1 ATS, vs. Cowboys on Sunday), a game which will only have meaning to the visiting Jets who are the AFC’s projected 7th seed heading into Week 16 play. When these two met in Week 10 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, the Bills won outright as 2½-point underdogs, 22-17. With that cover, Buffalo is now 5-1 ATS the L6 against the Jets but making a decision on this game and that Point Spread is way too dependent on how New York AFC does in Week 16 at Home against the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots and Tom Brady. Everything can fall apart for the J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets! these L2 weeks and with this game in Bison City and that heavy aforementioned Bills Trend above, this could be a tough spot for Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Marshall & Company.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers -10
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8 SU, 7-7 ATS, vs. Bears on Sunday) and Rookie Jameis Winston head to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte next Sunday to face the possibly still unbeaten Carolina Panthers (14-0 SU, 10-4 ATS, at Falcons on Sunday) in a Week 17 game which may only hold significance for Cam Newton and the Cats in the context of going for a 17-0 Regular Season as Carolina likely will lock down the #1 seed in the NFC with a Win over Atlanta this Sunday. But still, this (Unbeaten Record) is that type of Motivation we talked about in the above Week 17 Warning Label. The way the Bucs looked last TNF at the Rams combined with the potential for the Panthers to go unbeaten and win their 20th straight Regular Season game is enough to justify laying the double-digits. Carolina is 4-1 ATS the L5 against Tampa Bay including a Week 4 Win and nice cover in the Sunshine State as 3-point favorites, 37-23.
Free NFL Pick: Panthers -10
New England Patriots -3½ vs. Miami Dolphins
The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (12-2 SU, 7-4-3 ATS, at Jets on Sunday) and QB Tom Brady (66-48-1 ATS on Road) head to Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens next Sunday for this AFC East Week 17 meeting with the Miami Dolphins (5-9 SU, 4-10 ATS, vs. Colts on Sunday). New England Head Coach Bill Belichick (158-117-8 ATS) had these Patriots lay down in Week 17 last season when they lost to at Home to Buffalo, 17-9. When these two met earlier this season in Week 8, the Patriots trained the Dolphins, 36-7, easily covering as 8-point chalks in Foxboro but New England and TE Rob Gronkowski are 0-3 ATS the L3 here and may not give a Rat’s Ass although if Homefield Advantage in the AFC is still up for grabs, the current projected #1 seed in the conference Patriots may really try and 3½ will look great. But that will depend on the Bengals (11-3) winning in Denver on Monday night. The worms inside me say the Fish are so bad you can probably lay the 3 anyway and the Under may be a great call come 2016. The Westgate SuperBook NFL Games of the Year had this one lined at Patriots -3½, so the exact same Point Spread, six months later. I see you.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals -10
The Baltimore Ravens (4-10 SU, 3-9-2 ATS, vs. Steelers on Sunday) had a crappy 2015 and start 2016 off in the Queen City facing Andy Dalton and the upstart Cincinnati Bengals (11-3 SU, 11-2-1 ATS, at Broncos on MNF) in an AFC North contest which may be important to the Bengals if the host Jets can upset the Patriots this coming Sunday in Week 16 play. When these two met earlier this season in Crab City, the Bengals won outright as 2½-point underdogs, 28-24 in Week 3 before the wheels fell off for the Ravens and when QB Joe Flacco and WR Steve Smith were healthy and when NFL odds makers could still have them favored in that spot. Baltimore is 1-5 the L6 ATS vs. Cincinnati and the Bengals are a powerful 5-1 ATS the L6 here at Home at Paul Brown Stadium against the Ravens and should win by around that 10-point spread here and may be motivated to shoot for AFC Home-field Advantage throughout the Playoffs should the Jets knock off the Pats (12-2). If bet, less than half of the normal amount should be wagered though because of all the variables. One? Denver beats Cincinnati on Sunday night dropping the Bengals to 11-4 and then that Motivation toward getting Home-field evaporates like Christmas 2015 does off the Calendar. Still, a Ravens fade the way they’re playing and how beat up they are is worth the small play. The Westgate SuperBook NFL Games of the Year had the Bengals open as 3-point chalks here, so the tale of Baltimore’s season is told in that 7-point difference.
Free NFL Pick: Bengals -10
New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons No Line ATM
In Week 17 play next Sunday, the New Orleans Saints (5-9 SU, 6-7-1 ATS, vs. Jaguars on Sunday) head to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to face Matt Ryan and the disappointing Falcons (7-7 SU, 5-9 ATS, vs. Panthers on Sunday) in an NFC South game which has no luster because Carolina done ate all the cookies. Why No Line? Because veteran Saints QB Drew Brees (Torn Plantar Fascia) hasn’t practiced this week (Week 16) and has been listed as Day-to-Day by New Orleans Head Coach Sean Payton. The Purdue product looked extremely gimpy in Week 15 and the Saints may have to go with backup QB Matt Flynn should the team not be happy with where Brees is and it makes little sense playing him in such a meaningless game when analyze it. Right? When these two met earlier this year in Week 6, New Orleans burst Atlanta’s perfect bubble—and the Dirty Birds have never been the same—winning outright, 31-21 as 3-point underdogs in The Big Easy. But still, with the Falcons 3-1 ATS overall the L4 in this series, 3-0 ATS here in Atlanta and with Brees a question mark, staying away or maybe backing the Over as Falcons WR Julio Jones (118 Receptions) continues to chase the NFL’s All-Time Receptions mark (143) set by the Colts Marvin Harrison in 2002.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans No Line ATM
Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9 SU, 7-6-1 ATS, at Saints on Sunday) head to NRG Stadium in Houston next Sunday afternoon to face the currently AFC South-leading Texans (7-7 SU, 7-7 ATS, at Titans on Sunday) in a game which may strangely still matter for both with the Jaguars the AFC’s projected 9th-seed heading into Week 16 play. When these two AFC South foes met earlier this year in Jacksonville, the Texans won 31-20 as 2½-point underdogs. The Jaguars are 4-2 ATS the L6 in this series and 3-0 ATS the L3 here in Houston, including a cover last year in Week 17 getting 9 points in a 23-17 Loss, but if there is a lean for when the Point Spread comes out it will be with host Houston who will be motivated but may be starting the newly signed BJ Daniels with backup TJ Yates (Torn ACL) possibly headed to the Injured Reserve. Starter Brian Hoyer is still under the NFL’s Concussion Protocol and will be the Texans guy should the Postseason beckon and with a game against the Titans in Week 16, it seems Houston and JJ Watt can make those Postseason plans.
Free NFL Pick: Texans
Pittsburgh Steelers -9½ vs. Cleveland Browns
Ben Roethlisberger and the awoke Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5 SU, 7-5-2 ATS, at Ravens on Sunday) head to FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland next Sunday to wrap up the Regular Season with an AFC North date with Johnny Manziel and the Browns (3-11 SU, 4-9-1 ATS, at Chiefs on Sunday) in a game which will only hold significance for Antonio Brown and the visitors. When these two met earlier this season in The Steel City, the Steelers rolled the Browns, 30-9, covering ATS as 7-point favorites. Pittsburgh is 1-3 ATS the L4 here in the city that’s home to the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame but you can’t get no satisfaction betting on the Browns in this spot. The Steelers and Head Coach Mike Tomlin (75-72-4 ATS) make a fine Holiday Soup out of them. Chalk, chalk, chalk all year. And why not.
Free NFL Pick: Steelers -9½
Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs -7
The Oakland Raiders (5-9 SU, 6-8 ATS, vs. Chargers on TNF; Raiders -5½, 46½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) head two Time Zones east (PST to MST) to Kansas City and Arrowhead Stadium to face Jeremy Maclin and their longtime AFC West rival, the Chiefs (9-5 U, 8-6 ATS) who had W8 straight games—and covered 7 of the 8 ATS—heading into Week 16 play (vs. Browns). Chiefs QB Alex Smith and the team could qualify for the Playoffs in Week 16 with either a Jets or Steelers Loss coupled with a Win over lowly Cleveland and Kansas City can still win the AFC West should Denver (10-4) slip up. When these two met earlier this season, Eric Berry and the Chiefs won, 34-20 in Week 13 in Oakland, easily covering ATS as 3-point favorites. Kansas City is 4-1 ATS the L4 against the Silver and Black but a woeful 2-7 ATS the L9 against Oakland here at Home although none of those Chiefs teams—the glorious Len Dawson and Otis Taylor AFL years withstanding—were as good or as Confident or had as much Momentum as this particular one.
Free NFL Pick: Chiefs -7
Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts -3
An Advanced Line on a Colts game? There obviously is a Santa Claus and he’s obviously a very quirky, work-when-I-want-to type of old man. It seems the news that starting QB Andrew Luck won’t play and that less-than-100% backup Matt Hasselbeck is such a question mark and that maybe Charlie Whitehurst gets the start here against the Tennessee Titans (3-11 SU, 4-9-1 ATS, vs. Texans on Sunday) is the logic, with the Titans going with backup Zach Mettenberger, who will be in for injured Rookie Marcus Mariota. Following? We’re playing a Holiday game of QB Musical Chairs and remembering there is a dude named Charlie Whitehurst still plying his wares as an NFL QB. Anyway, when these two AFC South teams met earlier this season in Nashville, the Colts rallied for a 35-33 Win but failed to cover ATS as 3-point chalks. Trend-wise, the Colts are an sparkly 7-0-1 ATS the L8 against Tennessee and Indianapolis is 5-1-1 ATS the L7 here at Home at Lucas Oil Stadium and are worth a shot even if it Whitehurst and Mettenberger end up being the starting QBs here. Week 17 can often resemble the Preseason. So why back possibly Whitehurst and the Horseshoes in this spot? Because fading the Titans week-in and week-out has been good, logical Sports Gambling no matter how much the voices on the radio try to justify their Tennessee delusions. The Titans are 2-14-3 ATS their L19 against teams with a Losing record and 8-24-3 ATS their L35 overall (25.0%). If something (fading Titans) is hitting 75% and you’re not blindly backing it then that’s on you. Stop listening to the Know-It-Alls and think for yourself. Tennessee is not a good football team (18-44 SU L3 seasons).
Free NFL Pick: Colts -3
Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys PK
Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins (7-7 SU, 7-7 ATS, at Eagles on Saturday) head south to the Lone Star State of Texas next Sunday afternoon in Week 17 play to face the Dallas Cowboys (4-10 SU, 5-9 ATS, at Bills on Sunday) and possibly Boise State product Kellen Moore at QB with Tony Romo out and Matt Cassel a variable in a game which could still have some meaning to the visitors who are trying to surprise The World by winning the NFC East only to probably be blended into a milkshake in the 1st Round of the NFC Playoffs by whomever they face. When these two met earlier this season in Week 13, the Cowboys defeated the Redskins, 19-16, winning outright as 2-point underdogs. But Dallas is a dismal 3-8 ATS the L11 in this series and America’s Former Team, the Cowboys are 1-7 ATS the L8 here in Arlington against Washington so buyer beware. This seems like a good Under in a lot (1st Quarter, 1st Half, Game) of ways.
Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears -1½
Santa Claus, Indiana product Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears (5-9 SU, 6-7-1 ATS, at Buccaneers on Sunday) welcome Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions (5-9 SU, 5-9 ATS, v. 49ers on Sunday) in a meaningless NFC North showdown which may see may footballs in flight with these two QB and all of their talented Skill Guys. When these two met at Ford Field earlier this season, Calvin Johnson and the Lions won 37-34 in OT but failed to cover by a ½ point as 3½-point chalks. Detroit is 5-2 ATS the L7 in this series but expect Cutler, WR Alshon Jeffery and RB Matt Forte to find a way to protect the home Soldier Field turf although both teams have been very schizophrenic this season, despite the deceptively nice Offensive Rosters.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants -2½ -120
DeMarco Murray and the Philadelphia Eagles (6-8 SU, 6-8 ATS, vs. Redskins on Saturday) head to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey next Sunday afternoon to face Odell Beckham, Jr. (Suspension, Week 16) and the New York Giants (6-7 SU, 6-6-1 ATS, at Vikings on Sunday) in an NFC East game which could still have some serious meaning depending on Week 16 results. When these two danced the NFL Gridiron Dance earlier this year in Week 6 in the City of Brotherly Love and Santa Claus Booers, Philadelphia won, 27-7 and covered ATS as 3½-point favorites. With the G-Men’s Defense so bad all year statistically (#32 in NFL in Total Yards Allowed, 423.0 ypg; #32 in NFL in Passing Yards Allowed, 308.4 ypg), this Week 17 game may be a good Over when the Total is released on Monday in that marketplace as either Fear or Sloppiness—or some perverted combination of the both may end up ruling the day at 1 MetLife Stadium Drive. It it happens, both teams will wonder how the Redskins snuck by them. The Westgate SuperBook NFL Games of the Year, released late each spring, had the Eagles as 2-point favorites here so you can see how those momentary Wiseguy delusions that Philadelphia was a good NFL team were just delusions. Snap out of it.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers -5½
QB Teddy Bridgewater and the upstart and grape-flavored Minnesota Vikings (9-5 SU, 11-3 ATS, vs. Giants on Sunday) head across the stateline from the Land of 10,000 Lakes to America’s Dairyland not to stock up on heese Curds and Old Style, but to embark in a good, old-fashioned game of professional American Football if they can somehow squeeze it in between the all too serious Dudes with Ties talking, Commercials, Replays, Hype, Promos of all shows coming up on their networks and all of the other crap that passes as “part of the game.” We are inundated by this Modern Overkill and this is partly why we gamble. Smart handicappers listen with the sound down and healing Zen music playing in the background or watch the game at a later time, zapping out the Commercials like the Modern Mosquitoes they’ve become. Anyway, the Vikings will be banging helmets with Aaron Rodgers and their heated rivals, the Green Bay Packers (10-4 SU, 9-5 ATS, at Cardinals on SNF) in this Week 17 game which could determine the division champion depending on what transpires this weekend in Week 16 play. When they met in Minneapolis earlier this year, the Packers won 30-13 getting a point and humbled the Vikings and pretty much psychologically put them back in the Pecking Order-place both in the NFC North as well as the NFC, although this is the best Minnesota has been in awhile, thanks in great part to the return of RB Adrian Peterson. The Packers are 5-1 ATS the L6 here at Lambeau Field and are definitely the call in this spot, beat up or not, although waiting until the Opening Line comes out and buying that hook (½ point) and getting it down to (Packers minus) 5 seems a little smarter if the line doesn’t come higher. Time will tell. She always does.
Free NFL Pick: Packers -5½
San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos -9½
Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers (4-10 SU, 6-8 ATS, at Raiders TNF; Odds: Raiders -5½, 46½, Pinnacle) head west a Time Zone (PST to MST) to Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver in Colorado in the United States in North America on Planet Earth in the Milky Way Galaxy to face maybe old QB Peyton Manning but probably young and new backup QB Brock Osweiler and the Broncos (10-4 SU, 8-4-2 ATS, vs. Bengals on MNF) in what will be a meaningless game for the visitors but no doubt a massive game for the hosts from the Rocky Mountains. In Week 13, the visiting Broncos won 17-3 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego as a 6-point favorite but Denver and the now unsure-handed WR Demaryius Thomas are a pathetic 1-7 ATS the L8 here at Home vs. the Bolts although probably none of those meetings may be holding the significance this one. The skinny heading into Week 16? The Broncos could still miss out on the Postseason. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Kris Pringle.
St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers -2½
Who needs a Man-Bun when you have this game? Blaine Gabbert and the San Francisco 49ers (4-10 SU, 6-8 ATS, at Lions on Sunday) welcome Case Keenum and the St. Louis Rams (6-8 SU, 6-7-1 ATS, at Seahawks on Sunday) in this NFC West Week 17 game which will be a sad affair in so many ways from the unfriendly confines of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara where nary a real 49ers fan wants to go these sorry days. The Grinch has nothing on Jed York. When these two met earlier this season in St. Louis, Rookie RB Todd Gurley and the Rams topped San Francisco, 27-6, easily covering the Point Spread as 7½-point home favorites.
The 49ers are 3-2 ATS the L5 in this series and won 21-17 last season when a man named Jim Harbaugh was the team’s Head Coach. Now Jim Tomsula has that title. You do the math.
Seattle Seahawks -2½ vs. Arizona Cardinals
This Advanced Line (Point Spread) speaks of many things: The Momentum of the hosts, the Past and the Present where the host could probably care less about actually losing to this swarm of Piranhas and care more about not being physically beat up heading into the Postseason. So this marquee Game of the Week for Week 17 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale next Sunday between Carson Palmer and the host Arizona Cardinals (12-2 SU, 8-6 ATS, vs. Packers on SNF) and University of Wisconsin product Russell Wilson and the scorching-hot Seattle Seahawks (9-5 SU, 7-6-1 ATS, vs. Rams on Sunday) is probably best just watched and enjoyed and not wagered on as this could fly Over or go way Under and nobody would think anything of it and either team could win, although it seems Jay Kornegay, Ed Salmons and the oddsmakers over at the SuperBook have this one right. When these two met in Seattle earlier this year, Larry Fitzgerald and the Birds shocked the Seahawks, winning 39-32 as 3-point Road underdogs. Even though some may deem this last game on the NFL’s Regular Season schedule and last predetermined game in the betting rotation books a “Revenge” game and other may see the Seahawks 2nd Half surge as something to back, it seems this is a perfect example of a great game to actually stay away from and just watch (and learn from) if any Discipline was left in your Stockings this Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. I thought not. The Seahawks and underrated LB Bobby Wagner are 4-2 ATS the L6 in this series and the Westgate SuperBook NFL Games of the Year had Seattle as 2½-point favorites here, so gain, same Point Spread, six months later. Those cats over on Paradise Drive always seem to know exactly what they’re doing and no doubt practice makes (near) perfect. Much Respect.
Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook NFL Week 17 Advanced Line Free Picks: Panthers -10 over Buccaneers, Bengals over Ravens -10, Texans - over Jaguars, Steelers -9½ over Browns, Chiefs -7 over Raiders, Colts -3 over Titans (Westgate Las Vegas SportsBook)