The last week of the NFL regular season brings with it tough betting challenges for bookmakers. This week there is only one isolated NFL game, when usually there are three that take place on Thursday, Sunday and Monday Nights.
Some good patterns have come into play for bookmakers the past few weeks, but being the last week of the season, other factors come into play. One such factor is motivation. Some games in the minds of players are meaningless as neither team will make the playoffs. In others, a coach might be resting players for the postseason.
Bettors usually are good at getting that sort of information by going online to certain sites and finding out.
At times, the information comes late just prior to kickoff, but online sites such as Bovada, topbet, sportsbook.com and betonline have the latest information and will take bets up to kickoff time.
Each of the 32 teams plays on Sunday, which will decrease the handle in comparison to other prior weeks since only the Eagles vs. Dallas is playing alone. During the 15 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm ET games, all the bettors will be spread across the board.
Due to this, there will be more three to eight team parlays than the winnable parlays of two teams in the isolated games. For bookmakers that can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
However, odds are it is a better percentage for the house. A parlay of two teams is one of the few non-traditional wagers that is quite fair to bettors.
The final week of the regular season also has a few games such as Chicago vs. Green Bay and Philadelphia vs. Dallas that have huge divisional title and playoff implications.
The NFL even changed starting times for some of the games so that teams competing for playoff spots in the same conference played at the same time.
However, one team that will be watching the television prior to their game will be the San Diego Chargers. The Lightning Bolts need both Baltimore and Miami to lose and then they need to defeat Kansas City to get a playoff spot.
The Chiefs on Bovada are getting 10-points playing at San Diego, which is nearly unheard of, but Kansas City has little or nothing to play for. That of course does not mean the Chiefs will lose, but it gives San Diego a better chance of winning.
The final week of the season offers from winner takes all games to meaningless, but it does not stop the public or sharp money from stepping up and wagering on whom they feel will cover.