Sports betting doesn’t take a break over the holiday and action has been steadily impacting the odds for Week 17 of the NFL season.
Here’s a look at the biggest adjustments on the board heading into the regular season finale Sunday.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons – Open: +7.5, Move: +6
The Panthers have punched their postseason ticket and can become the NFC’s top seed with some help in Week 17. However, the Falcons are fighting to the finish and some books have trimmed this spread below the key number at some books.
"Sharp money took the points with the Falcons. We went to -7 and haven’t moved off that number," says Peter Childs of Sportsbook.ag. "We’ve seen most of the recreational bettors bet the road favorite, which is to be expected. So far, we’ve booked this game dead even but we know come gametime we’re going to need the Falcons big in this one."
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts – Open: -13, Move: -11.5
The Colts have been pegged into the postseason for a while and can still earn a first-round bye with a win over Jacksonville and losses to the Patriots and Bengals. That may be a lot to ask for and Indianapolis could be scoreboard watching the Baltimore-Cincinnati game, pulling their starters if the Bengals get up on the Ravens.
"It will be interesting to see how the Colts plan on playing this," says Childs, who opened Colts -11 and has remained at that spread. "While they say they’re going to go for the win and play all their starters, at the end of the day the players know it’s somewhat of a worthless game for them so motivation is going to be key."
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots – Open: -8.5, Move: -10.5, Move: -9.5
The Patriots are desperate for the No. 1 seed in the AFC but will need help from Oakland to steal it away from Denver Sunday. New England head coach Bill Belichick has never been much on resting his guys and cruising into the playoffs, so expect the Pats in full force.
"Pats opened -10 and immediately got hit with sharp money plus the points, we went straight to -9.5 and have been dealing that number since," says Childs. "The public is hammering the favorite and at this point. I’m not sure when, but I have a feeling we’re going to have to go back to -10 to offset all the Pat’s -9.5 money we’re seeing. About 80 percent of the action is on the Pats. This might be our biggest decision of the weekend."
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys – Open: +1.5, Move: +7.5
This line jumped six points at some markets when rumors that Tony Romo would miss the game due to a back injury hit the news. However, the Cowboys are playing it very coy with Romo’s injury and haven’t ruled out their QB for Sunday night’s do-or-die divisional matchup with the Eagles. The total also moved, dropping from 56 to 52.5 points.
"We opened Eagles -3 and then saw the news about Tony Romo being out for this game. After closing it and discussing a new number with our oddsmakers, we reopened with the Eagles -7.5 and we got hit up hard with Eagles money," says Childs. "But as news has trickled down that Romo might be able to play and hasn’t been 'ruled out', we’re starting to see some Cowboy money come in and we’ve adjusted with the news as well, going from -7.5 to now dealing -7 on this Sunday night game."