The NFL says goodbye to 2023 with some marquee match-ups in Week 17. There is a clash of the top two teams in the AFC, but is anyone paying attention to the Dolphins after what Baltimore did out in San Francisco Monday night? Lions fans are nervous about seeing Matthew Stafford again. The Rams are at MetLife to battle the short-handed Giants.
Best Bets of the Weekend for All Sports |Dec. 30-31
NFL: Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens Best Bet:
Everyone is going to now fly onto the Ravens bandwagon after what they did against the Niners Monday night. Lamar Jackson probably should be the MVP at this point in the season.
So this is the perfect time to go against the grain. Miami will come into Baltimore feeling disrespected, even though they lead the AFC East. Miami may have just enough skill on the defensive line to keep Jackson locked up (Miami DL Christian Wilkins is the best player in the NFL no one talks about).
It’s a bummer that Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill probably isn’t going to get 2,000 yards receiving. He is 359 yards shy with two games left. With the Chiefs looking shaky and no one wanting to win the AFC South, these might be the best two teams in the AFC, but the Dolphins will be motivated to show they’re the best.
NFL: LA Rams at New York Giants Best Bet:
Everyone in Michigan is already fretting thinking about a potential Rams at Lions first round playoff game. What a storyline that would be with Matthew Stafford coming back to play the Lions.
The Rams have been one of the best three teams in the NFC for over a month. Second-year running back Kyren Williams has exploded in the last few weeks and is now over 1,000 yards for the season. The Rams make it so hard on defenses because you have to sit back and cover Cooper Kupp and rookie Puka Nacua or else they’ll just dink and dunk the ball down the field.
The Giants gave the Eagles a pretty good battle Monday, but offensively, they’re limited whether the quarterback is Tyrod Taylor or Tommy DeVito. The Giants will play hard. The Rams will play better.
NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Viking Best Bet:
Packers +1.5 at DraftKings
The Vikings have to be demoralized after their loss to the Lions last week. Minnesota and Green Bay are both 7-8, and this is basically an elimination game to make the NFC playoffs. It’s unlikely an 8-9 team is getting a wild card spot.
Credit Minnesota Coach Kevin O’Connell for piecing together a mess of a season. Minnesota lost starting QB Kirk Cousins for the year and star wide receiver Jordan Jefferson for a big chunk. They started Nick Mullens the last two weeks and he’s been just good enough to get beat. He’s also turned the ball over eight times.
Green Bay is a one-sided team. The defense is lousy, but the offense has shown some promise. Jordan Love isn’t Aaron Rodgers, of course, and he always seems to throw the ball 100 mph when he needs to put some touch on it. But I believe the Packers still believe they have a chance. Green Bay has also won its last six December games against division foes. If it’s close, Minnesota will find a way to lose it.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.