Which matchups should we be focusing in on when looking to exploit the NFL betting odds? We examine three games in particular for what should be an exciting Week 17.
Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5) at New York Giants
The Eagles have to be incredibly disappointed with the way they've closed out the season. It wasn't all that long ago that they were in prime position to make the playoffs, but three straight losses have pushed them out of contention.
Conversely, the Giants have been playing their best football to close out the regular season, which seems like a bit of a waste. However, it's hard to deny how formidable the Eli Manning/Odell Beckham Jr. partnership has been, and that duo should have quite a bit of success against this weekend.
But, we don't believe New York should be the favorite NFL pick here. Philadelphia may not have a ton of motivation now that they're out of the playoff picture, but they still have the better overall team, and the Eagles will get up for this divisional battle. Considering we believe the wrong team is favored, we love the value on Chip Kelly's crew in Week 17 and think they have an excellent shot at the outright win. The Giants still have their fair share of problems going on, and we expect Philadelphia to expose them.
Upset Probability: Strong
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4) vs. New Orleans Saints
What a huge letdown from Drew Brees and the Saints last week. They had their fate firmly in their hands in a home encounter with the Falcons, yet they completely laid a dud. Now they're out of the playoff picture entirely ahead of this regular season finale in Tampa Bay.
It remains to be seen what kind of response we'll see from New Orleans in a game that matters little now. Tampa Bay hasn't exactly been a world-beater lately, having lost five straight games, but they have very competitive in a number of those losses and they're going to be hyped for this divisional clash against a Saints team that they took into overtime on the road earlier in the season.
It's awlays going to be a little unnerving to back a consistent loser in the Bucs, but New Orleans has been a shade of its former self this year and haven't deserved much of anything in terms of faith out of handicappers. We wouldn't be surprised to see Tampa Bay win this game straight up, making the points an appetizing proposition in this Week 17 NFC South "showdown." This may be a matchup you want to stay away from entirely, however.
Upset Probability: Fair
Arizona Cardinals (+6.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Has there ever been an 11-4 team that inspires as little confidence as Arizona? The Cardinals are already in the playoffs, but they're still fighting for a playoff seed.
The problem? Arizona is without its top two quarterbacks, and Ryan Lindley has looked awful when under center of the offense. Logan Thomas has apparently been terrible in practice too, while Andre Ellington is out for the season. This Cardinals offense has therefore been unable to get much of anything going, and this weekend they have to come to terms with a San Francisco team that will want to close out the regular season in style, especially for the departing Jim Harbaugh.
Now, let's not get it twisted. The 49ers have been a mess over the last month or so, losing four consecutive matchups. What was once a promising and successful season has turned into a nightmare. Yet, we still have way more confidence in what San Francisco will bring to the table this Sunday. There's a reason these NFL odds are what they are -- look for Colin Kaepernick and company to glide past the stalling Cardinals in Week 17.
Upset Probability: Unlikely