NFL 2010 has been one of the most unpredictable seasons from both a fan and NFL handicapper perspective. Full of controversy (cough, cough Brett Favre) and unexpected outcomes.
The NFL’s regular season closed on Sunday and in what helps to show what an unusual season it was, a game involving two teams with losing records took in the biggest handle of Week 17.
Of course that statement of Bodog Sportsbook above is a bit misleading as that
game involving 6-9 Seattle and 7-8 St. Louis was a winner-take-all for the NFC
West and a home playoff game in the wild-card round. And behind backup
quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, Seattle beat St. Louis 16-6 to become the first
team ever to win an NFL division (a few had done it previously with .500
records) with a losing record and the first non-strike year team to reach the
playoffs at below .500. Is it fair that Seattle is in the playoffs and the New
York Giants and Tampa Bay both finished 10-6 and both crushed Seattle this
season and they are sitting at home? Probably not, but that’s an argument for
Prime-time NFL games nearly always take our biggest handle,
and St. Louis-Seattle was the only prime-time game of Week 17, so it’s no
surprise that game won the day. And the result was a great one for the book as
Seattle +3 took only 30 percent of the lean. The total of 43 was basically a
wash as it took a 50-50 split on the over and under.
The book’s best overall result of Week 17, however, came in
the New York Giants-Washington Redskins game. The NFL made the smart move of
making sure all games that involved intertwined playoff scenarios were played
at the same time to ensure each team gave full effort. The Giants-Redskins game
was one of those, as New York had to win and hope that Green Bay fell at home
to Chicago – Bears-Packers thus went off at the same time as the Giants game.
Bettors clearly expected a focused New York Giants and a disinterested Washington team
as there was a better than 82 percent lean on the Giants -5. That was the
biggest lean on the side for any game last week. Thus New York’s 17-14 victory
was a great result for the book. The Giants missed out on the playoffs when
Green Bay won. Thus the Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first
pair of 10-win teams to miss the playoffs in the same season since the Eagles
and 49ers sat out the second season in 1991.
The sportsbooks other top result on Sunday was on Oakland +4 at
Kansas City. The Raiders got only 36 percent of the action but pulled the 31-10
upset against a Chiefs team that really had little to play for.
The players’ biggest win came on the Pittsburgh Steelers
against the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers needed a win or they risked dropping
from the No. 2 seed in the AFC down to a road wild-card team if they lost and
Baltimore beat Cincinnati, which the Ravens did. Pittsburgh at -6 took a better
than 73 percent lean in its 41-9 blowout victory. The total was also a big win
for bettors as there was a 72 percent lean on the over 38 points. The other big
win for bettors was on the nothing-to-play-for Houston Texans against
Jacksonville. That line was certainly influenced by the fact that
Jacksonville’s best two offensive players, RB Maurice Jones-Drew and QB David
Garrard, were out with injuries. Thus bettors were all over Houston -5, to the
tune of nearly 75 percent of the action and the Texans won comfortably 34-17.
The biggest player
prop win of Week 17 for players was on Giants quarterback Eli Manning going
over 235.5 passing yards in that win over the Washington Redskins.
We have opened three of this weekend’s four
wild-card games with a 3-point spread, but Seattle is a whopping 11-point home
dog to New Orleans for Saturday’s game. The Saints beat Seattle 34-19 in New
Orleans earlier this year. Every NFL playoff game will have live play-by-play betting
available. Remember to visit SBROdds.com
as well for more NFL betting odds