Beating the Spread: Week 16 Picks

Our Week 16. Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

COVID messed with the NFL schedule last week and delayed the release of the odds for this week which is why this article was delayed a bit today.  We’re here now, though, and glad you can join us!  Out streak of winning weeks came to a screeching halt as the group finished the week 9-11 with the Packers and the Patriots costing us big.

This week, the crew likes Miami as an underdog and the Rams to continue their push for an NFC West crown.  Big favorites are getting some love this week too in the Chargers and Buccaneers.  Will these teams break our hearts again or are we staring down another winning week?  The games start on Saturday this week, so we’ll get some answers soon!

Gamblers know that 60% is the magic number to come out ahead, so that’s the goal again this season.  We didn’t make it last year, which just motivates us, even more, this season.  Every week the four of us will pick five games against the spread or on the over/under.  We’ll track the picks every week and see where we end up.  Feel free to play along in the comments or find us on Twitter!

Let’s get to the lines and picks for Week 16!

The following lines were captured on Wednesday this week. 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 Home Line O/U
Browns Packers Packers -7.5 45.5
Colts Cardinals Cardinals -1 49
Rams Vikings Rams -3 49.5
Chargers Texans Chargers -10 45.5
Giants Eagles Eagles -10 40.5
Bills Patriots Patriots -2.5 43.5
Buccaneers Panthers Buccaneers -10 43.5
Jaguars Jets Jets -2.5 41.5
Lions Falcons Falcons -5.5 43
Ravens Bengals Bengals -3 45
Bears Seahawks Seahawks -6.5 42.5
Broncos Raiders PICK 41.5
Steelers Chiefs Chiefs -8.5 45
Football Team Cowboys Cowboys -11 46.5
Dolphins Saints Saints -3 38.5
Staff Picks

 

Analysis

 

Justin Dunbar: Justin puts together an article analyzing some of his picks in more detail.  Check out his Week 16 Betting Preview for more! Here are some snippets from his first three picks for this week.

Yes, Los Angeles may be without center Corey Linsley and edge rusher Joey Bosa in this game- they are on the COVID-19 list. However, so is Texans receiver Brandin Cooks, who has been practically their entire source of offensive production this year! I’ll take the Chargers to win by double digits here. LAC -10

I wish I was getting three points here, but with the confidence I have that Buffalo can win this game outright, I’ll still pick them as a 2.5-point underdog. BUF +2.5

This is just not a good matchup for Kirk Cousins and co., and the result is likely a loss a lot uglier than just three points. LAR -3

The Colts are coming off a big win against the Patriots, while the Cardinals just got blown out by the Lions, of all teams. However, I see a reverse of fortunes in this game. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Colts defense ranks 25th in opposing pass success rate. The Cardinals, meanwhile, rank 3rd in explosive pass rate and could take advantage of a vulnerable secondary. Yes, Indianapolis has been playing well defensively, but they also are tied for the lead in takeaways this season. That speaks to eventual regression, and there’s no better time for that start against a Cardinals offense that a) has been a top-ten unit this season and b) will be looking to get back on track this week. When Kyler Murray is only laying one point over a Carson Wentz-led team, I’ll lean with the former. ARI -1

With Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemien on the COVID-19 list, the Saints will be starting fourth-round rookie Ian Book in this matchup. New Orleans’ offense was already struggling as is, but that would appear to be too much adversity to overcome. It’s likely Miami wins this game outright at this point, but given how unlikely it is that points are scored by either side, I don’t see them losing by more than three points. I’ll gladly take three points against Ian Book here. MIA +3

 

Brennan Rampe: The Packers won a thriller over the Ravens to improve to 11-3 and are the top seed in the NFC. Aaron Rodgers is the favorite to win the MVP, and the team is playing well on both sides of the ball. The defense is starting to give up points regularly but is making key plays when it matters the most. The Browns just might be the most disappointing team in the NFL this season. They are 7-7 and in last place in the AFC North. In 2019, the Browns were hyped up as Super Bowl contenders and missed the playoffs. A lot was expected of them this year, and it’s highly unlikely that they will make the playoffs. Several key players remain on the coronavirus reserve list. The Packers have only lost three games at Lambeau Field in the Matt LaFleur era, and are undefeated there so far this season. This Packers team is my pick to win Super Bowl LVI, and I think the Packers win and cover against the Browns. Inside the Numbers: Green Bay is 17-7 against the spread as home favorites under Matt LaFleur. GB -7.5

The Colts had a very impressive win on Saturday against the Patriots. They nearly blew a 20-0 lead but held on. This team has a very good chance of making the playoffs. The Cardinals lost in what was one of the biggest upsets of the season. They got blown out by the Lions, a team considered one of the worst in the league. The absence of DeAndre Hopkins is being felt, and the rush defense is developing as a major weakness. I’m a little concerned about them. They’re 7-1 on the road and are only 3-3 at home, which is pretty weird. The Colts have the coaching advantage, and Jonathan Taylor should have another great performance. I like the Colts to go on the road and win. Inside the Numbers: Indianapolis is 12-7-2 against the spread as away underdogs under Frank Reich. IND +1

The Buccaneers lost yet again to the Saints in a 9-0 loss. Tom Brady is 0-4 against them in the regular season, although he did beat them in the Divisional Round last year. Last year, the Buccaneers lost 38-3 to the Saints at home. The next week, they played the Panthers on the road and won convincingly. The same thing is setting up to occur again. They are going on the road to play the Panthers, and this team isn’t going to play that poorly on offense in consecutive weeks. Antonio Brown is back from his suspension, and they have decent depth at running back and wide receiver to overcome injuries that are starting to increase. This Panthers team isn’t much better than the 2020 Panthers team. They might be worse. The plan is to start Cam Newton and have Sam Darnold play as well. That’s probably going to end up being a disaster. I expect the Buccaneers to bounce back with a big win on the road and cover. Inside the Numbers: Tampa Bay is 6-2 against the spread after a loss with Tom Brady. TB -10

The Ravens lost to the Packers in a heartbreaker, but backup quarterback Tyler Huntley played fantastically. They scored 30 points, which they hadn’t done since Week 9. The Bengals had a big road win against the Broncos to improve to 8-6, and they’re now going home to play the most important game they’ve played in years. They have a chance to sweep the Ravens and stay in first place in the AFC North. The Bengals won in Baltimore 41-17 Week 7, but I think it’ll be a little closer this time despite all of the injuries the Ravens have suffered. Regardless of whether Lamar Jackson or Huntley starts for the Ravens, I think they perform better on offense this time against the Bengals. I think the Bengals will score plenty themselves. Marlon Humphrey isn’t playing in this game, so the wide receivers should play extremely well. I think this game has the potential to be a high-scoring thriller. Inside the Numbers: Cincinnati is averaging 26.3 points per game this season, while Baltimore has a 23.8 average. CIN/BAL O45

The Seahawks lost a close game to the Rams and gave it all they had despite being without several key players on both sides of the ball. No one knows what Russell Wilson’s future with the team is, but beating the Bears at home shouldn’t be all that hard. This Bears team has completely fallen apart. The offense was terrible against the Vikings and didn’t score a touchdown until the very last play of the game. Players also committed multiple personal foul penalties, and Matt Nagy even drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Nagy’s firing is inevitable, and with new rules that allow teams to interview candidates in the last two weeks of the regular season, this could potentially be his last game if they lose. The Seahawks should get Alex Collins and Tyler Lockett back, which will help the offense. The defense had a great performance against the Rams on the road, so they should be able to prevent rookie quarterback Justin Fields from doing anything. I think the Seahawks will win at home and cover.  SEA -6.5

 

Erik Smith: These will be quick hitters since I’m on the road this week, Happy Holidays everyone! The Rams are settling into a groove and still have another level to unlock as Odell Beckham Jr. quietly looks explosive again. I like the Rams in both a shootout as well as a defensive struggle. LAR -3

I wonder if the Pats are fading down the stretch, as they have been playing over their heads and a year ahead of schedule in the rebuild. The Bills desperately need this game, and I think they could have beaten the Patriots if not for the weather in the last matchup. The 2.5 points might come in handy in a potentially close game. BUF +2.5

I debated whether I should pick this one, but in a game that amounts to a must-win playoff game, give me the healthier team in Cincinnati. It doesn’t hurt to have Joe Burrow’s magic to bail us out late if needed. CIN -3

Drew Lock isn’t good, but Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t been all that great either. If the defense and running game can just keep this one on the rails, I’ll take my chances with the better all-around team. DEN Pick ‘Em

The Dolphins are hot, the Saints are on a fourth-string QB, and Sean Payton’s magic can only go so far. Tua and the Dolphins keep winning in their push for the playoffs. MIA +3

 

Bryan Sweet: The Saints are throwing rookie Ian Book into his first start against an attacking defense that likes to play tight man-to-man and pressure the QB.  Not a good situation for your first NFL action.  Miami is known for its defense under HC Brian Flores and should make life more than difficult against Book.  Miami might not need much more than 10 points to win this one and I just don’t see New Orleans keeping this close.  Give me the points, but I think Miami wins outright.  MIA +3

I’m basing much of this pick on the fact that both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will be cleared to play this weekend given the new rules regarding players coming off the COVID list.  Kansas City has won seven in a row in their quest for another AFC West championship and Pittsburgh is trudging towards the end of the season.  Pittsburgh has struggled early in games this season and that could be a recipe for disaster against the quick-strike Chiefs.  Look for Kansas City to build a big lead and cruise to victory.  KC -8.5

In my mind, there are three teams clearly at the top of the NFC and the Rams are one of those teams.  Matthew Stafford looks to now have a full grasp of Sean McVay’s system and Cooper Kupp is the odds-on favorite for the MVP Award.  This team is clicking right now and has a chance to take over the NFC West lead if Arizona continues to struggle.  Look for the Rams to take advantage of a banged-up Kirk Cousins and an offense sans Dalvin Cook for their 11th win.  LAR -3

We’re staying in L.A. for my next pick as we turn our attention to the Chargers.  This is one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and gets to continue their quest for a playoff spot as they’re currently in a group of AFC teams at 8-6.  Houston is going to be down one of their best offensive weapons with Brandin Cooks on the COVID list and they simply don’t have the talent to keep pace with the Chargers.  Look for an easy win for Justin Herbert this week. LAC -10

There are two teams in the NFL that can wreck some Super Bowl aspirations and one of them is an underdog this week.  The Colts, fresh off a dominating victory over the Patriots, are looking to keep pace with the Titans in the AFC South as Tennessee escaped with a victory Thursday night.  Arizona has shown a tendency to have a drop in production late in the season under Kliff Kingsbury, and Kyler Murray looked lost last week without Deandre Hopkins.  These two teams are heading in opposite directions and I like the Colts to head into Glendale and take care of business.  IND +1

 


 

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)

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