I'm limping into the final week of the season, trying to finish with an above .500 record in the Las Vegas Westgate SuperContest.
In my first foray into the world's biggest NFL handicapping contest, I won't cash, since the leader, @Pigskin_Junkies is 57-23 ATS for the season through 16 weeks, good enough for betting the correct game 71 percent of the time in the annual contest.
There's still one week to go, but that's a pretty a solid number that is difficult to catch. My record is more middle-of-the-pack, so I'll have to get back to the drawing board before next year's contest.
Thanks to Vegas Football Proxy, I was able to enter this year, and hopefully I'll back again for next year's season. Here's my week 17 NFL picks featuring three favorites to watch in the SuperContest.
Overall: 47-44-4 ATS
SuperContest: 37-38-5 ATS (39.5 points)
Favorites: 23-24-1 ATS
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-6.5)
I just don't like the Cowboys in this matchup.
New York couldn't do anything against Dallas earlier this season because its offensive line was in shambles. With the offensive line playing much better and with the Cowboys likely to rest their starters, this should be a solid winner.
And even without much riding on this game, the Giants should be considered a strong contender against the Cowboys. New York has actually been better than Dallas in yards per play and yards per play allowed in the last three weeks. New York has shown some fight, but just hasn't come away with enough victories.
With an emerging offensive line, this number is not out of line for what we should expect out of this contest. -- Go Chalk with New York Giants
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5)
This is an odd matchup, especially since no matter how much Minnesota beats Chicago in week 17, I would still label the Bears as the favorite in the following week's playoff matchup.
The NFL is a strange league and I believe we'll see that oddity in this matchup.
The Bears are on back-to-back road trips, with a lackluster win in week 16 against San Francisco. Now, the Bears must travel to a hostile environment in Minnesota, where the Vikings have played as well as anyone in the NFL this season.
Kirk Cousins is a much different quarterback at home, compared to on the road. In the last three weeks, the Vikings are allowing the fewest yards per play and are averaging the seventh-most yards per play on offense.
The Bears have seen their offense stall and I anticipate a guarded gameplan for this contest, especially with the Los Angeles Rams with a very winnable game in week 17. The Bears aren't saying they're playing for the No. 3 seed, but their gameplan will show their true motive. -- Go Chalk with Minnesota
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-8)
Detroit is terrible. Green Bay isn't much better, but the Lions shouldn't be trusted on the road, without an ability to move the ball.
Despite being bad, the Packers are averaging the 11th-most yards per play in the last three weeks. Aaron Rodgers looked more like himself in week 16, and even though a playoff bid isn't in the future, there is still some fight left in a Packers team that doesn't seem content with just finishing the season.
Meanwhile, the Lions own one of the worst offenses in the NFL, averaging the third-fewest yards per play in the last three weeks. The defense hasn't been bad, but it's not good enough to do much on the road. I know the number is large, but the Packers have several edges in this game, including being the better team and having the motivational advantage. -- Go Chalk with Green Bay
Scott Levine blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. His Against The Chalk blog has earned him back-to-back Iowa Newspaper Association awards for Best Blog. Check out more sports betting coverage at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH