Will quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo close out the 2017 NFL regular season with a fifth straight victory as a starter since being traded to the San Francisco 49ers (5-10) from the New England Patriots (12-3)? Bettors apparently think so, moving the 49ers from 4-point road underdogs visiting the Los Angeles Rams (11-4) to 3-point favorites after the home team announced its intention to rest starters after clinching the NFC West title.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
The hype surrounding Garoppolo has also contributed to the line movement, as he has thrown for 1,250 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions in winning his first four starts. Without Garoppolo under center, San Francisco would probably be a small road dog. Meanwhile, Los Angeles will either get the third or fourth seed in the NFC playoffs depending on whether the NFC South winner has a better record or not.
In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs (9-6) have decided to start rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes and rest their key players as well heading into a divisional matchup with the Denver Broncos (5-10). However, the Chiefs are visiting the Broncos and may still have the best signal caller on the field since Mahomes was a first-round draft pick.
For that reason, the line on this AFC West game has not moved much at all yet, with Denver opening as 3-point home chalk and moving up only slightly to -3 (-120).
Five other games have been moved from early kickoffs on Sunday to late starts due to postseason implications. The Baltimore Ravens (9-6), Tennessee Titans (8-7) and Atlanta Falcons (9-6) simply need to win at home to make the playoffs, but they can still get in if other teams lose too. For example, the Ravens would qualify if the Titans or Buffalo Bills (8-7) lose while Tennessee still makes it in if both Buffalo and the Los Angeles Chargers (8-7) fall. The Falcons are also in if the Seattle Seahawks (8-7) lose.
Each of those teams fighting for playoff berths are favored while the New England Patriots (12-3) and Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3) are both double-digit favorites as they chase the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
The Patriots will earn the top seed with a win. The Philadelphia Eagles (13-2) have already secured the No. 1 seed in the NFC, which explains why they are 3-point home underdogs versus the Dallas Cowboys (8-7). The Minnesota Vikings (12-3) can clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Chicago Bears (5-10) or if the New Orleans Saints (11-4) defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11), the Carolina Panthers (11-4) lose at Atlanta or the Rams beat the 49ers.
Sportsbooks will likely be rooting for the underdogs to come through in all of those scenarios.