First and foremost, you should know that many of these week 17 games are kind of a crapshoot. We’ll see two terrible teams playing for nothing, a playoff team playing for nothing against a bad team playing for nothing, and then we have a few games that actually matter. I’m going to mostly focus on the games that have at least somewhat of a reason to be played.
The biggest game of the week will be Green Bay at Detroit. The Packers are on a roll and are three point road favorites in this one, but the important “line move” in this game is that the line hasn’t moved. The Packers are generally a very publicly bet team and that is the case with this game as well, with Green Bay commanding 76% of spread bets. However, they remain at -3 which is where they opened. The books are usually very hesitant to raise the line solely based on a large amount of public dollars and this is a great example of that. While some people believe that books are trying to get an equal amount of money on both sides, that is not the case. Even though Green Bay is receiving 86% of the dollars, the books are comfortable with Detroit at +3.
Another big game will be in Denver, where the Raiders will be relying on Matt McGloin to fill Derek Carr’s shoes. If the Raiders lose and the Chiefs win in San Diego, the Raiders will fall from the #2 seed to the #5 seed. Although many people feel that the Raiders season is essentially over no matter what, relying on McGloin for an additional playoff game will certainly make their road to the Super Bowl much tougher. As far as this game goes, the Raiders have gone from +3.5 to +1.5 over the course of the week despite receiving only 39% of spread bets. They are receiving 58% of spread dollars though, indicating some sharp action which is reflected in the line movement. Initially, it was believed that Paxton Lynch would play the entire game, but it was later revealed that Trevor Siemian would start and Lynch would enter the game at some point afterwards.
For a look at some more of this week’s key line moves, read our Line Moves That Matter piece.
Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell- Doubtful- Rest. The Steelers will be resting their big three against Cleveland this week and have gone from -12.5 to -5.5 in the process.
Tyrod Taylor- Groin- Out. The Bills QB will be out in their season finale, giving way to EJ Manuel. They are -3.5 on the road against the Jets.
Ryan Tannehill- Knee- Out. There was some speculation that Tannehill would return this week, but the Dolphins will play it safe and save him for the playoffs.
Randall Cobb- Ankle- Questionable. The Packers could be without one of their best offensive weapons as they try to take the NFC North. Cobb is expected to be a game-time decision with an ankle injury.
Michael Crabtree- Ankle- Questionable. Matt McGloin could have a tough time tomorrow in Denver. Already against one of the best passing defenses, the Raiders could be without one of the best wideouts in the league as Crabtree has been limited this week with an ankle injury.
Other Notable Injuries:
Probable: Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Jay Ajayi, Greg Olsen, Jonathan Stewart, Brandon Marshall, Jordan Reed, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Kam Chancellor, Thomas Rawls, Spencer Ware, Robert Kelley.
Questionable: Jordan Matthews, Muhammad Wilkerson, Bilal Powell, Dont’a Hightower, Jordan Howard, Chris Ivory.
Doubtful/Out: A.J. Green, Stefon Diggs, Lamar Miller, Melvin Gordon, Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Luke Kuechly, Kenny Britt, Justin Houston, Doug Martin.
NEWS AND NOTES
The Patriots opened at -6 in Miami, but moved to -9.5 relatively early in the week. In Tom Brady’s career, late season games in Miami have always been difficult.
Since ’03, Tom Brady is 0-5-1 ATS and 1-5 straight up in Miami in Dec/Jan.
The #Patriots have moved from -6 to -9.5 since opening
— Sports Insights (@SportsInsights) December 28, 2016
Speaking of Tom Brady, he is in the running for the league MVP, but his odds have fallen over the past several weeks. Several books have had odds up for the award and Brady can generally be found between the 2nd and 4th spots on the respective lists.
— David Solar (@TheDavidSolar) December 28, 2016
Rex Ryan was canned by the Bills earlier in the week and there was a prop bet with odds on their next coach posted shortly after.
At -200, Jason Garrett of the Cowboys is a big favorite to win coach of the year.
The Browns quarterback situation always seems to be in shambles and you can bet on who you think will be their opening day QB next year at Bovada.
With most teams completely off the Super Bowl Odds list, you can see how the remaining teams line up on the Super Bowl odds list.
David and Dan discuss some week 17 value plays on the latest Sports Insights Smarter Bets podcast.
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