Sportsbooks Expect Busy Sunday as NFL Regular Season Concludes
Posted on: January 3, 2021, 06:22h.
Last updated on: January 3, 2021, 09:59h.
An all-or-nothing Week 17 of the NFL regular season means some unusual lines at sportsbooks.
For some teams, there is a lot riding on Sunday’s games. Entering the final day of the regular season, seven playoff berths are to be claimed. That’s the most available spots entering the season’s final weekend in 31 years.
Other teams can kick up their heels. One of them is the Kansas City Chiefs. With the No. 1 seed in the AFC secured, the defending Super Bowl champions and championship favorites for most of this season will rest some key players, including quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Thus, the Chiefs – who are heavy favorites most weeks – are 4.5-point underdogs at home against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Seven Playoff Spots Up for Grabs
In all, 18 teams – more than half the league – remain in the running for Super Bowl LV. There hasn’t been more than 18 teams in contention entering the final week since there were 20 in 2006.
There’s no Thursday night, no Monday night, and there’s no Saturday games this week. It’s everyone playing at the same time,” said Andrew Mannino, the senior sports content analyst at PointsBet, to Casino.org.
“So much is on the line. Some teams will be resting players and making sure they have no injuries heading into the playoffs. But a lot of teams will be playing for their lives, and a lot of divisions and playoff seedings will be determined on Sunday. It’s going to be a busy day for us with so many games.”
In the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and Tennessee Titans are fighting for four playoff spots. Indianapolis and Tennessee are vying for the up-for-grabs AFC South, as well.
In the NFC, the Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, and Washington Football Team are in the mix for three playoff spots. Plus, the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, and Seattle Seahawks have a shot at the No. 1 seed.
Few teams have more at stake than the Packers, who are 4.5-point favorites at the Bears. With a win, they’d earn homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers might clinch his third NFL MVP.
The regular season will conclude on Sunday night, with Washington as 4-point favorites at the Philadelphia Eagles. With a victory, Washington would win the laughingstock NFC East with a 7-9 record. If Washington loses, the crown could go to Dallas, so long as it wins at the New York Giants. At FanDuel, 81 percent of the money is on the Cowboys as 1.5-point favorites – the most lopsided game of the week.
Week 17 Schedule
Here is Sunday’s schedule, with lines from PointsBet. As noted by VSIN’s Ben Fawkes, the Denver Broncos are the only team to be an underdog in all 16 games this season. With a 5-10 record, they will fall short of their preseason over/under win total.
The Baltimore Ravens (at Cincinnati Bengals) and Indianapolis Colts (at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars) are the heaviest favorites at -14.
- Miami at Buffalo (-2), 1 p.m.
- Baltimore at Cincinnati (+14), 1 p.m.
- Pittsburgh at Cleveland (-10), 1 p.m.
- Minnesota at Detroit (+4), 1 p.m.
- New York Jets at New England (-3), 1 p.m.
- Dallas at New York Giants (+2), 1 p.m.
- Atlanta at Tampa Bay (-6.5), 1 p.m.
- New Orleans at Carolina (+6), 4:25 p.m.
- Green Bay at Chicago (+4), 4:25 p.m.
- Las Vegas at Denver (+2.5), 4:25 p.m.
- Tennessee at Houston (+7), 4:25 p.m.
- Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-14), 4:25 p.m.
- Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City (+4.5), 4:25 p.m.
- Arizona at Los Angeles Rams (+2.5), 4:25 p.m.
- Seattle at San Francisco (+7), 4:25 p.m.
- Washington at Philadelphia (+4), 8:20 p.m.
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