NFL Lines Week 16: Breaking Down Most Surprising Spreads of the Weekend

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 08:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers is tackled by  Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 8, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Even 16 weeks into the NFL season, oddsmakers still have a way of surprising bettors with some interesting point spreads. 

The idea of the lines is to create a tough decision on what would be otherwise obvious picks straight up. However, there are a few easier choices based on one-sided lines that seem too big or too small for the teams competing.

Obviously, the NFL always has a tendency of surprising people virtually every week, but there are some relatively safe picks available for the weekend. Here is a look at the more interesting picks of Week 16, along with a full list of point spreads courtesy of Vegas Insider.

NFL Week 16 Spreads With Picks
AwayHomeSpreadPick (ATS)
Miami DolphinsBuffalo BillsMIA -2.5Dolphins
New Orleans SaintsCarolina PanthersCAR -3Panthers
Dallas CowboysWashington RedskinsDAL -3Cowboys
Tampa Bay BuccaneersSt. Louis RamsSTL -4Rams
Chicago BearsPhiladelphia EaglesPHI -3Eagles
Cleveland BrownsNew York JetsNYJ -1Jets
Indianapolis ColtsKansas City ChiefsKC -7Colts
Minnesota VikingsCincinnati BengalsCIN -8.5Bengals
Denver BroncosHouston TexansDEN -10Broncos
Tennessee TitansJacksonville JaguarsTEN -5Jaguars
Arizona CardinalsSeattle SeahawksSEA -10Cardinals
New York GiantsDetroit LionsDET -10Lions
Oakland RaidersSan Diego ChargersSD -10Chargers
Pittsburgh SteelersGreen Bay PackersGB -1Packers
New England PatriotsBaltimore RavensBAL -2Ravens
Atlanta FalconsSan Francisco 49ersSF -14Falcons
Spread info via Vegas Insider

Miami Dolphins (-2.5) at Buffalo Bills

Although the Bills did beat the Dolphins earlier in the year, these are very different teams at this point of the season.

Miami has won three games in a row and has put itself in good position to qualify for the playoffs. Ryan Tannehill has especially been impressive, as noted by Phil Simms:

With his poise in the sight of a lot of pressure, the second-year quarterback has proven that he can overcome whatever the Bills defense throws at him.

Meanwhile, Buffalo has played three games in a row against 4-10 teams and has only come out with one win. To make matters worse, starting quarterback EJ Manuel will be out with a knee injury, according to Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald.

Even on the road, the Dolphins should be able to keep up the recent winning streak and stay in playoff contention.

Carolina Panthers (-3) vs. New Orleans Saints

The general theory when it comes to betting lines is that home-field advantage is worth three points. However, the New Orleans Saints should gain or lose close to 10 based on location.

At home, they are 7-0 and have been generally dominant. On the road, they are 3-4 and have lost some very winnable games. ESPN Stats and Information also points out that the scores have been very different:

Even quarterback Drew Brees finally admitted the problem after last game, via

We’re kind of proving you guys (media) right, right now, which is unfortunate because we certainly don’t feel that way about ourselves. The record doesn’t lie. We have to play better on the road. No excuses, we have to play better on the road and we will.

Carolina struggled in New Orleans two weeks ago, but the Panthers should be ready to go in a very important home game. They are 6-1 at Bank of America Stadium, with the one loss coming against the Seattle Seahawks in the first game of the year.

It is hard betting against a 10-4 team, but this spread should be much higher simply based on location. 

St. Louis Rams (-5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dec 15, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy (30) carries the ball for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints  at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay has played well in the second half of the season, but the offense remains suspect. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has regressed since his hot start, and the running attack has gone quiet as well.

Meanwhile, the Rams will cause even more problems with a pass rush that ranks fifth in the NFL in sacks this season. Drew Brees found this out the hard way in Week 14 when he was sacked four times and hit seven times.

This pressure will cause Glennon to make mistakes that the Rams certainly know how to take advantage of at home.

In the last two games in the Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis beat the Saints and Chicago Bears by a combined 32 points. The Rams totaled a plus-six turnover differential in these two contests.

As long as Kellen Clemens avoids mistakes (five interceptions in four losses as starter, zero interceptions in three wins), St. Louis should get another big win.

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