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The NFL regular season is nearly a wrap, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t find a pair of live underdogs, so let’s get to cashing in our Week 17 Upset Alert
Cleveland (7-7-1 SU, 9-6 ATS) at Baltimore (9-6 SU, 8-7 ATS) – Sunday, 4:25 PM ET
The best online sportsbooks, found over at Sportsbook Review, have installed the Ravens as anywhere between a 6 to 6½-point home favorite depending on where you shop for your lines. The public will lay it in with the Ravens, a team that needs to win in order to capture the AFC North crown and host a first-round playoff game. However, Joe Q. Public often overestimates motivation, and discounts the players on the field as well as the prevailing matchups.
Furthermore, there is plenty of incentive for the Browns as well in this divisional tilt because they have the opportunity to get over the .500 mark, and in Cleveland that’s akin to winning the Super Bowl after years and years of futility. Yes, Baltimore has a dynamite defense and Baker Mayfield is a rookie quarterback who could implode facing a relentless pass rush. However, you may recall that the Browns handed the Ravens a 12-9 overtime defeat back in early October, so Mayfield has already had a taste of what he will face on Sunday.
Lastly, Lamar Jackson will start under center for Baltimore and not Joe Flacco this time around. Jackson just reached his career high in passing last week in the Ravens’ win over the Chargers with 204 passing yards, completing 54.5 percent. Thus, Baltimore is likely to stage a ground attack as opposed to an aerial blitzkrieg, ala Joe Flacco, which means this game could grind along and Mayfield could keep his boys hanging in this one until the final gun sounds. Let’s also consider the possibility of a little letdown after the Ravens’ huge win over the Bolts. Grab the live road pup here.
Final Score: Ravens 21, Browns 17
San Francisco (4-11 SU, 5-10 ATS) at LA Rams (12-3 SU, 6-7-2 ATS) – Sunday, 4:25 PM ET
The 49ers are decent against the run and will most likely see C.J. Anderson in LA’s backfield instead of Todd Gurley, which is a big plus if they hope to keep pace in this game. In addition, the Niners have Richard Sherman in their secondary to blanket Brandin Cooks, which diminishes a big weapon for Jared Goff.
Los Angeles certainly has incentive to win as they are looking to lock up a first-round bye but the 49ers can present a bit of difficulty to that end. LA will be focused primarily on the run but it may take some time for them to figure out Anderson won’t run roughshod as he did last week against a porous Cardinals’ run-stop unit.
Offensively, Niners QB Nick Mullens is playing better than most expected out of the undrafted rookie. He’s completed over 63 percent of his passes and has tossed for nearly 2,000 yards in less than half a season. He won’t have Dante Pettis at his disposal, as he is out with an MCL sprain, and neither will running back Matt Breida be available with an ankle injury. All that will seem daunting to the chalk lovers, but we believe the Niners have enough in them to at least keep this somewhat respectable.
The best online sportsbooks, found all in one place at Sportsbook Review, have the Rams as 10-point home favorites after coming off of a cakewalk against Arizona. The Rams could very well be looking ahead to the postseason and taking this opponent rather lightly, so we will cast our lot with the San Francisco 49ers this week.
Final Score: LA Rams 27, 49ers 21