NFL Picks & Predictions: How To Bet the Colts-Steelers Spread & Browns-Jets Total
Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Roethlisberger
One way I find betting edges is by comparing the odds to my NFL Power Ratings — if there’s a notable difference between, I’ll make a bet. (By the way, you can access our consensus model ratings with our NFL PRO Projections.)
Each week of the season I’ll highlight the biggest of those edges — and we’ve got two for the Week 16 slate. I detail which side of the Colts-Steelers spread I’m on and how I’m betting Browns-Jets total.
I’ve also included my five favorite player prop bets for Sunday’s slate.
NFL Picks & Predictions
Colts at Steelers
After an 11-0 start, the Steelers have now lost three in a row.
The most recent loss was to the Bengals on Monday Night Football — a matchup for which the Steelers were listed as 14.5-point favorites. That result has created a public revolt against them in the betting market with 61% of the tickets and 74% of the money pouring in on the Colts as of Saturday (go to real-time public betting data).
However, the Steelers should bounce back after being embarrassed — head coach Mike Tomlin will make sure of it.
I was very high on the Steelers heading into the season, but it’s been several weeks since I’ve backed them against the spread. One main reason has been the injuries piling up on defense: They’ve now lost linebackers Devin Bush and Bud Dupree to season-ending injuries. They still have Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt fully healthy, but if any one of those three were ever to miss time, I would downgrade their team power rating to account for the “cluster” of injuries.
Our NFL PRO Report confirms that sharp bettors are on the Steelers, which is why this line has swung in their direction this weekend. It’s still on the move, so lock them in at the best price you can find (shop real-time lines here).
Browns at Jets
A lot of the reasons I loved the under in last week’s Jets-Rams matchup also apply here — it was pretty comical that the expected flow of that matchup was flipped on its head with the 17.5-point favored Rams trailing the Jets the entire way. I doubt the Browns make the same mistake here — even with four of their pass-catchers out on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Browns’ brand of run-heavy football (third-highest run rate in the NFL) makes them reliable as heavy favorites. However, the Jets’ main strength is still their run defense, ranking eighth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA — that should help the Jets slow down the duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt at least a little bit.
The Rams had a fairly vanilla game plan against the Jets, likely as a result of looking ahead to their Week 16 matchup against the Seahawks. Well, the Browns are in a similar spot this week with the Steelers up next.
The most important point I made last week, though, was that 43 is the most important number when it comes to totals. The fact that we were getting 43.5 was the real reason we won that bet (the final score was 23-20). We’re betting on numbers, after all. And even with the Browns’ missing pass-catchers, I still like this under down to 44.