2021 gave new meaning to Week 17. It’s no longer just a coin toss between double-digit win teams who are resting starters, and middle of the road clubs whose playoff window closed weeks ago. The new Week 17 features 14 teams fighting for playoff positioning, and another 10 that still have at least an outside shot. It’s like the old Week 16 on steroids, and I’ve got the trends you need to get pumped for Sunday’s workout!
Minnesota lost to the Rams last weekend, ending a three-game ATS win streak against winning teams
New Week 17: How Things Have Changed
Check the date for Week 17 on the NFL schedule, and everything looks familiar. Tucked in there between Christmas and New Year’s, NFL Playoffs on-deck for January… all good. But this year is different, and the new Week 17 has a handful of tasty matchups for bettors to sink their teeth into.
Philadelphia (8-7) at Washington (6-9)
Line: Eagles -3 and O/U 45
This game checks two boxes for me on the new Week 17 NFL schedule. First of all it’s a divisional game and secondly, the Eagles are road faves. Sprinkle in the revenge factor and suddenly this line starts to make more sense.
- In the final two weeks of the regular season, divisional dogs up to +7 points with revenge are 110-72 ATS (60%).
Washington is one of those teams that is still technically alive in the hunt for a Wild Card, although their chances make winning the lottery, or getting struck by lightning twice seem favorable. The Team was lit up in Dallas on Sunday night, 56-14, and that’s the kind of embarrassing loss that burns in any respectable player’s belly. Historically, Ron Rivera has shown an ability to draw the best out of his players in tough spots, evidenced by this coaching trend:
- Rivera’s all-time record off a road loss is 28-11 ATS (72%)
Under HC Rivera, Washington’s home record off a road loss is 3-1 SU and 3-0-1 ATS with three of four games staying UNDER. They were in this spot in Week 10, getting +9.5 points against the Bucs, and Washington won 29-19 outright.
I’ve posted six winning weeks out of the past eight (75%) – Give yourself the best chance to win with picks from an expert sports handicapper!
Top Betting Trends for the New Week 17
As always, it pays to look at things from a contrarian angle during your handicapping process and according to my NFL Football Matchups & Computer Predictions, this is one game worthy of your attention.
Detroit (2-12-1) at Seattle (5-10)
Line: Seahawks -6.5 and O/U 42.54
The Lions gave it all they had in Atlanta last week, but their modest one-game win streak was cut short. Spread bettors have cashed large on Detroit during the back-half, as the Lions are 6-1 ATS their past seven and 4-0 ATS off a straight up loss.
- Road dogs with a sub-250 win percentage that have covered in three of their past four games are just 10-31 ATS (24%) vs. teams with a losing record.
Detroit is also riding a four-game ATS win streak in the final game of the regular season, but this is the new Week 17. Instead of respectable, spoiler-mode effort at Lambeau Field, they are on the road for a second-straight week against a non-divisional foe. The Lions have Green Bay on-deck, making this a classic look-ahead spot.
- In the second-to-last game of the regular season, home faves with fewer than six wins have played UNDER the total 31 of 52 times (60%).
Seattle was upended by the lowly Bears last week and going back in front of the 12th man, this once-proud defense has something to prove. This is their final home game, and likely Russell Wilson’s last home start as a Seahawk, so a beatdown effort against Detroit is not out of the picture. My projections show Seattle winning 24.5 to 16.4 (40.9 total points).
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Free Picks: Sunday NFL Game of the Week
This is a toss up between Kansas City at Cincinnati and Minnesota at Green Bay. The Chiefs (11-4) and Packers (12-3) have each clinched their division. The Bengals (9-6) and Vikings (7-8) have taken their lumps this season but keep fighting back, through Covid and key injuries. At the end of the day, literally, we’re all going to be tuned into the NFC North showdown, so let’s focus our attention there.
Minnesota (7-8) at Green Bay (12-3)
Line: Packers -6.5 and O/U 47.5
Green Bay holds a one-game edge over the Cowboys, Rams and Bucs for top-spot in the NFC standings. The likelihood that all three of those conference rivals will lose Sunday is very low (Bucs play the Jets, after all), so the Pack will bring its A-game to Lambeau Field. Track the betting consensus for this game throughout the week.
- Elite home favorites with eight or more wins in their past 10 games are 5-29 ATS (15%) the past five years when laying between -3.5 and -10 points.
- When the total is between 42.5-49, the UNDER is 55-26 (68%) when teams that allow more than 60% completions are coming off back-to-back games in which they limited opponents to fewer than 5.5 yards per pass attempt.
The Packers D ranks #4 in the NFL, holding teams to 6.1 yards per pass attempt. They held Cleveland to 5.3 YPPA last week and Minnesota could be without Adam Thielen (ankle). KJ Osborn has stepped up nicely and Vikings lead WR Justin Jefferson (1,451 yards, 9 TD) has three TDs in his past four games, but QB Kirk Cousins is missing his top possession receiver big time.
Minnesota has also allowed 28-plus points in five of its past six. If they defense can’t improve, the Vikings have no place in the playoffs anyway. We’ll see if that factors into their tempo and the style of gameplan HC Mike Zimmer and O-Co Klint Kubiak try to install.
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In Memory of John Madden
The football world lost a great one this week. John Madden meant something different to everyone, based on your age and at what point you got to see him at his finest. Whether it was through coaching or broadcasting, Madden taught all of us something about football. He was an icon, and the memories will last a lifetime. RIP Coach.