MATCHUP AT A GLANCE
When: Sunday, December 29, 2019, at 1:00 PM EST
Where: Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA
Point Spread: New England -15½
Betting Total: 45 points
Week 17 is always an anomaly, not only in the NFL itself, but also in the betting world. With very little usually on the line, it’s basically like a preseason game as most teams are resting their starters to get ready for the postseason.
Patriots Still On Top
Although the AFC East was the last division in football to be clinched, the outcome was still the same as it was in 17 of the last 19 years. New England is the bully on top of the division that just won’t give up their stranglehold.
The Buffalo Bills made a valiant effort this season, sitting at 10 wins going into this week, but ultimately fell short in a 24-17 loss last Saturday.
While most seasons Week 17 would be a little harder to predict when it comes to the Patriots, 2019 might be a little more clear. New England doesn’t have a first round bye locked up yet and will need to play Brady and company if they hope to do so.
If they lose against the Dolphins, and the Chiefs beat the Chargers at home (plausible), Kansas City will get the tiebreaker. That would mean the Patriots would play on Wild Card weekend for the first time in what feels like an eternity.
FitzMagic coursing through Miami
We have seen it in pretty much all of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s stops since he played in Buffalo. Whether with the Titans, Texans, Jets, Buccaneers or now with the Phins, Fitz always has a stretch here and there where he looks like a bonafide stud.
In the last two weeks, the Harvard grad has completed 54 passes for almost 700 yards and 6 touchdowns. Granted it was against the Giants and Bengals, there might be general concern from Patriot fans that Fitzpatrick might just light it up again.
Also, Ryan Fitzpatrick, in what might be his final NFL season, costing the Patriots a first-round bye would be very poetic. He’s fallen to the Patriots in the division every year, spending 7 seasons in the AFC East while playing for 3 other teams.
Miami/New England Betting Lines
Unsurprisingly, the Dolphins and Patriots game features the biggest spread in the NFL according to MyBookie.com. The website has the Patriots as a 15.5 point favorite even with the status of their starters playing being uncertain. The over/under over at MyBookie is set at 45, which is pretty middle-of-the-road for the Week 17 slate.
The Patriots are 9-6 against the spread in 2019, with only 6 games hitting the over. The Dolphins are 8-7 against the spread, and 8-3 in the last 11 weeks. Eight of their games have hit the over, including five of their last six games.
Free Betting Pick
This game comes down to a couple things. Firstly, do we get good Fitzpatrick or bad Fitzpatrick? Also, does New England get out to a big lead, or do the Chiefs fall behind early allowing the Pats to rest their starters in the second half? In a game that the Patriots need, they’re obviously going to win.
Usually a big spread makes me weary, but the Patriots have been double digit favorites in six games this season and have covered in five of them. I’ll take the Patriots