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There is a free $5K Sportsbook Pool for NFL Week 17. You have to pick each of the games that are scheduled for Sunday, and the higher you finish on the leaderboard, the more money you earn.
Let’s take a look at all the contests slated for Sunday, including my five personal favorites.
New York Giants @ Chicago Bears (-3.5)
The Pick: Bears -3.5
The Bears are far from a juggernaut, but they are in a much better spot than the Giants at the moment. The Giants will be without virtually their entire starting offense. Mike Glennon will draw the start at quarterback, and while that’s a clear upgrade over Jake Fromm, it’s a significant downgrade from Daniel Jones. Glennon has averaged just 3.1 adjusted yards per attempt this season to go along with four touchdown passes and eight interceptions. He also doesn’t bring nearly the same athleticism to the table as Jones.
Making matters worse, Glennon is going to be throwing to a host of practice squad players at wide receiver. He will have Kenny Golladay available, but Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton are all out of the lineup. Even reserve options like John Ross and Collin Johnson are unavailable, so the Giants are going to be extremely thin at the position.
The Bears will also be starting a backup quarterback in Andy Dalton, but he actually might be an upgrade at the position. His passing numbers are clearly superior, and he’s led the team to a 2-2 record as a starter.
The Bears are up to six-point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook, so we’re getting nearly a full field goal in terms of spread value. I’ll take that every day of the week.
Miami Dolphins @ Tennessee Titans (-3.5)
The Pick: Dolphins +3.5
The Titans were able to get back in the win column last week, securing a 20-17 victory over the 49ers. They’ve also gotten a bit healthier of late, with A.J. Brown and Bud Dupree both returning to the lineup.
However, the 49ers outgained the Titans by more than 100 yards in that contest, but they were done in by their two turnovers. They also failed to contain Brown, who exploded for 11 catches for 145 yards and a score.
The Dolphins are much more well equipped to deal with Brown. They rank sixth in Football Outsiders pass defense DVOA, including fourth against No. 1 wide receivers. Julio Jones has not been nearly as impactful as expected this season, so shutting down Brown is a great way to shut down the Titans’ offense.
The Dolphins have also been red-hot recently, winning each of their past seven games. While their victories over that time frame aren’t all that impressive, it does bode well for them in this matchup. Teams on a winning streak of at least seven games have gone 15-10-1 against the spread as underdogs since 2004.
Finally, head coach Brian Flores is notorious for getting the best out of his team as the season progresses. Flores has been elite against the spread to begin with – he’s 28-18-1 against the spread as a head coach – but he’s a mind-boggling 20-6-1 in Week 8 or later. I like the Dolphins to keep the good times rolling vs. the Titans.
The Pick: Football Team +3.5
The Eagles have moved into playoff positioning in the NFC, but that doesn’t actually mean they’re a good football team. Their eight wins are as unimpressive as it gets. They’ve beaten the Falcons, Panthers, Lions, Broncos, Saints, Jets, Football Team and Giants, and those teams haven’t been at full strength. They beat the Saints with Trevor Siemian at quarterback, and their previous win over the Football Team was with Garrett Gilbert at QB.
The Football Team will have Taylor Heinicke back at quarterback for this matchup, which is obviously a sizable upgrade. They’ve gone 6-7 with him as their starting quarterback, and he’s racked up 20 touchdown passes with just 14 interceptions.
Additionally, the Football Team is undervalued following their massive loss last week vs. the Cowboys. Teams coming off a loss of at least 35 points have posted a record of 69-41-5 against the spread since 2004. That makes sense when you think about it. The public almost always fades teams in those spots, so the spread becomes inflated in that situation.
Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys (-2.5)
The Pick: Cowboys -2.5
Speaking of the Cowboys, they’re the real deal. They have been one of the best offensive teams in football for a while now. Dak Prescott is one of the most underappreciated quarterbacks in football, and they’re loaded with quality skill position players and offensive linemen.
The big difference is that this year, they have the defense to match. Talented rookie Micah Parsons has joined up with DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory to give the Cowboys one of the best groups of pass-rushers in the league.
Overall, the Cowboys have won four-straight games, and their average margin of victory is 18.5 points. That’s a bit inflated by their demolition of the Football Team, but they won each of their previous three games by at least seven points as well.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals have faded after a strong start to the year. They’ve lost three straight games, including one to the hapless Lions. Those losses have all come with Kyler Murray under center as well.
This spread is up to Cowboys -6.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook, but we can grab them laying less than a field goal in this pool.
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers (-6.5)
The Pick: Packers -6.5
This is another game providing tremendous spread value at the moment. The Vikings are going to be without Kirk Cousins, so Sean Mannion will draw the start vs. the Packers. That’s a huge downgrade, and the Vikings have ballooned to 13.5-point underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Even if Cousins was active, it’d be tough to avoid the Packers in this matchup. Rodgers has historically been the best quarterback in football as a home favorite. He owns a record of 59-33-3 against the spread as a home favorite during the regular season, including a mark of 5-1 this season. Rodgers has become a favorite to take home his second straight MVP award, and this has been his best split. Don’t overthink this one.
Here’s who I’m targeting for the rest of the Sunday games. Remember, we’re looking to beat the competition and climb up the leaderboard, so I’ll be looking to gain leverage on the field and fade the public in situations where I don’t see a huge edge on the spread.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots (-14.5)
Pick: Patriots -14.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-11.5) @ New York Jets
Pick: Buccaneers -11.5
Atlanta Falcons @ Buffalo Bills (-13.5)
Pick: Bills -13.5
Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals
Pick: Chiefs -3.5
Las Vegas Raiders @ Indianapolis Colts (-8.5)
Pick: Raiders +8.5
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints (-7.5)
Pick: Panthers +7.5
Denver Broncos @ Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5)
Pick: Chargers -5.5
Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers (-14.5)
Pick: Texans +14.5
Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) @ Baltimore Ravens
Pick: Rams -3.5
Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks (-8.5)
Pick: Lions +8.5
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