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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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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