NFL Week 16 Picks & Predictions: The Bets Our Experts Locked in Early, Including Texans vs. Buccaneers
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4).
- Betting early in the week is often the best way to beat closing lines, and get the most value out of your picks.
- Our experts reveal the early NFL bets they made for Week 16 below.
NFL spreads usually open up on Sunday evenings for the following week — and after they do, they’re almost immediately on the move. The early bets serve as a signal to bookmakers for what the “true” odds should be, and sportsbooks aren’t shy about adjusting on the fly if the market is telling them they missed the mark.
Betting earlier in the week is a key way you can beat the closing line, which should be your goal as a bettor.
Our NFL experts picked three games early in an attempt to beat the market:
- Chris Raybon analyzes Texans at Buccaneers (Odds: Texans -2)
- Matthew Freedman and John Ewing discuss Raiders at Chargers (Odds: Chargers -5.5)
- Mike Randle hits on Giants at Redskins (Odds: Redskins -2.5)
Odds as of Monday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.
Chris Raybon: Texans -2
I usually don’t back the Texans as favorites because Bill O’Brien’s team tends to play down to the competition, but I had to jump on them as a short favorite against the Bucs.
It looks like Chris Godwin (hamstring) will be joining Mike Evans (hamstring) on the sidelines for this one, or at the very least be limited on a short week. Losing Godwin is arguably a bigger blow than Evans for uber-productive but uber-reckless quarterback Jameis Winston. Whereas Winston completed 56.2% of his passes with a 7.6% interception rate to Evans, he has connected on 72.1% of attempts to Godwin with an interception rate of 5.7%.
Meanwhile, the Texans offense should be at full strength with Will Fuller another week removed from his own hamstring issue and Kenny Stills demanding more defensive attention after catching two touchdowns last week.
Winston had previously been profitable to back as an underdog, be he’s just 3-5 against the spread as an underdog this season, according to our Bet Labs data. With a healthier stable of talented skill players and the superior, less turnover-prone quarterback, I like the Texans chances to cover the short spread in a potential shootout.
I jumped on this early at -1, and it has since been bet up to -2, but I still like it as long as it’s not past the key number of -3.
Raybon is 183-138-10 (57%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.
Matthew Freedman: Raiders-Chargers Under 46
Since the Chargers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2017 and started playing in the miniature StubHub Center — now Dignity Health Sports Park, although it will always be the StubHub in my heart — they have been one of the league’s most under-friendly home teams.
Is there a reason for the StubHub under? My sense is that the Chargers simply lack the home-field advantage most teams have. On the road, they have averaged 23.4 points per game, but at home they have experienced just a slight uptick to 24.1.
Without the natural home-field scoring boost most teams get, the Chargers are understandably prone to the under in LA. The StubHub under is 14-7 (29.2% ROI).
Freedman is 522-393-22 (57%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.
John Ewing: Raiders-Chargers under 46
The optimal time to bet NFL unders is in late-season division matchups with high totals. This strategy works for three reasons: late in the season teams are dealing with injuries that limit their offensive upside, division matchups create a low scoring environment due to increased familiarity amongst opponents and it is just easier for a under to cash in a high total game.
A $100 bettor following this strategy would have returned a profit of $6,755 since 2003.
Chargers-Raiders is a match for this system. The total opened 47 and has been bet down to 46. The Action Network NFL simulations projects the teams to combine for 43.8 points on average.
John Ewing is 326-298-17 (52.2%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.
Mike Randle: Redskins -2.5
The Giants had their moment for Eli Manning last week, and now travel on the road to Washington to face a Redskins team that is playing much better than their record would indicate.
The Redskins are 2-2 in their past four games, including a home win over the Lions and an impressive road win at Carolina. They have been very competitive in their last two losses with a five-point road loss to the Packers and a home loss to the Eagles that was decided on the last play of the game. The Redskins’ defense has been much improved and will be ready at home against their division rivals.
The Giants 28th-ranked pass defense will have no answer for rookie wideout Terry McLaurin and quarterback Dwayne Haskins (two touchdowns, zero interceptions) looked much more comfortable at home against Philadelphia.
The Giants are 1-6 away from home, with their only win coming as a result of a last-second missed 34-year field goal. I’ll take a Washington team that has been much more competitive under interim head coach Bill Callahan and give the points before the line creeps over the magic number of -3.
Randle is 238-231-5 (50.7%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.