Any old schlep can pick pro games straight-up. Real men pick against the spread, and that’s what we do here at Throwing Darts. Seven winning seasons out of eight, cappers. Let’s get to work.
• Niners -3.5 at Rams: A shame the line has jumped as much as it has, but we’re still in a good spot here. Niners obviously playing to win, and clicking since Jimmy G took over at quarterback. Rams have two incentives not to compete — primary key, of course, is to rest players, but second consideration is to slide to the No. 4 seed so they potentially take on a Wentz-less Philadelphia, not a stronger opponent. Sean McVay sees the big picture.
• Cardinals +8.5 at Seahawks: One of the simplest handicapping tricks in the book is to fade the teams that “need to win” in Week 17, because you pay an obvious line tax if you back those square sides. And when’s the last time the Seahawks gave us a good run? They had 136 yards of offense at Dallas, and were boat raced against the Rams. The Jacksonville loss was three quarters of trash, one quarter of Russell Wilson making stuff up. Yeah, that’s their MO most weeks. Give me those juicy points.
• Dolphins +2.5 vs. Bills: Miami went to Buffalo just two weeks ago and was catching 3.5 points. Buffalo was the better team that day, though Miami ultimately lost by just eight points. Why are the Bills now road favorites just two weeks later? It’s the “need it” tax at play again.
• Titans -3 vs. Jaguars: Everyone knows Jacksonville is clearly the superior team, but again, we have to question the motivation. Not only are the Jags locked into seeding, they are better off losing to Tennessee because it would push the mediocre Titans into the playoffs and lock the formidable Chargers out. Maybe Jacksonville’s primary players will start this game, but I can’t count on them playing a full afternoon.
• Buccaneers +6 vs. Saints: Tampa Bay has been a competitive lot over the last seven games. Jameis Winston has been the key in the last month, as the shoulder is starting to heal up. Check Winston’s stats since returning four games ago: 72-percent completions, eight TDS, two picks, 9.25 YPA, 114.5 rating. The Bucs can hang around on the Pirate Ship.
Historical Record (Against the Spread, ties from previous years excluded):
Dalton Del Don has something to say
Supercontest: We finish a mediocre year in the contest, going with the Jaguars (+3), Redskins (-3), Cowboys (-3), Raiders (+7.5) and 49ers (-3). Week 17 is always wacky and this year’s no exception, but at least a few coaches have been forthcoming about plans to rest starters. Washington is far better than a checked-out Giants squad and should win easily, while San Francisco gets to continue its winning streak against backups (I really wish I had locked in SF when this line opened with them as 3.5-point dogs).
Parlay of the Week: Let’s do a four-team, moneyline parlay with the Lions (-285), Redskins (-170), Vikings (-650) and 49ers (-200). I fully expect Detroit to try against a beat up Green Bay team, Minnesota’s defense should dominate, and I already voiced my reasoning for backing SF and Washington. Let’s end the season with a winner. BET = $100 to win $270
Bonus Bet of the Week: For those into UFC, lay the wood on Saturday night’s main event. Back Cris Cyborg to win. BET = $370 to win $100