NFL Picks Week #17 (2019 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #17)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday December 28th, 2019 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
PICK #1: Dallas Cowboys -12 vs Washington Redskins (rated 5 stars)
The deciding factor for me in this matchup is as follows: the Redskins will be without their ENTIRE starting secondary. They will be missing Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Landon Collins and Montae Nicholson. That’s ridiculous.
What a great matchup for Prescott and company! His top target, Amari Cooper, has struggled a lot on the road, but he’s been great at home. After a dreadful performance against the Eagles last week, look for him to rebound in a big way.
To make matters worse, Washington’s best receiver by a mile, rookie Terry McLaurin, will also miss the game due to a concussion. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins will also be out the lineup, which isn’t as big of a blow considering Case Keenum has done okay. Still, that’s a lot of injuries to deal with for the Skins!
Prescott’s shoulder is injured, but he’s good to go. He has not practiced much this week, but he confirmed he will be under center this Sunday for this must-win game.
Despite Dallas’ struggles this season, they still posted a 5-1 ATS record when facing teams with a losing record this year. They are basically feasting off weaker opponents, and I’m betting the trend will continue this week.
PICK #2: Denver Broncos -3 vs Oakland Raiders (rated 4 stars)
Even though the Raiders are the team that need this game the most, I’ll go with the Broncos.
Denver is playing solid football since rookie Drew Lock took over as their starting quarterback. They are 3-1 despite facing respectable opposition: the Chargers, the Texans, the Chiefs and the Lions.
The Broncos also have a much better point differential this year: they are -35 versus -105 for the Raiders.
Sure, Oakland’s offense is more potent, but Denver has the better defense by far. Don’t forget that the Raiders were undergoing a four-game skid before beating the Chargers last week. The losing streak included losses against the lowly Jets and Jaguars.
Running back Josh Jacobs, who has been one of the most important pieces on offense for the Raiders in 2019, is out with a shoulder injury. Wide receiver Tyrell Williams will play through a foot injury, but he’s clearly not 100%.
Oakland has struggled on the road, as shown by their 2-5 record. Meanwhile, Denver managed to get a positive record at home; they are currently 4-3 (as opposed to 2-6 on the road).
The Broncos are 4-0 against the spread when facing a team with a losing record. However, I’m a bit worried about the fact that Oakland is 4-0 against the spread over the past four meetings with Denver.
PICK #3: Detroit Lions +13 vs Green Bay Packers (rated 2 stars)
Considering home-field advantage equates approximately 3 points, this line means the Packers would be 19-point favorites at Lambeau Field against the Lions. That seems like too big of a spread to me. Keep in mind the Patriots are 16-point favorites at home against the Dolphins this week…
Green Bay has won 12 games this season; only three of them were obtained by a margin of 12 points or more.
After missing eight games, running back Kerryon Johnson was back last week. He and Bo Scarbrough have the potential to do some damage against a mediocre rush defense (the Packers rank 23rd in terms of rushing yards allowed per game).
The Lions have beaten the spread against the Packers in each of the past five meetings between the two squads. One final argument: Green Bay loses one day of preparation after playing the Monday Nighter in Minnesota last week.
PICK #4: New York Giants +4 vs Philadelphia Eagles (rated 1 star)
Injuries are playing a major role. This is a critical game for Philly, but they will be missing tight end Zach Ertz, as well as wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery (and DeSean Jackson who got hurt earlier this year).
Stud right tackle Lane Johnson is questionable with an ankle injury. He hasn’t practiced all week and looks like a game-time decision. Finally, the Eagles secondary was weakened even more with the loss of Ronald Darby. Ouch!
I like what Daniel Jones has done in his first season in the NFL. He proved he can move the ball by throwing 23 TD passes over 12 games. He just needs to learn to protect the ball better. Along with Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and Cody Latimer, the G-Men have a very decent offense. They can definitely keep up with Philly’s depleted offense who probably won’t score a boatload of points.
The Giants are 4-1 ATS over the past five matchups with the Eagles, but just 3-9 ATS in the past twelve in New York against this opponent.
Happy New Year!!!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)