NFL Best Bets for Week 17
27th 2014 - Old Man Winner

How to pick a game in week #17

1) Eliminate all games where one team is purportedly motivated and the other is not. All that does is tend to over exaggerate the spread and make it more difficult for that favorite to cover. Often in these games, more than usual, the team that needs to win gets even more conservative toward the end of the game which only provides opportunity for an underdog back door cover.

2) Eliminate all late games which will likely be affected by earlier game results. Luckily for the NFL this year, there are no games like that this year.

3) Eliminate games where teams could decide to sit their players for any period of time. For example, the Colts are almost assuredly locked into the #4 playoff spot. Therefore, they may decide to protect their star players and yank them from the game at any time. Stay far away from these games.

4) Always avoid New England in week #17. You never know what the Hoodie is going to do. I think he prides himself on always zigging when others think he is going to zag.

5) Likely last games for head coaches. This usually goes one of two ways and you never know which way. Sometimes players who love their outgoing coach play hard for him. However, sometimes, there is zero motivation to put forth any extra effort either because the players don't like the coach or they know a new regime is coming and personnel and scheme will turnover.

6) So, we're looking for one of three types of games. One where everything is on the line for both teams, nothing is on the line for both teams (in both of these games the motivation is the same and you get a true read on the game), or a game where the motivation is to lose to get the first pick in next year's draft. Don't misconstrue this last motivation as simply any team losing to get a higher pick, that is not enough. No, it has to be a team that only has an opportunity to lose and get the #1 selection in the draft. Players don't ever like to lose, but when they can see a pathway to get a guy like Andrew Luck and they can easily translate that into future success, and money in their pocket, that does provide real motivation.

With these rules, that narrows the games in play to:
Phi @ NYG
Det @ GB
Car @ Atl
Cin @ Pit

I like two games here.

NO -4 @ TB - the motivation for the Bucs to lose here and get the #1 pick and a franchise QB is huge. Besides, Sean Payton could be playing for his job and Drew Brees never likes to be embarrassed (more than he has been already).

SD +3 @ KC - Alex Smith will not play in this game. I think that is enough said. The Chargers are a fiery competitive team and Philip Rivers will carry the team on his back against a Chase Daniels led Chiefs team. The Chief fans may come to appreciate the oft-maligned 'game managing' of Smith in a critical game like this.

Happy Holidays!


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