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Navigating the Week 17 NFL wagering landscape is always a tricky one. Adding in the uncertainties of the 2020 season makes it even that much tougher. Below, we’ll highlight three NFL underdog betting picks and predictions for Week 17.

Which teams are motivated, and which are ready to get the season over with?

Who’s resting players, and which players secretly will be “resting” on the field?

Then throw in the weekly batch of key-player injury/COVID-19 issues and lame-duck coaching situations, and it makes an unpredictable sport even more so.

The good news here in underdog corner, though, is that we have a solid shot of doing better than we did a week ago as our Week 16 selections (the Detroit Lions, New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams) all failed to cover. That puts our season record at 21-26-1 and a second straight above-.500 finish sadly out of reach.

Here’s hoping, though, to end a down year on a high note.

NFL underdog predictions: Week 17

Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers +6.5 (-110)

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The 11-4 Saints have wrapped up a fourth straight NFC South title and still have a shot at earning the NFC’s coveted No. 1 seed.

The 5-10 Panthers, meanwhile, have nothing on the line but pride. Head coach Matt Rhule’s crew has shown plenty of it of late, covering the spread in four of their last five games; the Panthers are tied for the league’s third-best ATS record for the season at 9-6.

The Panthers gave the touchdown-favored Saints all they wanted in a hard-fought 27-24 New Orleans home win in Week 7. If Carolina can keep Saints RB Alvin Kamara from running absolutely wild as he did with 172 total yards and 6 touchdowns against the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Day, QB Teddy Bridgewater and Co. should be able to keep things close and get the cover Sunday in Charlotte.

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Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans +7.5 (-110)

It’s much the same situation here: One team (10-5 Tennessee) has lots to play for (a win clinches the AFC South title) while the other (4-11 Houston) would seem to be an easy mark in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

The Texans typically play the Titans tough, though, covering the spread in nine of the last 14 meetings and winning eight of them outright.

One of Tennessee’s wins and covers came in the most recent matchup, a 42-36 overtime tussle in Week 6 best remembered for Houston’s interim head coach Romeo Crennel’s ill-fated decision to try to put the game away with a two-point conversion up seven with 1:50 to play in regulation.

The Texans may not have quite enough to knock off the visiting Titans Sunday, but we’re banking on QB Deshaun Watson, DE J.J. Watt and Co. displaying enough fight to get the cover. Take Houston and the touchdown-plus.

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers +6.5 (-110)

Yep, we’re going for the trifecta here, taking a third losing “home” team with nothing to play for against a favored division opponent looking to better its postseason standing.

Seattle (11-4) clinched the NFC West crown with last week’s 20-9 win over the Los Angeles Rams but only has a slim chance of overtaking the Green Bay Packers and Saints to earn the NFC’s top seed.

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The defending NFC-champion 49ers (6-9) are closing out an injury-ravaged season in their interim home away from home in Glendale, Ariz., but don’t figure to bow out without one final fight. Just witness their 20-12 upset win over the rival Arizona Cardinals a week ago which has thrown the Cardinals’ postseason hopes in serious question.

Free baby shower loteria. Go with the Niners and the points.

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Also see:

Can the Panthers still get a franchise QB at No. 9? (Panthers Wire)Texans WR Brandin Cooks says “I’m not going to accept any more trades’ (Texans Wire)

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We’re down to two weeks remaining in the 2020 NFL regular season and also two weeks remaining in our quest to finish above .500 here in underdog corner for the second straight season.

We sit at 21-23-1 against the point spread following a 1-1-1 Week 15 as the underdog Chicago Bears won outright in Minnesota, the Jacksonville Jaguars failed to cover as a near-two-touchdown ‘dog in Baltimore and Drew Brees rallied the host New Orleans Saints to a late-game push against the field goal-favorite Kansas City Chiefs.

That 1-1-1 week certainly didn’t further our quest, and we all know it’s also a net wagering loss as well. So, on to …

NFL underdog predictions: Week 16

Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated Friday at 7:45 a.m. ET.

Detroit Lions (+9.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady and the 9-5 Bucs are a win away from wrapping up a playoff berth while the 5-9 Lions are playing without several coaches, including interim head coach Darrell Bevell, due to COVID-19 protocols.

Despite losing six of its last eight, though, Detroit hasn’t packed it in. Witness QB Matthew Stafford insisting on playing through a painful rib injury last week and putting up an offensive fight in a 46-25 loss in Tennessee.

Look for more of the same Saturday.

Speaking of Saturday, the early kickoff means Christmas Day shapes up as a travel day for the Bucs, who can’t be overly excited for a holiday in the Motor City.

Look for Brady and Co. to do just enough to win and head back south — much like they did in Sunday’s come-from-behind 31-27 win in Atlanta — but not enough to cover a near-double-digit spread. Take the Lions and the points.

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New York Giants (+10.5) at Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are on a roll, riding a three-game win streak and covering in their last four. There’s still motivation for Baltimore to keep the pedal down as well as even at 9-5, the Ravens are on the outside looking in at the AFC playoff picture.

Don’t forget, though, that the 5-9 Giants also are in the thick of the postseason hunt as well as they sit only a game behind NFC East-leading Washington and own the tiebreaker advantage.

With the league’s sixth-best run defense, New York should be able to hold its own against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ league-leading rushing attack, while a return by QB Daniel Jones would breathe some much-needed life into a sputtering offense.

Overall, the G-Men are a perfect 6-0 ATS as road underdogs this season, and look for them to keep it close and get the cover here.

Los Angeles Rams (+1.5) at Seattle Seahawks

This matchup between 10-4 Seattle and 9-5 Los Angeles is the de facto NFC West championship game. So there certainly should be no lack of focus in this Sunday afternoon tilt.

The Rams, in particular, will be smarting after coming out on the wrong end of the biggest upset loss of the season, falling last Sunday at home to the previously winless New York Jets.

L.A. had won and covered in four of its previous five games while the Seahawks have been up-and-down with 4-3 SU and 2-5 ATS marks over their last seven outings.

In the series, meanwhile, the Rams have ruled of late, winning five of the last six outright, including a 23-16 home victory in Week 10, and covering in four of those six contests.

And with Seattle’s usually formidable home-field advantage negated by 2020, we’re going with the Rams — and the better defense — on the road.

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Also see:

Sean McVay confident in Jared Goff’s ability to win big games (Rams Wire)Seahawks tight end Greg Olsen expected to play Week 16 vs. Rams (Seahawks Wire)

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