Week 17 is that oddly shaped gift at the back of the tree that rattles like a tin can stuffed with marbles.
What the hell could it be?
NFL bettors don’t know what they’re tearing into when it comes to the regular season finale. Could it be a PS4 or an easy pointspread cover? Or is it a cheesy holiday-themed sweater or a team giving up on the year?
Needless to say, Week 17 gives us plenty to ponder with numerous head-scratching spreads to round of the schedule. Here are a few NFL lines making bettors go hmmm…
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-6, 44.5)
This AFC North matchup holds a ton of playoff weight with the Ravens trying to get into the postseason and the Bengals attempting to improve their seeding. It opened at the always brow-furrowing 5.5-point spread and has since jumped to Bengals -6.
This number seems a little low – even with all things considered. Baltimore is on the road after getting coal stuffed in its stocking versus the Patriots in front of its home crowd while Cincinnati is playing some of its best football of the season down the stretch. The Ravens edged the Bengals in overtime back in Week 10 but Cincy is 4-1 in the five games since, with quality wins over San Diego and Indianapolis.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (+13, 53.5)
The Broncos do need to win this game to keep the No. 1 seed safe and won’t rest their starters – at least not until they run up the score early and coast on a comfortable lead. This 53.5 point total could be a tall task with the Broncos playing it safe in the final 30 minutes.
With many key players limping into the playoffs and star pass rusher Von Miller out for the year, Denver will likely hit the Silver and Black with everything it has for two quarters before turning the offense over to backup QB Brock Osweiler and the running game.
Oakland is putting Terrellle Pryor back under center, which means more runs keeping the clock ticking. The Raiders were one of the top rushing teams in the league with the dual-threat breaking off gains with his legs and are 3-5 O/U with Pryor taking the snaps this season.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants (-3.5, 45.5)
The Redskins have nothing left to give. Well, maybe Mike Shanahan's pink slip, but that's it. Washington played the Cowboys tough last Sunday, trying to spoil their rival’s playoff chances. And it looked like they were going to do it before Dallas scored the go-ahead TD on a fourth-down conversion in the dying minutes.
If the Redskins had any heart left, that loss ripped those leftovers out of their chests.
Enter the Giants who, after posting a goose egg through the first six games of the schedule, have been a solid 6-3 since with those losses coming to Dallas, Seattle and San Diego. New York knows how to finish strong as well, going 6-3 SU and 7-2 ATS in its last nine Week 17 contests.