Beating the Spread: Week 16 Picks
I managed another winning record in Week 15 (3-2) to push my season record into highly profitable territory. It’s been a lot of fun but I’m amazed at how I felt like I lost last week because I whiffed so badly on the Rams-Cowboys game. I can live with missing on that Broncos cover as the weather conditions would have made me bail on that pick, but I was so fooled by the Rams AND the Cowboys going in opposite directions that I thought the Rams were a sure thing. Shame on me.
Back to the grind this week as Erik has closed the gap between us to 4 games. I need to make sure I don’t give back the lead I’ve built up down the stretch. Erik benefitted from that crazy Eagles finish where they scored a last-second defensive TD to cover. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. When you’re both, look out!
Good luck to all as we near the end of the regular season picks!
The following lines were captured on Tuesday. Betting lines can vary by site and move throughout the week so check yours to make sure that you have similar information.
Week 16 betting lines: (Away Team / Home Team / Line / O-U)
|Buffalo||New England||NE -6.5||38.5|
|Oakland||LA Chargers||LAC -5.5||45.5|
|LA Rams||San Francisco||SF-6||45|
|Houston||Tampa Bay||HOU -3||51|
|New Orleans||Tennessee||NO -1||51|
|Pittsburgh||NY Jets||PIT -3||38.5|
|NY Giants||Washington||WAS -2.5||41.5|
|Kansas City||Chicago||KC -5.5||45|
|Green Bay||Minnesota||MIN -4.5||45.5|
|Analyst||Jeff Berckes||Erik Smith||Tom Schweitzer|
|Pick #1||NO -1||BUF +6.5||OAK +5.5|
|Pick #2||BAL -10||KC -5.5||MIN -4.5|
|Pick #3||SF -6||GB +4.5||IND -7|
|Pick #4||BUF +6.5||PIT -3||MIA -1|
|Pick #5||TB-HOU O/51||PHI +2.5||NE -6.5|
Jeff Berckes: I’m always a little hesitant to take the Saints on the road against a good team, but I can’t get that exhibition out of my head from Monday Night Football. The Saints look like they’re sharpening their knives and know how important these games are down the stretch to get a home game or two in New Orleans (NO -1). Speaking of teams that are sharpening their knives, the Ravens draw the Browns and have a chance to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win. It’s a big, scary line but the Browns sure sound like they’ve got some big issues and are at risk of getting rolled early in this one (BAL -10). One thing I like to look for is a good team coming off a loss. A good team almost always is able to bounce back with a win. San Francisco dropped a weird one in Atlanta but comes home for the Rams. Again it’s a sizable line but the Rams, all but left for dead a month ago, appear to have officially rolled over (SF -6). I hate betting against the Patriots, but that line is simply too big to resist against a good Bills team. The Bills have played excellent defense most of the season and played the Patriots tight back in September. They may not win the division, but I think they can keep this one close if not steal one late in Foxboro (BUF +6.5). Tampa Bay likes to play their games in the stratosphere. They have combined with their opponent to score at least 50 points in 11 of their 14 games. Two of those low scoring games came in the first two weeks before the new offense started to click and the other was against a struggling Nick Foles and the Jaguars. When they play a competent offense, there are points to be had. Enter the Houston Texans, who can score in bunches and has been an average defense this season (TB-HOU Over 51).
Erik Smith: New England’s struggling offense should keep this important AFC East matchup close, and Buffalo has more offensive talent at the skill positions than the Patriots do. I think the Patriots will win, and maybe backing anyone against Tom Brady this time of the year is foolish. But BUF +6.5 feels like just enough wiggle room that at worst a backdoor cover is in play. Patrick Mahomes versus Mitchell Trubisky, need I say more? But in all seriousness, this Chiefs defense isn’t awful, and Mahomes impressed last week against a solid Denver defense in the cold and snow. On the road in Chicago is a different story, but I don’t think the Bears can keep up with the Chiefs’ big-play ability. KC -5.5 is the pick. Green Bay versus Minnesota feels like an even matchup, so I’ll take the Packers with the extra point and a half. Aaron Rodgers has had his mediocre games this year, but I like him in a prime time game with the division on the line. GB +4.5 in what I expect to be a close game that could go either way. Taking the Steelers and their grounded offense certainly doesn’t make me feel great, but with JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner back in the fold and a top-notch defense, they should be able to handle the Jets. A pick-six from Sam Darnold would pretty much lock up PIT -3. It’s a tough week of lines, and I don’t feel great about this last one. But doesn’t it feel like Vegas is begging us to take the Cowboys -2.5? All they need to do is win by a field goal! Meanwhile, the Eagles are at home and have a much better track record of winning big games than Dallas does. With Miles Sanders emerging, the Eagles have a little momentum on offense, so PHI +2.5 is my final choice of Week 16.
Tom Schweitzer: As the weeks go on I’m having more and more difficulty finding five picks I like. This league is complicated enough under normal circumstances, but the questionable motivations of teams with nothing to play for adds an extra layer of uncertainty. Case and point: the LA Chargers. Two weeks ago they blew out the Jaguars in Jacksonville and looked like they might go on a winning streak to finish the season. Then last week they turned the ball over 7 times and suffered their biggest loss of the season. I don’t know which Chargers team will show up this week, but I don’t think they should be this big a favorite against a division rival. Even with Josh Jacobs out, I think the Raiders (+5.5) will be able to run the ball on the Chargers and do enough on defense to keep the game close. The Packers average just 15.7 points per game in the road this year and will have to play in one of the toughest road environments in the league. Minnesota finally has both starting receivers healthy and they’ll be able to run the ball no matter who winds up starting at running back. I would not be surprised if this game is similar to Green Bay’s embarrassing road loss to the 49ers. Give me the Vikings -4.5. Will Grier is in a tough spot, starting his first NFL game on the road for a team whose defense has completely fallen apart. The Colts (-7) are on a 4-game losing streak, but that’s mostly because they hit a rough part of their schedule right when several key players got injured. Their offense is still effective when they’re able to run the ball and I think they’ll be able to do that against a weak Panthers D. I don’t understand why we’re seeing the Dolphins -1 at home against the Bengals. Tanking narratives aside, the Dolphins have been a better team all year. Finally, I want to believe that the Bills can go into New England and knock off the Patriots, but I think their offense has too many limitations. The Patriots (-6.5) always find ways to win these games and earn their bye.
What are your favorite picks of the week? Put in your comments below to play along. We’ll be updating our records all season!
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)