I've finally come to the realization that I'm going to be underwater for the 2017 NFL season. After two straight seasons of being well over .500, I just couldn't find the right balance between underdogs and favorites to make any headway, despite a better run toward season's end.
This year was impossible at the beginning of the season, but tapered off toward the end. Here's the week 17 NFL picks featuring my favorite three underdogs that will cover the spread.
Underdogs: 20-27-1 ATS
Overall: 41-52-2 ATS
Green Bay (+7) at Detroit
At this juncture of the season, it's tough to find three underdogs that instill much confidence.
While I don't have as much confidence in the Packers as my other two picks, I'm getting value with this being a touchdown spread. The Packers are a better defensive team than Detroit, and while Detroit owns a clear advantage offensively, I worry about Detroit's motivation level in this contest.
Green Bay has known for weeks about their season's demise. Detroit is a week removed from having their season end. Even without considering motivation, the Packers should be able to move the ball against the Lions.
Green Bay is showing strides running the football, which has been one of Detroit's weaknesses. Detroit will win this game, but it will be within a touchdown. -- Go Against The Chalk with Green Bay
Arizona (+9.5) at Seattle
I don't get the obsession with Seattle. I backed the Seahawks last week, but that was based on the immediate love affair with Dallas that was unwarranted.
Now, I'm forced to believe that Seattle goes from being more than a field-goal underdog to almost a 10-point favorite within one week. I'm not buying it.
The Cardinals have been dominant in recent weeks on the defensive side of the ball. That's a major problem for Seattle, which has struggled all season, especially in recent weeks.
The Seahawks are averaging just 4.2 yards per play in the last three weeks, with just 4.8 yards per pass attempt. Meanwhile, defensively, the Cardinals are allowing just 5.6 yards per pass play in the last three weeks.
The Cardinals don't do much offensively, so this game should be low-scoring, which plays into Arizona's hands in keeping this game close. The Seahawks will probably win, but this will be much closer than anticipated. -- Go Against The Chalk with Arizona
Cleveland (+11) at Pittsburgh
What are the chances that Pittsburgh is going to play this game at full strength? I know the NFL is a league where you can't assume teams are going to win, but the Steelers have already clinched a first-round bye and the team currently in first place plays at home against the New York Jets.
That makes me believe the Steelers will at some point in this game rest their starters. That's why bettors have hammered the Browns this week, taking the opening line down from 14 points in favor of the Steelers, to the current number.
The Browns will play better than what we saw last week against Chicago, thanks to a defense that isn't playing horrible. Offensively, they're still as stagnant as can be, but the defense actually isn't bad. And against a Steelers team that is known to play down to its competition and may not be at full strength, I'll take the 11 points and ride with Cleveland. -- Go Against The Chalk with Cleveland
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH