Scoreboard-watching will factor into whether the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers – both double-digit home favorites against division cellar-dwellers – cover some big lines on the NFL Week 17 slate.
The Tom Brady-led Patriots, who hold the tiebreaker in the race for the AFC’s No. 1 seed and home-field advantage, are listed as 15.5-point favorites against the New York Jets at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Jets are often a tough out against New England, with a 7-1-1 record against the spread in their last nine tries. However, New England is 14-4 ATS in its last 18 games in Week 17.
The AFC heavyweights both play early games on Sunday, with the Steelers listed as 10.5-point favorites against the winless Cleveland Browns. The Steelers are 10-0 straight-up but only 5-4-1 ATS in their last 10 home games against Cleveland, and there is the possibility starters could be removed if it appears New England is headed for victory. The Browns are 0-16 SU and 1-14-1 ATS in their last 16 games vs divisional opponents.
The 4:25pm ET block of games features all four teams vying for the two AFC wild card berths. All NFC seeds from No. 2 through No. 6 are also up for grabs.
The Baltimore Ravens are 9.5-point favorites against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are 1-3 ATS in their last four games against the Ravens. The Ravens have won two in a row, but they are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games after consecutive wins.
The Tennessee Titans are listed as 3.5-point favorites against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars are 2-7 SU in their last nine games on the road against the Titans. The Titans are 4-0 SU and ATS in their last four divisional home games.
The Los Angeles Chargers are set as 8-point favorites against the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have paid out seven times in their last eight games on the road against the Chargers. The Chargers are 8-3 SU in their last 11 games in Week 17.
The Buffalo Bills are 2.5-point favorites against the Miami Dolphins. The Bills, coming off a Week 16 defeat against New England, are 5-2 SU in their last seven games after a loss. The Dolphins are 9-3 SU in their last 12 games at home.
The Minnesota Vikings, who would clinch the NFC’s No. 2 seed with a tie or win, are pegged as 11.5-point favorites against the Chicago Bears. The Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last five games in Week 17. The total has gone under in eight of the Vikings’ last 10 home games against the NFC North.
The Atlanta Falcons, who sit in the final NFC playoff berth, are four-point favorites against the playoff-bound Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are 20-5 SU in their last 25 games in December. The Falcons are coming off a win against New Orleans, but they are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games after covering in their most recent home game. That said, Atlanta is 8-2 SU in its last 10 division games.
The New Orleans Saints, who need a win to clinch the NFC South, are seven-point road favorites against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games vs divisional opponents, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The Buccaneers are 0-9 SU and 3-5-1 ATS in their last nine games as underdogs.
And the streaking San Francisco 49ers are 3.5-point road favorites against the Los Angeles Rams, who will host a playoff game on wild card weekend regardless of the result. San Francisco is 5-0 SU in its last five games, as well as 3-1 SU and ATS in its last four games on the road against the Rams.
For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.