The final week of the NFL season is unlike any other, according to analysts from TheLines, which tracks odds in the U.S. regulated sports betting market. Most teams’ playoff fortunes are already decided, making it difficult to gauge motivation for certain teams. And the best teams often rest their top players in preparation for more important games ahead.
For those games with playoff ramifications, Week 17 offers high drama. And those games typically offer more dependable odds. Games between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams, and the matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants all feature at least one team playing for the playoffs. Four of those games offer a spread of a touchdown or less, according to a consensus of the nation’s largest legal online sportsbooks — including DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, PlaySugarHouse, BetMGM, Unibet, and William Hill.
The two outliers include games against the hapless Jaguars and injury-riddled Bengals, who enter their games as 13.5-point and 11.5-point underdogs, respectively. Such games, with one team making a playoff push and the other playing out the string, can produce the unpredictable, particularly against the spread.
“The first and last week of the NFL season are typically the two most difficult to handicap,” said Brett Collson, lead analyst for TheLines.com. “The final week in particular brings a level of uncertainty not seen in any other week, and why odds on games with playoff implications tend to be more dependable. It’s uniquely challenging — and fun — for oddsmakers and bettors, alike.”
The consensus point spreads for Week 17 and remaining Week 16 games, as of Monday, Dec. 28:
- Buffalo Bills (-7) at New England Patriots; over/under 46.5
- Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6); over/under 50
- Minnesota Vikings (-6.5) at Detroit Lions; over/under N/A
- Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-3.5); over/under 40
- Baltimore Ravens (-11.5) at Cincinnati Bengals; over/under 44.5
- Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at New York Giants; over/under 45.5
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-13.5); over/under 49.5
- New Orleans Saints (-5.5) at Carolina Panthers; over/under 51
- New York Jets at New England Patriots (-5.5); over/under 43
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-6.5); over/under N/A
- Tennessee Titans (-7.5) at Houston Texans; over/under 56
- Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos (-1); over/under 50.5
- Green Bay Packers (-4) at Chicago Bears; over/under 50
- Seattle Seahawks (-4.5) at San Francisco 49ers; over/under 47.5
- Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-4); over/under N/A
- Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5); over/under 42