December 28, 2012

NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 17

Here at Bang the Book, we have all of the top matchups of the 2012 NFL betting campaign covered! Today, we’re taking a look at the best matchups for Week 17!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) @ Atlanta Falcons (13-2 SU, 9-5-1 ATS)
Spread: Atlanta -3, Total: Off the Board

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA – Sunday, December 30th, 1:00 ET

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There’s a real question as to how hard the Falcons are going to play in this game, but there was a real question as to how interested they were of playing in Week 17 against the Bucs last year. If you remember that game properly, it was 42-0 before the end of the National Anthem and ended 45-24 (okay, it took until the 6:49 mark of the second quarter to become 42-0). Atlanta already knows that it is the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but will it want to bench all of its starters with a bye week coming up next week? Two straight weeks off could do a lot more harm than good. It’s a tough call. We know that Head Coach Greg Schiano and the Bucs are playing this one full bore, as they want to pull off this upset and finish out the year near the .500 mark.

Baltimore Ravens (10-5 SU, 6-8-1 ATS) @ Cincinnati Bengals (9-6 SU, 8-6-1 ATS)
Spread: Cincinnati -2.5, Total: 41

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH – Sunday, December 30th, 1:00 ET

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Both of these teams already know that they are going to the playoffs, and both know that in all likelihood, they are going to have really tough battles next week. Truth of the matter is that Cincinnati would probably rather see Baltimore win this one and at least leave the possibility for the Ravens to move up to the third seed in the AFC to set up a rematch next week in Baltimore. If things hold serve though, the Bengals have to go to Foxboro next week to take on New England in a game that it will surely be a double digit underdog in. Expect to see a heck of a lot of backups playing in the mass majority of this game, as it is a duel that means virtually nothing to anyone. We don’t think that Head Coach John Harbaugh gives one care whether or not his team is No. 4 or No. 3, and the Bengals can’t move anywhere from the No. 6 hole.

Cleveland Browns (5-10 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8 SU, 5-9-1 ATS)
Spread: Pittsburgh -7, Total: Off the Board

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA – Sunday, December 30th, 1:00 ET

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The Steelers were knocked out of the playoff last week in the loss to the Bengals, and chances are now that they aren’t going to really care all that much about this one. The question though, is whether or not Cleveland is showing up with a team either. QB Brandon Weeden is still very much so up in the air, and if he doesn’t play, it will be up to QB Colt McCoy to basically audition for a job for next year. It is clear that this is Weeden’s team going forward, and McCoy isn’t going to want to play second fiddle for long. Pittsburgh turned the ball over eight times when these two teams played against each other earlier in the year, a 20-14 win in the Dawg Pound.

Houston Texans (12-3 SU, 9-6 ATS) @ Indianapolis Colts (10-5 SU, 10-5 ATS)
Spread: Houston -7, Total: 46.5

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN – Sunday, December 30th, 1:00 ET

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This might be one of the trickiest games on the board to handicap this week. In actuality, the Colts have absolutely nothing to play for. However, Head Coach Chuck Pagano is back on the job, and he is going to be back with the team for the first time since early in the season. The team has rallied around him, and you can bet that this is a game that the team wants to win. Indy knows that this is its final home game of the season, but it is also a chance to give QB Andrew Luck a shot at taking on a top quality foe before next week’s game, likely in Baltimore. The Texans though, are playing for their Super Bowl chances in all likelihood. A loss, and they are likely to slide down to the No. 3 seed in the AFC. A win, and they are going to be No. 1 and get a week off next week to rest up. More importantly, instead of having to win games in Denver and New England to get to the Super Bowl in some order in all likelihood, the road to New Orleans will go through Reliant Stadium. The Texans can’t afford to punt this one like they did last week against the Vikings.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13 SU, 7-8 ATS) @ Tennessee Titans (5-10 SU, 5-10 ATS)
Spread: Tennessee -4, Total: 41.5

LP Field, Nashville, TN – Sunday, December 30th, 1:00 ET

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The bottom two teams in the AFC South are going to be playing against each other, and it should be a game that you want to avoid watching at all costs. The Jags did win the first meeting of these two teams for their only home win of the year, a 24-19 decision. Tennessee has gone just 2-6 SU and ATS in its last eight games since starting off the year at 3-4 with a chance to get into the playoffs. The Jags know that the only way they can ultimately get the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft is by losing this game, but the truth of the matter is that Tennessee is better served losing this one to move up the draft board as well. It’s just not going to be a pretty game played between two very bad teams that are just happy to see this season coming to a close.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-11 SU, 4-11 ATS) @ New York Giants (8-7 SU, 6-9 ATS)
Spread: New York -7, Total: 46

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – Sunday, December 30th, 1:00 ET

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The Giants only have a slight chance of getting into the playoffs this year, but losing this game would remove any of those chances when push comes to shove. New York needs a win and three other teams to lose to get in. The Eagles have been talking all week about the idea of bouncing the Giants out of the second season in their own building and about how sweet it would be for that to happen. It’s almost certainly the last game for Head Coach Andy Reid with the Eagles, and it is probably an audition for QB Michael Vick as well, as he is going to get the nod in place of the injured QB Nick Foles on Sunday. New York lost the first game of the year between these two 19-17, and it is coming off of back to back losses by 19 and 34 points in games that really weren’t even as close as those two final scores suggest.

New York Jets (6-9 SU, 7-8 ATS) @ Buffalo Bills (5-10 SU, 6-9 ATS)
Spread: Buffalo -3, Total: 39

Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY – Sunday, December 30th, 1:00 ET

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And this game is being played why? QB Mark Sanchez was benched for a week, but after getting sacked 11 times last week, QB Greg McElroy suffered a concussion and is out for this one. Rather than giving QB Tim Tebow a chance to see what he can do, New York is just going to give Sanchez one more go and hope that perhaps he shows something to someone that makes them want to trade for him as a starting quarterback. Buffalo didn’t have the end of the season that it truly dreamed of a few weeks ago, and it really looks like it has packed it in when push comes to shove. This is a desperate team for sure that might be making some changes in the near future, especially if this one is lost to a hapless New York outfit that has clearly given up on its coach, its quarterback, and each other.

Chicago Bears (9-6 SU, 7-7-1 ATS) @ Detroit Lions (4-11 SU, 4-10-1 ATS)
Spread: Chicago -3, Total: 45

Ford Field, Detroit, MI – Sunday, December 30th, 1:00 ET

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The Lions have a heck of a lot more to play for than your average 4-11 team. They can knock their division rivals out of the playoffs with a win, WR Calvin Johnson needs just 108 yards to become the first 2,000-yard receiver in the history of the NFL, and QB Matthew Stafford needs 305 yards to get to 5,000 yards for the second straight season. That being said, it’s all about Chicago in this game. The Bears have fallen from grace and went from an 8-3 team (and a 7-1 team) to one that needs to win to have any chances of getting into the second season. The Bears did win on the road last week against the Cardinals, but this test is a bit tougher against a team that does have something to play for. Lose this one, and Head Coach Lovie Smith is likely to get the axe.

Carolina Panthers (6-9 SU, 8-7 ATS) @ New Orleans Saints (7-8 SU, 8-7 ATS)
Spread: New Orleans -5, Total: 54

Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA – Sunday, December 30th, 1:00 ET

Click Here For Handicapping Match-up Details

There isn’t a heck of a lot left to play for if you’re either one of these teams, but fans of both have to at least be remotely encouraged about how their club has played down the stretch. Carolina has won its last three games to this point, and ending the year on a run like this is the type of thing that gets momentum rolling towards next season. New Orleans has won two in a row against playoff caliber teams as well, and it has the potential to really do some great things in the future as long as Head Coach Sean Payton gets back on the sidelines for the team next year. QB Drew Brees needs 219 yards to reach 5,000 for the third time in his career, and he can also get to 40+ TD passes with just one score against Carolina. The Panthers won the first meeting of the year way back in Week 2 35-27.

Kansas City Chiefs (2-13 SU, 5-10 ATS) @ Denver Broncos (12-3 SU, 9-6 ATS)
Spread: Denver -16, Total: 42

Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO – Sunday, December 30th, 4:25 ET

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Denver was the biggest opening line favorite of the entire season on the NFL betting lines, and for good reason (though it isn’t the biggest favorite right now). The Chiefs know that they need to lose this game if they are ultimately going to get the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft (though a Jacksonville win would ensure the same thing), while Denver needs a win if it is going to have any realistic chance of getting a first round bye in the playoffs. The Broncos will be No. 2 with a win and a Houston win, and No. 1 with a win and a Houston loss. Denver will be No. 2 with a loss and a New England loss, and No. 3 with a loss and a New England win. The last four meetings in this series have all been low scoring, as neither team has eclipsed even 17 points in those four games. The Broncos won 17-9 at Arrowhead a month ago, though KC stuck in front of the 10-point spread that day.

Oakland Raiders (4-11 SU, 4-11 ATS) @ San Diego Chargers (6-9 SU, 7-8 ATS)
Spread: San Diego -4.5, Total: Off the Board

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA – Sunday, December 30th, 4:25 ET

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This is the final time that we will see Head Coach Norv Turner wearing a San Diego polo, and the last time that GM AJ Smith will have control over the team, as both have already been announced to be fired at the end of the campaign. The Bolts are trying to finish out with three wins in their final four games of the year though, which could carry some momentum into next season. Oakland has been a wreck, failing to score more than 17 points in six straight games. QB Carson Palmer is out of the fold, giving QB Matt Leinart a chance to get under center and show what he can do, though we do expect to see some more out of QB Terrelle Pryor as well. The road team has won four straight meetings both SU and ATS in this series.

Arizona Cardinals (5-10 SU, 6-8-1 ATS) @ San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1 SU, 9-6 ATS)
Spread: San Francisco -16.5, Total: 38.5

Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA – Sunday, December 30th, 4:25 ET

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Remember how we said that Denver was the biggest favorite of the season on an opening line this year? San Fran is now the biggest favorite of the entire season overall. The Niners jumped up as high as -17.5 at some sportsbooks when it was announced that QB Brian Hoyer was going to get the nod under center for the Cards. Arizona is hapless and hopeless, and the only win that it has had since September came against the Jets. Wee. The 49ers have allowed 76 points in their last two games, but this is a get better game for sure. San Francisco will win the NFC West with a victory and will get a first round bye in the playoffs with a win and a Green Bay loss. A loss and a Seattle win though, and it’s on the road next week on the East Coast against the NFC East champs, something that the 49ers definitely want to avoid.

St. Louis Rams (7-7-1 SU, 10-5 ATS) @ Seattle Seahawks (10-5 SU, 11-4 ATS)
Spread: Seattle -11, Total: 41

CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA – Sunday, December 30th, 4:25 ET

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This could be a remotely tricky game for the Seahawks. The Rams are trying to finish out the year above .500, and a win would do just that for one of the young, budding franchises in the game. Seattle has really built up some unreal expectations over the course of these last few games, as it has outscored its foes 150-30 in those outings. To think that that is going to keep up into the playoffs is unreal for sure, but the oddsmakers are expecting another blowout. The truth of the matter is that very little has changed for the Seahawks. They’re the No. 5 seed, and though they have a chance to move all the way up to No. 2, it isn’t going to happen without a San Francisco loss in what would be one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. Still, the Hawks are going to want to keep this momentum going for sure into the postseason regardless of whether they are playing at home or on the road.

Green Bay Packers (11-4 SU, 9-6 ATS) @ Minnesota Vikings (9-6 SU, 7-7-1 ATS)
Spread: Green Bay -3, Total: 45.5

Mall of America Field at the H.H.H. Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN – Sunday, December 30th, 4:25 ET

Click Here For Handicapping Match-up Details

There’s a heck of a lot to discuss in what amounts to be the most important game of the day, and perhaps the entire year as well. RB Adrian Peterson needs 102 rushing yards to reach 2,000 for the season and another 105 more to catch RB Eric Dickerson for the most rushing yards in a single season in NFL history. Just that alone is enough to watch this one, but there is a heck of a lot more than that going on as well. Green Bay needs a win to lock up a bye in the first round of the playoffs. A loss, and the team will be forced to play next week at home against these Vikings. Minnesota can get into the playoffs with a loss, but it is virtually impossible for that to happen. The Vikes will be much better served just winning this game and locking up the No. 6 seed. If they get into the postseason, they’ll have earned it by beating Houston and Green Bay in consecutive weeks just to finish out the campaign a 10-6.

Miami Dolphins (7-8 SU, 7-7-1 ATS) @ New England Patriots (11-4 SU, 8-6-1 ATS)
Spread: New England -10, Total: 46

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA – Sunday, December 30th, 4:25 ET

Click Here For Handicapping Match-up Details

The Dolphins would love nothing more than to spoil the season for the Patriots in this one and to finish up at .500. It would be a great accomplishment for rookie QB Ryan Tannehill to say that he finished his rookie campaign at 8-8 in spite of the fact that many thought that this was one of the worst teams in football coming into the year. New England knows that a win puts the pressure on both the Texans and the Broncos. If either loses, the Pats will get a first round bye in the postseason. If both lose, the Pats will be the No. 1 seed and the road to the Super Bowl will come through Gillette Stadium. A loss, and Baltimore could move up to No. 3 and knock New England down to No. 4, and you can bet that Head Coach Bill Belichick does not want to see the Colts on his schedule again this year when he could have the Bengals instead.

Dallas Cowboys (8-7 SU, 6-9 ATS) @ Washington Redskins (9-6 SU, 10-5 ATS)
Spread: Washington -3.5, Total: 48.5

FedEx Field, Landover, MD – Sunday, December 30th, 8:20 ET

Click Here For Handicapping Match-up Details

The last game of the regular season could be a doozy of a battle on Sunday Night Football. The winner of this game will take the NFC East crown and will be off to the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. Dallas is out with a loss. Washington could be in regardless, but it will know that before this one kicks off. If the Vikings and Bears both lose, the Redskins will be in the playoffs one way or the other, though there is still a big difference between hosting likely Seattle and visiting likely either San Francisco or Green Bay next week. In that event that both Minnesota and Chicago lose and the Giants win, New York will be rooting for a Washington win to get into the playoffs. If New York loses as well, the Vikings could be the team to backdoor into the playoffs at 9-7. There will be a ton up for grabs on Football Night in America between two teams that truly hate each other.

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Andrew Ryan

Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.

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