For The Win: Week 17

NFL picks against the Las Vegas lines.

Here we are again this year, back for more NFL picks. It is with great pleasure that I take the reins from Jeff Pasquino after writing a guest edition last year. As someone who has won and lost their fair share of money on the NFL (and many other sports), this is bound to be a fun and unpredictable ride. Join me, won’t you?

As with the format in previous years, this article will help those of you who compete in confidence pools and in ranking selections, which may come in handy on those Las Vegas trips. Games are rated based on preference for both the point spread and other angles (such as totals or over/unders) with 1-3 “Stars”, which basically highlight the best bets for the week. Those games which have zero stars are not preferred one way or the other, but will still be covered, discussed and a winner will be predicted for those trying to get some advice for their weekly office pools.

Last week I promised there would be a return to regular service – and there was. A 12-4 week was exactly what I – and hopefully all of you – needed as we approach the uncertainty-laden final week of the regular season. Make no mistake: only brave people wager on games that, in some cases, have no playoff implications. Picking the right spots is critical to a net gain any week, but especially in Week 17.

Note that the over/unders are taken from

CLEVELAND (-2.5) at CINCINNATI (Over/Under 45)

Well, they’ve finally done it. After a highly improbable fight back in the dying seconds to not only tie the game against Miami but also to barely lose in overtime, the Bengals have locked and loaded the number one pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. That sound you hear is a sigh of relief coming from the Queen City, where even the most diehard and principled Bengals fan would have been quietly hoping for the rally to fall short. Andy Dalton clearly had other plans, and this clash against the Browns has nothing on but end-of-season pride.

A thread running through the schedule this week will be simply to ask: ‘what are these teams playing for?’. For the Browns, the answer may be complex and multi-layered. How about the future of your head coach, the locker room camaraderie, the offseason mood and, perhaps, the future of your disgruntled franchise quarterback? So, while the standings will show the Browns out of playoff contention, this game means an awful lot for their future. Why they are favorites on the road is a little puzzling, but surely their superior talent will shine through. Right?

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