NFL Week 17 Betting Takeaways: Tuning Up For The Playoffs
And then there were 12.
The NFL Playoffs begin Saturday with the start of the Divisional Round. Winners this weekend hit the road to face the four teams that earned first-round byes.
There’s only one team this season that has covered the spread or pushed in all eight of its road games this season — and it’s on the road in the opening round. It’s the Buffalo Bills, who are 6-0-2 ATS on the road. The Seattle Seahawks, at 5-2-1 ATS on the road, have to travel to Philadelphia, a place they won at earlier this season.
Here’s a look back at Week 17 and a quick look ahead to the opening round of the NFL Playoffs:
Streaks Live On …
Falcons Pick-Six Big
The Falcons beat the Buccaneers 28-22 in overtime on a pick-six against Jameis Winston, securing the first season ever for a QB with 5,000 yards, 30 TDs and 30 INTs.
Atlanta won its seventh-straight December game, while Tampa ends the season as the only team that didn’t cover the spread in any home game. The Over also hit for the 10th straight Buccaneers game against an NFC opponent.
Victory. pic.twitter.com/doraAfRWaE— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) December 30, 2019
Saints Pour It On
The Saints led 35-0 early over Carolina and cruised to a 42-10 win. It was the ninth straight home loss against an NFC opponent for the Panthers, while the Over hit for the ninth time in 10 meetings between these teams.
Christian McCaffrey secured a 1,000 yards receiving and rushing, and also scored for the seventh time in eight games when Carolina is an underdog against the NFC. Meanwhile, Saints TE Jared Cook hauled in a one-handed TD, the fifth Sunday game in a row he found paydirt.
Eagles, Giants Do What They Do
The Eagles secured the NFC East with a 34-17 win at the Giants. It’s the seventh-straight win over New York for Philadelphia and the eighth-straight Over hitting when teams face off in New York.
The Giants failed to cover the spread (+4.5 Sunday) for the ninth time in 10 home games as the underdog. Saquon Barkley scored a TD for the fourth time in five December games against the NFC East.
… And Streaks End
Dolphins Shock Patriots
The Patriots needed to beat the hapless Dolphins at home to secure a first-round bye. But Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 320 yards and had two TDs and the Miami defense pick-sixed Tom Brady in a shocking 27-24 straight-up win as a 17-pount underdog.
New England had won 22 of its last 23 home games before Sunday’s fiasco. It had covered in seven straight home games against the Dolphins, as well. Julian Edelman’s run of scoring in five of six home day games came to an end, as did DeVante Parker’s run of scoring in three of four games, though he still had eight catches for 137 yards.
Packers Rally, Lions Cover
The Packers secured a first-round bye with a last-second win over the Lions. But Detroit made winners of out of most its backers, easily covering at +13 in a 23-20 decision. The Lions had covered just one of their last 10 games.
The Over had hit in six-straight Lions home games but fell short by 10.5 points here. Aaron Jones had his three-game TD streak halted, and Kenny Golladay had his three-game NFC North TD run end, though he got concussed and missed the second half.
Jaguars Finish Strong
The Jaguars rolled the Colts 38-20 as 5.5-point underdogs. The results snapped a ton of streaks.
Jacksonville had lost six of seven day games, and Indy was on a 7-1 ATS streak against the AFC South. The Under had hit in seven of eight Colts divisional games, but the 41.5-point O/U was crushed.
Best Pick Of Week 17
Saints-Panthers Over 47.5
The Saints were playing to win with a first-round bye in play. They had averaged 40 ppg the last three games while the down-and-out Panthers were allowing 36 ppg the last three weeks. It was 35-0 in the second quarter. Fortunately, Carolina benched the ineffective Will Grier for Kyle Allen, and he got Carolina 10 points in a 42-10 victory. The Over hit midway through the third quarter.
Worst Pick Of Week 17
Browns (-2.5) over Bengals
The Browns were a popular preseason Super Bowl pick based on its plethora of talent. But it never came together, leadership was lacking among players and the coaching staff lost the team. It seems they would end the season on a high note, at least, giving less than a FG to the one-win Bengals and their 32nd-ranked defense. But Andy Dalton and Joe Mixon outplayed Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb and the Browns ended a horrid season with a horrid effort.
A Quick Look Ahead
Lines change throughout the week. Here are three to consider for the first round of the NFL Playoffs before they move:
Bills +3 at Texans
The possible return of JJ Watt is going to be a big boost for the Texans, but he can’t solve all their defensive issues. Houston ranks 29th against the pass and 25th against the run. The Bills were the only team in the NFL that covered or pushed in every road going, going 6-0-2 ATS. The Texans finished 2-6 ATS at home, the worst home mark of any playoff team.
Vikings +8 over Saints
Kirk Cousins shed his “doesn’t show up in the big game” mantra to an extent this season, but here’s the real test. The Saints have failed to cover their last four playoff games when favored.
Vikings-Saints Over 46.5
A fully healthy Vikings offense has been tough to stop — it should be for the playoffs. The Saints have been nearly impossible to stop, averaging more than 40 ppg the last month.
About the Author
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He has consistently produced profitable seasons in NFL and college football and established himself as an elite MLB expert in 2018, hitting 61 percent of his money line picks for a profit of $4,062 to $100 players, ending the season on a 22-4 run including 100 percent on World Series games. Previously the award-winning sports editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Adam spent nearly 20 years covering the NFL, MLB and college football. Now he shares the insight he gained at Bookies.com through well-reasoned picks and thought-provoking articles and on Twitter at @_Adam_Thompson_.