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 begin my second season writing this column. 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.

Much like the Pittsburgh Steelers up until last week, this column has stumbled to the finish line in the past couple of weeks, going 6-10 in consecutive outings. Favorites came roaring back in Week 16, going 11-4 SU and 9-6 ATS. Big underdogs in the Bengals, 49ers, and Cowboys covered, but so did the Bucs (-12), Ravens (-9.5), and Bears (-9). It is time to finish out the regular season with a bang.

Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com

ATLANTA at TAMPA BAY (-6) (Over/Under 50)

The Falcons have gone 4-3 ATS as the underdog in 2020, with their brave display against the juggernaut Chiefs another example of how much spirit Raheem Morris’ coaching has injected into the operation. Owner Arthur Blank is unlikely to get too invested in recent displays and choose to keep Morris, but his team’s effort – and the core of players Atlanta has assembled – have something to build on. The future of Matt Ryan, of course, is among their biggest questions and this could be the final chapter of his story with the franchise that he has spent his entire career with.

Tom Brady’s majestic passing blitz on Saturday gave the Bucs a comfortable half-time lead, allowing the venerated quarterback to rest in the second half as the team secured a playoff berth. With the Saints already having locked up the NFC South, the Bucs will simply play for pride this week, not for positioning. How much the starters will play makes this line difficult to take a side on, but the likelihood of benching starters gives the visitors a slight edge.

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