NFL Betting: Week 17 Best Picks and Advice

During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 17 slate.

Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Tuesday and Thursday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.

Sides I Like

Jets (-1.5) over Seahawks: Oddly enough, I actually want to bet on the Jets now that Mike White is the starting quarterback over Zach Wilson (if you told me I’d be writing that in 2022, I would not have believed you).

White has been the steadier QB for the Jets unlike the turnover-prone Wilson, who has lacked confidence most of the season. The Jets players seem to rally around White, whereas Wilson lost some trust in the locker room after not taking responsibility for a loss at the Patriots earlier this year. White missed the last two games for the Jets after doctors didn’t clear him to play with fractured ribs. The line was as high as Jets -2.5 with the news that White would return this week, and it has settled back down to -1.5.

The Jets would make the playoffs by winning this game and next week’s game against the Dolphins, plus a Patriots loss in one of the two final games. White is a significant enough upgrade to warrant a bet on the Jets at anything lower than a field goal in this spot, so I would recommend taking them at the shortest moneyline price.

Packers (-3) over Vikings: Despite the fact that the Vikings are 12-3 and the Packers are 7-8, my numbers have Green Bay as the better team — and the point spread indicates that. The Vikings have won 11 of their games by eight points or less with their only win by multiple possessions being against the Packers way back in Week 1. Last week’s win over the Giants encapsulates the Vikings’ season perfectly in which they were outgained 6.7-5.0 on a yards-per-play basis but found a way to win on a last-second 61-yard kick. Winning in that fashion isn’t sustainable, and if they had trouble stopping the Giants’ offense, they’ll likely have issues with Aaron Rodgers.

The Vikings have the ability to score in this matchup, but this will be their first game outdoors since Week 10. Temperatures in the 30s is mild in Wisconsin for this time of year, but I can see the Vikings struggling after playing their last six games in perfect conditions.

The Packers are all of a sudden right in the playoff race after winning three-straight games. Green Bay has a very realistic chance of making the playoffs with another home game against the Lions in Week 18. I like the Packers at -3 or better in a game I can see them winning comfortably.

Sides I’m Considering

Browns (+2) over Commanders: This line has fluctuated between Commanders -1.5 to -2.5 due to uncertainty on who would start at QB for Washington. Taylor Heinicke went 5-3-1 as the Commanders’ starter to get the team into playoff position but after two-straight losses the team is going back to Carson Wentz. Wentz is more talented than Heinicke, but he wasn’t playing well before his injury and constantly made mistakes.

The Browns are coming off two home games where weather was a big factor and hindered their offensive output. QB Deshaun Watson has now started four games this season and hasn’t come close to living up to expectations. However, I expect Watson to improve weekly, and now he’s in a spot where he won’t be playing in miserable weather and high winds off Lake Erie. I believe this game should be a pick’em, so I’m looking at the Browns at any underdog price.

Dolphins (+3) over Patriots: The Dolphins were a small favorite in this game before it was revealed that Tua Tagovailoa entered the concussion protocol on Monday. The line shifted toward the Patriots after that news, and the Dolphins reached +3 when it was confirmed Tagovailoa would be out.

Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t spectacular earlier this season when he filled in for Tagovailoa and suffered an injury of his own. But in a one-game scenario, I believe he’s good enough for the Dolphins to cover this number against a Pats team with issues of their own. You need +3 to do it, but look to bet on the Dolphins this week in a huge game for AFC playoff implications.

Game-Time Decisions

Cowboys (-12.5) at Titans: The Titans have nothing to play for in this game because next week’s regular season finale will decide the AFC South and the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs. That’s why Tennessee is resting multiple starters for this Thursday night game as they focus on the Week 18 contest in Jacksonville. The Cowboys’ win over the Eagles last week keeps them alive for the NFC East. If they win this game, the Eagles will face some pressure on Sunday to wrap up the division. But that doesn’t mean the Cowboys will cover this spread, so I’m going to pass.

Panthers at Buccaneers (-3): Before Week 16, the look-ahead line for this game was Buccaneers -7. So there’s been quite an adjustment after the Panthers won as home underdogs against the Lions and the Buccaneers almost lost to Trace McSorley and the Cardinals on Christmas. It’s probably a justified move because the Buccaneers can’t be trusted to cover as a favorite. However, there’s no longer value betting on Carolina at this price.

Steelers at Ravens (-2.5): The Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive last week with a last-minute win over the Raiders. However, they might know their playoff fate before this game is played because a Dolphins win earlier in the day would eliminate the Steelers before kickoff.

This point spread indicates that Tyler Huntley will make his fourth-straight start for an injured Lamar Jackson. Huntley’s first start in this stretch was at the Steelers in a game that the Ravens won. Pittsburgh was able to move the ball that day, but Mitch Trubisky threw three costly interceptions. Kenny Pickett returned last week and will start this game on the road for the Steelers. With the timing of this game impacting the Steelers’ playoff scenarios, I would wait to bet this game a few hours before kickoff.

Saints at Eagles (-6.5): I believe this is the correct spread with backup QB Gardner Minshew having a strong showing in his first start this season. I would expect the Eagles to be cautious with Jalen Hurts and give Minshew another start, while the Saints still have an outside chance at winning the NFC South with a win. It’s also worth noting the Eagles have the Saints’ first-round pick next season, so both teams would want to win this game regardless of the playoff scenarios. If you want to bet this game, wait until after the Cowboys game is decided on Thursday to make sure the Eagles don’t have the division wrapped up before Sunday.

Cardinals at Falcons (-3.5): This game has no impact on the NFL playoffs. There’s a chance Colt McCoy could return after missing last week with a concussion. If he does come back, I might have interest in betting Arizona. But I’m also worried they don’t have motivation for this game after how they lost at home last week.

Jaguars (-4.5) at Texans: The Jaguars’ home game next week against the Titans will decide the AFC South. There’s also a scenario where the Jaguars can win this week and still make the playoffs even if they lose next week. So it’s hard to say how Jacksonville will approach this game knowing next week means a lot more. The Texans won their second game of the season last week and now are in danger of losing the No. 1 pick if they win one of their last two games. With those conflicting factors, I can’t bet this game.

Bears at Lions (-6): The Lions’ seven-game cover streak came to an end last week with a loss as road favorites against the Panthers. The Lions mostly covered in that stretch as underdogs, including their Week 10 win at the Bears. Now that the Lions are a substantial favorite, I’ll either play against them or pass. The Bears’ offense should be able to score in this game, but I don’t trust their defense to get stops.

Broncos at Chiefs (-12.5): I usually like betting on teams in the first game after they fired their head coach. With Nathaniel Hackett finally relieved of his duties after his team no-showed on Christmas Day against the Rams, Jerry Rosburg will take over as Denver’s interim head coach. I don’t want to bet on the Broncos against this Chiefs team that is still playing for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Colts at Giants (-6): The Colts looked terrible in Nick Foles’ first start of the season on Monday night. Now they have a short week with travel to face a Giants team who just needs to win this game to clinch a playoff spot. The Giants aren’t a team I trust to win by margin in the favorite role, so this game is a pass for me.

49ers (-10) at Raiders: This line was sitting at 49ers -6 on Wednesday and went to -10 with the news that Derek Carr is going to be benched for the rest of the season. With Jarrett Stidham starting, I don’t have an opinion on this game.

Rams at Chargers (-6.5): The Chargers clinched a spot with two games to spare thanks to their three-game winning streak. I’m not sure what to expect from the Chargers this week against an opponent that shares a stadium with them. On the other sideline, the Rams have played better football with Baker Mayfield under center and are also incentivized to win since they don’t have their first-round pick. The uncertainty of this game makes it a pass for now.

Bills (-1) at Bengals: What a Monday night game this late in the season. The Bills control their own fate for the top seed in the AFC playoffs, while the Bengals are currently the No. 3 seed in the postseason picture with a chance to steal the top seed. Cincinnati is also still in a battle for the AFC North with Baltimore, and they host the Ravens in Week 18. If the Ravens lose on Sunday night, the Bengals would clinch the division with a win here. If Baltimore wins, then that Week 18 game would decide the AFC North regardless of what the Bengals do against the Bills.

As for this matchup, I don’t have a bet on it because I believe this point spread is right. It’s definitely a game to watch and learn from heading into the postseason.