Las Vegas Sun

April 16, 2014

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sports betting:

Week 17 NFL picks against the spread for the Sun’s handicapping contest

Lots of money will ride on Dallas vs. Washington, Green Bay vs. Minnesota

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson.

Sun's NFL betting game of Week 17

What side is the best bet out of Sunday’s two biggest games?
Packers -3 at Vikings — 37.2%
Redskins -3 vs. Cowboys — 25.5%
Cowboys +3 at Redskins — 20.3%
Vikings +3 vs. Packers — 16.9%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Sunday’s slate of NFL games will fall somewhere in the vicinity of the Big Six Wheel and 6-to-5 payout blackjack when it comes to most frustrating gambling options for New Year’s Eve tourists this weekend.

The final week of the regular season is always the most challenging to bet on. Handicapping which teams will come out motivated is as complicated as a 10,000-piece 3D jigsaw puzzle.

The majority of games hold no significance. A handful could affect the playoff picture depending on what happens in other games. Only two contests undoubtedly matter to both teams involved — the Vikings hosting the Packers as 3-point underdogs and the Redskins at home as 3-point favorites against the Cowboys.

Those two games will draw by far the largest handles in local sports books. Perhaps not coincidentally, they were the two most popular games in the last week of the Las Vegas Sun’s handicapping contest.

The four NFC teams will play major roles in the final standings, as all three participants picked every game. Two members of the Sun’s sports staff went with the Packers and Cowboys, while one selected the Vikings and Redskins.

Green Bay clinches a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs with a victory, while the Vikings would secure a playoff berth with the upset. Football Outsiders’ playoff odds gives the Vikings a 44.5 percent chance of snagging the final wild-card spot, better than the other three teams in the running.

It’s quite a change for a team that was below 10 percent going into Week 14. But Minnesota has won and covered three in a row as an underdog behind 452 rushing yards from Adrian Peterson.

Peterson is 206 yards away from Eric Dickerson’s single-season NFL rushing record of 2,106 rushing yards. William Hill sports books, the official lines provider of the contest, offers Peterson at +425 (risking $1 to win $4.25) to break the record.

Peterson gained 210 yards four weeks ago at Green Bay in a game the Vikings lost 23-14 as 7-point underdogs.

Minnesota can’t feel too poorly about the performance because no team is proving profitable against Green Bay lately. After a disastrous 1-4 against the spread record to start the year, the Packers cashed tickets in eight of their next 10 games.

They’re co-favorites to win the NFC with the Atlanta Falcons at 9-to-4 in most sports books.

The game scheduled to start approximately 30 minutes after Packers vs. Vikings has even more implications. The winner of Dallas at Washington earns the NFC East title and a first-round home game against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Redskins have covered all five games against the Cowboys, though won only two of them, since the start of the 2010 season. At 6-9 against the spread, Dallas would likely become the worst team versus the Vegas number to make this year’s playoffs with a win.

The Cowboys gave up 304 passing yards and four touchdowns to Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, the leading Rookie of the Year candidate, in a 38-31 loss as 3-point favorites on Thanksgiving. But Griffin looked less explosive in last week’s win against the Philadelphia Eagles with a season-low four rushing yards after coming back from a knee injury.

The Redskins are seeking their first playoff appearance since 2007. The Cowboys haven’t made it to the postseason since 2009.

Check below for all of this week’s picks. Games are listed in order of kickoff time.

 

Case Keefer

Record: 50-45-1 (3-3 last week)

Panthers +5 at Saints

Bears vs. Lions over 44.5

Dolphins vs. Patriots over 46.5

Packers -3 at Vikings

Cardinals +16.5 at 49ers

Redskins -3 vs. Cowboys

 

Taylor Bern

Record: 47-45-4 (2-3-1 last week)

Bears -3 at Lions

Texans -6.5 at Colts

Panthers +5 at Saints

Packers -3 at Vikings

Chiefs +16 at Broncos

Cowboys +3 at Redskins

 

Ray Brewer

Record: 45-49-2 (1-4-1 last week)

Jaguars +4.5 at Titans

Panthers vs. Saints over 54

Vikings +3 vs. Packers

Chiefs +16 at Broncos

Dolphins vs. Patriots over 46.5

Cowboys +3 at Redskins

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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