NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 17, 2020

NFL Picks (Week 1, 2020): 9-6-1 (+$1,090)
NFL Picks (Week 2, 2020): 13-3 (+$1,910)
NFL Picks (Week 3, 2020): 12-4 (+$1,230)
NFL Picks (Week 4, 2020): 6-7-2 (-$675)
NFL Picks (Week 5, 2020): 9-5 (+$1,770)
NFL Picks (Week 6, 2020): 5-9 (-$2,365)
NFL Picks (Week 7, 2020): 6-7-1 (-$580)
NFL Picks (Week 8, 2020): 9-5 (+$1,210)
NFL Picks (Week 9, 2020): 3-11 (-$1,945)
NFL Picks (Week 10, 2020): 5-8-1 (-$825)
NFL Picks (Week 11, 2020): 3-11 (-$1,935)
NFL Picks (Week 12, 2020): 10-6 (+$2,395)
NFL Picks (Week 13, 2020): 6-9 (-$235)
NFL Picks (Week 14, 2020): 10-6 (+$1,330)
NFL Picks (Week 15, 2020): 6-9-1 (+$210)
NFL Picks (Week 16, 2020): 11-5 (+$1,140)

NFL Picks (2020): 123-111-6 (+$3,725)
NFL Picks (2019): 148-128-9 (+$1,200)
NFL Picks (2018): 140-134-12 (+$845)
NFL Picks (2017): 137-147-10 (-$4,300)
NFL Picks (2016): 148-127-10 (+$780)
NFL Picks (2015): 133-138-10 (-$3,215)
NFL Picks (2014): 143-133-7 (-$1,885)
NFL Picks (2013): 144-131-8 (+$7,825)
NFL Picks (2012): 130-145-8 (-$7,445)
NFL Picks (2011): 137-133-12 (-$1,335)
NFL Picks (2010): 144-131-8 (+$5,880)
NFL Picks (2009): 151-124-9 (+$4,235)
NFL Picks (2008): 136-125-6 (+$6,105)
NFL Picks (2007): 162-135-10 (+$3,585)
If you don’t quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.

Vegas betting action updated Jan. 3, 11:35 a.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.


Go to Week 17 NFL Picks – Late Games








Dallas Cowboys (6-9) at New York Giants (5-10)
Line: Cowboys by 1.5. Total: 44.

Sunday, Jan. 3, 1:00 PM


The Matchup. Edge: None.

WEEK 15 RECAP: Last week was a good one, as we went 11-5 (+$1,140). We lost two multi-unit picks: Jacksonville +7.5 and Philadelphia -3. The Eagles game was frustrating because we were waiting on Fletcher Cox’s status all week, and when he was declared active, we made a three-unit bet on the Eagles. Philadelphia went up 14-3, but Cox got hurt, and Dallas outscored the Eagles the rest of the way. The Jaguars, meanwhile, were a disaster. They were in such a great spot, so I’m thinking that they lost on purpose. Starting Mike Glennon over Gardner Minshew and then sitting James Robinson after resting him all week in practice should’ve been signs that they would tank intentionally to land Trevor Lawrence.

My Week 17 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

By the way, if you want to support this site, check out my new book!

A Safety and a Field Goal

In this book, I talk about the top NFL Draft busts, and what would’ve happened had each team gone a different route. Also, I discuss why Roger Goodell has banned us from the NFL Combine.

DALLAS OFFENSE: Andy Dalton had one of his best performances in years against the Eagles this past Sunday. Down 14-3, Dalton was gifted an easy matchup when Cox suffered an injury. The Eagles suddenly couldn’t generate any pressure on Dalton despite Dallas’ poor offensive line, allowing the former Bengal to torch Philadelphia’s beleaguered secondary.

Dalton won’t have that same luxury in this game. The Giants have an impressive defensive line, so they should be able to win in the trenches on this side of the ball. Dalton will have to hurry his throws, which could result in the same sort of turnovers we saw from him earlier in the year. Furthermore, James Bradberry and Logan Ryan figure to lock up two of Dallas’ receivers.

The Giants are also usually stout against the run. This wasn’t the case last week against the Ravens, but they were preoccupied with Lamar Jackson. I expect a better effort versus the overweight Ezekiel Elliott.

NEW YORK OFFENSE: Daniel Jones returned last week, but wasn’t quite himself. He struggled against the Ravens, as he was limited wth his mobility. The Giants desperately needed him to escape the Baltimore pressure, but Jones simply couldn’t do it because of his multiple leg injuries.

It remains to be seen if Jones will be healthier this week, but he can’t possibly be worse, right? Perhaps another week will allow Jones to be more mobile, and if so, that’ll give the Giants a nice edge against a Dallas team missing multiple personnel. The best aspect of the Cowboy defense is their ability to generate pressure on the quarterback, so Jones’ ability to escape will be important.

If Jones can buy himself some time, he’ll be able to connect with his receivers for substantial gains. The Cowboys have a weak and hobbled back seven, so all of Jones’ targets have positive matchups.

RECAP: I’ve mentioned this 719 times over the past several weeks, but I have an 18/1 prop on the Giants to win the division. I also have a big bet on Dallas to miss the playoffs. I’m going to devise the best strategy to hedge.

As for this actual game, I like the Giants. The advance line was New York -3, but because of Dallas’ win over an abysmal, Cox-less Philadelphia squad, the Cowboys are now favored by a field goal. This is an unwarranted overreaction, so I love the value we’re getting with the home dog.

For the unit count, I’m not quite sure if I’ll be betting this game, outside of hedging purposes. I’ve handicapped the Giants worse than every other team in the NFL this year (see stats at the bottom of the page), and not knowing Jones’ exact health is a big problem.

Our Week 17 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Daniel Jones practiced fully Wednesday, which is a good sign for the Giants. Another good sign: The sharps bet the Giants heavily at +3.

SATURDAY NOTES: The Giants are getting back Kyler Fackrell this week, which is a huge deal. Their pass rush hasn’t been as potent without him in recent weeks. Also, Daniel Jones practiced fully every day leading up to this game, which should be a good sign. I’m going to bet the Giants with Fackrell being activated off injured reserve, but this won’t be a big wager because I don’t trust Jones’ health.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m still betting the Giants for a couple of units. The sharps are on New York as well, but they got +3, which is obviously a big deal. The best line I see is +2 -103 at Bookmaker.




The Motivation. Edge: None.
No edge found.


The Spread. Edge: Giants.

WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Giants -1.
Westgate Advance Point Spread: Giants -3.
Computer Model: Cowboys -1.
DVOA Spread: .




The Vegas. Edge: Giants.
Tons of money on the Cowboys.

Percentage of money on Dallas: 75% (8,000 bets)


The Trends. Edge: Giants.
  • History: Cowboys have won 12 of the last 15 meetings.
  • The underdog is 101-67 ATS in Cowboys games since 2010.
  • Cowboys are 20-12 ATS after playing the Eagles since 2000.
  • Cowboys are 19-31 ATS when favored after a win since 2010.
  • Opening Line: Cowboys -2.5.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: Possible light rain, 37 degrees. Light wind.



  • Week 17 NFL Pick: Giants 23, Cowboys 20
    Giants +2 -103 (2 Units) – Bookmaker — Correct; +$200
    Teaser: Giants +7.5, Rams +8.5 (1 Unit) — So far, so good…
    Under 44 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Giants 23, Cowboys 19




    Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3) at Cleveland Browns (10-5)
    Line: Browns by 10. Total: 44.

    Sunday, Jan. 3, 1:00 PM


    The Matchup. Edge: Browns.

    My overrated-underrated feature was posted in this spot the past couple of years. I thought it would be better if there was less clutter on this page, so I set up a new NFL Overrated and Underrated Teams page that will be updated every Monday. I have overrated and underrated teams listed there, and some may shock you!

    PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: Week 17 games can be difficult to handicap because of the uncertainty of teams resting their starters. That’s a big question in this game. The Steelers still have the No. 2 seed to play for, but will they value a potential second-round playoff game over rest? And what happens if they learn that the Bills are up multiple touchdowns versus the Dolphins? Will Mike Tomlin decide to pull his starters upon hearing that news?

    If Ben Roethlisberger plays the entire game with his full supporting cast, it’s hard not to like the Steelers to score a substantial number of points. The Browns’ pass defense has gotten better with Denzel Ward back in the lineup, but he can only cover one of Cleveland’s three talented receivers. Because of other injuries in the secondary, the Browns have depth issues in that area, so covering all of Roethlisberger’s wideouts will be problematic.

    Furthermore, the Browns won’t be able to get as much pressure on Roethlisberger as they could have a couple of weeks ago. The Steelers were missing three offensive linemen in their ugly loss to the Bengals, but they’ve gotten healthier up front since. They were able to generate some great offense against the Colts in the second half, and that’ll continue in this game – provided the Steelers use their starters for all 60 minutes!

    CLEVELAND OFFENSE: Likewise, we don’t know if the Steelers will sit some of their veteran defensive starters. If they do, they won’t be able to contain Cleveland’s receivers. And yes, the Browns will actually have receivers in this game.

    If the Browns miss the playoffs, they can point to how they were royally screwed by the NFL when the league declared that all of their receivers would be inactive against the Jets for nonsensical reasons. Combine that with two offensive linemen being sidelined – Wyatt Teller, Jedrick Wills – and the Browns really struggled to generate any sort of offense.

    Assuming everyone is back, the Browns shouldn’t have any trouble scoring points, especially if some veterans are rested. The Steelers have shown some weakness to the pass, so Baker Mayfield should get back on track.

    RECAP: Unless we hear Mike Tomlin say that he’s going to play all of his starters the entire game, this is Cleveland or nothing for me. I don’t want to be in a position where I’m betting the Steelers, only to see Mason Rudolph enter the game after halftime because Buffalo is up 28-7, or Tomlin wants to make sure Roethlisberger can rest his arm for more important games.

    As a result of this, I’m not sure about the unit count yet. Hopefully we’ll get some more clarity on the situation later in the week.

    TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: I wrote: “I don’t want to be in a position where I’m betting the Steelers, only to see Mason Rudolph enter the game after halftime…” Well, we won’t have to wait until halftime because Rudolph was just declared the starting quarterback. It appears as though the Steelers are throwing this game in an attempt to preserve their health, which is the correct choice. With that in mind, lock in the Browns at -7.5 if you can! I’m not seeing this line anywhere, but you might have an account at a sportsbook that was slow to move this game off the board.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Bovada had a -10 +100 line available, but most sportsbooks have taken this game off the board yet again. I would consider locking in anything under -10.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Ben Roethlisberger was officially ruled out, as have Joe Haden, T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, Maurkice Pouncey and Eric Ebron. The Browns will have some absences as well – two linebackers – but they’ll have their receiving corps and offensive line healthy again, which is obviously a plus.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps have been betting the Browns on Sunday morning, taking the line through -10.5. I’m slightly concerned that the Browns may choke in an easy win for them, but I think they’re an OK bet. I’d be willing to wager a unit on them, and you can still get -10 (-115) at Bovada.



    The Motivation. Edge: Browns.
    The Steelers may decide they don’t want to win this game.


    The Spread. Edge: None.

    WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Browns -1.
    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Browns -4.
    Computer Model: Browns -1.
    DVOA Spread: .




    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    Slight lean on Mason Rudolph.

    Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 62% (5,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • History: Steelers have won 35 of the last 40 meetings excluding a 2018 tie.
  • Opening Line: Browns -7.5.
  • Opening Total: 42.5.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 39 degrees. Light wind.



  • Week 17 NFL Pick: Browns 28, Steelers 14
    Browns -10 -115 (1 Unit) – Bovada — Incorrect; -$115
    Under 44 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Browns 24, Steelers 22




    New York Jets (2-13) at New England Patriots (6-9)
    Line: Patriots by 3. Total: 40.5.

    Sunday, Jan. 3, 1:00 PM


    The Matchup. Edge: None.

    VEGAS UPDATE: I’ll be posting how the Vegas sportsbooks have done the previous week in this spot. The highest-bet sides were 44-40-2 last season and 28-33 heading into Week 16.

    Here are the teams getting the most bets last week:

  • Browns -9.5
  • Dolphins -2.5
  • Bills -7
  • Cardinals -6
  • Bears -7.5
  • Ravens -10


  • The heaviest-bet sides were 3-3 last week. With the Browns and Cardinals losing outright, the sportsbooks made out like bandits on teasers.

    Here are the teams getting the most bets this week:

  • Cowboys -3
  • Seahawks -5.5
  • Raiders -2.5
  • Chargers -3.5
  • Buccaneers -6.5
  • Saints -6.5
  • Titans -7.5


  • So many road favorites! I guarantee at least one of them will lose outright.

    NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: Let’s use the term “offense” loosely here, because the Patriots have barely scored in recent weeks. They’ve generated nine, 12 and three points in their previous three contests. Granted, this has come against three of the better defenses in the NFL – Rams, Dolphins, Bills – but New England has looked incredibly inept in that span.

    A big reason for this has been the health of Cam Newton. The former MVP is clearly hobbled with numerous injuries, including one to his abdomen that has caused him to appear on the injury report during the past month. It’s obvious Newton’s not right, as he’s spending his time firing passes into the ground when he’s not scrambling. Newton has a great matchup against some horrible Jets cornerbacks and linebackers, but I doubt he and his awful receivers can take advantage of it.

    The Jets are better against the run than the pass, thanks to a very underrated defensive line. They just limited Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, so they shouldn’t have any issues restricting Damien Harris and/or Sony Michel.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: The Patriots’ calling card earlier this season was their great defense, but that has disappeared recetly. Two weeks ago, New England whiffed on more than a dozen tackles, as the Dolphins trampled them for 250 rushing yards. Then, on Monday night, the Patriots couldn’t get off the field versus Josh Allen, as Buffalo controlled the clock for 40 minutes.

    The Jets don’t have Miami’s running game, and they certainly don’t have Allen under center. However, they have some talented receivers who gave the Patriots’ defensive backs issues in a Monday night game back in Week 9. Denzel “Shut Up” Mimsy and Breshad Perriman both had big performances in that contest. New England was missing Stephon Gilmore in that affair, and Gilmore will continue to be sidelined.

    That said, Joe Flacco was quarterbacking the Jets in that game. There’s not much of a difference between Flacco and Sam Darnold right now, but remember that Darnold was overheard saying that he was seeing “ghosts” the last time he battled Bill Belichick. I’m not sure if Belichick cares about winning this game, but if he does, perhaps he’ll devise some schemes to confuse Darnold again.

    RECAP: Look at all of this line value! The Patriots were -9 on the advance spread, and now they’re -3.5. What a great deal!

    Or is it? I would compare this to the price of VCRs. You had to spend $300 on a VCR in the mid-80s, but you can now get an unused one on eBay for $40. That’s a huge price reduction as well, but do you want to spend $40 on old, useless technology? Likewise, do you want to bet an old, useless team as favorites of more than a field goal?

    The Patriots are horrible and should not be favored by this many points. I know -3.5 is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but New England has scored a grand total of 24 points in the previous three weeks. The Patriots had extra time to prepare for a rookie quarterback (Tua Tagovailoa), who was missing his top four receivers, and yet they still lost by double digits. Outside of the Jaguars and the Matthew Stafford-less Lions, the Patriots could be the worst team in the NFL right now.

    With that in mind, I’m selecting the Jets. You couldn’t get me to bet them, however, because of Darnold’s sixth sense ability, plus the possibility that the players may mail in this game as a result of Adam Gase’s impending firing.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Several of New England’s offensive linemen sat out Wednesday’s practice. If they’re ruled out, the Jets might be worth a bet, as their defensive line will dominate the trenches.

    SATURDAY NOTES: The Patriots will be down three offensive linemen, as expected. I wrote Thursday that I’d be interested in betting the Jets in this scenario, but I thought about it and came to the realization that this line is too low. The advance spread moved from -9 to -3, which is a ridiculous overreaction. Also, teams tend to quit on lame-duck coaches in Week 17, and Adam Gase is the lamest duck of them all. The Patriots, unfortunately, are equally unappealing, so I won’t be betting this game.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps haven’t touched this game, and I have no plans in doing so. There’s too much uncertainty, and both teams have a reason to quit.



    The Motivation. Edge: None.
    I’m not sure either team will be motivated to play this game.


    The Spread. Edge: Patriots.

    WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Patriots -5.
    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Patriots -9.
    Computer Model: Patriots -7.
    DVOA Spread: .




    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.

    Percentage of money on New York: 57% (4,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
  • History: Patriots have won 30 of the last 36 meetings.
  • Patriots are 63-46 ATS vs. AFC East opponents since 2001.
  • Patriots are 42-22 ATS in December & January home games since 2000.
  • Patriots are 14-4 ATS in Week 17 since 2001.
  • Opening Line: Patriots -4.5.
  • Opening Total: 43.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 35 degrees. Light wind.



  • Week 17 NFL Pick: Patriots 17, Jets 16
    Jets +3 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Under 40.5 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Patriots 28, Jets 14




    Minnesota Vikings (6-9) at Detroit Lions (5-10)
    Line: Vikings by 3.5. Total: 53.5.

    Sunday, Jan. 3, 1:00 PM


    The Matchup. Edge: None.

    HATE MAIL: I will be posting hate mail here. We got a bit this week:



    My laptop is old, and the keyboard is sticky for reasons I wn’t disclose. The letter “O” is especially a problem, as you may have seen in that previous sentence. Sometimes, I miss a key, and when spell check doesn’t record it, I may miss it.

    But that has nothing to do with this piece of hate mail. Rodgers was actually ejected.

    Here’s someone who thinks dislikes are a big deal:



    Oh my goodness, four people – yes, FOUR people – disliked my comment. I may just cry myself to sleep!

    Here’s someone who thinks I should quit my job:



    If you say so. I guess I’m done picking games because of one selection. It’s been a fun ride!

    And finally, here’s someone who didn’t like our NFL Hot Press story about Zach Wilson having some character concerns:



    I like how our post, with quotes from people in the NFL, is “borderline” slander. It’s not actually slander, according to Steve Shirts. It’s not actually libel either.

    By the way, I hope Steve Shirts sells shirts for a living because he could own a store called “Steve Shirts Sells Shirts.” Try to say that five times fast!

    DETROIT OFFENSE: There’s no spread posted in most sportsbooks because we don’t know of Matthew Stafford’s status at the moment. Stafford was questionable entering Week 16 with a rib injury, and in predictable fashion, he sprained his ankle during the opening drive, forcing Chase Daniel into the game. The Lions couldn’t generate any sort of offense with Daniel.

    I don’t expect Stafford to play a meaningless Week 17 game, so we’ll likely see the overpaid Daniel once again. Daniel was atrocious versus the Buccaneers, but he should have more success in this contest. Not only will he have actual practice reps during the week; he’ll be battling a much softer defense. The Vikings were missing eight defensive starters against the Saints, including All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks, who has really been the glue that has held Minnesota’s defense together.

    If Kendricks is out once again, the Lions will be able to move the chains on some drives. D’Andre Swift will take advantage of a run defense that surrendered six touchdowns to Alvin Kamara, while Marvin Jones, T.J. Hockenson and perhaps Kenny Golladay will get open versus Minnesota’s injury-ravaged corners and linebackers.

    MINNESOTA OFFENSE: Speaking of injury-ravaged defensive groups, the Lions can certainly sympathize. Their cornerbacks have been especially problematic this year, as they’re down their top two players at the position. They’re also down their top three edge rushers, and they didn’t have Jamie Collins in Week 16.

    No pass rush and bad corner play should equate to a great performance by Kirk Cousins and his receivers. Both Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen figure to get open easily, and they should combine for a few touchdowns. We’ll certainly be seeing Jefferson’s patented Eye Goggles dance on several occasions throughout the afternoon.

    Then again, that may not happen if Dalvin Cook does all the scoring. Cook has a great matchup versus a Detroit run defense that has been inept all year. The Lions were missing two defensive tackles last week as well.

    RECAP: Again, there’s no line because of Stafford’s uncertainty. I will say that I’ll want to bet the Lions if this line is very high because Minnesota will struggle to cover a huge spread with so many injuries. Then again, Kendricks’ possible return to the field would change that, so we have to wait on his injury news as well.

    I’ll post a definitive pick once there’s a spread available. Check back later, or follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: No Eric Kendricks in practice thus far, and Dalvin Cook will be sidelined. That would make the Lions appealing, except Matthew Stafford and Kenny Golladay haven’t practiced yet either.

    SATURDAY NOTES: In a surprise turn of events, Matthew Stafford will play, as will Danny Shelton. Stafford won’t have Kenny Golladay or several offensive linemen blocking for him (if Frank Ragnow is out), but he’ll be battling a pathetic defense down eight starters and several key backups. Unless Stafford is completely decrepit, he’ll be able to score on the Vikings and keep this game close. It’s impossible to tell how healthy he is at the moment, however, so we’ll have to wait until pre-game warmups for any news. If everything checks out, I’d be willing to bet three units on the Lions.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The Lions got some great news. In addition to Stafford and Shelton returning, Frank Ragnow will play as well. This is why the sharps have been pounding the Lions like crazy. We’ve lost all line value, unfortunately, as this line was +6.5 earlier in the week and +4.5 on Saturday. You can buy the hook very cheaply, however, at Bookmaker and get +3.5 -115. I’m going to bet the Lions for two units at that number.



    The Motivation. Edge: Vikings.
    The Lions may not play hard for their lame-duck coach.


    The Spread. Edge: None.

    WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Vikings -3.5.
    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Vikings -3.5.
    Computer Model: Vikings -4.
    DVOA Spread: .




    The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
    A good lean on the Vikings.

    Percentage of money on Minnesota: 65% (3,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
  • History: Vikings have won the last 6 meetings.
  • Mike Zimmer is 66-45 ATS as head coach of the Vikings.
  • Mike Zimmer is 6-2 ATS in his second-consecutive road game.
  • Mike Zimmer is 12-7 ATS with extra time to prepare since 2015.
  • Vikings are 11-27 ATS in their road finale since 1980.
  • Lions are 16-7 ATS after losing by 20+ points since 2007.
  • Matthew Stafford is 17-26 ATS in December and January.
  • Opening Line: Vikings -6.5.
  • Opening Total: .
  • Weather: Dome.



  • Week 17 NFL Pick: Vikings 30, Lions 27
    Lions +3.5 -115 (2 Units) – Bookmaker — Correct; +$200
    Over 54 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Vikings 37, Lions 35




    Atlanta Falcons (4-11) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5)
    Line: Buccaneers by 7. Total: 50.5.

    Sunday, Jan. 3, 1:00 PM


    The Matchup. Edge: Falcons.

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    TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: The Buccaneers struggled to score against the Falcons in the first half of their Week 15 victory. That’s not too surprising now in hindsight after the Falcons did a great job of limiting Patrick Mahomes last week. However, Tom Brady went nuts in the second half in a tremendous comeback in Atlanta.

    Brady picked up where he left off against the Lions, playing only one incredible half. Brady should continue to stay hot in this contest as well. The Falcons have improved in their secondary, thanks to rookie A.J. Terrell’s emergence, but Tampa Bay simply has too many weapons for the Falcons to overcome.

    Part of the problem in the opening half against the Falcons was that Brady dealt with lots of pressure from the Falcons. We saw Atlanta once again generate a nice pass rush against Mahomes last week. However, the Buccaneers made the appropriate adjustments for this during halftime of Week 15, which should carry over into this rematch.

    ATLANTA OFFENSE: The Falcons did what the Buccaneers couldn’t do in the first half of the Week 15 affair, which was move the chains and score. They did this despite Julio Jones’ absence, as Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage abused Tampa’s questionable secondary. Ryan, however, stopped scoring in the second half, as Tampa’s defense stepped up and pressured him heavily.

    Ryan may once again have pass-protection issues, depending on the status of his offensive linemen. He was down two blockers last week, so despite the close call against the Chiefs, the Falcons couldn’t move the chains as well as they would have with a healthy blocking unit.

    Being down two linemen, especially if one is Alex Mack, will be a big problem in this contest, more so than the Kansas City game. That’s because the Buccaneers have one of the top defensive lines in the NFL. This could be a huge matchup edge for Tampa.

    RECAP: The Buccaneers are the fifth seed right now. If they lose, and the Rams win, they’ll drop down to No. 6. This wouldn’t be a huge deal in most years, but it certainly matters in this case. The NFC’s fifth seed effectively gets a first-round bye because it gets to play against the NFC East winner. The sixth seed will go to either Seattle or New Orleans. That’s quite the difference!

    The Buccaneers will be motivated to win this game, so I think they’ll get the victory. I’ll also like them to get the cover if the Falcons are missing multiple offensive linemen again. My unit count will depend on what we see on the injury report. Either way, I’m on Tampa.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Alex Mack was placed on the nonsense list, so it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play this week. If not, the Buccaneers will look very appealing. I guess we’ll find out Saturday!

    SATURDAY NOTES: I was concerned about the wrong line the whole time! I thought the Falcons would miss two blockers, but they’ll be down just Alex Mack. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers will be without several defensive linemen, including Shaq Barrett and Steve McLendon, in addition to Vita Vea. Tampa’s defense won’t be as strong, which will allow Matt Ryan to sneak in with a potential back-door cover. I like the Falcons considerably more now – enough to bet them for a few units!

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The Falcons are still my top pick of the early slate. I was wondering if the sharps would be on the same side, but they haven’t touched this game for some reason. Atlanta +7 -108 at Bookmaker is the best line I’ve found.



    The Motivation. Edge: Buccaneers.
    The Falcons may not play hard for their lame-duck coach.


    The Spread. Edge: None.

    WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Buccaneers -5.5.
    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Buccaneers -7.
    Computer Model: Buccaneers -8.
    DVOA Spread: .




    The Vegas. Edge: Falcons.
    No surprise here.

    Percentage of money on Tampa Bay: 768% (4,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
  • History: Falcons have won 6 of the last 8 meetings.
  • Road Team is 105-66 ATS in Buccaneers games since 2009.
  • Matt Ryan is 14-8 ATS as an underdog of 6+ since his second season.
  • Tom Brady is 257-82 as a starter (192-132 ATS).
  • Tom Brady is 177-118 against the spread since 2003.
  • Buccaneers are 28-57 ATS at home in the previous 84 instances.
  • Opening Line: Buccaneers -6.
  • Opening Total: 50.5.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 65 degrees. Light wind.



  • Week 17 NFL Pick: Buccaneers 27, Falcons 24
    Falcons +7 (3 Units) — Incorrect; -$330
    Over 50.5 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Buccaneers 44, Falcons 27




    Baltimore Ravens (10-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-10-1)
    Line: Ravens by 13.5. Total: 44.5.

    Sunday, Jan. 3, 1:00 PM


    The Matchup. Edge: None.

    NFL Opinion Piece: Why Aaron Rodgers Should Win MVP This Year. As a warning, this could be triggering to you if you have sand-in-the-vag syndrome (i.e. if you’re a blue checkmark on Twitter.)

    BALTIMORE OFFENSE: “The Lamar Jackson from 2019 is back.” That’s what everyone seems to be saying. Jackson, however, was never really the problem. He was able to win MVP last year because he had an elite offensive line blocking for him. However, with Ronnie Stanley injured and Marshal Yanda retired, Jackson hasn’t been nearly as effective this year.

    This has changed recently, but it could have something to do with Jackson being in easy matchups. His previous two opponents, the Jaguars and Giants, didn’t offer much resistance. Then again, the Bengals won’t be able to do so either. Despite its two-game winning streak, Cincinnati still has plenty of issues on this side of the ball. The linebacking corps still struggles to defend the middle of the field, so Jackson could have a big rushing day, as could his running backs.

    I also question Cincinnati’s ability to get to the quarterback, so Jackson should have an eternity to find Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown. Andrews seems especially poised for a huge performance.

    CINCINNATI OFFENSE: The Bengals lit up the Texans last week, which is something most didn’t see coming. However, this was done as a result of Houston’s defense being completely ravaged by injury. The Texans were missing eight defensive starters in that contest, so Brandon Allen, Tee Higgins and the Cincinnati running backs able to take advantage of a very easy matchup.

    This, obviously, won’t be nearly as easy of a matchup. The Ravens have some injuries at cornerback, but that’s about it. They’re putting great pressure on opposing quarterbacks, so they should be able to overwhelm Cincinnati’s pedestrian offensive line.

    This will definitely create problems for all parties on the Bengals. Allen will be forced into some turnovers as the result of pressure, while Samaje Perine and Giovani Bernard will be bottled up in the backfield.

    RECAP: I thought this line seemed kind of high, but then I looked at the computer model, which projected Baltimore -19. So much for that!

    My pick will hinge on the injury report. If the Ravens are missing multiple cornerbacks again, I’ll place a small bet on the Bengals to potentially get a back-door touchdown. If, however, the Ravens get some of their injured players back into the lineup, I’ll be on Baltimore for no units.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Marlon Humphrey has joined Jimmy Smith and Marcus Peters on the injury report. Cincinnati has talented receivers to exploit this liability, so perhaps it’ll be able to sneak inside this huge spread.

    SATURDAY NOTES: It sounds like all or most of Baltimore’s cornerbacks will return, though the Ravens lost another offensive lineman, as Patrick Mekari will likely miss this game. A back-door opportunity will open up for the Bengals, especially with Tyler Boyd back from his concussion. It’s difficult to trust Brandon Allen versus Baltimore’s defense, so I won’t go large with this wager, but I definitely like Cincinnati.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The Ravens aren’t healthy, missing two offensive linemen, Yannick Ngakoue and Jimmy Smith. Like I said before, I think this could open the back door for the Bengals. There was sharp money on Cincinnati at +14. Fourteen isn’t really a key number, so I’d rather just get the +13.5 -103 at Bookmaker.



    The Motivation. Edge: None.
    No edge found.


    The Spread. Edge: None.

    WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Ravens -4.5.
    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Ravens -12.5.
    Computer Model: Ravens -19.
    DVOA Spread: .




    The Vegas. Edge: Bengals.
    I expected more money on the Ravens.

    Percentage of money on Baltimore: 72% (2,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
  • History: Ravens have won the last 4 meetings.
  • Opening Line: Ravens -11.5.
  • Opening Total: 43.5.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 37 degrees. Light wind.



  • Week 17 NFL Pick: Ravens 30, Bengals 20
    Bengals +13.5 -103 (1 Unit) – Bookmaker — Incorrect; -$105
    Over 44.5 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Ravens 38, Bengals 3




    Miami Dolphins (10-5) at Buffalo Bills (12-3)
    Line: Dolphins by 3.5. Total: 42.

    Sunday, Jan. 3, 1:00 PM


    The Matchup. Edge: Dolphins.

    College Football Opinion Piece: Go here to read about Why Crazed Lunatic Christine Brennan Believes College Basketball Should Be Canceled. As a warning, this could be triggering to you if you have sand-in-the-vag syndrome (i.e. if you’re a blue checkmark on Twitter.)

    BUFFALO OFFENSE: We’ve already received word that Ben Roethlisberger won’t play this week. The Steelers are fine with conceding the race for the No. 2 seed in the conference. Knowing that Mason Rudolph will be quarterbacking the Steelers, will the Bills also sit Josh Allen and the rest of the starters?

    It’s certainly a possibility. Another scenario is that the Bills will see that the Browns are up multiple touchdowns against Pittsburgh, which could prompt Sean McDermott to pull his starters. Either way, there’s a good chance we’ll only see Allen, Stefon Diggs and the rest of the Buffalo starters for just a half of action, or maybe even less.

    Then again, maybe McDermott will play everyone the entire game! That could certainly happen. If so, Allen will have a tough task against Miami’s elite cornerbacks. However, he and his weapons are too good to be stopped. There will be more punts than we saw Monday night, but Buffalo will have success moving the chains on numerous drives throughout the afternoon.

    MIAMI OFFENSE: Will Ryan Fitzpatrick save Tua Tagovailoa again? Fitzpatrick entered the game in relief of an anemic Tagovailoa versus the Raiders and led an improbable comeback. This included a no-look Hail Mary as Fitzpatrick was getting his helmet ripped off by a defender. It was an incredible ending!

    Fitzpatrick may not have to spell Tagovailoa if the Bills sit some of their defensive starters. That could definitely happen for reasons discussed above. If so, Tagovailoa won’t have much of an issue generating points, especially if DeVante Parker returns from injury. Tagovailoa may not even have to do much, given that Myles Gaskin is in a great matchup.

    Conversely, if the Bills play their starters throughout this affair, Tagovailoa could be in trouble. I still like Gaskin to do well, but Buffalo’s great personnel and coaching will frustrate the rookie quarterback. Fitzpatrick will have to save the day, but he may not be so lucky this time, especially given that the Bills have a far tougher defense than the Raiders do.

    RECAP: Stay tuned for news! This game is very difficult to handicap at the moment because we don’t know of Allen’s status. A strategy is betting the Dolphins at +4.5 because this line will plummet if the Bills announce that Allen will sit, which will allow for a middle (or just great value.) If not, this spread won’t move very much, so you can just bet the other side and just lose the vig.

    I’m not sure if I’ll do that because Allen may play all, or at least most of this game if the Bills want to guarantee to host the Steelers in Round 2. Furthermore, even if Allen sits, there’s no guarantee the Dolphins will win this game because Tagovailoa is a rookie battling a great defensive-minded coach in McDermott. It’s possible that even without some starters, McDermott could devise a game plan that fools Tagovailoa and forces him into some turnovers.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Elandon Roberts has been ruled out, but the Dolphins seem like they’re going to get back two injured offensive linemen this week. The Bills, meanwhile, could sit their starters. Many sportsbooks have taken this spread off the board, so it seems like they believe Josh Allen and company might sit.

    SATURDAY NOTES: With DeVante Parker and all of the injured offensive linemen returning, the Dolphins are much healthier this week. The only question remains is if Josh Allen and the rest of the Bills’ starters will play. Sean McDermott, who sat Allen and the rest of the starters in Week 17 last year, said, “We’re going to do what’s best for our football team.” He also said “all variables” will be considered. I find it difficult that McDermott will play Allen and company. Is he really going to give the Dolphins valuable tape when he could be matched up against them in the opening round of the playoffs, even with a win this week?

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m kicking myself for not betting the Dolphins earlier. The Bills are sitting some key defensive players, so it doesn’t sound like Josh Allen will play very much, if at all. The spread has shifted from Miami +2.5 to -3.5. All the value is gone, so I’m not going to bet this game. I’d take the Dolphins, but I’d be worried about a choke job.



    The Motivation. Edge: None.
    No edge found.


    The Spread. Edge: None.

    WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Bills -5.
    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Bills -5.5.
    Computer Model: Bills -5.
    DVOA Spread: .




    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.

    Percentage of money on Buffalo: 54% (4,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Bills.
  • History: Bills have won 11 of the last 15 meetings.
  • Dolphins are 24-12 ATS as a road underdog of less than 5 since 2008.
  • Bills are 23-12 ATS after playing the New England Patriots since 1999.
  • Bills are 24-36 ATS in their last 60 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Opening Line: Bills -1.
  • Opening Total: 44.
  • Weather: Possible light rain, 36 degrees. Light wind.



  • Week 17 NFL Pick: Dolphins 21, Bills 17
    Dolphins -3.5 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Under 42 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Bills 56, Dolphins 26






    Week 17 NFL Picks – Late Games
    Packers at Bears, Jaguars at Colts, Titans at Texans, Saints at Panthers, Chargers at Chiefs, Raiders at Broncos, Cardinals at Rams, Seahawks at 49ers, Redskins at Eagles




    Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks
    A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week
    (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted whenever winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.


    Prop/teaser/parlay picks posted in Week 17 NFL Picks – Late Games



    2024 NFL Mock Draft - April 9


    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22


    Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19


    NFL Picks - Feb. 12




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    My Team-by-Team ATS Record
    This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.

    Cowboys: 8-9
    Bears: 11-4
    Bucs: 6-11
    49ers: 10-7
    Eagles: 7-7
    Lions: 9-8
    Falcons: 8-9
    Cardinals: 8-9
    Giants: 7-9
    Packers: 5-12
    Panthers: 8-9
    Rams: 8-9
    Redskins: 14-3
    Vikings: 6-9
    Saints: 10-7
    Seahawks: 7-9
    Bills: 9-7
    Bengals: 12-5
    Colts: 7-10
    Broncos: 9-6
    Dolphins: 6-11
    Browns: 11-5
    Jaguars: 13-4
    Chargers: 8-9
    Jets: 8-9
    Ravens: 11-6
    Texans: 5-12
    Chiefs: 5-10
    Patriots: 7-9
    Steelers: 11-6
    Titans: 9-8
    Raiders: 6-9
    Divisional: 50-35 (2011-22: 558-526)
    2x Game Edge: 36-24 (2011-22: 363-361)
    2x Motivation Edge: 32-36 (2011-22: 478-405)
    2x Spread Edge: 41-40 (2011-22: 197-168)
    2x Vegas Edge: 41-38 (2011-22: 407-406)
    2x Trend Edge: 15-13 (2011-22: 306-279)
    Double Edge: 17-13 (2011-22: 190-172)
    Triple Edge: 1-1 (2011-22: 32-36)

    2003 Preseason: 3 | 4 | 5
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