With only two weeks remaining in the NFL's 2013 regular season, there are several intriguing matchups for bettors to wager on in Week 16.
Some lines might look more enticing than others, but not all are guaranteed to come through for those looking to place their final bets of the year.
While some lines are pretty solid and seem to be correct for the way the respective game will turn out, here are the best locks against the spread for Week 16.
|Away Team||Home Team||Spread||Pick ATS|
|Miami Dolphins||Buffalo Bills||MIA -3||Dolphins|
|New Orleans Saints||Carolina Panthers||CAR -2.5||Panthers|
|Dallas Cowboys||Washington Redskins||DAL -3.5||Cowboys|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||St. Louis Rams||STL -4.5||Rams|
|Chicago Bears||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI -4||Eagles|
|Cleveland Browns||N.Y. Jets||NYJ -1||Browns|
|Indianapolis Colts||Kansas City Chiefs||KC -6.5||Colts|
|Minnesota Vikings||Cincinnati Bengals||CIN -8||Vikings|
|Denver Broncos||Houston Texans||DEN -9.5||Broncos|
|Tennessee Titans||Jacksonville Jaguars||TEN -4||Jaguars|
|Arizona Cardinals||Seattle Seahawks||SEA -9.5||Seahawks|
|N.Y. Giants||Detroit Lions||DET -9.5||Lions|
|Oakland Raiders||San Diego Chargers||SD -9.5||Raiders|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Green Bay Packers||PK||Packers|
|New England Patriots||Baltimore Ravens||BAL -1.5||Patriots|
|Atlanta Falcons||San Francisco 49ers||SF -10||Falcons|
Spreads provided by Vegas Insider
All odds courtesy of Vegas Insider.
Oakland Raiders (+9.5 at San Diego Chargers)
The Oakland Raiders have looked like one of the worst teams in the league over the last few weeks, losing six of their last seven games. But in their last meeting in Week 5, the Raiders defeated the San Diego Chargers by 10 points in a 27-17 win.
That was also a Raiders team that had Terrelle Pryor under center and an effective offense. But despite their shortcomings on offense in the last few weeks, the Raiders have found an offensive weapon in Rashad Jennings.
And as Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com reported, Darren McFadden returned to practice on Wednesday and could play against the Chargers:
Darren McFadden IS practicing for #Raiders— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) December 18, 2013
While the Chargers are playing good football and should still be expected to win this game, it will be a lot closer than the 9.5-point spread it was given as long as Oakland's defense decides to show up. San Diego is 29th in passing yards allowed, so if the Raiders can use the pass to set up Jennings and the run game, they can find some success on offense.
Prediction: Chargers 28, Raiders 23
New England Patriots (+1.5 at Baltimore Ravens)
The New England Patriots are without Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the season, and Tom Brady struggled against the Miami Dolphins without him. But it appears help is on the way—maybe not the help Brady wants, but help nonetheless.
Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, two rookie receivers, returned to practice on Wednesday and could play Sunday, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com:
Rookie WRs Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) are present at practice. Looks like they are close to a return to action.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 18, 2013
If they have a wealth of wide receivers going into Baltimore, the Patriots will have much more success in the passing game during the (second) sans-Gronkowski part of the season.
The Pats will be looking to get back on track after an upset loss to the division rival Miami Dolphins in Week 15. After the game, Brady was brief with the media and didn't mince words, per the New York Daily News' Justin Tasch: "We made some good plays, we made a lot of s--- plays," he said.
Given the fact that the Ravens' defense has slowly improved throughout the season, it would be a surprise if the Patriots' rushing game gets stopped up. But in order for this spread to be covered, New England will need a good performance from its young receivers and sure-handed players like Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola to help move the ball down the field.
Prediction: Patriots 20, Ravens 17
Atlanta Falcons (+10 at San Francisco 49ers)
The Atlanta Falcons are a depleted group due to injuries, but there is a pride factor that has to kick in at some point for this team. After losing five straight games, Atlanta has now won two of its last three games. Granted, those wins came against the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins, but they are wins nonetheless.
Each of Atlanta's last four contests has been decided by four points or less—including a 17-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints and a 22-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers. With weapons like Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez coming to life for the Falcons late in the season, this could be a much closer game than expected.
In Week 15 against the Redskins, Gonzalez became just the fifth player in NFL history to amass 15,000 yards, as the Falcons' official Instagram account pointed out:
If Gonzalez truly is at the end of an illustrious career, he will be looking to finish the season strong and continue the recent streak of good performances he's had.
The 49ers will win this game and continue their run to the playoffs, but don't expect Atlanta to lay down and not put up a fight.
Prediction: 49ers 38, Falcons 34