We're back for another round of NFL picks against the spread! For the second straight season, I am back for the LVH SuperContest. SB Nation's partners over at Odds Shark are sponsoring my entry again. The contest requires selecting 5 games each week and picking them against the spread. This year's contest is expected to have nearly 1,400 participants, including myself, Matt Ufford and Eric Sollenberger from SB Nation. Everybody picks their own five games and there will be a running leaderboard HERE. You can follow my standings under the name "Fooch".
Last year, I finished 39-45-1. This year, I got off to a hot start. Things settled into decent performances each week, but I took a step backward towards the end. Last week, I slowed the rising waters with a 3-2 performance. The NFC South was my undoing however, with the Panthers and Bucs both failing to cover. We now enter the final week, and I'm just looking for a decent performance to finish strong. I am currently 49-29-2 through 16 weeks, so we'll see if I can wrap this up in respectable fashion. I went 5-11 overall ATS with my picks last week. Not pretty.
Here are my SuperContest picks for Week 17:
Saints (+4) over FALCONS
Steelers (-10.5) over BROWNS
CHIEFS (-6.5) over Raiders
Lions (+1) over BEARS
BRONCOS (-9) over Chargers
I was really tempted to take the 49ers as 3.5-point underdogs against the Rams. The Rams will be without Todd Gurley, who was the offensive difference in the last matchup between these two. The Rams are playing for .500, but I don't see that being a sufficient motivating factor. That being said, these 49ers are just not a good team. I probably should have taken that 0.5-point hook, but I just couldn't pull the trigger.
Instead, I'm taking a mix of home and road teams. I have two road dogs, two home favorites, and one road favorite. I'm not particularly enthused by the high lines for the Steelers and Broncos, but both matchups were too difficult to pass up. The Steelers face a Browns team rolling out Austin Davis in another ugly close to the season. There are rumors of wholesale changes to the coaching staff, so I suppose they could win one last game for Pettine, but this just seems to have give-up written all over it. The Broncos need a win to clinch a bye, so they have plenty of motivation against a Chargers team that also seems all ready to quit.
The Chiefs still have a shot at the AFC West title with a win and a Broncos loss. Alex Smith has had strong success against the Raiders, so I'll roll with that for this one. The Saints could be playing their last game with the Drew Brees/Sean Payton duo. I normally don't like them on the road, but indoors in Atlanta opens the door for a chance to hang in this one. I could see a shootout. As for the Lions over the Bears? I just can't see the Bears as a favorite against anybody most weeks. The Lions offense has been improved under Jim Bob Cooter, and I think they can swing the outright win.
Here are all my picks for Week 17
BILLS vs. Jets (-3): Bills
PANTHERS vs. Buccaneers (+10.5): Bucs
DOLPHINS vs. Patriots (-10.5): Patriots
BENGALS vs. Ravens (+9): Bengals
FALCONS vs. Saints (+4): Saints
TEXANS vs. Jaguars (+6): Texans
BROWNS vs. Steelers (-10.5): Steelers
CHIEFS vs. Raiders (+6.5): Chiefs
COLTS vs. Titans (+2.5): Colts
COWBOYS vs. Washington (+3.5): Washington
BEARS vs. Lions (+1): Lions
GIANTS vs. Eagles (+3): Eagles
PACKERS vs. Vikings (+3): Packers
BRONCOS vs. Chargers (+9): Broncos
49ERS vs. Rams (-3.5): 49ers
CARDINALS vs. Seahawks (+6.5): Cardinals