Your curated list of wagers for Week 16 of the NFL season, from moneylines and player props to overlooked underdogs.
After being delivered a great pile of coal throughout the season in the form of bad beats and injuries, could the holiday season launch a desired change in fortunes for one and all?
Coming off a 3-0-1 week, let’s continue that as we unwrap our NFL Week 16 best bets.
NFL Week 16 Best Bets Overview
All odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Best Over/Under Bet for Week 16
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
- Over/Under: 35.5
Batten down the hatches! The Texans must survive a date with Derrick Henry.
If you follow any sort of football-ridden social media account, surely you heard all week about how Henry is their owner. After all, entering this critical Week 16 bout between AFC South rivals, the 28-year-old carries a streak of — channeling LeBron James for a second: not one, not two, not three… — four straight 200-yard games on the ground against Houston.
Taking into account that most running backs throughout NFL HISTORY don’t even have one such performance on their resumé — or even anything close to that benchmark — it’s just mesmerizing stuff.
Well, this is something that can also be used to the advantage of a ‘totals’ bettor. What else could the Titans possibly have in store for this matchup when their running back has exhibited such ownage?
Establishing the run is a beautiful strategy for an under and there’s no reason to expect anything else when Tennessee has the football. Plus, remember that QB1 Ryan Tannehill is out, and with Malik Willis — a scrambling quarterback, mind you — in his stead, expect a full-on rush attack.
But what about the other side of this equation? There is still the issue of dealing with a Titans pass defense that yields a whole lot of yards, hence why they’re ranked last in the NFL in said category.
However, may I raise you the fact that this D is finally starting to get healthier? Getting Denico Autry (knee), Amani Hooker (knee) and Tre Avery (concussion) back from injury should be a big help, and even besides that, they’re not facing some world-beater on offense. This is a mostly insipid bunch led by Davis Mills.
And the second-year signal-caller doesn’t even really lead the way anymore; not when the Texans are deploying so many two-quarterback sets featuring backup extraordinaire Jeff Driskel. Without standout rookie Dameon Pierce, I’m not too worried at all about this group hanging a crooked tally on the scoreboard.
As important as any point in pursuing this under is the anticipated cold weather. All across the country, Arctic-like conditions are settling in for the holidays and Nashville, Tennessee will be no different, with temperatures of around 20 degrees.
Expect these conditions to play an additional role in helping maintain minimal scoring. I strongly suggest buying the under to 37 in case of a 20-17/24-13 final. The Pick: UNDER 37 (-135)
Best Point Spread Bet for Week 16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals
- Spread: Buccaneers -7.5/Cardinals +7.5
Laying more than a touchdown on the road is not an easy endeavor when it comes to betting spreads. Nevertheless, this particular enormous mismatch of QB counterparts merits committing to such.
On one side, it’s Tom Brady. The indisputable greatest of all-time. While his team might be having a surprising losing season, the 23-year veteran is still crafting a fine campaign in his own right, meaning this predicament the Bucs find themselves in isn’t because Brady has fallen off. There’s no question he hasn’t.
So you have all-time class and mastery — on a prime time holiday stage with the whole country watching — taking on…
Trace McSorley. A third-string quarterback having no ceiling whatsoever, leading a team that is clearly done for.
Well, aside from the fact that McSorley isn’t good at all, let’s also emphasize how strong the defense is that he’ll be facing. Tampa Bay boasts one of the four defenses in the NFL that has at least 40 sacks and is holding opponents to less than 200 yards of passing every week.
And they’re healthy, so don’t be worried there about limiting Arizona offensively.
As for what Brady is about to entangle, there shouldn’t be a reason to worry there, either. The Cardinals give up more points on average (26.6) than all but one NFL club (Lions) while being diced for the highest passer rating (99.0) by opposing quarterbacks compared to any other D.
Yes, there is that stat going around highlighting that Brady is a shocking 2-15 against the spread his last 17 ballgames in prime time. That just isn’t going to sustain. I’m electing to buy a half-point in case they only win by a touchdown and the extra point.
The Pick: BUCCANEERS -7 (-130)
Best Teaser Bet (2 team, 6.5 points) of Week 16
- NO/CLE U32.5 —> U39
- Buccaneers -8 —> -1.5
“Yoooooo, have you seen the weather report in Cleveland this week??” is a betting-related text (or some variation of it) that has no doubt been making a few rounds this week.
Your mileage may vary, but still. Come on.
That’s because the conditions from FirstEnergy Stadium are going to be memorably deplorable — so deplorable, in fact, that Saturday’s Saints–Browns contest is carrying the lowest over/under for an NFL game since 2008 at just 32.5.
Not ironically, the Browns were involved there as well. And the under easily hit that afternoon in clinging to a 14-0 final score.
Only 31 passes combined were thrown by both teams (including nine from Ryan Fitzpatrick!). Given the weather that’s in store for The Land this week, it would be a real surprise to see even that many attempts when these “Call Me, Maybe?” contenders go at it only hours before Christmas Eve.
Temperatures will be expected to flirt with single digits for the duration of the matchup. Extremely heavy winds hovering around 50 m.p.h. are in the forecast, while wind chills could be as deflated as 30 below zero. Yeah, this won’t be pretty.
So, it makes sense to at least have some action in and around these woeful conditions knowing exactly how this game is going to play out: with a lot of running the football.
And with that comes a feverish ticking of the clock and shoddy play. Cue the old, tired cliche: “Points will be at a premium.”
If that hits, we still have to wait to enjoy the second half of this teaser on Christmas night, when a somehow-not-flexed-out Bucs-Cardinals bout kicks off.
This one is academic. Despite their 6-8 record, Tampa Bay is still in pole position to win the NFC South again and sneak into the playoffs. The other three division residents all remain in the hunt for them, however.
You have Tom Brady in prime time to lean on in this huge spot. And he’s facing a fading Cardinals squad that is out of it and now on their third-string quarterback.
Feel good about TB12 beating Trace McSorley in a must-win predicament. If you’ve noticed, he’s made a bit of a notable living doing just that.
Best Prop Bet of Week 16
- Nick Chubb Over/Under 18.5 Rush Attempts
Obviously, as already highlighted, the conditions to be featured in this game will be a challenging “battle of the elements.”
When that’s the case, what do teams do far more frequently? Go to the ground game. In this type of rare extreme wind, there’s even more of an assurance of that due to the difficulties of throwing the ball.
As a result, enter the world of Nick Chubb. One of the game’s select few true workhorse tailbacks, Chubb is built for this type of adversity and will be treated as such by his coaching staff. The former Georgia Bulldog averages 18 carries per game and figures to be relied upon more than usual with the setting calling for it.
There’s always Kareem Hunt to vulture some totes away, too, of course — or even Deshaun Watson — but given the unique atmosphere on this stage the day before Christmas, I envision plenty of rushes to be spread around. Chubb decisively leads. The Pick: OVER 18.5 Rush Attempts (-114)
NFL Best Bets Record for the 2022 Season
- Over/Unders: “6-9“
- Spreads: “5-5-2“
- Teasers: “4-8-1“
- Props: “9-9“
- Overall Record*: “24-31-3,” -18.5 units
*Each over/under is graded to win 2 units; everything else for 1 unit
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