The final week of the NFL season is here, and with teams resting starters, Nick
Ballistreri digs deep for his 5 best bets.
NFL SEASON ATS RECORD: 57-48-3
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
The Miami Dolphins had made it clear that they are no longer tanking. They have now won 4 of their last 8 games to at least bring some hope to a competitive future. While these wins may have hurt their draft prospects, winning can build momentum for an organization like this.
The Patriots need a win to secure a first-round bye in the AFC Playoffs. Sitting at 12-3, they are 16 point favorites in this game. The Patriots will fight hard for a victory to get their rest next week, but I don’t see them showing all their potential in a game that they just need to win, no matter how dominating. Take the Dolphins to cover this huge line as they have shown the ability to fight to the end.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Week 17 is filled with meaningless games, and this one is no different. The Bears have had a disappointing season, sitting at 7-8 with no chance to make the playoffs. The season began with Super Bowl hopes, but now all Chicago is left with is questions about their QB.
The Vikings enter this game 10-5 and have locked up the 6 seed in the NFC playoffs. They are 1 point favorites at home in this game, but with nothing to play for, I expect the Bears to play much harder to avoid a losing season. Take the Bears in this game as Trubisky will once again try and prove he is the man for the future.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
The Eagles playoff scenario is simple. If they win against the Giants, they are the NFC East champs at 9-7. If they lose and the Cowboys win against Washington, the Cowboys win the division.
The Giants have hit their stride as of late, as they’ve won 2 straight games and their offense has come alive. Just weeks earlier, the Giants took the Eagles to overtime in Philadelphia. This time, the venue has changed to NY, and the Giants are 4 point underdogs.
Although the Eagles have much more to play for, the Giants have shown me something as of late. The offense has come alive, as Saquon finally looks healthy again, and Daniel Jones had a phenomenal game last week. While the Giants may not win outright, take them to cover 4 points.
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars have been a mess as of late. After the early season surge shown by Gardner Minshew, they’ve fallen on hard times, as neither Nick Foles or Minshew again could stop the hard times. They sit at 5-10, losers of 6 of 7 after a promising start.
The Colts were once on top of the AFC South at 6-4, but now sit on the outside of the playoff picture at 7-8. While they have shown promise this season, injuries and inconsistencies have been their downfall. A win last week gave them a chance to at least finish the season at .500, and with the Andrew Luck news coming before this season, that would be a pleasant surprise.
The Colts are 3.5 point favorites in this game. I expect them to come out and play hard against an organization that may feel like a loss is more beneficial at this point. Take the Colts in an easy two
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
The Browns were a trendy Super Bowl pick in the preseason, so it’s safe to say that their 6-9 record is an utter disappointment. While the Bengals didn’t have Super Bowl dreams, a 1-14 record is not what they expected.
Neither of these teams has anything to play for except pride. The Browns have been nothing short of a circus this season, and a loss in a game like this could lead to a very interesting offseason for all involved. The Bengals are officially on the NFL Draft clock, so even if they win, they will still be picking #1 in April.
The Bengals are 3 point underdogs in this game, and they’ve shown surprising fight in recent weeks. Call me crazy, but this is the exact type of game I’d expect the Browns to lose going into the offseason. I’m taking the Bengals, but buying half a point to 3.5.