During the NFL season, Stadium sports betting analyst Nate Jacobson will break down every single point spread using lines as of Thursday morning. Here are his thoughts on the Week 16 slate.
Note: Nate will discuss all of his college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast that drops every Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Sides I’m Considering
Ravens (+3) over Bengals: I’ve bet against the Bengals several times as favorites this season and I’m planning on doing it again this week. I don’t think much of Bengals head coach Zac Taylor and their offensive line has become a liability this season.
The question for me in this game is when to bet the Ravens with the uncertainty of who will play quarterback. This line was Bengals -2.5 for most of this week. After Lamar Jackson didn’t practice on Wednesday, it moved to Bengals -3. I’m willing to risk waiting on this bet to see if Tyler Huntley gets the nod for the second-straight game and would take Baltimore at a bigger number.
Vikings (+3) over Rams: I have bet on the Vikings many times this season because I think they are a better team than their record indicates. They are 7-7, but amazingly have had a lead of six points or more in all 14 games they have played this season.
I like the situation for Minnesota here, catching a Rams team who last played on Tuesday and has a long trip with an early start for this game. My number makes this game Rams -2 so there’s some line value on the Vikings if you can bet them at the key number of +3 in a game they need to win to realistically keep their playoff hopes alive.
Bills (+2.5) over Patriots: This is a quick rematch of a wild Monday night game we saw in Week 13 in which the Patriots won 14-10 and only attempted three passes due to the weather and game script. The Bills had several chances to take the lead in the second half, but fell short in the red zone and left with a disappointing loss as a three-point favorite.
Now, the Patriots are close to a field goal favorite in this game, and I personally make this game Patriots -1 if you factor in two points of home-field advantage for New England. The weather in Foxborough will be chilly on Sunday, but it doesn’t look like there will be the factor of wind that really benefited the Patriots in the first meeting. I’ll gladly take the points with the Bills to at least cover in the rematch, and they make for a great teaser option this week.
Dolphins (+3) over Saints: The Saints have been a pretty easy team for me to figure out this season, despite all their injuries and three different starting quarterbacks. Look to bet on them as underdogs and bet against them as favorites. This is a very intriguing Monday night game for playoff purposes, as both teams are 7-7 and need this win to stay in the race of their respective conferences.
The Saints are coming off a big defensive performance where they shut out Tom Brady and beat the Buccaneers 9-0. However, their offense settled for three field goals and recorded just 3.5 yards per play. On the other side, the Dolphins have won six straight games, although they’ve only played one road game in that stretch. I still like the underdog in this game with a low total of 39 and another opportunity to fade the Saints when they are the favorite.
49ers (-3) at Titans: Both teams are going in different directions, as the 8-6 49ers have won five of their last six games and the 9-5 Titans have lost three of their last four. San Francisco’s offense is in great form over this six-game stretch and Tennessee’s offense has had very little success since Derrick Henry’s foot injury in Week 8.
With the ways these teams are trending, it’s no surprise the 49ers took a lot of early money in this game to push this number to as high as 49ers -4. The Titans could be getting WR A.J. Brown back, which would be a huge addition in a matchup against a leaky 49ers secondary. It’s hard to make a case for the 49ers at this price and that they have to travel two time zones for a Thursday night game. However, I don’t have interest in betting on this version of the Titans until both Brown and Henry are back in the fold.
Browns at Packers (-7.5): The Browns have a rest disadvantage in this game because their Week 15 matchup against the Raiders was pushed from Saturday to Monday, and now Cleveland has to travel to Green Bay for a Saturday afternoon game on Christmas Day. Cleveland is also at a disadvantage because of the amount of players on the COVID list.
If the Browns get key players back before Saturday, then I would be interested in betting on them at this number. But with some unclarity of the COVID rules in the NFL, I’m going to wait closer to the holiday before making a decision.
Colts at Cardinals (-1): This game sets up similarly to the 49ers-Titans game — the point spread is dictated by recent form as opposed to the season-long body of work. The 8-6 Colts are the trendy AFC team, especially after their Saturday night win over the Patriots this past week. The 10-4 Cardinals have dropped two straight games with their most recent being a 30-12 drubbing at the hands of the Lions.
The look-head number before the Week 15 results was Cardinals -4, so I could never bet on the Colts at this point spread. At the same time, the Cardinals are not a team I’m looking to bet on because of the recent swoon and their rush defense is in for a tough matchup against Colts RB Jonathan Taylor. I’m going to stay away from betting this game and just watch it on Christmas night.
Buccaneers (-10) at Panthers: The look-ahead line for this game was Buccaneers -11. It adjusted to -14 on Sunday evening after the Panthers’ loss to the Bills, but before the Buccaneers took the field as double-digit home favorites against the Saints. Tampa Bay had a disastrous performance in which they were shut out 9-0, and Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette all left the game with injuries. The cluster of injuries on offense for the Buccaneers has caused this number to go back down.
I am interested in betting on the Panthers, but some of the value in the number might be gone because the injuries are accounted for. Evans has a shot to play Sunday, and the Buccaneers will be getting Antonio Brown back from injury and suspension. If this line goes back up, I’ll consider the Panthers on Sunday.
Giants at Eagles (-10): There’s a lot of uncertainty in this game with Giants QB Daniel Jones out for the season, and Mike Glennon has struggled since taking over. That sets up the possibility of Jake Fromm getting the start for New York. The Eagles were involved in a Week 15 postponed game that took place on Tuesday so they have short rest and head coach Nick Sirianni tested positive for COVID on Wednesday.
Chargers (-10) at Texans: Both teams are going through COVID issues so I’ll wait and see where the line goes.
Lions at Falcons (-5.5): The Falcons were as low as four-point favorites in this game, and then the news that QB Jared Goff was placed on the COVID list came out Monday afternoon. Regardless of who starts at quarterback for Detroit, I will likely pass this game because betting the Falcons as a favorite doesn’t sound appealing.
Jaguars at Jets (PK): The Jets got out to as high as a three-point favorite in this game, and I immediately became interested in the Jaguars catching a field goal in a game where not much separates the two teams. But the COVID news came in for the Jets on Wednesday — including head coach Robert Saleh — and this line moved to a pick ’em. I missed my chance to bet on Jacksonville, so I’m not going to chase a bad price.
Bears at Seahawks (-6.5): The Seahawks’ outside chance of making the playoffs became slim to none after a loss to the Rams on Tuesday. They are now 5-9 and are a deflated group in my view for this upcoming home game against the Bears. Chicago isn’t a team I would advocate betting on right now, but it’s hard to make a case for Seattle in this big of a favorite role with their playoff goals crushed.
Steelers at Chiefs (-7.5): The Steelers are coming off an improbable 19-13 win over the Titans in which their offense only recorded 168 yards. Forcing four turnovers was the difference for Pittsburgh, and they fit the profile of a team I want to fade off a flukey victory.
This line was at Chiefs -10 early this week and I would’ve consider laying a big number with a Kansas City team with three extra days to prepare. However, COVID has hit the Chiefs with TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreek Hill going on the list and we’ve seen this line go down. If the Chiefs get one of the two back before Sunday and the line stays under 10, then maybe I’ll have a small bet on Kansas City.
Broncos at Raiders (-1): I’m guessing the Broncos would be short favorites in this game if Teddy Bridgewater was healthy. Instead, Drew Lock will start at QB and the Raiders are a small favorite. The line in this game is probably right so it’s a pass for me.
Washington at Cowboys (-10.5): We saw this same matchup in Week 14 and the Cowboys closed -6.5 after being as a low as a 3.5-point favorite at Washington earlier that week. Since that game, Washington was one of the teams involved in a Tuesday game due to their COVID issues so there’s uncertainty of how they should be priced in the betting market. If Washington gets some players back, especially QB Taylor Heinicke, I can see closing Washington +9.5 or lower. Let’s see how the situation there plays out.