Week 17 NFL Underdog Betting Picks
Another winning week including the Bills beating the Patriots runs our YTD underdog log to 24-12 ATS with 18 outright winners. The five-year record on these pages picking only underdogs is now 124-91 (57.7%). More key games involving playoff teams heads the Week 17 card, and we're supporting the Bengals in the featured game of the week against the Chiefs.
Beyond the betting lines and games on the field, there is so much more to follow with injuries and the updated COVID tracker.
I update the playoff picture and other Week 17 odds and information you can bet on in my NFL coverage for Forbes. If you're missing numbers or lines of interest, consider teasers as more information is available on players later in the week, along with live betting as in-play options are a great way to add bets based on what you see and adjust to as the game plays out.
NFL Week 17 Underdog Picks
Cincinnati (+5.5) vs Kansas City - Bengals moneyline +190 at BetOnline
Minnesota (+6.5) at Green Bay - Vikings moneyline +235 at Jazz Sports
** See COVID update below on Vikings for no action.
Kansas City at Cincinnati
Big game in the Jungle where the Bengals can claim the AFC North title with a victory, and the Chiefs can lockup the AFC's No. 1 seed with a road win (and a Titans loss). Take +6 if the line moves up later in the week, which doesn't appear as likely unless more injuries or COVID news develops, like that of Colts QB Carson Wentz this week in their match-up against the Raiders. We'll monitor that further for play consideration. Regardless of the result, this line is a bit too high. The leading online sportsbooks are tired of taking a beating on the Chiefs, who have won 8-straight games and covered six in a row. But my projections and rushing stats have the Bengals ground game churning out more yards, and Joe Burrow having another big day through the air in what I expect to also be a higher scoring game. I bet over 49.5, and also recommend betting the Bengals over their team total points of 22 or 22.5.
Minnesota at Green Bay
Sunday Night Football will be worth watching for the frigid weather at Lambeau Field as the Packers look to secure the NFC's No. 1 seed with a victory. The Vikings need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive and some help if the Eagles lose. According to the National Weather Service, wind chill values in the Upper Midwest this coming weekend will likely be the coldest of the winter so far. Sunday night in Green Bay could see single digit temperatures with subzero wind chill of -10F to -20F. The Vikings beat the Packers 34-31 before Thanksgiving on a last second field goal and wild finish in the final few minutes. Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins put on a passing clinic and Pro Bowl receivers Davante Adams and Justin Jefferson were sensational. The frigid conditions will make it more difficult in the passing game, but Dalvin Cook is expected to return from COVID protocols for Sunday's game and he was a major player in the first meeting as well. Minnesota has had so much misfortune and missed opportunities this season. Close losses and giveaways may be a sign of a team finding ways to lose rather than win, and the Vikings close contests includes 14 of their last 15 games decided by 8 points or less. We're aware the Packers are 7-0 SU and 6-1 vs. the points this season at Lambeau, and Green Bay is now 19-1 SU and 14-6 vs. the points in its last 20 regular season home games. Aaron Rodgers is also 24-3 SU at home in his career in the month of December. The Packers lead the NFL with a +16 turnover margin, and Green Bay has won 31 consecutive games in which they have won the turnover battle. That includes last weeks' close call over Cleveland when Baker Mayfield gift wrapped 4 INT's in a 24-22 Packers win. The Browns rushed for 219 yards and out-gained the Packers by nearly 100 yards in defeat. The Vikings will lay it all on the line, and we suggest waiting until later in the week to see if you can take +7 on the betting line. Taking more than a touchdown (6 points) on the Vikings is still a bet.
Check back for any additions, updates or changes into the weekend as more injury and COVID news becomes available.
UPDATE: On Friday, Dec. 31, the Vikings placed quarterback Kirk Cousins on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He will not play Jan. 2 against the Packers, and the line has shot up to Packers -13. This is no longer a play, although I plan to bet the Vikings at the higher number and wait for all updates on game day as long as the Vikings don't dig deeper to a third string quarterback. Backup QB Sean Mannion was activated from the COVID-list and it appears he will start. Monitor into Sunday and any other changes or plays to be updated Sunday.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay