NFL Week 17, 2019: Best picks against the spread (ATS)

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 22: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Miami Dolphins reacts against the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 22: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Miami Dolphins reacts against the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Motivation and pride play heavily into the best picks against the spread for NFL Week 17. Some teams are resting their starters, while others want to lose for draft capital. These are your picks to win.

Picking NFL Week 17 games is all about finding who has what to play for. Some of the very best teams, like the Baltimore Ravens, will be resting players in preparation for the playoffs. Some of the very worst teams will want to lose to solidify a premiere draft pick slot, at least at the management level.

Those in between can be fighting to get in, for seeding, to upset the apple cart, for pride, or for revenge. Be careful of a line that seems too good to be true. It probably represents a lack of motivation for one side or the other.

This has been a bad year for Todd. He’s hoping to go out on a high note before rebounding in the playoffs, much like he did last season! Dan is having a very good season, but NFL Week 17 is never the week one wants to rely on for wagers. These are your best picks against the spread for NFL Week 17. All lines come courtesy of The Action Network.

Two brothers from New York, Dan Salem and Todd Salem, debate NFL Week 17 in today’s NFL Sports Debate.

2019 Record ATS

Dan Salem’s record ATS: 18-13-1
Todd Salem’s record ATS: 13-18-1

Todd Salem’s Best Picks ATS

Philadelphia Eagles -4 at New York Giants

I’ve been burned by the Eagles before this season, but this is one game where motivations are clear. If Philadelphia wins the game, it wins the NFC East and makes the playoffs. The Giants have nothing on the line and probably want to lose to secure a top-five draft pick. Having said that, they will not roll over here.

Both the head coach and the general manager have their jobs on the line in some respects. Even if a loss is better for the franchise, NY will put up a fight. Sadly, New York isn’t talented enough, particularly defensively, to win this one anyway. With the Eagles’ clear path in front of them, this one should be an easy cover.

Indianapolis Colts -3.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars

At 7-8, Indianapolis has already been eliminated from playoff contention. It will apparently lose whatever tiebreakers develop with all the teams that could finish 8-8 in the AFC Wild Card chase.

Call it a hunch, but I think the Colts still want to reach that .500 mark to salvage this season. It won’t mean anything beyond saying this group got to eight wins after Andrew Luck bailed on them right before the season. It also helps that the Jaguars look decrepit and were trounced by 20 points the first time these two teams met.

Dan Salem’s Best Picks ATS

Miami Dolphins +16 at New England Patriots

Warnings be damned because all that’s required for a little motivation is division pride. The Dolphins have been playing decent football in the last few months and know New England well. The Patriots have nothing to play for because Baltimore already secured the top seed in the AFC playoffs.

I’d shy away from this matchup under normal circumstances, but New England’s lack of offense combined with Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s playmaking ability is a perfect storm of betting goodness. We get over two touchdowns in the game. Take them and be happy.

Baltimore Ravens +2 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

On the opposite end of the wild Week 17 spectrum are the Baltimore Ravens, who are resting their starters and have everything locked up for the playoffs. Pittsburgh is trying to win for a playoff spot but will be starting their turnover-prone third-string quarterback. After watching them play last week versus the Jets, consider me unimpressed.

Next. 5 Teams on Upset Alert in NFL Week 17. dark

The Ravens are a better team all around, even without motivation or their best players on the field. Baltimore is playing at home and getting points. I like them straight up because the Steelers are reeling, so this is a win-win situation. Defense will win this football game, so I’m taking the points.