Week 17 of the NFL season has always been one of the more difficult weeks to bet, and no NFL week is easy. In a way, it's a lot like bowl season in college football. Some teams have already clinched playoff spots and we can't be sure how much their stars will play, if at all. Some teams have absolutely nothing to play for other than draft position, and others have playoff hopes on the line. It leads to odd lines and stranger circumstances.
Thankfully, there are three games where I see an opportunity to finish the regular season with some extra cash in our pockets.
Pete Prisco and R.J. White joined Will Brinson on Friday's Pick Six Podcast to break down the lines for every game and give their picks and best bets. Listen to the picks episode below and be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform:
It was back in Week 15 that I told you about a trend involving Chiefs home games under Andy Reid. Since Reid had taken over in Kansas City, the Chiefs had been favored at home 52 times. The under was 35-16-1 in those games. Well, it's now 36-16-1 after hitting in that game against the Broncos, and I like it in this situation again.
Unders tend to be stronger plays in divisional matchups where the teams are familiar with one another, as is the case here. Also, the current weather forecast for Kansas City on Sunday afternoon is calling for windy conditions, which will impact the offenses. Finally, the Chiefs have plenty to play for here. A win could earn them a first-round bye if the Patriots lose to Miami. That's not likely to happen, but the Chiefs won't approach it that way.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Chargers 14
Texans coach Bill O'Brien has said that he plans on playing his starters in this game, and maybe he's telling the truth. I'm not convinced that he is. Maybe they start the game, but when O'Brien looks up at the scoreboard and sees the Chiefs aren't losing to the Chargers, he'll pull Deshaun Watson and company because his team will be locked into the No. 4 seed. Tennessee, meanwhile, has to win this game to get a wild card.
Sure, it's possible that O'Brien and the Texans will think it's more important to crush a division rival's playoff hopes, but the smarter thing to do would be focus on a likely game against Buffalo.
Prediction: Titans 24, Texans 17
I mentioned the trend with unders in Chiefs home games, but it's nothing compared to what happens when the Steelers go on the road. It's clear that Mike Tomlin's team has a strategy for road success, and it's being conservative on offense, and strong on defense. How else would you explain the under going 43-15 when the Steelers are on the road since 2013?
Yes, that's right, 43-15. That's 74.1 percent of the time. Want to make things a little better? Well, when the Steelers are favored on the road, as they are here, the under has gone 26-6 since 2013. With Baltimore having no reason to play Lamar Jackson for long, and with Mark Ingram out, I don't expect the Ravens offense to do much. Then there's the Steelers offense that has been handed back to Duck Hodges. The total is this low for a reason, and it should be even lower.
Prediction: Ravens 20, Steelers 14