Week 17: Wagering Trends and Best Bets

By Todd L. Frank  |   Friday, December 31, 2010  |  Comments( 0 )

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The final week of the NFL season is a tough one to bet. The league now schedules all divisional games for the last weekend, with the idea that it’s one way to keep races alive and avoid teams resting starters.

Only New England has a #1 seed locked up, and while most of the playoff picture is coming into focus, there’s still some seeding up for grabs this weekend along with a few teams that can either get in with a win (Green Bay, St. Louis), or secure the #1 or #2 seed with a win (Atlanta, and Pittsburgh/Chicago). In fact, this week six AFC games have implications with 48 possible outcomes and five NFC games have implications with 24 possible outcomes. But most of that is just positioning, and most of the game times have been moved around so that teams needing help are all playing at the same time, so no fates will be sealed before kickoffs.

The last games of the year are mostly ones to stay away from wagering on, primarily due to the unknown factor of teams pulling out starters as they start watching the scoreboards. I’ll comb the slate and come up with a couple of Best Bet picks, but first I’ll just offer you a bunch of Week 17 trends. Most of them favor the Over:

For Buffalo at the Jets, both teams have been posting a ton of OVER results in Week 17 for a number of years. The Bills are 12-2 OVER in their last 14 Week 17 games, while the Jets have gone 8-2 OVER in their last 10 Week 17 contests.

Also making waves for totals bettors this weekend are the Giants at Washington and Dallas at Philadelphia. The Giants are 9-2 OVER in their last 11 regular-season finales, while the Redskins are 9-1 OVER in their last 10 Week 17 games. The Cowboys have posted 12 straight OVER results heading into this weekend, while the Eagles are 7-2 OVER in their last nine at home versus Dallas.

The Week 17 trends are also all over the Chicago at Green Bay game. The Bears have disappointed bettors in the final week recently with a 2-6 ATS mark in their last eight Week 17 games. The Packers have ruled Week 17 with a 5-1-1 ATS record in their last seven regular-season finales.

Here's a few more Week 17 trends:
- Atlanta is 15-5 OVER in their last 20 Week 17 games
- Baltimore is 10-2 OVER in their last 12 Week 17 games.
- Cleveland is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 Week 17 games
- Denver is 9-1 OVER in their last 10 Week 17 games
- Detroit is 8-0 OVER in their last 8 Week 17 games
- Miami is 9-1 OVER in their last 10 Week 17 games

Now for a couple of picks:

ATLANTA FALCONS -14.5 vs. Carolina Panthers
The Falcons must take care of business to secure the #1 seed in the NFC. It’s a really high point spread, but Carolina is pretty bad and Atlanta can’t let up and risk getting upset in this spot, so look for them to run the Panthers out of the building.

St. Louis Rams -2.5 at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
This line opened at Rams -1, and it will likely go up above -3 once Seahawks QB is officially confirmed to be out. Seattle is still a tough place to win, but even with Hasslebeck the Seahawks just aren’t good. St. Louis isn’t great, and they are better at home, but I think rookie QB Sam Bradford completes the Rams unlikely run to the division title.

Last week: 2-4
This season: 52-47
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