Last week brought a 1-1-1 mark with my underdog selections. As we head into the final week of the regular season, my overall record stands at 22-24-2. Let’s try to run the table and finish above .500 with three more underdogs to consider placing a wager on in Week 17. All odds were obtained from DraftKings Sportsbook.
The wheels have come off for the Patriots. Not only have they failed to make the playoffs, but if they lose here, they will finish the season with 10 losses. They haven’t lost 10 games in a season since they went 5-11 in 2000. In fact, they haven’t lost more than six games in a season since they went 9-7 in 2002. Certainly, the post-Tom Brady Era has not gone well out of the gate.
On the other side of the field, the Jets could miraculously finish the season on a three-game winning streak after starting out 0-13. Their two wins have come against impressive foes since they took down the Rams and the Browns, although the Browns were decimated at wide receiver last week because of COVID-19. It’s not crazy to think that the Jets could win this game, so I’ll take a chance on the points. The strength of the Patriots’ offense is their ability to run the ball, which could be a problem in this matchup given that the Jets have allowed the 10th-fewest rushing yards per game in the league.
The Bucs are coming off of a laugher against the Lions last week in which they won by 40 points. However, three of their previous four games were decided by four or fewer points, two of which were losses. Their one victory came by four points over these same Falcons. The Bucs haven’t officially ruled out any of their star players yet for rest, but since they can’t climb any higher than the fifth seed, it wouldn’t be a surprise to at least see them pull some of their starters early in this matchup.
While their overall record is bad, the Falcons have hung tight in a lot of games this season, especially of late. They have lost four straight, but none of them were by more than five points. What’s even more impressive is that they played the Saints, Bucs and Chiefs during that stretch. Of their 11 losses this season, seven of them have been by five or fewer points. This has the potential to be another close matchup.
Despite having locked up the NFC North, the Packers still have something left to play for this week. If they defeat the Bears, they clinch the top seed in the conference, which comes with a first-round bye. Unlike previous seasons, this is the first year in which only one team in each conference can earn a bye, so the Packers could play this game mostly straight up with their starters. As good as their record is, they haven’t been great on the road from a betting perspective, posting a 4-3 record there against the spread. That includes a 2-2 record ATS as road favorites.
The Bears enter this matchup with three straight wins, including a 41-17 drubbing of the Jaguars last week. David Montgomery has been pacing their offense, rushing for 354 yards and four touchdowns during that stretch. If the Bears win this game, they make it into the playoffs. While I don’t think they will if the Packers play their starters as usual, I think the Bears keep things close enough to where taking the points could prove to be profitable.
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