Week 17 is one of the wildest times for NFL bettors. There are teams resting up for the playoffs, some looking ahead to next year and others fighting for their postseason lives. We talk with Jay Rood, sportsbook director at the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas, about the biggest moves on the board heading into Sunday’s games:
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals – Open: -3, Move: -1
Some online books have moved this line off the key number with money on the road Ravens. Rood is currently dealing Cincinnati -2.5, but says the sharp community came in hard on Baltimore +3 when they opened the Week 17 lines.
“The sharps grabbed the field goal,” Rood told Covers. “Our limits are a little shorter because it’s Week 17, but this was limit plays. Aside from that though, the action has been pretty balanced and there is a little lean toward the under.”
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts – Open: +4, Move: +7
Public money is coming in strong on the Texans, with the No. 1 seed in the AFC still up for grabs. Rood says the dire straits in Houston outweigh the emotional push the Colts will get when head coach Chuck Pagano returns to the sideline for the first time since leaving the team for leukemia treatments in September.
“Houston is kind of playing for their playoff lives,” says Rood. “They don’t want to find themselves traveling to Denver for a playoff game down the road. Their coach (former Broncos player Gary Kubiak) knows all about Denver in the playoffs.”
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants - Open: -9.5, Move: -7.5
The announcement that Michael Vick will start in place of injured Eagles QB Nick Foles has pushed this spread two points. Rood says they adjusted the line to New York -8.5 after news of Vick’s return under center and the sharp money took it to just above a touchdown. However, he expects the public to come back on a home team scratching and clawing for a postseason spot.
“According to the players, it’s a plus,” Rood said when asked whether it was good or bad that Vick was playing. “But I have to think the public is going to side with the Giants. They’re not completely written off.”
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks – Open: -10.5
Despite a flood of bets coming in on the Seahawks, most online books are reluctant to move the spread for this NFC West battle. Seattle has rolled over its last three opponents and has dominated the Rams at home in recent years. But, St. Louis has played divisional foes tough this year, posting a 4-0-1 SU record and a 5-0 ATS mark versus NFC West opponents.
“Seattle is getting a lot of public play at -10.5,” says Rood. “ How can you not bet them the way they’ve been playing the last three games?”