The final week of the regular season, with the last few play-off seedings to be decided
With only a few games in Week 17 having teams with outstanding issues to resolve, betting on matches can be fraught with difficulty. Which teams are motivated? Will play-off teams rest starters? I will look at the two games with unresolved play off implications first
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
The key game for week 17, with the winner of this NFC North divisional clash winning the division and getting a home game in the play offs. If the Washington Redskins beat the NY Giants, the loser misses the play-offs
Detroit missed their chance to wrap up a play off spot losing 42-21 in Dallas on monday night football. Their problem in this game is likely to be in the defensive secondary missing their number one cornerback Darius Slay. The unit has to match up against Aaron Rodgers and the Packer receivers, a unit really back to form in the Packers five game winning run as they attempt to “run the table” into the play offs.
The Packers have to be favourites here with Rodgers in such form. At -2.5 points on the handicap spread at 10/11 with Bet365 they have to be supported to advance to the play-offs.
New York Giants at Washington Redskins
After the Lions result, for the Redskins the equation is simple here. Win and enter the play-offs as a wild card team. They host divisional rivals the Giants whose loss at Philadelphia ended their hopes of winning the NFC East but they are secure in the play offs as the fifth seed.
The logical consequence of this is that the Giants will rest key players here and give them an effective bye week. Tis explains why the Redskins are installed as 8 point handicap favourites in what ordinarily would be a +3/-3 type of spread for a divisional game.
Whilst it would be fair to expect the Redkins to win 8 points is quite a handicap to overcome. After all NFL roster rules mean 46 of a 53 man roster have to suit up and play. Given this I will be supporting the Ginats +8 at 10/11 with William Hill.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
The Raiders have had a fantastic season so far but their post-season hopes took a major blow with the broken leg suffered by QB Derek Carr last weekend. A game ahead of the Chiefs with one game to go they need to win in Denver and hold off the Kansas City Chiefs for the division, the Chiefs are at the Chargers and should win.
Last year’s Super-bowl champions the Broncos were eliminated from play-off contention last weekend and have been hamstrung all season by poor offensive line play and general offensive problems. The coach has said that they will use this game to look ahead to next year, starting the trookie back up quarterbac and younger players for evaluation.
The Raiders, with a strong running game and improving defense will be highly motivated to win here for their injured quarterback and should be supported +2.5 at 10/11 with Bet365