We have reached the penultimate week of the NFL regular season, and a lot has to be decided in terms of playoff positioning, as well as draft order.
Week 17 is mercifully the last week of Thursday night games, and also features a single Saturday contest. The Saturday game is the replacement for Monday Night Football, which said goodbye with Ravens-49ers Week 16.
The column’s Week 16 picks were close to producing a winning week, with the Vikings (+148) succumbing to turnovers. It would take a Minnesota Miracle to get back to even this season, but even after a 2-3 (-1.52 unit) week, we carry on.
Jeff Hicks’s 2023 NFL Best Bets Record: 38-45 (-12.38 Units)
*All odds and lines are current as of 10:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Dec. 26.
NFL Week 17 Best Bet
Raiders (+135) vs Colts
Caesars Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
If there is one team taking advantage of an opportunity to be the spoiler while building a legit foundation for 2024, it’s the Las Vegas Raiders. They almost kept the Chiefs to under 300 total yards Week 16 and are only allowing 288.3 over the past three weeks.
Their 9.6% sack rate the past three weeks ranks fifth over that span. The Colts are allowing a 10.34 sack rate the past three games, the third-highest over that size. Pressure leads to broken plays and turnovers.
Aidan O’Connell hit rock bottom passing last week. It’s concerning for the rookie, but a dome matchup against one of the worst defenses in yards allowed is a boost for him and his targets.
No team in the AFC South is standing out as a team that should/deserves to win the division. The Raiders could damage Indy’s playoff hopes with a win, and they have more than enough to get the ‘W’ outright.
NFL Week 17 ATS Best Bets
49ers -13 (-112) vs Commanders
BetRivers Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
We found out that the 49ers are not infallible, but it does not mean they aren’t bumslayers.
Washington officially bottomed out with Sam Howell at quarterback, and it was veteran Jacoby Brissett that almost led them to an unlikely comeback against the Jets Week 16.
The Jets took the foot off the gas enough to let the Commanders compete, but one thing the Jets don’t have that San Francisco does is offensive talent throughout.
If Washington can apply pressure with the 49ers potentially without their starting left and right tackles, this game could be close.
There’s just no proof that the Commanders can consistently slow down top offenses while producing points themselves.
Keep up with the best NFL odds for Week 17 games
NFL Week 17 Over/Under Best Bets
Lions vs Cowboys Over 53.5 Points (-110)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
The total is the highest of the week and could easily fail (Dallas is 1-3 hitting the over after a loss), but even with Dallas in a rut and unable to run the ball consistently, their strength is Detroit’s biggest weakness on defense - the passing game.
As good as the Lions front four is on defense, they have been neutralized. Their 5.12% road sack rate is fifth-worst in the NFL. Even without potential Hall of Fame LT Tyron Smith (back) for Week 17, the Cowboys offensive line can win at the line of scrimmage.
Dallas is the best scoring team at home, averaging 39.9 points per game while winning by an average of 24.4 points. The Lions only have a -0.5 average point per game margin in road games and averages the fourth-most points in road games. Playing in a dome gives their offense similar comforts they have at Ford Field.
Dolphins vs Ravens Under 47 Points (-110)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
As much as neither offense is worth betting against, the two defenses are on the same plane now.
Miami is allowing under 200 passing yards on the road in 2023, while Baltimore is doing the same at home. Despite their strong home presence on defense, the Ravens have two of their three losses there. That opens the door for the Dolphins try to gain traction on the road (4-3 this season).
There is one way for the Dolphins to get the top seed, and it’s by winning Week 17. Both teams are going to put out their best for Week 17’s showcase game.
NFL Week 17 Moneyline Best Bets
Packers (+120) vs Vikings
ESPN BET Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit
One week after almost hitting the Vikings as Moneyline home underdogs, I am going the other way and taking the Packers to win in Minnesota outright.
T.J. Hockenson (knee) and Jordan Addison (ankle) could miss at least Week 17, and the Vikings offense scored one touchdown without the two Week 16. It does help Minnesota that the Packers are beatable on the ground, but relying on Ty Chandler and Alexander Mattison is not the recipe for winning.
It also does not help that it is not known who will start at QB for Minnesota.
Jordan Love could be getting Christian Watson (hamstring) and Jaylen Reed (toe/chest) back just as Dontayvion Wicks (chest) could miss time, and we saw a healthy Aaron Jones win against an above average Panthers defense. The Vikes could also be down two starting defenders against one of the best offensive minds in the NFL.