Beating the Spread: Week 17 Picks

Welcome to the final regular-season edition of QB List’s Beating the Spread. An excellent Week 16 by Tom Schweitzer moved him to 43-37 on the year, ensuring him a winning record for the 2019 season. Jeff Berckes enters Week 17 as the leader with an excellent 63% win rate, while I trail him by three games and have recorded a respectable 59.5% win rate myself.

Week 17 is full of danger, with teams resting starters or being completely mysterious with their plans. Make sure you are up to date on the latest news before placing any bets this week, and keep an eye on coaches and beat reporters for any hints as to the playing time for starters in what is a meaningless game for many teams.

Thanks for reading us all year, and stay tuned for a special playoff edition of the column!

The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.

Week 17 Betting Lines

Away Team Home Team Line O/U
NY Jets Buffalo BUF-1.5 36.5
Cleveland Cincinnati CLE-2.5 45
Washington Dallas DAL-10.5 44.5
Green Bay Detroit GB-13 43
LA Chargers Kansas City KC-8.5 46.5
Chicago Minnesota MIN -1 37
Miami New England NE-16 45
Philadelphia NY Giants PHI-4.5 45
Atlanta Tampa Bay PK 49
New Orleans Carolina NO-13 47.5
Indianapolis Jacksonville IND-3.5 43
Pittsburgh Baltimore PIT-2 38
Tennessee Houston TEN-3.5 45.5
Oakland Denver DEN-3.5 41
Arizona LA Rams LAR-7.5 49
San Francisco Seattle SF-3 47

 

Analyst Jeff Berckes Erik Smith Tom Schweitzer
Pick #1 CHI +1 CIN +2.5 TB PK
Pick #2 TEN -3.5 PHI -4.5 CAR +13
Pick #3 PHI -4.5 BAL +2 KC -8.5
Pick #4 SF -3 ARI +7.5 CLE -2.5
Pick #5 NO -13 SEA +3 ARI +7.5
2019 Record 50-29-1 47-32-1 43-37

Staff Picks

Analysis:

 

Jeff Berckes: I will be at the Bears versus Vikings game and I guess I’ve convinced myself the Vikings will sit their starters and focus on the Saints. I’ve been avoiding picking Bears games because of my extreme bias but let’s go out with a bang (CHI +1). Along these lines, do we really think the Texans will play their starters? I don’t think they’ll do much if they do. Look for the Titans to play for their playoff lives and cover in Houston (TEN -3.5). Philly has been a tough team to predict this season, but I don’t see how they won’t take care of the Giants and secure their spot in the playoffs. I expected this line to be a bit higher so I’ll grab it at less than a touchdown (PHI -4.5). The game of the week is definitely the 49ers traveling to Seattle. The Seahawks won the first match and they’re at home with 3 points on the table but I just can’t do it. I think Shanahan comes through on the road to secure the #1 seed in the playoffs as the 49ers look like the best squad in the NFC (SF -3). Finally, the Saints need to play in case one of the other 12-win teams stumble, and they’re playing a rookie quarterback at Carolina. The Saints look like one of the best teams in the league and can score at will (NO -13).

 

Erik Smith: After falling just short last week in a crazy come from behind overtime loss to the Dolphins, this Bengals team sure doesn’t look like they have mailed in the season. The same can’t be said for the Browns, and while Cleveland certainly has more talent, I don’t trust them to be motivated for this one. With the number one pick in the draft locked up, I see the Bengals fighting for a win at home, so CIN +2.5 is the pick. The Eagles have come too far to lose this game against the Giants, so even with a depleted receiving corps and an injured Zach Ertz, I expect the Eagles to take care of business. Miles Sanders is hitting his stride right when they need him, and the Eagles seem to be finding an identity at the right time of the year. PHI -4.5 in what could end up a blowout. Maybe I’m getting too cute with this next one, but I like the Ravens at home even with their backups in. This is a deep and prideful team that still no doubt wants to beat the Steelers, and I’ll take Robert Griffin III in this Ravens offense over Devlin Hodges in this Steelers offense any day. Even with Mark Ingram out, I expect Gus Edwards and Justice Hill to be an effective combo, and Baltimore should be able to keep it close. Pittsburgh has the extra motivation of playing for a playoff spot, but BAL+2 is the pick, and the Ravens figure out a way to play spoiler here. In a Cardinals versus Rams game where I expect both teams to rest starters, 7.5 points feel like way too much for either side to be favored. With nothing for either team to play for, I honestly don’t know how this one will play out. But I’ll take the points and cross my fingers, ARI +7.5. Finally, the Sunday night game that decides the NFC West will be a fun way to wrap up the regular season. Everything points towards the 49ers in this one, but I like to zig while others zag. In favor of the Seahawks is their home field crowd that will be in full force, and Russell Wilson. With the running back position decimated by injury, the Seahawks may actually be forced to do what many of us often hope they will do – unleash Wilson and the passing game. San Francisco is the better team, but at home with the season on the line, Wilson finds a way to keep it close, and SEA +3 is my final pick of the regular-season.

 

Tom Schweitzer: Its strange to me that the Bucs aren’t a 3 or 4 point favorite against the Falcons this weekend. As good as the Falcons have been in the second half of the year, the Bucs have been right there with them and already beat the Falcons in Atlanta. I think Atlanta may feel like they’ve already accomplished their goals at this point. They won their last home game of the year and Dan Quinn’s job is most likely safe. This trip to Tampa could serve as a bit of a holiday party for the team. Tampa, on the other hand, can get to .500 if they win this final game. I’ll take the Bucs (pk) just to win the game. As bad as Carolina has been the last few weeks, I think 13 points may be too many for a home game against a divisional rival, especially when you consider they nearly beat the Saints a few weeks ago. I thought Will Grier looked fine in his first start and should be able to put up 15-20 points here. I’ll take the Saints to get a win but the Panthers (+13) to cover. Kansas City has a lot more to play for than it might appear at first glance. A loss to the Chargers could knock them down to the 4 seed and into a matchup with Buffalo, a better team than anyone they’d face in a 3/6 game, other than maybe the Titans. A win could also get the Chiefs the 2 seed in the unlikely event that the Patriots lose to the Dolphins. We all expect the Patriots to handle their business, but stranger things have happened in the NFL and the Chiefs can’t afford to miss out on a bye. I think we’ll see the Chiefs (-8.5) get up big on the Chargers in the first half and coast to an easy victory. I’d never bet real money on this game, but I fully expect the Browns (-2.5) to handle the Bengals. Freddie Kitchens likely knows he’s not going to be around next year, so there’s no reason for him rest key players. And I’m not really concerned about the team’s motivation – they haven’t played like a motivated team all year, and they’ve still been much better than the Bengals. Last up, I don’t expect the Rams to play many starters in a meaningless matchup. Most books aren’t offering a line on this game because Kyler Murray is questionable with a hamstring injury, but I thought Brett Hundley looked effective and confident in relief last week. I’ll be interested in the Cardinals (+7.5) in any sort of underdog role, regardless of the QB.


 

What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!

 

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Erik Smith

Head of QB List. Writer at numberFire and Pitcher List. Ohio University graduate. Now lives in Asheville, NC, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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