The final week of the NFL season is one of the most unpredictable slates of football betting action. Teams have varying motivations, either playing for the postseason, trying to better their playoff position, resting starters for a run at the Super Bowl, or simply wrapping up an unsuccessful campaign.
If you’re betting the NFL Week 17 odds, keep these odds for online gambling in mind when handicapping the best bets on the board.
Heading into the final week of regular season games, there are more than a few teams still vying for a spot in the playoffs. While that added motivation is enticing, don’t let it throw you off the scent of a good or bad bet when breaking down those matchups.
Oddsmakers recognize these must-win situations and will pad the points against that public opinion.
Often times, teams on the postseason fence in Week 17 are there because they’ve underperformed or been inconsistent all season. Don’t expect those trends to change just because they’re playing to win – something they should be doing every Sunday.
Ready, set, rest
Teams locked into their playoff positions with little to play for in Week 17 must make the call on either resting players before the postseason or maintaining momentum with a strong effort in the season finale.
Take a look at the makeup of the team, especially the coaching tendencies. With some key players out, will the support players step up and give a good effort. And, are the odds adding any value to a team that could still put up a good fight despite sitting some stars?
On the other side of this, team’s that have overperformed and bring momentum into the Week 17 matchup could run the risk of losing their stride before the biggest game of the year. Always look into a team’s recent results and if resting for the postseason is realistic.
Down but not out
Many bettors are quick to fade teams playing for nothing in Week 17. However, many of those teams will be using the final game of the schedule to evaluate players for next year, putting pressure on the players to perform.
Especially in cases in which the head coach has been fired or is expected to be let go, players must really step up in Week 17 in order to earn their spot in the new system once those expected overhauls happen in the postseason.
Quarterbacks on these losing teams often find themselves auditioning for their job, with free agent markets and the upcoming draft options to replace them under center. Dig into how those skill players are treating the season finale and the rest of the team will likely follow suit.
First half lines/Live odds
Week 17 also offers value for those who like first-half odds. Playoff-bound teams may go all out in the opening 30 minutes before pulling starters in the final two quarters. As well, teams trying to better their postseason position may fall behind on the scoreboard early and start thinking about protecting their stars in the second half.
If you’re watching the game and notice first teamers getting the hook, jump into the live in-play markets and wager on those adjusted spreads and totals accordingly.