Week 16 NFL Picks: How Our Experts Are Betting 9 Spreads & Over/Unders on Sunday

Week 16 NFL Picks: How Our Experts Are Betting 9 Spreads & Over/Unders on Sunday article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: Philip Rivers

  • Our experts reveal how they're betting Sunday's main Week 16 NFL slate, complete with spread and over/under picks for nine games.
  • Ravens-Browns spread. Saints-Titans over/under. Bets for Cowboys-Eagles, Bengals-Dolphins and more.

Which overs do our experts like in Week 16? Any double-digit underdogs worth backing? What’s the best betting angle for Cowboys-Eagles?

Our staff reveals how they’re betting the following nine games on Sunday:

  • Steelers at Jets: 1 p.m. ET
  • Saints at Titans: 1 p.m. ET
  • Bengals at Dolphins: 1 p.m. ET
  • Ravens at Browns: 1 p.m. ET
  • Jaguars at Falcons: 1 p.m. ET
  • Giants at Redskins: 1 p.m. ET
  • Lions at Broncos: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Raiders ar Chargers: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Cowboys at Eagles: 4:25 p.m. ET

Now let’s dig into their spread and over/under picks.


Mike Randle: Steelers-Jets Under 37.5

The Steelers’ offensive struggles have fortunately coincided with an improving defense that now rates among the league’s best. They rank third among all teams in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA, including third-best against the run, and should have their way with a Jets offensive line that ranks among the bottom of the league in run blocking (25th) and pass blocking (30th).

Meanwhile, the most reliable unit for the Jets has been their run-blocking defense, which rates second-best overall in the league. This is a concern for a Steelers offense that will want to limit passing attempts for its third-stringer-turned-starter Hodges. In the Steelers’ last two wins, Devlin Hodges averaged just 20 attempts per game. In their 17-10 home loss to Buffalo, Hodges attempted 38 passes and threw four interceptions.

Both the Jets (11th-slowest) and Steelers (fifth-slowest) prefer a slow, methodical pace. Combining their offensive limitations with strong defenses, as well as Mike Tomlin’s betting trend as outlined in our full game preview, I’m siding with the under, with the first team to 20 points as the likely victor.

Randle is 238-231-5 (50.7%%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

Matthew Freedman: Saints-Titans Over 50

The Saints have been one of the league’s most offensively potent teams for years, and since Ryan Tannehill became the starter for the Titans in Week 7, points have flowed like wine.

  • Tannehill’s starts (eight games): 30.2 points scored, 23.4 points allowed
  • Other starts (six games): 16.3 points scored, 15.3 points allowed

In Tanny’s eight starts, the over is 7-1 (72.5% ROI).

Freedman is 520-389-21 (57.2%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

Freedman: Dolphins +1.5 vs. Bengals

Even with Andy Dalton back in the starting lineup, I have no respect for the 1-13 Bengals, who are No. 32 with 15.1 points per game.

In Dalton’s 11 starts, they have a point differential of -9, having allowed 25.2 points and scored just 16.2.

The Dolphins aren’t much better — they’re No. 32 with 31.1 points per game allowed — but the Dolphins are at least giving full effort and playing as if they actually care about winning.

And they have been significantly better since their Week 5 bye.

  • Weeks 1-4 (four games): -34.3 point differential, 6.5 points scored, 40.8 points allowed
  • Weeks 5-15 (10 games): -5.7 point differential, 21.5 points scored, 27.2 points allowed

After going 0-4 against the spread in September, the Dolphins are 7-3 ATS (35% ROI) since the bye week.

I would bet this all the way up to Dolphins -2.5.

Freedman is 522-393-22 (57%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

Stuckey: Browns +10 vs. Ravens

I’ll actually be at this game — I make the trip to Cleveland each year to see my Ravens. And while I’ll be rooting for them to win to lock up the AFC’s No. 1 seed, it doesn’t mean I won’t bet against them.

Money first. I have no problem separating fandom from my bets.

Bottom line: This line is just too high. I make it right around Baltimore -7.5, so the +10 is too enticing to pass. And not only is this a home dog, it’s a double-digit divisional dog, which is always enticing to me. Since 2003, double-digit dogs in division games are 124-96-6 (56.4%) against the spread for a juicy ROI of just under 9%.

This also fits my principle of selling high. The Ravens are at their peak in the market after blowing out another opponent last Thursday night.

And yes, there are plenty of reasons to love this particular matchup for the Ravens: The extra prep time. The better staff. Their ability to run the ball and to exploit the Browns’ pass defense over the middle of the field. The fact that their corners can match up with Cleveland’s wideouts and blitz more than any NFL team. And that they haven’t forgotten about the blowout loss to the Browns earlier this season — one of the Ravens’ only two defeats this season.

Bu this comes down to value, and the Browns have it at 10 or higher.

 

And don’t sleep on the fact that the Browns already saw this unique Ravens offense and the speed of Lamar Jackson.

Every week, we see the shock value of the Ravens offense, which propels them to big leads that opponents can’t overcome. But we saw how much the Chargers benefited from seeing the Ravens a second time in the postseason in 2018. And while Jackson is a much better quarterback and the defense is even better than last season, that first game should serve Cleveland well.

Nick Chubb could have a big day against a Ravens defense that has weak spots up the middle against the run. And look for Kareem Hunt out of the backfield to make things happen in the passing game when Baker Mayfield has to get the ball out quick against the heavy-blitzing Ravens.

The Ravens also have to have a stinker eventually, right? If so, I hope it’s this week and not in the playoffs.

As always, play numbers, not teams. Go Ravens … by 3.

Stuckey is 312-251-8 (55.4%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

Stuckey: Jaguars +7 at Falcons

The Jags should be able to apply consistent pressure on Matt Ryan with their two outstanding rushers in Yannick Ngakoue and Josh Allen off the edge and Calais Campbell up the middle. They rank fourth in adjusted sack rate and face a subpar Atlanta offensive line that ranks in the top 10 in most hurries, pressures, quarterback hits and sacks allowed.

Out of 35 quarterbacks who have taken at least 200 snaps this season, only four have been under pressure on at least 40% of snaps: Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold and Ryan.

A lot of that pressure comes from the right side, where tackle Kaleb McGary has struggled as a rookie. Per Pro Football Focus, of the 62 tackles with at least 500 snaps this season, McGary grades 55th.

The Jaguars also have the more reliable punter and kicker, both of whom were named alternates to the Pro Bowl. Logan Cooke leads the NFL in net punting while Josh Lambo has been almost automatic at 28-for-29, including 9-for-10 from beyond 40. Atlanta, meanwhile, ranks 30th in net punting and has used four punters in addition to two field goal kickers.

That special teams edge could end up getting the Jags inside what I think is an inflated number as a result of Atlanta’s upset of San Fran.

That win is the primary reason I’m fading the Falcons. This is my favorite situational spot of Week 16 as they’ve consistently flopped in this spot. Not only could they potentially come out flat at home — where they haven’t been great — but there’s also a high-risk of being underprepared against an AFC opponent once again.

Dan Quinn is just 4-16 against the spread against AFC teams, including 14 (!) straight non-covers. Yes, he’s 0-14 in his past 14 meetings against AFC opponents. And in those games, he’s gone just 3-11 straight up.

Also, if you’re into trends, Quinn has been horrible as a favorite at 17-31 ATS (35.4%). Only Mike Shanahan has been less profitable as a favorite among 120 coaches in our BetLabs database since 2003.

Stuckey is 312-251-8 (55.4%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

Randle: Redskins +1 vs. Giants

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.

Randle is 238-231-5 (50.7%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

John Ewing: Lions-Broncos Over 37.5

Oddsmakers don’t have much faith in either team scoring in this matchup. And who can blame them? Nothing says shootout like Drew Lock vs. David Blough. And the Lions rank only 19th in offensive DVOA while the Broncos are 26th.

A majority of tickets are on the under as well.

It’s easy to understand why the public would bet the under, but this is a sneaky good spot to wager on the over. Historically, it’s been profitable to bet the over in low-total, non-division games without wind.

This strategy works because it’s easier for an over to hit if the total is low.

Non-division games feature teams that are less familiar with each other’s tendencies, which promotes a higher-scoring environment. And without windy conditions, the passing and kicking games should be more efficient.

Not only does history point to value on the over, but my colleague Sean Koerner’s projected total is 40. Our model also projects the teams to go over the total with an expected average point total of 39.5 points.

Freedman: Raiders-Chargers Under 45.5

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).

I bet the under at 47, but like it down to 45.

Freedman is 520-389-21 (57.2%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

Freedman: Cowboys-Eagles Under 46

If the Cowboys win, they’ll be the NFC East champions. If the Eagles win, they’ll take the division as long as they dispense with the 3-11 Giants in Week 17.

Given what’s at stake, I expect both teams to slow the game down, look to keep the score close and play with more intention.

And that makes sense: Whenever divisional opponents face off in the final month of the season, we typically see lower-scoring games. The teams are familiar with each other, the weather is colder and they tend to be a little more conservative on offense.

In the Bet Labs database, the December divisional under is an A-graded 288-217-12 (10.9% ROI).

Plus, Dak Prescott has trended toward the under whenever the Cowboys have traveled. Outside of the domed AT&T Stadium, the Dak under is 19-12 (17.8% ROI).

I bet the under at 47.5 but like it down to 45.

Freedman is 522-393-22 (57%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.