My Week 17 Betting Picks at RotoBaller
My Week 17 picks on the moneyline, spread, and points--plus, my commentary on an old football novel.
I shared my favorite picks on the moneyline, spread, and points total at RotoBaller in my weekly Best Bets column. Take a look here: NFL Betting Picks for Week 17.
Last week, Jake Browning once again struggled against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cincinnati Bengals' streak of good luck ended, although they did have good luck in the games they didn't play; most of the other AFC Wild Card contenders lost, too.
If the Bengals win out, they still have a 92% chance of making the playoffs. However, for the Bengals to win out, they have to beat the Kansas City Chiefs this week. They haven't been intimidated by the Chiefs in the past -- when they had the other J.B. at QB. But the Chiefs aren't as intimidating as they have been in the past either.
Will the Bengals be able to stay within seven of the Chiefs? Will the Ravens be able to beat the Dolphins? Let's dive into the best bets in Week 17.
Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens (BAL -3)
Sunday, 1:00 pm | O/U: 47
The Ravens beat the best team in football last week. The 49ers outplayed them in the first half, particularly in terms of "expected points," but the Ravens forced turnovers when it mattered. Their five interceptions were the result of their defensive backs locking down and playing the ball.
Safety Kyle Hamilton was a big part of that, as he has been all season. He made two interceptions and three pass breakups in the game. Hamilton has a knee injury, but he returned to practice on Thursday, so there is optimism he will be able to play this week. Rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers (calf), however, has not practiced on Wednesday or Thursday.
The thing about the Ravens, though, is that they have played well despite injuries. They've won without Odell Beckham Jr., Mark Andrews, and J.K. Dobbins at various points throughout the season. The Dolphins, on the other hand, looked dead in the water without Tyreek Hill for most of the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans in a Week 14 loss.
Hill (ankle) practiced on Thursday, and Raheem Mostert (knee/ankle) is expected to play despite having missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. But will Mostert be his old self if he's hurting so bad that he can't practice?
Mostert's efficiency has been lagging compared to his early-season prowess. He has only averaged 3.9 yards per carry in the past four weeks. Miami's offense overall has also slowed.
The Ravens are a more solid all-around team than the Dolphins, and they can adapt better to any in-game injury they might face.
Pick: Ravens ML (-172)
Read full article: NFL Betting Picks for Week 17 - Best Bets, Expert Odds and Predictions
Usually by today, I would have sent you my picks for the week in the biggest games of the week. I’ve fallen a little behind, but I published my picks at RotoBaller. Hopefully, by tomorrow, I will be able to publish a longer column including picks and/or commentary on Week 17.
I have been reading the novel North Dallas Forty, written by Dallas Cowboys receiver Peter Gent, this week, which is most well-known for the 1979 film it inspired, but frankly the novel should be more highly regarded by itself.
If you see the film poster, you might think it’s all about sex and partying and shit. And, I ain’t seen the film yet, so I don’t know what the film is about. But the novel is self-critical of the football players as a man, the sport as an institution, and its relationship with American politics. It sure includes a lot of scenes of sex and drinking, but the scenes serve as social commentary, not exhibitionism.
For a novel written in 1973, a lot holds up today. Take a look at this scene that takes place in a Dallas bar in which the fictional representation of the author is talking to some random businessmen who were obsessed with the team:
It was always surprising to me to see respected businessmen who deal in million of dollars and thousands of lives giggling like pubescent schoolgirls around a football player.
Those guys would have been the boosters for Alabama or Ohio State for the past decade. What’s their role gonna be in the era of NIL?
Drinking with them out of obligation, Gent’s character/narrator remarks:
They all laughed again. Apparently, we were having a good time.
As a writer, I am amused to death by the power of just one word. Gent is humorously self-deprecating (or, perhaps moreso, making fun of the schoolgirl-like fans, in this case) throughout the novel.
“Who do you like better, Unitas or Starr?” People always asked me to compare players. I didn’t know how they compared. To me it was a stupid question.
“I think Unitas is better,” Louis Lafler concluded. He told me once he loved Unitas because he wore high-top shoes.
I don’t think Peter Gent foresaw the rise of ESPN or anything. I just think he noticed how people must have been talking. How people always talk. How ordinary men make gods out of other ordinary men. I’m saying: ESPN is the medium we see this shit exhibited on nowadays. It’s the same thing Gent, the novelist, was observing during his playing days.
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