NFL Betting in Week 16 – Early Lines and Odds with Predictions and Picks6 months, 22 days ago
As a whole, week 15 in the NFL was rather tame compared to the previous two weeks of pro football action. That’s the case for sports bettors, at least, as week 15 felt a lot more predictable on the surface.
Keyword being felt.
While things looked pretty straightforward at first, I got tripped up by a few lines early in the week and struggled to a pedestrian 6-7-2 mark through the week’s first 15 games.
Yes, that included two weird pushes and a few upsets I didn’t see coming.
Still, the mediocre record was an improvement on last week’s ghastly numbers, and if you’ve been rolling with me on the year (100-87-4), you should be in the green.
Let’s get a jump on week 16 as the 2018 NFL regular season starts to wind down. Here’s a complete breakdown of all the early week 16 betting odds and lines currently available, with a short preview of each game and my betting picks.
Washington Redskins (+10) @ Tennessee Titans (-10) Total: 37
There appear to be two fine bets in this one. Josh Johnson gives the Redskins hope under center, as he’s looked competent for 5.5 quarters of play and even kept Washington’s playoff hopes alive with a big win last week.
Suddenly, the Redskins aren’t so easy to bet against. That doesn’t mean you should blindly back them on the road against a team with playoff aspirations of their own, but this 10-point spread feels rather ambitious.
Of course, as tempting as the spread is, this 37 total is also just too low.
Anytime you see a total so weak, you need to consider the upside in the over. Neither offense is close to elite, but I think they can muster up enough strength to get you close to 40 points.
Baltimore Ravens (+4.5) @ Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5) Total: 45
This is a huge game for all parties involved, as the Bolts host a Ravens team desperate to hold onto a wild card spot. The Chargers, meanwhile, are coming off of a clutch win over the Chiefs and have huge hopes on the lines.
Los Angeles declared themselves to be an elite team last week, so dropping a winnable home game immediately after would qualify as a massive disappointment. I do see Baltimore’s balance and drive to claim a playoff spot, however, so don’t be shocked if this one goes down to the wire.
PICKBaltimore Ravens (+4.5)-112
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7) @ Dallas Cowboys (-7) Total: 45.5
The Cowboys got roasted in Indianapolis last week, experiencing their first shutout in 15 years. They were facing a desperate Colts team, but I’m not sure going scoreless can really be excused.
As bad as Dallas looked last week, they’re back home with a chance to wrap up the NFC East. They welcome a dangerous Buccaneers offense to town, but they have the ability to shut them down defensively and control the tempo of this game.
This spread is tricky, though, so I’d shoot for a Dallas win or bust.
PICKDallas Cowboys to WinN/A
Buffalo Bills (+13) @ New England Patriots (-13) Total: 45.5
The Patriots fell flat in Pittsburgh last week to drop their second game in a row, an occurrence that has happened twice now on the year. You could bet on New England collapsing here, but that just isn’t their style.
Instead, I’m rolling with the Patriots to refocus at home and trounce the Bills. Buffalo has been in a lot of games this year and played New England well earlier in the season, but there’s nothing to combat an angry Patriots team looking to secure the AFC East title.
PICKNew England Patriots (-13)+100
Jacksonville Jaguars (+5) @ Miami Dolphins (-5) Total: 39.5
Miami clings to faint playoff hope in the AFC, where they need to win out and get some help. They certainly didn’t help themselves last week when they got absolutely thrashed (41-17) in Minnesota.
The Dolphins are still a dangerous team, and bettors get them at home. That being said, Jacksonville’s previously elite defense has been better in the second half of the year, and they’ve stayed in a lot of games. Don’t be shocked if they do that again this week.
PICKJacksonville Jaguars (+5)-110
New York Giants (+9) @ Indianapolis Colts (-9) Total: 46.5
The G-Men got blasted by the Titans at home in week 15, getting shut out in embarrassing fashion. That was surprising to see, especially since New York had looked so competitive over the previous five weeks.
Eli Manning and co. will try to lick their wounds in Indy, where the Colts have tunnel vision for the playoffs. I anticipate a Colts win, but this spread feels dicey. Instead, expect some points in this one.
Chasing a 46.5 total isn’t overly ambitious, not when Indy’s offense is part of the equation.
Minnesota Vikings (-4.5) @ Detroit Lions (+4.5) Total: 43.5
The Vikings held onto the last playoff seed in the NFC with a dominant home win over the Dolphins last week, and they’ll try to punch their ticket with two more wins to cap the season.
Scoring a win over the lifeless Lions doesn’t seem like asking a lot, especially with so much at stake. The Lions are at home in a divisional showdown, though, so I’d rather take the Vikings straight up instead of assuming they’ll coast to getting the points.
PICKMinnesota Vikings to WinN/A
Green Bay Packers (-3) @ New York Jets (+3) Total: 45
The Packers dropped to 0-7 on the road with a loss to the Bears last week, which also eliminated them from playoff contention. Now they travel to New York to face Sam Darnold and the Jets, and I’m not exactly sure why they’re pegged as favorites.
Vegas seems to prop up the Packers because of the presence of Aaron Rodgers, yet he’s only been good for five wins on the year. This feels like a fun opportunity to back a home dog, while the Jets have played spirited football since Darnold returned from injury.
PICKNew York Jets to WinN/A
Cincinnati Bengals (+6.5) @ Cleveland Browns (-6.5) Total: 46
The Bengals surprised me last week, as they didn’t just end their losing streak, but they also easily beat the Raiders. That’s no tall feat, but their defense actually looked respectable for a change.
If you’re betting on the outcome here, the Bengals against a +6.5 spread feels inviting. However, the more logical play is the over in a game with some suspect defense and capable offense.
Chicago Bears (-3.5) @ San Francisco 49ers (+3.5) Total: 42.5
The Bears clinched the NFC North last week and now have a chance to move toward a first-round bye in the playoffs. They just need to win out and hope the Rams drop one more game.
Chicago has a fairly easy path to that right now, while the 49ers are going to be riding high after beating the rival Seahawks. That, or they’ll be easy prey and primed for a letdown. Given Chicago’s nasty defense, I’d bet on the latter.
PICKChicago Bears (-3.5)-109
Houston Texans @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Texans got back on track with a tight win in New York on Saturday and are back in the driver’s seat to securing the AFC South title. They can’t afford to trip up, however, as both the Colts and Titans are currently nipping at their heels.
Philly shocked with a clutch win over the Rams in week 15, so it’s tough to say the Eagles are dead in the water even with Carson Wentz (back) ailing. The Nick Foles story is a fun one, but he’s had his ride. Look for Houston to inch closer to a division title with another crucial victory.
PICKHouston Texans to WinN/A
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers
The Falcons surprised with a huge blowout win at home this past week, ending a nasty losing skid and reminding everyone of their potential. They’ll have to take it to the road in week 16, though, where they’ll hope to add to an abhorrent 1-5 road mark.
Carolina is flat-out reeling these days and will probably lose to the Saints on Monday Night Football, but every skid ends eventually. I like the Panthers to finally get their footing in week 16, regardless of what happens against New Orleans.
PICKCarolina Panthers to WinN/A
Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
The Rams are in a weird spot right now. Jared Goff once again looked pedestrian in another loss, and suddenly they’re at risk of losing their hold on a first-round bye.
The good news is the Rams get to face a bad Cardinals team and should be able to get back on track. The spread isn’t out for this one, but assuming it’s not utterly egregious, you can target LA to cover.
PICKLos Angeles Rams to CoverN/A
Pittsburgh Steelers (+6) @ New Orleans Saints (-6)
The Steelers nailed a clutch win at home against the Patriots last week, which ended an ugly three-game skid and helped them hold onto the AFC North. They can’t really afford to get tripped up again down the stretch, but week 16 offers an impossible task of out-scoring the Saints in New Orleans.
Pittsburgh has a chance due to their offensive upside and need for a win here, but the Saints are the superior team and are a blistering 5-1 on the road. They also have their own ambitions of securing the top seed in the NFC, so I’m not about to bet against them.
Still, +6 is pretty steep for a talented team that needs a win. Expect a closer game than SportsBetting.ag is pricing.
PICKPittsburgh Steelers (+6)-110
Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) @ Seattle Seahawks (+2.5) Total: 53.5
The Chiefs got burned by some clutch decision-making last week but otherwise remain a very tough out. They still have quite the challenge in trying to get a win in Seattle, but it’s awfully hard to go against them in any fashion right now.
Seattle, meanwhile, fell victim to a trap game in San Francisco. There’s little doubt they’ll bounce back and get up for an intense showdown with the Chiefs, but it’ll be obvious they’re not the better team here.
PICKKansas City Chiefs (-2.5)-115
Denver Broncos (-2.5) @ Oakland Raiders (+2.5) Total: 45
Lastly, the Broncos and Raiders give us a tense rivalry clash to cap week 16. The last time these two teams met, we got a game that went down to the wire, and surely that’s what fans should enjoy again.
Oakland is very tough to trust in any regard, but consider they’re at home and have been fairly competitive over the past few weeks. The Broncos are the better team and will be hoping to finish the season strong, however. Look for Case Keenum and co. to complete the sweep.
PICKDenver Broncos to WinN/A
That does it for this week’s look at early NFL betting lines. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, things get very tricky down the stretch, as losing teams play for pride and to play spoiler, while the better teams in the league have a lot on the line.
This week, it’s important to consider that more than ever, especially with a few teams facing seemingly impossible situations.
Overall, the last two weeks have not gone as planned, but I think there’s a good chance to bounce back with a big run in week 16. Several playoff contenders are in favorable spots and can’t afford to lose, so don’t be too shocked if the way the NFL betting sites price things leans toward how things actually go.
The trick, of course, will be where to bet on the spread and where to avoid it. Hopefully, I’ve mapped out those spots successfully for this week. Either way, thanks for stopping by, and good luck with your week 16 wagers!
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