NFL Betting Odds: Week 17 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
How pissed would you be right now if you were Rams superstar running back Todd Gurley? I don't pretend to know what clauses are included in his contract, but I'm sure there's a mega-bonus for both winning the NFL MVP Award and a rushing title.
However, thanks to Coach Sean McVay, Gurley perhaps does neither.
McVay is going to rest all his key players Sunday at home against San Francisco: Gurley, QB Jared Goff and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Aaron Donald among them. It makes sense from a practical perspective as the Rams are either going to be a No. 3 or 4 seed and host a wild-card game next weekend. Against which team remains to be seen - as things stand it would be Atlanta. So what's the point of playing guys this week?
But it could cost Gurley some cash. At Bovada , Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the -300 favorite to win a third career MVP Award and Gurley +200. Frankly, Gurley has been a way better player for the past month or so. In fact, Gurley had the greatest two-week fantasy stretch (Weeks 15-16) of any player in league history, so I read. Brady's fantastic but has thrown at least one pick in five straight games, which is very unusual, but he'll most likely finish No. 1 in passing yards and as well as possibly TD throws and rating if he has a big game vs. the visiting Jets on Sunday.
Gurley, meanwhile, leads the NFL in rushing with 1,305 yards and in total touchdowns with 19 - no other player has more than 13. Kareem Hunt (1,292) and Le'Veon Bell (1,291) are both right behind him, but Bell is resting Sunday. Gurley also will not become the 30th player in league history with at least 20 TDs in a season. He could have vaulted into the Top 15 all-time with two scores to reach 21. The league record is 31 by LaDainian Tomlinson in his 2006 MVP season.
Incidentally, that 49ers-Rams line has gone haywire due to McVay's decision. Los Angeles opened as high as -6 and is now +3.5 against the red-hot 49ers and unbeaten quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Here are some other line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 17.
Texans at Colts (-5, 40): This opened as a pick'em and a total of 44. I won't spend too much time on the most worthless game of Week 17, but another player could lose some bonus money in this one: Houston Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins. He's expected to miss his first career game Sunday due to a calf injury. Hopkins has 96 catches for 1,378 yards and 13 TDs. He had a shot to catch Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown (1,533) for the yardage crown and an outside chance for the receptions title (Jarvis Landry with 103). Hopkins does lead all WRs in touchdowns, and no one is catching him. Could this be it for Colts 34-year-old running back Frank Gore? He has said he'd love to return to Indy if Andrew Luck is healthy next year, but the Colts aren't bringing Gore back and I'm doubting anyone would be very interested. Might shock you to know that Gore ranks fifth on the NFL all-time rushing list with 13,926 yards - ahead of guys like Tomlinson, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Jim Brown, Marshall Faulk, Marcus Allen and more. There's a Bovada special from this game asking if Colts WR T.Y. Hilton will reach 1,000 yards receiving after leading the league with 1,448 last year. Hilton has 952, with "yes" for 1,000 at -250 and "no" +170. I would think outgoing coach Chuck Pagano would want Hilton to get it.
Chiefs at Broncos (-3.5, 38.5): Denver opened at -1.5. This is another meaningless game as the Chiefs have clinched the No. 4 seed as AFC West champions - the first time in franchise history they have won back-to-back division titles. With that said, QB Alex Smith will not play as rookie first-round pick Patrick Mahomes will start. The Chiefs traded up to No. 10 in the 2017 draft to take Mahomes out of Texas Tech, costing Kansas City its 2017 and 2018 first-rounders to Buffalo. Mahomes almost surely is going to be the team's 2018 starter, so might as well get his feet wet. I'm sure other starters will sit too, although maybe Andy Reid plays the rookie Hunt enough to pass Gurley? Reid has been vague on his other starters playing. Denver will give 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch his second start of the season. His first on Nov. 26 in Oakland didn't go well as he was 9-for-14 for 41 yards and a pick before leaving with an ankle injury. The Broncos need to see if Lynch is the future or not. Bovada offers a prop on Denver's 2018 Week 1 starting QB: Lynch (+400), Brock Osweiler (+300), Trevor Siemian (+400) or someone else (-150). Many think the Broncos will chase Kirk Cousins (or the Chiefs' Smith?) this offseason.
Raiders at Chargers (-8, 42): Bolts opened at -7 with a total of 44. Remember we all thought Los Angeles was a football wasteland early in the season with the Rams and Chargers struggling? The Rams are in the playoffs and the Bolts will be, despite their 0-4 start, with a win and some help. There are two scenarios: Titans loss or tie at home vs. Jacksonville and Ravens win or tie vs. Cincinnati; OR Titans loss or tie and Bills loss or tie in Miami. So, obviously those in the Chargers front office will be watching that Jags-Titans game intently. Bovada has a special on whether the Bolts make the playoffs: no is -500 and yes +300. L.A. apparently will have top running back Melvin Gordon, although he'd probably sit out with an ankle injury if the game weren't so important. Gordon vows to play. The Chargers have listed Gordon as questionable four times this season as he is now and Gordon started each one. This will be the Raiders' first game at the Chargers in Los Angeles since 1960 when both were in the AFL debut seasons and the Raiders' first game overall in their former home city since 1994. Oakland has nothing to play for here and has several guys listed as limited on the injury report. I'm willing to bet the crowd Sunday is heavily Raiders even though it's meaningless for them. They are still hugely popular in L.A. Oakland's Jack Del Rio could be one of the coaches fired on Black Monday.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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