The end of the regular season has arrived.
And thankfully, at least for fantasy football players, seemingly every team across the board (those already qualified or in contention for the postseason, anyway) has something to play for this week.
The Wild Card hunt is just that: wild.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans sit on the outside looking in, but both have relatively decent odds at getting into the playoffs. Yet those spots are currently occupied by the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts, both of whom control their own fate with victories on Sunday.
Even atop the AFC, the seeding remains to be decided.
The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots both have cakewalks, it would seem, as they face the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets, respectively. The Patriots could somehow sneak up to No. 1, though they would need losses by the Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers, who, with a win and a KC loss, would grab that top spot.
The NFC picture is much clearer: The New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Bears make up the top three (all virtually locked). And only the Philadelphia Eagles remain in Wild Card contention, needing a win and a Minnesota Vikings loss to sneak into the field.
The NJ sports betting outlook for Week 17, the final week of the regular season, belongs to DraftKings Sportsbook as we dive into the games involving playoff hopefuls. (All point spreads and moneylines are as of Wednesday.)
Add ’em to your NJ sports betting slip
Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6-1)
What a brutal downfall by the Steelers these last few weeks.
A six-game winning streak midseason made Pittsburgh a shoo-in for the AFC North title and a relatively serious contender for the Super Bowl.
Over the past five games, however, the Steelers have suffered four losses — by a combined 16 points and all the result of Pittsburgh shooting itself in the foot. (See: Last week’s game at New Orleans, which featured a JuJu Smith-Schuster fumble stalling a Steelers rally after the Saints grabbed the lead with a late-game TD.)
Postseason hopes run thin in Pittsburgh, whose best shot (something like 18 percent) at extending its season is a win and a Baltimore Ravens loss. There is a less than 1 percent chance of qualifying for the playoffs, which relies on a Steelers win and a Titans-Colts tie.
No matter the scenario, another week of Pittsburgh football begins with a victory.
The Steelers snuck by Cincinnati 28-21 in Week 6, and only after Antonio Brown reached the end zone with 10 seconds remaining.
Certainly, the Steelers feature one of the best offenses, particularly through the air, in the NFL, which gives them a leg up against a Cincy squad that ranks as the third-worst pass defenses in the league. The Bengals have given up a league-high 418 yards per game and the second-most points per contest. And they have won just twice in five road games. Not to mention Cincinnati has dropped six of its last seven overall.
Yet the Steelers struggle against the run, which is one of the very few highlights of the Bengals. Should he play, Cincinnati RB Joe Mixon enters as the AFC rushing leader, providing the Bengals with an infusion as Cincy, a 14.5-point underdog, attempts a massive upset that pays +540 on the moneyline.
One parlay prop within this game involves picking which team will lead at the half and how many total points will be score (over/under 23.5 points) in the first two quarters.
- Pittsburgh leads, under: +100
- Pittsburgh leads, over: +138
- Cincinnati leads, under: +800
- Cincinnati leads, over: +950
In 15 games this season, the Bengals have led at the break just four times (and only once in six road games).
As for the Steelers, they boast a 9-2-4 record in the first half, and an undefeated 5-0-2 mark at home. Consider, too, games involving Pittsburgh average 25.9 points in the first half. Cincy games have fared better, at 29.5 points on average.
Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) at Washington Redskins (7-8)
The Nick Foles magic lives on.
After starting for injured QB Carson Wentz two weeks ago, Foles has led the Eagles to upset wins over two of the top teams in the league: the Los Angeles Rams and the Houston Texans.
You might recall Foles pulling a similar feat last year, guiding Philly to the franchise’s first Super Bowl win.
Needing a win and a Minnesota loss to reach the postseason, Philadelphia takes on Washington, a team the Eagles beat 28-13 in Week 13.
A 6.5-point favorite, Philly has enjoyed the return of RB Darren Sproles, who had 108 yards from scrimmage and a TD in last week’s win over the Texans. The Eagles ranked eighth in passing offense but worst against the pass.
Fortunately, Washington’s attack is anemic, at best, ranking near the cellar among NFL offenses.
That said, the Redskins, while only averaging 14.5 points over the past four games, seem to have found a suitable fill-in QB in Josh Johnson. That combined with the resurgence of WR Jamison Crowder and RB Adrian Peterson makes Washington a sneaky pick in the final game of the regular season. An upset victory hear pays +230 on the moneyline.
Similar to the above matchup, Philly-Washington carries a prop worth considering: Moneyline and over/under total points (41.5):
- Philadelphia wins, over: +155
- Philadelphia wins, under: +163
- Washington wins, over: +450
- Washington, under: +460
The Eagles have won three straight against the Redskins, a streak in which the total points hit the under. Of note, this season games in Washington average 43.9 points with the Redskins winning 42.9 percent of the time.
Philly has been favored 12 times this season, winning outright seven times, including in three of the past four games. Additionally, 11 games featuring the Eagles exceeded 41.5 points.
Meanwhile, Washington has been the underdog 12 times and won outright half the time. Skins games have gone over 41.5 points six times along the way, but only once in the last four games.
Indianapolis Colts (9-6) at Tennessee Titans (9-6)
One team from this AFC South showdown will head to the playoffs.
Unless something paranormal occurs: a tie, opening the door for Pittsburgh to eliminate BOTH Indy and Tennessee from the postseason.
It seems far-fetched, though still possible. After all, including this season, there have been four tie games in the past three years (two this season). Games that ended in a draw over the previous 13 seasons: four.
Heading into this Sunday Night Football matchup, Indianapolis holds the Wild Card spot. A loss, though, has Tennessee replacing the Colts. Should Houston lose at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Colts-Titans winner will take the AFC South.
In Week 11, Indianapolis rolled to a 38-10 victory. The Colts have won three straight and eight of their last nine after starting the season 1-5. Ranked seventh in offense, Indy features the sixth-best passing attack, which will go up against a Tennessee defense that sits in the league’s bottom tier.
Still, the Titans, behind RB Derrick Henry, boast the fifth-best rushing offense in the NFL. And their defense, for all its problems, still only allow 18 points per game, which ranks second in the league.
To boot, Indianapolis has gone 3-4 in road games this season, while Tennessee has been one of the league’s best at defending home turf, going 6-1 at home.
For these reasons, the Titans enter as mere 3-point underdogs playing at home. An outright win pays +135 on the moneyline.
Super Bowl predictions at DraftKings
With one game remaining for all 32 teams, and three playoff spots remaining to be filled, the quest toward Super Bowl lore ramps up.
Futures at DraftKings include:
- Super Bowl LIII: New Orleans +260, Kansas City +500, LA Rams +500, New England +650, Chicago +1100, LA Chargers +1200
- AFC Championship: Kansas City +175, New England +240, LA Chargers +500, Baltimore +700, Houston +1100, Indianapolis +1400, Pittsburgh +1800, Tennessee +2000
- NFC Championship: New Orleans +110, LA Rams +220, Chicago +575, Dallas +1200, Minnesota +1400, Seattle +1400, Philadelphia +2000
Bettors can also lay money down on the exact Super Bowl matchup. And they will see a pattern among the favorites.
- Kansas City vs. New Orleans: +550
- New England vs. New Orleans: +700
- Kansas City vs. LA Rams: +900
- New England vs. LA Rams: +1100
- LA Chargers vs. New Orleans: +1300
Not feeling overly prescient in predicting a Super Bowl winner? Consider these “team vs. the field” bets at DraftKings.
- Saints or Rams (+140) vs. Field (-190)
- Saints or Patriots (+150) vs. Field (-200)
- Saints or Bears (+190) vs. Field (-265)
- Rams or Chiefs (+235) vs. Field (-335)
- Patriots or Chiefs (+250) vs. Field (-360)
- Chargers or Chiefs (+325) vs. Field (-500)
Where else to bet online in New Jersey
As it has been well-documented, New Jersey features an array of mobile sports betting options.
Eight mobile sportsbooks complement the nine retail operations in the Garden State. A ninth NJ online sportsbook, PointsBet, is in a soft launch phase:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- PlayMGM Sport
- SugarHouse Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- William Hill NJ (now Caesars Sportsbook NJ)
- 888 Sportsbook
- BetStars NJ
The list of NJ sportsbook apps includes a deep variety of traditional moneylines, parlays, in-game betting, and futures.