GAMBLING GUIDE

Play, action or pass week 17: Pressure; pushing down on me

Tom Brady and the Pats are big favorites this week. Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Pressure, depending on the quality of the group, can influence a team in different ways. Teams already having clinched a spot in the postseason, but playing for seeding have much less pressure than those that are in "win or go home" situations. According to BetLabs, since 2003, teams in must-win games during Week 17, are 56-68-4 (45.2%) ATS.

Where we can find an edge is through public perception and average bettors thinking the "need" factor benefits them. Using the same BetLabs tool, dating back to 2003, teams playing at home, in must-win games hold a record of 31-42-2 (42.5%) ATS in Week 17.

A must-win situation doesn't mean "Must win by the spread." It solely indicates win and advance. There are various reasons why you won't see the better team cover a given spread. One is the pressure of mistakes late in games when playing with a lead. Games that hold higher implications tend to be called slightly more conservative towards the final quarter as teams don't have an obligation to press for more points and instead just maintain a score to advance. Also the look-ahead factor, and when playing with a substantial lead, some teams use clock management with one eye ahead to the next opponent and also to avoid injuries. Especially, when a group knows it will be playing the following week (Wild Card Weekend).

Most Bet Teams:

Chiefs 78%
49ers 73%
Cowboys 72%
Redskins 71%
Colts 71%

Play action or Pass is 45-33-2 on the year, winning at a rate of 57.7%.

Play

Patriots-15
New England has already clinched the AFC East title, 14th in the last 15 years. What can the Patriots gain? The coveted No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. By defeating the Jets on Sunday, or a loss by the Steelers, the Patriots can pave the road in the AFC through Foxborough. Standing in their way is an overachieving Jets team playing with a backup quarterback. In the last three games, the Jets have mustered up a league-low 8.7 points a game. Ironically, the Jets have been good vs. the Patriots as of late, going 7-1-1 ATS in the last nine. Much has to do with the extra motivation teams have when playing Tom Brady and the Patriots, a stat which fails to show up in the box score. Don't let the big spread scare you as the Patriots have covered seven straight games as a home favorite of 14 points or more. The Patriots are 14-4 ATS in their last 18 games in Week 17. The Jets score an average of 15.1 points on the road, New England tallies up 29.9 per home game. Throw in a few turnovers and the large spread is justified. Patriots, in a beatdown.

Oakland +8
We spoke about the pressure of having to win to get in and how it can affect a team. Games played in December tend to have more influence than games earlier in the season. By weeks 12 and 13 the playoff pictures have become somewhat clear, and the path that needs to be taken becomes apparent. When the pressure has been on, the Chargers have gone 2-7 ATS in their last nine home games in December. This a divisional matchup in a so-called home game, we say that loosely because countless locals are predicting the old LA Raider faithful to run the stadium 75-25%. I expect the Raiders to get up for this game behind the extra motivation behind the fans. Rather than going into the offseason on a four-game losing streak, a win playing the spoiler vs. a division foe can serve as some kind of redemption for a team that unquestionably underachieved this season. With Melvin Gordon a little banged up and limited all week, look for LA to coast to the finish line leaving the back door open. The Raiders are 32-25-1 on the road against the Chargers; look for the Raiders to keep this close and make the Chargers earn a playoff berth.

Action

Packers+7
Redskins -3
Panthers+4
49ers Moneyline
 

Teasers 7 point
Panthers+11/ Patriots-8
 

Teasers 10 point
Patriots-5/Vikings-1/Saints-Bucs over 40

Be very selective this week as motivation will play a big factor. Don't fall into the trap "because a team needs to win they will cover." Bad teams with extra pressure is not a warranted combination. A wise man once told me, "If a team needs to win in week 17 to advance, then they probably aren't that good anyway." DONT FALL FOR THE TRAPS.

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz

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The new-look Texans won't get started until September, but the Roughnecks' season is about to begin. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Without much fanfare, or seemingly any, the Houston Roughnecks are preparing for opening night of the XFL 3.0 season just a couple of weeks away.

The Roughnecks will host the Orlando Guardians, 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at TDECU Stadium on the UH campus. That’s less than a week after the NFL’s Super Bowl.

Before one pass is thrown, one run rushed, or one groin pulled, Las Vegas has set odds for the 2023 XFL season. Our Roughnecks and the Orlandos are tied for the longest odds on the board, +750. The early betting favorite is the St. Louis Battlehawks at +400.

Just a note: if you’re like Cosmo Kramer and think wagering on early-season XFL games is “some sweet action” – well, “you really need help, you need a team of psychiatrists working around the clock, thinking about you” and George Costanza.

Not surprisingly, good seats remain for opening night. Lousy seats, too. And seats in the middle.

If the Houston Texans and the all-mighty NFL couldn’t fill half of NRG Stadium, do the Roughnecks stand a prayer of drawing big crowds to TDECU Stadium?

One thing in the Roughnecks favor: affordable seats for their five home games on the XFL’s 10-game schedule. Season tickets for Roughnecks games start at $110 and go up to $480 at xfl.com. Individual game tickets, available on Ticketmaster, are $24 and higher. Reasonably priced food and drink (I kid because I love), plus an array of team merch will be available, including T-shirts ($25), baseball caps ($28-$34), sweatshirts and sweatpants ($45-$60), and bucket hats ($45).

Of course, nothing sells seats like winning. The Roughnecks were 5-0 and dominating the league last time the XFL played. That was 2020 when Covid-19 cut the season short. That was then …

This is now. Much like the Texans (as of this week), the most recognizable and popular figure on the field will be the head coach. The 2023 Roughnecks will be led by NFL veteran Wade Phillips, who has a lot of history and DNA in Houston. Quarterbacks currently on the roster are Cole McDonald from Hawaii, Kaleb Eleby from Western Michigan and Brandon Silvers from Troy State.

Most of the roster will be new names for Houston fans, although the league is bragging that 255 XFL’ers have been on NFL rosters at some point.

The Roughnecks will compete in the XFL South division along with the Arlington Renegades, Orlando Guardians and San Antonio Brahmas. That’s three out of four teams from Texas. The XFL North is comprised of the D.C. Defenders, Seattle Sea Dragons, St. Louis Battlehawks and Vegas Vipers.

Every XFL game (40 regular season, two playoffs, one championship) will air somewhere across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and FX, plus streaming on ESPN+. As they say, check your local listing to find the Roughnecks.

If you think that the XFL is just “too soon,” hold on until April when the Houston Gamblers take the field for the 2023 USFL season. Although don’t get too excited about attending home games. Houston’s “home” is in Birmingham, Ala. I know, silly.

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