Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs for a 67-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)


Patrick Werkmeister

Now that it is Week 17 of the NFL, the playoff picture is finally starting to lock in as the regular season enters the high stakes month of January. Although some have already definitively staked their postseason claim, there are still plenty of open spots left for the playoffs. However, many of these team’s hopes will be diminished after this Sunday with a loss. January football is where the cream rises to the top and I think that will be reflected in some of the wins on Sunday. With that in mind, here are the best bets for this NFL slate. 

Dolphins (+3) @ Titans
From Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins look to steal one on the road against Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans. The Titans opened as three and half-point point home favorites and they are currently favored by three points. While the Dolphins are a stellar 6-1 ATS in their last seven overall games, the Titans are a shoddy 2-4 ATS in their past six contests. In Week 16, Miami dominated the New Orleans Saints in their own stadium, 20-3, and Tennessee won in a thriller at home vs the 49ers, 20-17. With Tennessee’s running back Derrick Henry still out until at least next week, the Titans offense has struggled mightily since his absence, where they have not scored more than 20 points since November 7th vs the New Orleans Saints. The Dolphins will have the personnel on defense to keep this below average offense at bay. Led by head coach Brian Flores, Miami has won seven straight on their journey to the postseason and they will look to make it eight straight in this road match. They will once again be the underdog, so it must be taken advantage of given their crazy hot streak. Take Miami plus the points. 

Raiders (+8) @ Colts

For this AFC showdown, Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts host Josh Jacobs and the Las Vegas Raiders. The Colts opened as eight and a half-point home favorites and they are currently listed as whopping eight-point favorites. Although the Raiders are a subpar 2-6 ATS in their past eight games, the Colts are an efficient 4-1 ATS over the last five games. In Week 16, the Raiders narrowly defeated their division rivals the Denver Broncos, 17-13, and the Colts sealed an impressive victory over the Arizona Cardinals, 22-16. Even with a banged-up roster, the Raiders are still able to play up to competition. Although the Colts are currently rolling in the AFC, they will have to make do without their top QB, Carson Wentz. With their season more on the line than the opposition, Vegas is the hungry dog in this match and hungry dogs run faster. The Raiders are in a strong position to cover in this meeting, even though they’ve been inconsistent, they’ve shown they can compete with just about anyone. They should easily cover this wide margin. Take the Raiders plus the points. 

Rams @ Ravens (+6)
In this interconference matchup, Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams travel to M&T Bank Stadium to face off against Tyler Huntley and the Baltimore Ravens. The Rams opened this game as two and a half-point road favorites, but they are currently favored by a whopping six points. Although the Rams are 4-1 ATS in their last five games, the Ravens have a solid record of 4-2 ATS in their past six matches. Additionally, Baltimore is an impressive 8-2 SU in their last 10 games played at home. Although the Rams have proven they are a lock for the postseason, they still must overcome this hungry Ravens team that is still looking for a playoff spot. However, they will have to overcome the loss of their franchise quarterback, Lamar Jackson. The Ravens have mainly benefited from their defensive play these past few weeks, but now they will need backup Tyler Huntley to do some damage if they want a chance in this one. Their defense was exposed by the Bengals last week in a blowout loss where they allowed over 400 yards passing alone. Although this Rams defensive unit is among the top of the league, they have been inconsistent, and teams have figured out how to score against them. At first place in the NFC West, I believe LA’s four game winning streak will come to an end by the final buzzer of this one. Take Baltimore plus the points, where they will be extremely motivated at home to keep this close.

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