The final week of the NFL regular season accomplished more than locking in the final playoff field and positioning. Week 17 also shook up the future odds on teams to win the Super Bowl at Las Vegas sports books. While the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots reclaimed their status as favorites for another week, their prices went further downward after they both clinched a first-round bye.
If any team is ever temporarily permitted to use the dreaded “no one believes in us” or “we get no respect” clichés, it’s the Atlanta Falcons right now.
Truth is very few people believe in the Falcons, especially within the confines of this fair city. Bettors have driven Atlanta up to 4-point underdogs at home in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, which is the most points a No. 1 seed has ever taken in the playoffs excluding the Super Bowl.
Racecar drivers get a victory lap. Award winners get an acceptance speech.
So I felt inclined to get something out of my win in the first-ever Las Vegas Sun NFL handicapping contest, even after finishing with a solid-but-unspectacular 54-47-1 record against the spread. I somehow came up with a prize that involved work — making more picks.