NFL Betting Odds: Week 17 (2008)

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
New York Jets

NFL betting odds for Week 17 and the final regular season games of 2008 featured some crucial matchups.

Among them:  The New England Patriots head to Buffalo in hopes of a Playoff berth;  The Chicago Bears are still alive playing in Houston against an improved Texans team that is looking to finish at .500 in 2008; The New York Giants will probably be resting players in a game that means everything to the Minnesota Vikings; Carolina will be looking for a win in New Orleans to ensure the best seeding; Tampa Bay must beat Oakland at home to secure a Playoffs spot; Baltimore must beat Jacksonville to get into the Playoffs; and then we have what are probably going to be the most watched games (and among the most meaningful for both teams).  Dolphins vs. Jets; Broncos vs. Chargers; Cowboys vs. Eagles:  All are crucial must wins for any of these 6 teams.

The most fluid NFL betting odds (and a middling opportunity) were offered on the Patriots vs. Bills game where New England was a -5 ½ favorite at while the Bills were a +7 underdog at  A Patriots win by 6 points would result in both bets being winners if you were to wager the two different sides at Bookmaker and, respectively. 

The Bears were technically still alive following their win over Green Bay last Monday night.  Here is what they will need to get into the Playoffs this weekend: Chicago needs a win over the Texans (7-8), and Minnesota, which has the tiebreaker over the Bears, to lose to the New York Giants to steal the NFC North. The Bears can also sneak in as a wild card with a victory and losses by Dallas and Tampa Bay.

"Now it's down to one game," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "All we can do is get another win and see what happens."

After Dallas, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia all lost in Week 16, the Bears made some of their luck by rallying for their second straight overtime victory -- 20-17 Monday night over Green Bay.

Despite all of these important scenarios and Chicago's early afternoon desperation, oddsmakers have the Bears as a +3 underdog at

Oddsmakers believe that the Giants have no intention of playing in Minnesota as they have already secured the top seed and home advantage with nothing more to play for and a need to rest key players like Eli Manning.  Minnesota, on the other hand, must win and they've been made the -6 ½ favorite at   Minnesota actually crushed the Giants on the road last year so they can certainly do it again this weekend, at least we would think this to be the case.

The Carolina Panthers will be playing an important game in New Orleans.

After squandering an opportunity to be the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Carolina Panthers want to make sure they at least finish No. 1 in their division.

Either getting to rest during the first week of the playoffs or having to spend it playing on the road is what's at stake Sunday for the Panthers, who seek their first NFC South title in four years as they visit Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

Carolina (11-4) entered its Week 16 matchup with the New York Giants having won seven of eight games, and was assured a postseason berth with Dallas' loss to Baltimore last Saturday night.

It was poised to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, leading for most of its game with the defending Super Bowl champions, but lost 34-28 in overtime to hand the conference's No. 1 seed to the Giants.

"Disappointing would be putting it mildly," Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme said. "The road to the Super Bowl goes through New York. We had a chance. We didn't get it done. We've got to get back to work and get ready for New Orleans."

Carolina can secure its first NFC South title since 2003, when it reached the Super Bowl for the only time in the franchise's 14-year history, if it beats New Orleans (8-7) or if Atlanta falls to St. Louis. However, if the Panthers lose and the Falcons win, Carolina would miss out on a first-round bye and have to open the playoffs on the road next week in Arizona.

"It would be just awful not to get that first-round bye," Pro Bowl linebacker Jon Beason said. "I think we owe it to ourselves to finish off what we have done this season."

The Falcons were a -14 favorite at home against the bumbling Rams while Carolina was only a -2 ½ road favorite against New Orleans, even with the desperation win needed.

There is some reason to be optimistic if you're a Carolina fan (or bettor) as the road team has won 8 of the last 10 in this series.  The Panthers are 6-4 ATS and 7-3 Straight Up.  Carolina has won 5 of the last 6 in this series as well. says go with Carolina in this one.

The best games come in the second portion of the afternoon where three of the games have important ramifications. 

All Baltimore needs to do is win against Jacksonville at home Sunday.  They've won 6 of the last 7 in this series though losing their last face off in 2005 by 27 points on the road.  Just keep in mind that Baltimore is a -12 ½ favorite and their past wins against Jacksonville were mostly very close.

Miami in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets Sunday - Weather won't be an issue.  It's going to be 58 degrees and the temperature has already reached that point a few times in the Miami area over the last few weeks so no worries here.  The Dolphins already proved they can play in the bitter cold last weekend, winning in sub-freezing temperatures at Kansas City.

The problem for Miami is that the Jets have won the last 5 in this series and are 8-2 over the last 10. 

This one is being billed as the Game of the Week by Sports Illustrated and rightfully so.

Adam Duerson writes:

"Pennington gets the win, 23-21, but Brown and Wiliams do most of the legwork. Based on what I saw two weeks ago in East Rutherford against the Bills, the Jets aren't stopping anyone in what should be nippy weather. In that game, Marshawn Lynch was gashing the Jets until Dick Jauron decided to throw his job away. Tony Sparano is smart enough to have seen that, only he won't let up."

For the Dolphins, they need a win and they're in.  A loss means they need all types of help including the Ravens to lose against Jacksonville.  For the Jets to get into the Playoffs they'll need a win plus a New England loss in Orchard Park to take the division or a Ravens loss at home to secure the wild card. had the New York Jets as -2 ½ favorites. 

Elsewhere there was Dallas vs. Philadelphia where the Eagles were the -1 home favorite at Dallas can still reach the playoffs with a victory in Philadelphia, while the Eagles need a win and help earlier in the day to avoid being home for January for the third time in four years.  Philadelphia will need Tampa Bay to lose (possible but not likely) and either Minnesota or Chicago to lose.  Dallas just needs to win.

The real surprise is how the oddsmakers see Denver losing big in San Diego - a team that had been left for dead a few weeks back.  The Chargers were a -8 favorite at and -9 favorite at some other online sportsbooks.  There is of course that revenge factor following a loss in Denver that probably should have been a win.   San Diego has won 4 of the last 5 against Denver (and 5-0 if you count the referee screwup in their last game).  They have beat them decisively and feels that will happen again on Sunday.

Christopher Costigan, Publisher




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