NFL

Scott’s Seven NFL Picks: Week 17

By Scott Kacsmar

The NFL has a Week 17 schedule with a fantastic game between the Ravens and Dolphins, but we surprisingly have just a single pick for that one. Our NFL picks with parlays this week include Saturday night’s battle between the Lions and Cowboys, a bounce-back game for the 49ers’ offense in Washington, ditto for the Chiefs against Cincinnati, and a very specific game script in Steelers-Seahawks.

In recapping our Week 16 NFL picks, the tight end position ruined us. For only the second time in his career, Pittsburgh’s Pat Freiermuth did not receive a single target against the Bengals, killing our parlay (+240). Sam LaPorta tied his season lows with 3 targets and 18 yards for Detroit when we only needed 8 more yards from him to hit another +198. At least Jake Ferguson delivered for Dallas to hit that parlay (+223), but those other tight ends destroyed a winning week. We also got the short end on a touchdown reversal late in the Buffalo game that kept the Bills under 3.5 touchdowns. It was just one of those weeks, including the most embarrassing Kansas City game of the Patrick Mahomes era.

Each Friday, we will share seven NFL picks that we are including in our bets for the weekend. These can be prop picks, spreads, totals, alternate lines, moneylines, teasers, same-game parlays, etc. We like to think outside the box instead of just telling you to pick a 13.5-point favorite to win. You can play the picks separately or parlay your favorite choices together.

Note: Picks are ranked in order of confidence (highest to lowest).

1. Dolphins-Ravens: Raheem Mostert Revenge Game

Everyone talks about Christian McCaffrey and Tyreek Hill this year for good reasons, but Miami running back Raheem Mostert is the one leading the NFL with 21 touchdowns (18 rushing). The 31-year-old back had 19 career touchdowns coming into this season. He has been almost as automatic as McCaffrey at scoring this year.

Mostert was on the Ravens way back in 2015 as a special teams player before they ditched him after 7 games. He rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens as a member of the 49ers in 2019. Last year with Miami, he had 79 yards from scrimmage in Baltimore but no touchdowns.

Look for him to score this week. McCaffrey was able to score one against the Ravens last week, and while that defense is tough (league-low 5 rushing touchdowns allowed), Mostert has been so consistent for Miami.

This is also a defense you don’t want to try to get fancy with and throw the ball near the goal line. Just hand it to Mostert and do what Miami has done all season.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Raheem Mostert Anytime Touchdown Scorer (+110 at FanDuel)

2. Patriots-Bills: Buffalo’s Playoff Push Continues

The Bills (9-6) have some bad losses this year, but none were worse than losing 29-25 to the Patriots in Week 7. It is still New England’s season high in scoring, and it was one of the only times in Mac Jones’ career when he led a clutch game-winning drive. That loss is part of why the Bills have been in playoff mode for weeks and cannot afford to slip up anymore. They almost blew a game in Los Angeles last week as a 12-point favorite against the Chargers before winning 24-22.

We are not going to touch the moneyline or big spread (13.5) in this one, but we will go with a safe 2-leg parlay that should lead to a good day for the Bills as they look to avoid an embarrassing sweep by New England:

  • Josh Allen Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns
  • James Cook 40+ Rushing Yards

Despite the loss in Week 7, Allen did rally to throw 2 touchdowns and erase a late 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter. He has played very well against the Patriots for years now. Allen has thrown multiple touchdowns in 6-of-7 games against New England since 2020. The only time he didn’t was the 14-10 extreme wind game in 2021.

In part because of Allen’s rushing touchdowns (he has 13) and James Cook’s breakout usage, Allen has not thrown multiple touchdowns in 3 straight games. Allen has not had a 4-game streak doing that since the first 4 games of 2019, a full year before his breakout season. We are banking on that streak to end this week and for him to throw multiple scores.

We also have James Cook rushing for at least 40 yards, something he has done in 12-of-15 games this year, including 6 games in a row.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Josh Allen Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns & James Cook 40+ Rushing Yards (+114 at FanDuel)

3. Lions-Cowboys: Saturday Night Shootout?

The Detroit Lions have clinched the NFC North, but they can still get a higher seed in the NFC playoffs as they are tied for the best record at 11-4. But this is going to be a tough test in Dallas on Saturday night where the Cowboys play so well at home. We have a 4-leg parlay that highlights a good game for Dak Prescott and some yards in catch-up mode for Detroit:

  • Dak Prescott 250+ Passing Yards
  • CeeDee Lamb Anytime Touchdown Scorer
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown 60+ Receiving Yards
  • Sam LaPorta 3+ Receptions

Dak Prescott will be in his glory at home where we can hear “yeah, here we go!” before every snap. Prescott has passed for at least 255 yards in all 7 home games this year. He also had multiple touchdowns in all but one of those games, and CeeDee Lamb is usually his preferred target there.

Lamb also has a couple of rushing touchdowns this year to give him 11 total scores. He has the highest individual odds of any player to score a touchdown in this game. The Detroit defense has allowed 18 touchdowns to wide receivers, the 4th-highest total in the league this year.

On the Detroit side, do not be alarmed that Amon-Ra St. Brown was held to 4 yards on 1 catch in Dallas in 2022. He left that game early for injury after only playing 10 snaps. St. Brown has been healthier and very consistent this season. He has at least 70 yards in 11-of-14 games played in 2023. We are only asking for 60 here.

As for Sam LaPorta, yeah, the rookie tight end burned us last week as we mentioned in the intro. But if we played him to have at least 3 receptions, it would have been a hit. He can do that with great frequency as he’s had at least 3 catches in all but one game this year. He should be more involved this week in a game where Detroit is likely going to have to score a fair number of points.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Dak Prescott 250+ Passing Yards & CeeDee Lamb Anytime Touchdown Scorer & Amon-Ra St. Brown 60+ Receiving Yards & Sam LaPorta 3+ Receptions (+244 at FanDuel)

4. 49ers-Commanders: Elite Offense Meets Terrible Defense

The sky is not falling on the 49ers. Yes, they had a bad game against the Ravens, but this is still an elite team with a great chance to go to the Super Bowl. Now they get a Washington team that just gave up 30 points to the Jets and rank dead last in scoring defense this year. We have a 3-leg parlay that says the 49ers will bounce back in a big way against this defense:

  • Brock Purdy Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns
  • Brandon Aiyuk 80+ Receiving Yards
  • Christian McCaffrey Anytime Touchdown Scorer

Brock Purdy got stung by the turnover bug with a career-high 4 picks against Baltimore. But he should have his choice of receivers in this one as the Washington defense has allowed a league-high 33 touchdown passes. This is literally going from the No. 1 defense to the No. 32 defense, and Kyle Shanahan is going to embarrass the lack of discipline in this secondary.

The Commanders have been leaving receivers wide open all season, and the best choice on the 49ers to exploit that is the superb route running of Brandon Aiyuk. Oddly enough, Aiyuk has not hit 60 yards in back-to-back games this season, and he quietly had 113 yards against the Ravens last week.

But let’s not get worried about that and focus on the juicy matchup. Aiyuk had a 4-game streak with 80 yards last season, and he had 81 yards against Washington late in the season a week before he had 101 yards against the Rams. He is a very good receiver and should have a big game here. A lot of 49ers should have big games in this one.

Finally, the Christian McCaffrey touchdown is about as chalk as it gets with -370 odds this week. But when something is so automatic like he has been, why not include it? The 49ers would have to really bomb on offense for CMC to not add to his scoring total in this game.  

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Brock Purdy Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns & Brandon Aiyuk 80+ Receiving Yards & Christian McCaffrey Anytime Touchdown Scorer (+317 at FanDuel)

5. Rams-Giants: New Triplets

We have a 4-leg parlay for the Rams to show off their new triplets on offense with Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and Kyren Williams going up against the Giants:

  • Kyren Williams 70+ Rushing Yards
  • Kyren Williams Anytime Touchdown Scorer
  • Puka Nacua 50+ Receiving Yards
  • Cooper Kupp 50+ Receiving Yards

Williams has been fantastic, providing the Rams their best running back play since the early days of Todd Gurley. Since returning from injury in Week 12, Williams has rushed for at least 88 yards in 5 straight games. In fact, he has rushed for at least 88 yards in 7-of-8 games played since Week 4. He also has 8 touchdowns in that span and should enjoy facing a weak New York defense that is 30th in rushing touchdowns allowed and 31st in yards per carry.

Puka Nacua is chasing rookie records as he has 96 catches for 1,327 yards this year, an incredible season for a 5th-round pick. He has at least 50 yards in 11-of-15 games this year, including 5-of-6 games since the bye week.

Kupp had a frustrating game against the Saints last week as he only had 52 yards on 12 targets, and he was banged up a few times. But the extra days of rest should help, and the New York defense that just allowed three 70-yard receivers to the Eagles should help. Kupp has had more quiet games than usual this year, but he’s hit 50 yards in his last 3 games.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Kyren Williams 70+ Rushing Yards & Kyren Williams Anytime Touchdown Scorer & Puka Nacua 50+ Receiving Yards & Cooper Kupp 50+ Receiving Yards (+293 at FanDuel)

6. Bengals-Chiefs: Still Heavy Playoff Implications  

The Bengals and Chiefs have played in some of the most memorable games in the AFC the last few years. All 4 meetings were decided by exactly 3 points with the Bengals going 3-1. But the Chiefs won the AFC Championship Game last year, and now they have the edge as a 7-point home favorite against a Cincinnati team that lost Joe Burrow (wrist) for the season. But Jake Browning has been quite good when he’s not playing the Steelers this year.

The Chiefs are coming off arguably the most embarrassing performance of the Patrick Mahomes era in a 20-14 loss to the Raiders on Christmas day. The Chiefs gave up defensive touchdowns in 7 seconds as the Raiders were able to win despite rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell going 0-for-10 passing over the final three quarters.

The Chiefs (9-6) need to rebound in a massive way, and while the Bengals usually play them tough, we have a 3-leg parlay that will ask the team’s best players, Mahomes and Travis Kelce, to look the part this week:

  • Patrick Mahomes Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns
  • Patrick Mahomes Over 266.5 Passing Yards
  • Travis Kelce Over 59.5 Receiving Yards

Mahomes has 6 games this year with at least 267 passing yards and multiple touchdown passes. That number is usually higher for him, but we know the receivers have been a struggle, and the offensive line is not stepping up lately either.

But we have seen Mahomes light it up against some bad pass defenses like the Chargers earlier this year (424 yards and 4 touchdowns) and the Vikings when they were struggling (281 yards and 2 touchdowns).

Right now, the Bengals are really struggling defensively. They almost allowed Mason Rudolph to throw for 300 yards last week in Pittsburgh. The Bengals rank 31st in yards allowed and 32nd in net yards per pass allowed.

Mahomes has done well against better Cincinnati defenses than this. He had 326 yards and 2 touchdowns while playing on a high-ankle sprain in January’s title game. He had 275 yards and 3 touchdowns in the 2021 AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead too.

The Bengals also allow huge numbers to tight ends this year. No defense has allowed 1,000 yards to tight ends except for Cincinnati (1,023). Travis Kelce was frustrated last week and slammed his helmet down. He’s only had 7 targets in back-to-back games, finishing with 72 yards in those games. He has to show up big in this game, and against this defense, he definitely should deliver at least 60 yards.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Patrick Mahomes Over 1.5 Passing Touchdowns & Patrick Mahomes Over 266.5 Passing Yards & Travis Kelce Over 59.5 Receiving Yards (+258 at FanDuel)

7. Steelers-Seahawks: Too Close to Call

Mike Tomlin and Pete Carroll live for the close games. Maybe more accurately, their teams are no longer good enough to win blowouts. Pittsburgh’s 34-11 win over Cincinnati last week was the first time the Steelers won a game by more than 14 points since the 2020 season.

But the Steelers and Seahawks are both 8-7 and deep in a wild card push, making this one of the more important games for both conferences this weekend. The Seahawks are a 3.5-point home favorite, and the Steelers are in fact going with Mason Rudolph at quarterback after his successful game last week.

We have a specific 5-leg parlay that sees a very tight game decided by 1-to-4 points either way with both quarterbacks moving the ball a bit, and for an improving rookie receiver to get the ball at least 3 times:

  • Seahawks +4.5
  • Steelers +4.5
  • Mason Rudolph 175+ Passing Yards
  • Geno Smith 200+ Passing Yards
  • Jaxon Smith-Njigba 3+ Receptions

The Seahawks are coming off a pair of 20-17 wins where they threw a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute. They are no stranger to the close finishes this year with 5 game-winning drives. Last week aside, the Steelers almost never blow teams out as the Cincinnati game was the first time they won a game by more than 7 points all season.

Steelers +4.5 has hit in 10-of-15 games this year and in 17-of-22 games for the Steelers going back to last year. If you wanted to tease the Steelers out to +7.5 because of their big losses this year (five losses by double digits), that is understandable. But this really should be a one-score game with the Seahawks having a solid shot of winning at home.

Rudolph passed for 290 yards last week. He won’t likely get the huge YAC plays from George Pickens again, but Rudolph has passed for at least 175 yards in 8-of-11 starts in his career.

Geno has passed for 200 yards in 9-of-13 games this year. He should be healthier this week than he’s been at some points in recent games. He gets a banged-up Pittsburgh secondary that did force Jake Browning to throw 3 interceptions last week, but Browning also passed for 335 yards to his talented receivers.

DK Metcalf should have a good game, though he also has been limited in practice with a back injury. That’s why we like the rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba to do well for our final leg. He caught the game-winning touchdown against Philadelphia in Week 15 and had 6 catches for 61 yards against the Titans last week, including another key conversion on a third down. JSN has caught at least 3 balls in 13-of-15 games this year, so the rookie is reliable for that line.

Scott’s NFL Pick: Same Game Parlay – Seahawks +4.5 & Steelers +4.5 & Mason Rudolph 175+ Passing Yards & Geno Smith 200+ Passing Yards & Jaxon Smith-Njigba 3+ Receptions (+436 at FanDuel)

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