NFL Week 17 Best Bets: What Has Vegas Been Smoking?

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NFL Week 17 Best Bets: What Has Vegas Been Smoking?

Vegas has gone nuts. Abso-frikkin-nuts.

Indy +6.5 at home against Tennessee? Just because the Titans need the win? Really? I think Tom Moore could suit up and receive passes from Sorgi and they could STILL beat the Titans this week.

Don't forget, while the marquee players only play for a quarter or two, the real money players on the front lines almost never sit. That means even when they run with Kenton Keith, Indy will be running behind one of the better offensive lines in the NFL, no matter what Albert Haynesworth is doing.

Jacksonville +6? Seattle +2.5? And, on the flip side, Cleveland -9???? Giving nine points? Since Week 8, all but one of their games have been settled by less than 9. The one "blowout" win? They beat Houston by 10 in week 12. How likely is it that they win by 9 at this point? I would say pretty freaking unlikely. And so would the box.

Here are the early picks:

THE PICKS Over /
* considers lay in pick order Under
1. TB +2.5 v. CAR @Home 40.5
2. SEA +2.5 v. ATL Away 40.5
3. CIN -2.5 v. MIA Away 38.5
4. GB -3.5 v. DET @Home 40.5
5. OAK +8 v. SD @Home 41.5
6. PIT +3.5 v. BAL Away 40.0
7. JAC +6 v. HOU Away - Bet Soon 42.5
8. SF +9 v. CLE Away - Bet Soon 40.5
9. NO -2 v. CHI Away 43.0
10. IND +6.5 v. TEN @Home 43.5
11. DEN +3 v. MIN @Home - Bet Soon 42.0
12. NYG +14 v. NE @Home - Bet Soon 45.0
13. BUF +7.5 v. PHI Away 43.5
14. DAL +9 v. WAS Away - Bet Soon 43.0
15. STL +6 v. ARI Away - Bet Soon 37.5
16. KC +6 v. NYJ Away - Bet Soon 39.0

I like that one-two punch in Seattle and TB—TB coming off an embarrassing loss (that won me some $$ last week) and Seattle coming off an even more embarrassing loss, despite not needing the W at all.

I know the Colts and Cowboys are lower conviction picks, but I can't help be drawn to those games that clearly feel like they were handicapped to reflect public sentiment more than team performance. Week 17 is an excellent week for arbitrage I think, as the "who will play" frenzy that factors into the spreads is often overwrought. In fact, if the Box were Vegas and ignored the statistics, here's how it would have handicapped this week:

  Vegas Vegas  
Fav Guess Actual Dog
NE -14 -14 NYG
PHI -3.5 -7.5 BUF
GB -5 -3.5 DET
NO -4 -2 CHI
HOU 3 -6 JAC
CAR 4 -2.5 TB
CLE -13 -9 SF
CIN -6.5 -2.5 MIA
ATL 9.5 -2.5 SEA
WAS 9.5 -9 DAL
PIT -8 3.5 BAL
ARI -7 -6 STL
SD -7 -8 OAK
MIN -4 -3 DEN
NYJ -3 -6 KC
TEN 10 -6.5 IND

There are some giant shifts there—owing entirely to public sentiment. If the spread was like the stock market, this is a nice bear market chance to make some money on quality teams that are undervalued because of mob mentality.
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