Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, December 28, 2018 at 4:00 PM
Week 17 can be very tricky to evaluate. Sharps are betting based on news about which teams will be trying (or not). Sports books are known to “move on air” once that kind of news is made public. I’ll do my best to outline what’s probably going to happen between now and Sunday’s kickoffs.
As always, games are presented in Nevada Rotation order. There are a lot of time changes this week because the league office tries to schedule meaningful games at the same time so one team doesn’t have an advantage in knowing what it “needs” to do over another contender for the same playoff spot.
DALLAS AT THE NY GIANTS: The Giants are up to -6 because it’s assumed they’ll be trying under a first-year head coach while the Cowboys will be tempted to rest up for a playoff game the following week. Dallas says it will play its starters. They did that at Indianapolis in their last road game and lost big anyway! I think Dallas money would come in at +7.
OAKLAND AT KANSAS CITY: This is a time-change to a late kickoff. Looks like a tug-of-war could develop between Kansas City -13.5 and Oakland +14. The Raiders played hard vs. Denver Monday, and could show up again for a hated divisional rival. Kansas City needs to win (which will appeal to the square public), but doesn’t need to win a blowout. Sharps like the Raiders at +14.
CAROLINA AT NEW ORLEANS: The Saints have already locked in home field. Carolina has nothing to play for. We’re seeing the public bet New Orleans at -7, but sharps take +7.5 with the divisional dog. Won’t be a heavily bet game. But, we might have a soft tug-of-war around the key numbers.
NY JETS AT NEW ENGLAND: Similar to Oakland/Kansas City in that a big home favorite has need, but the visiting divisional dog probably won’t just roll over and play dead. We’re painted Patriots -13.5 as I prepare this report. Sharps would hit the Jets at +14, and may come in Sunday at +13.5 if that’s the best they can get.
PHILADELPHIA AT WASHINGTON: This has been time-changed for a late start. Philadelphia must win and hope Minnesota loses to grab a Wildcard. Sometimes Super Bowl champs can’t even make the playoffs the following season. The Eagles are -7 at most spots, -6.5 at others. Bettors have to determine how hard Washington will play after losing a heartbreaker at Tennessee last week that ended its playoff hopes.
DETROIT AT GREEN BAY: We’re hopping between Green Bay -7.5 and -8 in a meaningless game. Sharps don’t have any respect for Detroit because the offense has been so bad recently. The public loves betting Aaron Rodgers.
JACKSONVILLE AT HOUSTON: A big move here that matters after an opener of Houston -9 was bet down to -6.5. The Jaguars have gone back to Blake Bortles at quarterback, and have made it clear they’re going to show up to play. Houston needs New England to lose to the Jets to have a shot at the #2 seed and a bye. That probably won’t happen. So, sharps love the Jags at +7 or more.
CLEVELAND AT BALTIMORE: Baltimore wins the AFC North with a victory. But, Cleveland is playing well down the stretch. Sharps are expecting a “normal” game, and bet the Browns at +6. We’re now seeing 5.5 in many spots. This was also time-changed to a later kickoff.
ATLANTA AT TAMPA BAY: Atlanta is laying -1.5 on the road in a meaningless game. The Over/Under has jumped from 49.5 to 52, as this could be a fun game to watch if both offenses show up. No reason to play hard defense when nothing’s at stake.
MIAMI AT BUFFALO: Buffalo was bet hard at -3, and money kept coming in on the way up to the current number of -5.5. Sharps believe a team from South Florida won’t be particularly interested in trying hard in Buffalo in late December. The Bills should be trying for a result with a rookie quarterback as they build for next season.
INDIANAPOLIS AT TENNESSEE: This has been time-changed to prime time on NBC because it’s a virtual playoff game. The winner will definitely be in the AFC brackets. The loser is toast. Indianapolis has been more impressive down the stretch, and Marcos Mariota won’t be at 100% if he can play for Tennessee. That’s why the Colts have been bet up from -2.5 to -3.5 on the road. That’s a HUGE move because it crossed the key number of three and struck. Sharps love the Colts at -3 or better, and nobody was nibbling on this home dog with the hook. That could change if Mariota looks good in pre-game warmups.
CINCINNATI AT PITTSBURGH: Another time-change to a late start. Pittsburgh has to win and hope Baltimore loses to Cleveland. We’re currently seeing Steelers -14.5 because the Bengals are ready for the season to end.
CHICAGO AT MINNESOTA: The final time change, also a late afternoon start now. Minnesota is -4.5 (up from -4), needing the win to earn a Wildcard. Chicago is technically alive for the #2 seed in the NFC. But, nobody thinks the Rams are going to lose at home to the 49ers.
LA CHARGERS AT DENVER: Barring a miracle, the Chargers will be the #5 seed. Kansas City is unlikely to lose to Oakland (which would give the Chargers the AFC West with a win here). The line is up from Chargers -4 to -6.5 because the Broncos may have tossed in the towel with all the headlines about their head coach being fired soon.
ARIZONA AT SEATTLE: Meaningless game. Seattle is -13.5, and will play on the road next week as an NFC Wildcard. Arizona has to lose to lock in the #1 draft pick.
SAN FRANCISCO AT THE LA RAMS: The Rams will get the #2 seed and a bye as long as they win straight up. Sharps have been taking the road dog at +10.5. We’re painted 10 now.
I’ll be very choosy this Sunday, I can assure you of that! But, I will have something special for customers. You can purchase my daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. I hope you’ll ask about combination packages with basketball when you call.
Back Monday to cover sharp betting in all the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day bowls. Then, I’ll be back at the usual time next Friday to see how the Wise Guys have been betting Wildcard Weekend.