NFL Week 17 & NBA Picks Podcast - 29 December 2020
It’s that time of year where sports begin to overlap, and Bob and Ben Dunkel jump between the NFL gridiron and NBA hardwood in their latest podcast.
In the NFL, it’s the final week of the regular season and there are plenty of playoff implications as the Dunkels go through their Top 5. Perhaps the biggest matchup is the classic rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Green Bay is riding a five-game winning streak following its 40-17 win over Tennessee on Sunday night, and still has a shot at the No. 1 seed in the NFC. But Chicago has been just as hot after winning four straight, including 41-14 blowout over Jacksonville last weekend. The suddenly revitalized offense of QB Mitch Trubisky and RB David Montgomery has put the Bears in playoff position and a win here would lock them in. With Chicago excelling in the role of the home underdog (14-5-1 ATS in its last 20), Dunkel is calling for a straight up win by the Monsters of the Midway.
Over in the AFC, the last time the Cleveland Browns made the playoffs was 2002 – the longest current streak in the NFL for postseason futility. Despite a 10-5 record, the Browns dealt their playoff chances a severe blow last weekend with a 23-16 loss to the NY Jets. Suddenly finding themselves in need of a win just to stay in postseason contention, the Browns will go up against their NFC North nemesis in the Pittsburgh Steelers. At 2-12-1 straight up in their last 15 games versus the Steelers, this does not look to be an optimal matchup for the Brown. Dunkel is taking Pittsburgh and the points.
Turning to the NBA, the Dunkels take a look at tonight’s TNT matchups, including a rematch from last year’s Eastern Conference playoffs between the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat eliminated the top-seeded Bucks in five game in that series and started an off-season of player movement in Milwaukee. The changes haven’t seemed to kick in just yet as the Bucks have dropped two of their first three games.
Miami, meanwhile, is coming off a Christmas Day win over the Pelicans despite missing Jimmy Butler in the second half with a sprained ankle. Butler is questionable for tonight, but the Heat have picked up their defensive intensity with the addition of Avery Bradley in the offseason. Dunkel likes Miami in this matchup to build on their 7-2 ATS record in the last 9 home games versus Milwaukee.