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NFL Bargain Bets for Week 17
December 31st 2009 - Old Man Winner             

Most folks look at this week as being one of the toughest weeks to handicap. Claims of "who is motivated to play", and which players will actually play abound.

However, this is one of my favorite weeks. In my not so humble opinion, most bettors tend to over estimate how much this motivation is worth and thus, tend to under estimate those teams that have "nothing to play for." Make no mistake - there is ALWAYS something to play for. Just ask Herm "you play to win the games" Edwards. For teams, it can be goals such as being the spoiler, getting to .500, beating a rival, or simply avoiding last place. With players, it can be goals such as improving stats for contract purposes, showing leadership, or just catching the coaches eye in the case of younger players getting their rare reps.

Last week I went off my pattern of providing a one-game write up and gave you brief reasons to select 7 games. I went 5-2. As with most legitimate prognosticators, I'm staying with what works. I haven't changed my T-shirt (I'm not sharing my underwear status) and I'm not going to start now ;-)

Here's to another successful year of BARGAIN BETS!

Chi -3 vs. Det
Did you see Chicago's and Detroit's respective performances last week? If you didn't catch my comments of Detroit last week - here's the abridged version - they got nuthin! All key players are hurt and they turned the ball over 6 times last week. Chicago showed signs of life and, as long as Cutler doesn't try to play Superman, they should walk in this one.

Atl -2.5 vs. TB
Both of these two teams are streaking after having won their last two games. However, last week's win over the Saints was the Bucs Super Bowl and they should fall back to earth and get handled easily by a superior Falcon team.

Jax + 1.5 vs. Clev
If I told you a month ago that Jacksonville would be getting points against Cleveland in this game you would have asked me for a urine sample. But, low and behold, your dream has been answered. I am going against the two streaks (Cle has won 3 straight and Jax has lost 3 straight) in this one and counting on the better team to prevail. Cleveland has been doing it on the ground against weak run defenses, but will need to air it out to put up a winning number this week. I don't think they can do it.

NYG +9 vs. Min
This one smells funny, but I can't help but to bite. Both of these teams have looked horrible lately, but 9 points to a quality team will be just too much for the Vikings to cover. I think the potential absence of Brandon Jacobs will only help the Giants as their reserves actually look better. This game feels like a blowout - I just hope it goes the Giants direction.

SF -7 vs. Stl
Last week we mentioned Singletary's push to "finish". This week his squad will go out and do it. Isaac Bruce looks to start as a tribute to his contributions as part of the "greatest show on turf". Null hasn't looked as bad as the name implies, but the Rams completely Void.

Ten -4.5 vs. Sea
Tennessee is 7-2 since starting 0-6 and would easily be a playoff team if the best 12 teams were selected now. Chris Johnson, and his offensive line, are also on a quest to put him over 2,000 rushing yards (need 127) and may even be talking smack about trying to get him to the NFL record (would need 230+). There will be no surprise to what the Titans game plan will be. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, they don't have the talent to stop it.

GB +3 vs. Ari
Because of the late start in this one, there will likely be nothing on the line for either of these teams. By game time they also will likely know that they will be playing each other in the first round of the playoffs - two weeks in a row in the same stadium. If the Packers were smart they would find a local practice facility and just check in for two weeks, thus acclimating and avoiding the jet lag. Should it play out this way, neither team will want to show their hand and thus everything will get vanilla. It will be very much like a pre-season game. In games like this usually the better defense and rush offense tends to win out. GB is currently #1 against the run. This is also a bet against Matt Leinart.

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