The commish took one on the chin last week (1-4) as the most difficult year in NFL sports betting continues. The season record now stands at 39/77 (50.64%) What makes this year so difficult compared to others is not only ongoing parody in the league, but the difficulty in getting correct information related to Covid in a timely manner and the ultimate effect this has on the closing line of the game. Last week’s Ravens game was a perfect example. Tyler Huntley was listed as the starter until two hours before the game started, and then the Ravens trotted out Josh Johnson out onto the field (who by the way was the best quarterback on the Jets this season) and the line went from 3 to 7. What happened in that game has been happening all over the league. Let’s call it the Covid risk/reward factor of betting early and we’ll factor it into our NFL 2021 Week 17 Predictions at Wannamakeabet.com.
Here’s who we have our eye on for Week 17. Only two weeks remain before we head to the playoffs. All lines are from Wannamakeabet.com at the time of this posting.
Kansas City – 3.5 over Cincinnati Bengals
Let’s start with the best game on the early card. The Chiefs are playing for something today. The Bengals, not so much. Upon first seeing this line I was inclined to take Cincy, especially after what they did to the division rival Ravens last week. But the truth is the Ravens had both hands tied behind their back in that game. Now they face the best team in the AFC who needs to win the game to maintain the one seed. Cincinnati’s season will come down to the Browns game next week in Cleveland. Today’s game will be a reminder that they’re not ready for the big time yet and young Joe will likely pee down his leg and throw some picks and give up some bad sacks. The Chiefs come in ranked 6th and Cincy 16th and they would need to be getting a TD for me to feel comfortable backing them today. Possible teaser leg for Cincy but I’m on the Chiefs.
New England -15.5 over Jacksonville
You often hear the term “get right game” when analyzing a game. Well here it is for New England. The Jags have no pass rush. They can’t stop the run. And they can’t cover anyone. So this should be the perfect opportunity for New England to put their feet on the ground and get a convincing win. The last several weeks have seen them fall off the hot pedestal after losing to the Colts and Bills. And now they find themselves in a spot where they not only need to win to get their hands on a coveted wildcard, but they need it to restore confidence that they belong in the picture at all this season. Now this is a lot of wood to chop for any offense, but New England’s defense will likely chip in and make Trevor Lawrence poor season look even worse as they could easily shut them out entirely.
Baltimore Ravens + 6 over LA Rams
I don’t believe Lamar Jackson is going to play today. And that’s a good thing, as long as Tyler Huntly gets the start. The Ravens can help themselves tremendously if they can find a way to win this game today, which would put them at 9-7. Otherwise they’re 8-8 and will need help next week from the others in the AFC North. And yes, that is also true for the Rams as they are fighting for the top seed in the NFC. The Ravens will start to get some players back on defense finally. Chuck Clark, Jimmy Smith, Young, Calais Campbell. The opening line in this game was Rams – 2 so you are getting tremendous CLV (closing line value) by taking them here at 6 even despite the injuries. The market does not think Lamar is gong to play, and in my mind, that’s a good thing and not a reason for this to stretch to seven.
Minnesota Vikings +13 over Green Bay Packers
Sean Mannion is getting the start today at QB as an unvaccinated Kirk Cousins has Covid19. That does not change the fact that the Vikes need this game or they are eliminated from the playoff picture. You think Kirk Cousins is worth 7 points? He ain’t that good. The Browns showed last week that the way to beat Green Bay is on the ground. And despite the fact they failed to execute down the stretch, Minnesota has that game plan with Cook and Mattison. And despite the fact that I’m betting against the referees in this game (as you always do in Lambeau), I think there’s enough value with the Vikings to find a way to cover and even potentially beat a team that I still think is over rated. The Packers are only ranked 10th and they are fighting for the #1 seed in the NFC. That says a lot. Minnesota keeps this close to avoid the dagger falling in the center of their chest, which will happen by a narrow margin when it’s all said and done.
NFL Week 17 Predictions
Pittsburgh Steelers + 3.5 over Cleveland Browns.
Baker Mayfield has had 16 opportunities in his career to either tie or win a game in the fourth quarter. Guess what his record is in those situations? It’s 2-14. He is proving himself to be one of the most un-clutch performers in the league. The little engine that couldn’t. And the fact that the Browns are a road favorite in season-on-the-line moment like this is dumbfounding to me. Ben has indicated that he’s retiring after this season, which we all saw coming. That makes Monday night the last of his career at Heinz Field. Are you telling me the Steelers are not going to win this game? The emotion in that locker room, on the field, and in the stands will be palpable. I know the Steelers looked horrible and did nearly nothing right last week against the Chiefs but that was then and this is now. They still can win the AFC North if they win this game and beat the Ravens next week. Hammer Pittsburgh, they won’t lose this one.
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NFL Week 17 Predictions