We arrived to the last regular season round of the NFL. As such it will bring a lot of excitement especially since all 16 games are played on Sunday. There are several teams who have to win in order to hope for a play-off spot. On the other hand, there are teams who have already clinched their play-off spots. Last but not least, there are several top teams who would love to win so they can get first-round byes. It’s not a must win situation but it could come handy for them once the play-offs start. Week 17 of the NFL season is a minefield for gamblers. Some teams will be resting starters. Some coaches have been fired or are about to be fired. It’s the regular season equivalent to the preseason for much of the league.
However, as we said, the minefield is because of the teams who must-win on the last day. Most people are going to bet on their victories even though if those teams were good enough before, they wouldn’t be in such a position right now. Take the Titans, who will secure an AFC wild-card spot with a victory Sunday over the Texans (who already have clinched the AFC South title but are out of the running for a first-round bye and thus do not have much to play for). Where was that must-win motivation for Tennessee back in Week 6, when it got shut out by the middling Broncos, or in Week 9, when it lost to the pretty bad Panthers?
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Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots >> click here for live odds
The Patriots find themselves in the exactly same situation as last year. They need a win victory as a big home favorite over a four-win team to secure a first-round bye. Last year they did manage that win; however, things are a bit different this time around. The team is not as strong as they have been in past and let’s face it Tom Brady is getting old. Defensively, they will probably take care of Miami’s offense but they have a problem up front as they need to take the lead early in order to win the game. Keep in mind that the spread is huge as everyone expects the Patriots to win by more than 15.
The Dolphins’ offense, such as it is, has revolved around the Ryan Fitzpatrick-DeVante Parker combination, but Parker seems likely to draw a coverage matchup with the Patriots’ Stephon Gilmore, who’s probably the best cornerback in the NFL. Miami’s offensive line is terrible at the moment and they shouldn’t hope for a positive result against the Patriots. They lost to them in Week 2, 43 to 0 and it’s unlikely that things will change this time around.
The Patriots need a win and it needs to be big so they show that they are a clear home side favorite. However, everyone expects them to win so the spread will be big. We suggest betting on a -15.5 spread for the Patriots as they are expected to win by more than 15 points.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys >> click here for live odds
Dak Prescot hasn’t been practicing with the team because of a shoulder injury. He’s facing the same practice limitations he had in the run-up to Sunday’s loss against the Eagles, a game in which Prescott posted his third-worst passer rating of the season. Wideout Amari Cooper also has been battling injuries, and he reportedly had his snaps limited in the fourth quarter against Philly because the Cowboys’ coaches didn’t think he was playing well. Additionally, throughout the whole season, Dallas haven’t looked like a championship team.
They had one great game against the Rams and that was it. It’s hard to believe they can be a double digit favorite over the Redskins. Even though this Washington team is missing a lot of players. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins is out with a high-ankle sprain. However, against such a bad Dallas defense, his replacement will do just fine.
Even though the Cowboys are looking at a must win situation, we believe they are not good enough to do it in style. If they win, it’s going to be with less than double digits. For that reason, we are backing a + 10.5 point spread on the Redskins.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens >> click here for live odds
Baltimore opened as a 3.5-point favorite before Coach John Harbaugh announced that quarterback Lamar Jackson, guard Marshal Yanda, safety Earl Thomas, defensive tackle Brandon Williams and running back Mark Ingram will sit things out for a team that’s clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Thus, the spread passed through zero, and now the Steelers — a must-win team if there ever was one — are favored on the road.
However, the Ravens are planing to rest just those 4 players. Their other 8 pro bowlers are going to play on Sunday. This can be a problem for the Steelers who must win this match. Additionally, pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey will miss the game with a knee injury. The only reason they are considered favorites is because they need the win. However, the Ravens are a Superbowl contender. Even shorthanded, they are very much capable of defeating Pittsburgh.
The outcome of this fixture is going to depend on how long Baltimore have their best players on the field. If the Steelers hold out and then outscore the Ravens, they could win the match. For that reason we are backing a + 2 point spread on the Ravens. Even if the Steelers win, it’s not going to be a spectacular win.