NFL Week 17 Betting Picks & Predictions
Week 16 Recap: I finished 1-1-1 on the weekend, as the Texans blew a sizable early lead in a push as a 3-point road favorite versus the Bucs, the Bills let a late lead slip away and failed to cover as a 6.5-point underdog in Foxborough, and the Saints erased a 14-0 deficit to cover as a 2.5-point favorite in Tennessee. That now puts me at a pedestrian 28-26-1 on the season with only Week 17 and the playoffs remaining.
- Spread: Chiefs -9
- O/U: 47
- Time: 1:00 p.m. ET, Sunday, December 29
The Chiefs still have an opportunity to clinch the No. 2 seed in the AFC, although with the Patriots hosting the 4-11 Dolphins, it’s unlikely Kansas City accomplishes that feat. Still, the Chargers are unlikely to put up much resistance this weekend at Arrowhead.
In a losing effort versus the Raiders, Philip Rivers failed to throw a touchdown in a fourth consecutive game. He looks finished, especially playing behind an offensive line that gets him beat up on a weekly basis. It would help if the Chargers could run the ball, but they were held to a season-low 19 rushing yards a week ago versus the Raiders. With Kansas City holding three straight opponents to fewer than 280 total yards, the Bolts are likely to struggle again offensively.
Speaking of the Chiefs, they’re 5-0 both straight up and against the spread and have owned this series, posting a 10-1 record and an 8-3 mark against the spread over their last 11 games versus the Chargers. With Patrick Mahomes looking more like the special player he was a year ago over the last two weeks, I like KC to cruise on Sunday.
NFL Week 17 Selection: Kansas City Chiefs -9
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109 Atlanta Falcons at 110 Tampa Bay Bucs
- Spread: Falcons +1
- O/U: 48
- Time: 1:00 p.m. ET, Sunday, December 29
The Falcons are just 2-5-1 against the spread in their last eight trips to Raymond James Stadium but against my better judgment, I’m backing them anyway.
Since their Week 9 bye, the Falcons have won five of seven, which includes upset wins over the Saints in Week 10 as a 13-point underdog and at the 49ers in Week 15 as a 10.5-point dog. Apparently, the players are all fighting for coach Dan Quinn’s job, which is one reason for Atlanta’s turnaround. Why the players didn’t fight for Quinn in the first half when they went 1-7 I don’t know, but they’re fighting now. As I’ve written in this space before, the Falcons aren’t without talent and that goes for both sides of the ball. For whatever reason, they came out of the gates slow, ruined their playoff chances but have rebounded and are playing well.
As for Tampa, the Bucs will be without Mike Evans (hamstring) and most-likely, Chris Godwin (hamstring), while Jameis Winston remains a turnover machine. Granted, he often saves his best performances for Atlanta, in which he’s 4-4 lifetime against, with over a 67% completion percentage and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 23-to-7. Still, without his two best weapons at his disposal, I’ll take my chances that even if Winston plays well overall, he’ll make another crucial mistake late to cost the Bucs.
NFL Week 17 Selection: Atlanta Falcons +1
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- Spread: Ravens +2
- O/U: 37
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday, December 29
Conventional wisdom would suggest that with Baltimore resting most of its starters, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, Pittsburgh would be a safe play. That said, did you see the Steelers offense perform last week in Jersey? With their fleeting postseason hopes on the line, Pittsburgh could only muster 10 points versus Gregg Williams’ defense, including zero in the second half.
Devlin Hodges has had his moments this season, including leading the Steelers to an upset win over the Chargers on the road. That said, the wheels have fallen off. He completed just 11-of-17 passes for 84 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions last week in East Rutherford. He was benched after throwing a horrendous interception, then was forced back into the game after Mason Rudolph took a hit late in the third quarter. Hodges failed to rescue the Steelers, who are extremely limited offensively with no real rushing threat to help take the heat off the quarterback.
On the other side is the Ravens, who locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC with their win over the Browns last Sunday. Robert Griffin III will make his first start since January 1 of 2017, which just so happened to be in a win over the Steelers. Mark Ingram also won’t play for Baltimore, but this roster has enough depth to allow the team to rest starters, ruin the Steelers’ playoff hopes and also maintain momentum heading into the postseason. If I’m being honest, this is more about fading the Steelers and less about the Ravens but nevertheless, I like Baltimore.
NFL Week 17 Selection: Baltimore Ravens +2
- Side: 49ers -3
- O/U: 47
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET, Sunday, December 29
I was surprised to see the Seahawks lose to the Cardinals as a sizable home favorite in Week 16, but I also wasn’t shocked. Every contender has weaknesses, but this Seattle team is more flawed than its 11-4 record would indicate. Losing running backs Chris Carson (hip), Rashaad Penny (knee) and C.J. Prosise (arm) is crushing, but the Duane Brown (knee) injury is devastating. Without Brown to protect Russell Wilson’s blindside, a bad Arizona defense was able to suffocate Wilson and hold the Seahawks to only 224 yards of total offense (and 4.0 yards per play).
The challenge for Seattle’s beleaguered offensive line gets more daunting on Sunday night. Led by phenomenal rookie Nick Bosa, San Francisco is No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Sack Rate metric. While Wilson often bails out the Seahawks with his incredible improvising, he can’t do anything if teams aren’t allowing him to escape out the back of the pocket. That’s what Arizona did and that’s certainly something San Francisco will look to accomplish on Sunday night. Chances are, Wilson won’t be completely shut down two weeks in a row but the Seahawks are also predicated on the run. Unless Travis Homer and the newly signed Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin surprise, it could be another long night for Seattle’s offense.
Meanwhile, the Niners couldn’t contain Aaron Donald and the Rams’ pressure last week either, which led to Jimmy Garoppolo being sacked six times. He played poorly throughout but made big plays on the team’s final drive to lead the Niners to victory. He should benefit from facing a Seattle defense that could be without safety Quandre Diggs (ankle) and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (core). Clowney was a one-man wrecking crew in the Seahawks’ 27-24 win over the 49ers in Week 10, but the Niners were also without tight end George Kittle in that game, plus they lost receiver Emmanuel Sanders to injury in the first half. San Francisco should be better equipped to maintain a lead this time around.
NFL Week 17 Selection: San Francisco 49ers -3
2019 NFL ATS Betting Record
- Week 1: 1-2
- Week 2: 1-2
- Week 3: 3-1
- Week 4: 3-1
- Week 5: 2-1
- Week 6: 1-2
- Week 7: 2-1
- Week 8: 1-3
- Week 9: 1-3
- Week 10: 2-2
- Week 11: 1-2-1
- Week 12: 3-1
- Week 13: 2-1
- Week 14: 3-0
- Week 15: 1-3
- Week 16: 1-1-1
Season Total: 28-26-2 (52%)