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Welcome to Fantasy Points Best Bets. This will be the main hub for our staff’s favorite NFL bets throughout the season. Our staff will give their favorite spread, total, and player prop bets every week during the season through the Super Bowl. Be sure to check back regularly before kickoff to see what wagers our crew has lined up for the week ahead.
Best Bets ATS Record: 44-43-3 (-4.55 units); W17: 3-3 (-.54 units)
Overall ATS Record: 136-115-5 (54.2%); W17: 7-8-1 (46.7%)
Totals Record: 5-6 (-1.2 units)
Miami Dolphins (+3.5 DK/+140 FD) at Buffalo Bills
This bet simply comes down to motivation on both sides. The Bills are one of the best-run organizations in the league and their ultimate goals now are to win the AFC and to win the Super Bowl. HC Sean McDermott said on New Year’s Eve that it remains to be seen if he’ll play starters Sunday but that he’ll do what’s best for his team and players. What’s best for this team to meet their new goals is for McDermott to rest key players like Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and Tre’Davious White. The Steelers have already announced they’re resting starters this week and a Steelers loss would lock in the Bills to the second seed so McDermott could pull his starters early if Pittsburgh falls down big to the Browns. The Bills are already feeling the injury pinch after they lost Cole Beasley last week and John Brown hasn’t returned from his injury ankle yet, which had the Bills bringing in Kenny Stills for a visit this week. McDermott coached under Andy Reid, who is a big proponent of resting players, and Allen played just seven snaps in Week 17 last year when the Bills had a Wild Card spot locked up. I believe McDermott will have his eye on the big picture with his key players on Sunday. The Dolphins show up every week for Brian Flores and I would expect nothing else from them in this must-win spot. I’m grabbing the points and a taste of the moneyline with Miami. Risk one unit at -120 to win .83 units and risk .25 units at +140 to win .35 units (Jan. 1).
Dallas Cowboys (-1 FanDuel) at New York Giants
I don’t like anything I’ve seen from the Giants’ offense in the last five weeks. They’re averaging just 12.6 points per game in their last five contests with just one cover in that span in their shocking 17-12 victory over the Seahawks. The offense is playing so bad that it’s taking its toll on their defense as they’ve dropped three consecutive games by two touchdowns or more to the Cardinals, the Browns, and the Ravens. The Cowboys and Andy Dalton have finally found some offensive footing in the last four weeks since their Thanksgiving Day embarrassment to the Football Team. They’ve scored 30+ points in three straight games with 34.6 points per game in that span, including 78 points against respectable defenses in San Francisco and Philadelphia. Ezekiel Elliott also played arguably his best game of the season last week after taking a week off for his calf injury so they could finally have a dynamic 1-2 punch in their backfield with Tony Pollard. I don’t see the Giants and an immobile Daniel Jones keeping pace with an improving Cowboys offense this week so I’m taking the Cowboys while they’re laying less than a field goal. Risk one unit at -112 to win .89 units (Jan. 1).
Arizona Cardinals (+1.5, FanDuel) at Los Angeles Rams
This bet is a bit of a gamble but that’s what this whole article is all about! I’m grabbing the points with the Cardinals early in the week with the hope that Kyler Murray will play through his “lower-body” injury as described by HC Kliff Kingsbury. If Murray doesn’t play, I don’t see this line climbing above a field since the Rams are definitely starting a backup quarterback in John Wolford — Blake Bortles will be ready in relief if needed. If Murray does play, I could see the Cardinals going off as field-goal favorites or higher in this must-win game for both teams — the winner of this game is guaranteed a playoff spot. Murray is definitely the more valuable quarterback between these two teams, but he also has a chance to play whereas we know Jared Goff has already been ruled out with his throwing thumb injury. Wolford is going to be in a tough spot in the season finale too with his top two running backs (Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson) out this week with high-ankle injuries. We’ll see how Murray’s injury plays out this week, but there’s some value on the Cardinals’ side with all the information that’s available to us early in the week. Risk one unit at -115 to win .87 units (Dec. 29)
Washington Football Team (+1.5, FanDuel) at Philadelphia Eagles
I broke this game down as part of my Week 17 Opening Line Report. The wrong team is favored in this game so I’m grabbing the points while I can early in the week in case this line moves in Washington’s direction. HC Ron Rivera and the Football Team won’t say it, but they used last week to get their two most important offensive players back to full health for this week’s win-or-go-home matchup with the Eagles. Terry McLaurin has been laboring through an ankle injury in December and they decided to give him two weeks to get ready for Week 17. The Football Team also decided to give Alex Smith an extra week of rest after he practiced in full on the Friday before Week 16.
The Eagles’ chances of making the playoffs were dashed by the Cowboys last week, and they could be without two key pieces this week after Fletcher Cox (stinger) and Dallas Goedert (calf) left early in Week 16. A previously deceased Ezekiel Elliott averaged 5.5 YPC (19/105 rushing) against an Eagles defense without Cox last week, and Antonio Gibson should be healthier and ready for a full workload this week after they eased him back into the lineup last week with just 13 touches. The Eagles have had a season from hell and they have no real reason to push any of their injured players to play this week, and their decimated secondary just got whipped by Andy Dalton for 12.6 YPA and three touchdowns. Jalen Hurts has certainly given the Eagles’ offense a shot of life, but his lack of refinement showed up on two red-zone turnovers against a shaky Cowboys defense last week. The Football Team has a front four to contain Hurts better than most so I’m grabbing the value with Washington early in the week. Risk one unit at -108 to win .93 units (Dec. 28)
San Francisco 49ers (+4.5, FanDuel) vs. Seattle Seahawks
I broke this game down as part of my Week 17 Opening Line Report. Kyle Shanahan’s bunch embraced the role of spoiler against the Cardinals last week, and they’d love to hurt another NFC West rival this week as the Seahawks go for the NFC’s top seed. San Francisco got George Kittle back in the lineup last week, and he’s the rare tight end who moves the needle for spread betting. Kittle provided an immediate spark for the 49ers in his first game since Week 8 as he posted 4/92 receiving on five targets. He also helped new starting RB Jeff Wilson to run for a career-high 183 rushing yards in their upset victory over the Cardinals.
Meanwhile, Seattle’s offense continues to be stuck in neutral with yet another pedestrian performance against the Rams last week. The Seahawks have failed to top 28 points and 350 total yards in six of their last seven games with the lone exception coming in their 40-3 victory over an M.I.A. New York Jets team. Seattle’s defense has certainly improved over the back half of this season, but I don’t trust their offense to cover by more than four points on the road right now, especially against a team that’s capable of keeping pace with this current Seattle offense. I could see this line finishing in the 3-to-4 point range so I’m grabbing a little extra value early in the week. Risk one unit at -110 to win .91 units (Dec. 28)
New Orleans Saints (-4.5, BetMGM) at Carolina Panthers
I broke this game down as part of my Week 17 Opening Line Report. I’m grabbing the Saints laying fewer than six points early in the week since I think New Orleans will finish as six-point favorites or higher in the season finale. The Saints lost midseason acquisition Kwon Alexander for the rest of the season with an Achilles injury last week, but they should get some starters back after Trey Hendrickson, Andrus Peat, Nick Easton, Malcolm Browns, and Marcus Williams each rested on Christmas Day with a short week to get ready for Week 16. I’m also not expecting Christian McCaffrey to return in a meaningless Week 17 game for the Panthers.
Alvin Kamara was in the giving mood for fantasy owners on Christmas as he tied an NFL record with six rushing TDs against the Vikings. The Saints posted 583 total yards and they averaged 8.0 yards per play on their way to scoring 52 points against the Vikings on Christmas Day. They’ll be looking to keep that offensive momentum going this week as they vie for the NFC’s top seed. New Orleans has plenty to play for this week as the Saints, the Packers, and the Seahawks are all still alive for the NFC bye. I’ll lay the shorter price now before the Saints become bigger favorites closer to kickoff. Risk one unit at -115 to win .87 units (Dec. 28)
Record: 150-117 (+23.43 units); W17: 12-5 (+6.34 units)
All one-unit wagers unless otherwise noted.
Matt Ryan (Atl) over 23.5 completions (-112, DraftKings) (W)
Calvin Ridley (Atl) over 85.5 receiving yards (-115, William Hill) (L)
Jonathan Taylor (Ind) over 83. 5 rushing yards (-110, DraftKings) (W)
T.Y. Hilton (Ind) over 56.5 receiving yards (-112, DraftKings) (L)
Darren Waller (LV) over 61.5 receiving yards (-112, DraftKings) (W)
Derek Carr (LV) over 249.5 passing yards (+101, DraftKings) (W)
Jerry Jeudy (Den) over 39.5 receiving yards (-115, William Hill) (W)
Marquise Brown (Bal) over 40.5 receiving yards (-115, William Hill) (W)
DeAndre Hopkins (Ari) under 75.5 receiving yards (-112, DraftKings) (W)
Nick Chubb (Cle) over 84.5 rushing and receiving yards (-110, William Hill) (W)
Chris Herndon (NYJ) over 15.5 receiving yards (-112, DraftKings) (W)
Justin Jefferson (Min) over 75.5 receiving yards (-110, BetMGM) (W)
Matthew Stafford (Det) under 256.5 passing yards (-110, BetMGM) (L)
Corey Davis (Ten) over 56.5 receiving yards (-112, DraftKings) (L)
Taysom Hill (NO) anytime touchdown (+138, William Hill) (W)
George Kittle (SF) over 51.5 receiving yards (-110, BetMGM) (W)
Zach Ertz (Phi) over 33.5 receiving yards (-112, DraftKings) (L)