I went 9-5-1 last week. I now sit at 122-108-8 with my NFL picks against the spread this season.
Week 17 is a tricky betting week. You have to know which teams have clinched a position in the playoffs, which teams are still fighting for a spot…and which teams would rather be at home this Sunday. A team could really screw you if they decide to sit their starters at the last minute.
I had a decent year betting against the spread in the NFL last season (133-95-10). Any year you hit nearly 60% of the NFL games against the spread is a damn good year. Let’s hope my win percentage is near that this season.
We pick every NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 17 of the 2014 NFL season.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-6) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
The Bears have been a dumpster fire this season. Not only are they 5-10 outright, but they are 6-9 ATS. They just want the season to end at this point. It’s time to start over at head coach, quarterback and whatever position Chris Conte plays (I know he plays safety…well, he’s out there trying to play safety). I’m picking Vikings to cover.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-5) – My pick is New England Patriots
New England clinched the #1 seed in the AFC last week. This means The Hoodie™ will sit Tom Brady and start Jimmy Garoppolo, right? It’s not a given. The Patriots don’t usually rest their starters. It could still happen if New England really wants to see what they have in Garoppolo. Also, Buffalo has elite pass rushers, but I’m not really sold New England will rest their starters much. I’m taking New England to cover.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-6) – My pick is Miami Dolphins
Miami still has an outside shot at the playoffs. They would need San Diego, Baltimore, Houston and Kansas City to lose…so you’re telling me there’s a chance. I have to take Miami here because the Jets are just so damn bad.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4) – My pick is New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay really don’t want to win this game. They are neck-and-neck with Tennessee for the #1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Also, New Orleans is oddly fantastic on the road. They are 4-0 in their last four road games. I’m taking New Orleans to cover.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (-3) – My pick is Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants are on a nice three-game winning streak. They have a little swagger going into this game. You should take the winning streak with a grain of salt. They’ve only beaten St. Louis, Washington and Tennessee. This is still the same team that lost seven games in a row. Philly’s playoff hopes were crushed last week, but they will still finish strong. I’m taking the points.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-10) – My pick is Baltimore Ravens
Cleveland has hinted that they will be going with undrafted rookie Connor Shaw as their starter. I saw enough of Shaw when he played at South Carolina. He’ll make three horrible throws and then throw one of the most perfect spirals ever. He’s all over the place. Baltimore just needs a win and a San Diego loss to get into the playoffs. They are motivated to win. Baltimore will cover at home.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (+6) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
I had to think a lot about this one. Dallas could still get the #1 seed in the NFC and Tony Romo is playing for a possible MVP trophy. Washington did beat Dallas by a field goal in October, so this might be a tough cover. Robert Griffin III is nursing an injured shoulder and Washington hasn’t completely backed that he’ll start. The word ‘likely’ has been tossed around. I have to trust my gut and go with Dallas here. They just looked so damn good against Indy last week.
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (+7) – My pick is Indianapolis Colts
If Indy didn’t get torched by Dallas last week, this line would be double-digits. The Colts have already punched their ticket into the playoffs, but they need to erase the stink of that beating. Indy beat Tennessee 41-17 when they faced each other in September. The Colts are hopeful they will have T.Y. Hilton back for this game. I’m betting on the Colts getting back on track.
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-3) – My pick is Kansas City Chiefs
This one had me stumped for a bit. San Diego can get into the playoffs with a win. Kansas City needs a win and a little help to get in. Both are motivated to play. Kansas City beat San Diego by a field goal back in October. Philip Rivers looked healthy again last week in San Francisco. This game will be close. I have to factor in Arrowhead. Weird things happen there. I’m picking Kansas City here.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-9.5) – My pick is Houston Texans
This really boils down to J.J. Watt vs. Blake Bortles. Watt got to him three times a few weeks ago. It doesn’t matter who plays quarterback for Houston, the Texans will cover.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-7.5) – My pick is Detroit Lions
This game is for the NFC North division crown. Both teams have been accused of playing down to their opponent. They’ve had some close wins against marginal teams. The Lions have an excuse since they were without Calvin Johnson for a chunk in the middle of the season. This game will be closer than Vegas thinks. I’m taking the points.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-4) – My pick is Atlanta Falcons
THE BATTLE FOR THE SUB-.500 PLAYOFF SPOT! I would normally ride the hot hand in a situation like this, but there isn’t one. Carolina is lukewarm, but Cam Newton’s health is a bit sketchy. Atlanta has been playing better, but when I try to build an argument for them, I have to include ‘close losses’. In the last eight games, Carolina is 3-5 ATS and Atlanta is 5-3 ATS. I’m rolling the dice and picking Atlanta to cover.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-14) – My pick is Oakland Raiders
I always feel like I’m doing something dirty when I pick Oakland against the spread. They are 3-12, but are 8-7 ATS. Derek Carr might end up the best quarterback in his draft class. He has poise his older brother didn’t have. He goes through his progressions and doesn’t make bad decisions. The last time Denver played Oakland, they spanked them 41-17. Oakland had Darren McFadden and the ghost of Maurice Jones-Drew carrying the ball. I’m a fan of them giving the ball to Latavius Murray. I’m taking the points.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-6) – My pick is San Francisco 49ers
Early this week, Bruce Arians said rookie Logan Thomas would start against San Francisco. Well, the rookie had a rough week at practice and it is now rumored they might end up starting Ryan Lindley after all. I like the tools Thomas possesses, but Arizona needs to get their table set before the playoffs. San Francisco had an overtime loss against San Diego last week. It was the first time in over a month I saw any life in them. I don’t have confidence in the scoring ability of either team, but I’ll roll the dice with the Niners
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-12.5) – My pick is St. Louis Rams
The Rams defense is better than their performance against the Giants last week. Before that game, they didn’t allow a touchdown in three straight games. I think this line is a bit absurd. I’m taking the points.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
This game is for the AFC North division. I’ve been high on Pittsburgh since they smoked Cincinnati earlier this month. Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown both had big games. I expect a lot of the same. The game was extremely close until the fourth quarter. A lot is at stake and Pittsburgh performs well in high-pressure situations. Cincinnati usually ends up wetting themselves. I’m picking Pittsburgh to cover at home.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob was 133-95-10 against the spread in NFL games last season.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob