There is nothing trickier than handicapping the Week 17 NFL slate. Accounting for motivation and key players being rested is critical to being on the right side of any plays during the final week of the regular season. We haven’t been fortunate on our last two teaser cards (-2 units) but this week gives us an opportunity to right the ship. Time to dig in and find some winners.
1:00 PM EST – Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City -9.5
Kansas City is currently seeded 3rd in the AFC Playoff standings. If the playoffs were to begin tomorrow, they would host the Tennessee Titans in a wild card game. However, with one game remaining on the schedule, the Chiefs still have quite a bit to play for.
There is a chance Kansas City moves up to a #2 seed if Miami pulls off the upset against the New England Patriots. I already know what you’re thinking. There is no chance the Dolphins beat the Patriots. That’s not the only angle at play here!
The Chiefs could actually drop to the 4th seed if they lose to the Chargers and the Houston Texans beat the Tennessee Titans. As a result, don’t expect a letdown here for Kansas City. Since Week 11, the Chiefs are allowing a league-best 9.6 PPG. They’ve yet to give up a touchdown their last 9 quarters played and opponents have been outscored by 88 points over their win streak.
The Spagnuolo-led defense will now face off against a 38 year-old Phillip Rivers who is likely on his way out of Los Angeles. I recommend fading the Chargers who’ll be looking to get a head start on their offseason tee times.
4:25 PM EST – Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
If you like Kansas City, then playing the Tennessee Titans would almost be like a correlated parlay. Should the Chiefs beat the Chargers, Houston could presumably take the field already knowing their playoff seed.
Early Sunday morning, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Texans are expected to rest a number of starters including franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson and All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. A.J. McCarron is expected to replace Watson under center. While I rate the former Alabama quarterback as a serviceable backup, his job becomes increasingly tougher if he takes the field without his full arsenal of weapons.
This game clearly means more to the Titans who come in 6-1 ATS on the road against teams with a winning record. There is also a revenge angle at play here as Tennessee looks to avenge a narrow 3-point loss to the Texans just two weeks ago. Lay the points with the Titans to punch their ticket into the AFC Playoffs.
8:20 PM EST – San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco -3
Finally, let’s go to Seattle where the Seahawks welcome in the San Francisco 49ers. This game moves to primetime in a winner-take-all matchup for the NFC West division. The 49ers poor clock management down the stretch in Week 11 with Seattle is largely why this division remains up for grabs. San Francisco elected to pass on three consecutive plays with two minutes left in overtime. This aggressive play-calling ran off only 25 seconds on the game clock leaving Russell Wilson with 90 seconds to drive his team down the field for a game winning field goal.
While Seattle is 11-4 on the season, the statistics show they’ve been a bit fortunate in the win column. The Seahawks have a negative net yards per play (-.1) on the season. Contrast that with the 49ers who boast a positive (1.3) net yards per play. 5 of Seattle’s 11 wins this season have been by 4 points or less. This is a team that has struggled to win by margin and has a 2-5 ATS record at home on the season. Conversely, the 49ers are 5-2 ATS on the highway. The 12th man at CenturyLink just isn’t what it used to be and the numbers show it. I expect the 49ers to exact their revenge on the Seahawks Sunday night on NBC.
3 team teaser – 8 point NFL +168 (Risking 1.25 units)
Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5)
Tennessee Titans (+2)
San Francisco 49ers (+5)
Other recommended teaser options include the Cincinnati Bengals and the Washington Redskins.