NFL Week 16 picks are being tabulated, and all signs point to you needing a big week. Anything less won’t suffice, because three and a half months of losing has your significant other up-in-arms and you need to recover your livelihood and get that bookie off your back all at once.
Hopefully, this little guide will help you achieve your late-season goals.
[Note: I do not claim responsibility for you losing more money. Bet at your own risk. All spreads are those posted at Bodog.com, as of Wednesday afternoon; ATS records provided by Predict 'Em. All games take place on Sunday, Dec. 26, unless stated otherwise.]
Spread: Pittsburgh (-15)
Outcome: Even without Troy Polamalu or a fully functional offensive line, the Steelers, who are just 4-3 against the spread at home, cover at Heinz Field against what is by far the worst offense in the league, statistically.
Spread: Dallas (-7)
Outcome: Take Dallas. Because not only have they performed well on the road against the spread, going 3-3, but Cardinals quarterbacks—including the presumptive starter against the Cowboys, rookie John Skelton—have combined for a painful 52.6 passer rating.
Spread: Jacksonville (-7)
Outcome: This is a hugely important game for the Jags, who need a win to keep their wild card hopes alive. But something tells me Rex Grossman plays well and the ‘Skins cover, silencing the critics who continue to give Mike Shanahan grief over benching Donovan McNabb.
Spread: Miami (-3.5)
Outcome: Something has to give here. The Lions are 10-4 overall ATS, including 4-3 away from Ford Field. Sounds like a gimme, but the Fish need a win at home to avoid tying their worst home record in franchise history, achieved just three seasons ago.
Spread: St. Louis (-2)
Outcome: No doubt this line would be flipped if the game were being played in San Francisco, where the Rams fell to the Niners last month. In a game filled with so many postseason implications, the home field advantage is huge, as will be St. Louis’ margin of victory. Well, at least more than two.
Spread: New England (-9)
Outcome: Two games better than anyone in the AFC, the Pats could seemingly take this one off, but a No. 1 seed is at stake. And that means welcoming in all AFC playoff participants to the comfy confines of Gillette Stadium. Brady improves on his unreal touchdown-to-interception ratio and New England rolls, improving their road record ATS to a salty 6-2.
Spread: No Line
Outcome: The Bears have clinched the NFC North and are still in the running for the conference’s No. 2 seed. The Jets are secure for now as the AFC’s No. 6 seed, but a loss could make things really interesting going into Week 17, including Rex Ryan’s postgame press conference. Both teams play with something at stake, so maybe that’s why the odds makers are telling us not to worry about a line.
Spread: Baltimore (-4)
Outcome: The Ravens barely skated by Cleveland the first time around, winning by seven in Week 3 thanks to three Joe Flacco touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin. Involved in a pursuit with Pittsburgh for the AFC North and a No. 2 seed, Baltimore doubles that margin on Sunday.
Spread: Kansas City (-5)
Outcome: Matt Cassel clearly didn’t miss his appendix last Sunday against the Rams, showing good mobility in addition to passing for 187 yards. I have been picking the Chiefs to falter down the stretch, but this game and spread look manageable against a Titans team that has lost its last three road games by an average of more than 13 points.
Spread: Indianapolis (-3)
Outcome: The Colts will be without receiver Austin Collie, who suffered his third concussion of the season last week versus Jacksonville. Peyton and his depleted army won’t be able to compensate for the loss on the road against the Raiders, who despite being so-so ATS (7-7) are making a surprise push for the playoffs.
Spread: No Line
Outcome: Not much to say about this one, other than if you’re betting on it, you either have a problem or way too much money to burn. Neither team has a defense, but I’d take the Broncos just for the hell of it.
Spread: San Diego (-7.5)
Outcome: Somewhat mirror images of one another, the Chargers and Bengals are underachieving despite having rosters seemingly overflowing with talent. The only difference is, San Diego managed to wake up midway through November, while Cincy hit the snooze. Needing a win to stay alive in the AFC playoff race, the Chargers cover by steamrolling the apathetic Bungles.
Spread: Tampa Bay (-6)
Outcome: Like many teams this time of year, the Bucs need some help getting into the postseason, but they must do their part first and foremost. Although not by enough to cover at home, Tampa gets it done against the Seahawks, who see their playoff aspirations flicker away after a third consecutive defeat.
Spread: No Line
Outcome: By no means an avid gambler, I first thought the absence of a line meant odds makers were waiting on the status of Aaron Rodgers, who was cleared to play on Tuesday. Now, I’m convinced the hesitation is due to the fact these teams’ combined records ATS for Sunday’s game cancel each other out—the Packers 4-2 ATS at home; the Giants 4-2 ATS on the road.
Spread: No Line
Outcome: Brett Favre won’t be put on injured reserve, but Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier said Wednesday his quarterback is unlikely to play at Philadelphia after suffering a concussion against Chicago. This is Favre we’re talking about, though.
Regardless of whether the future Hall of Famer plays, the down-and-out Vikes won’t be able to contain Vick and the rest of the Eagles’ offensive arsenal, no matter the spread.
Spread: Atlanta (-3)
Outcome: The Falcons can smell home field advantage, and a win will ensure they stay home for as long as they’re in the NFC playoffs. But all you probably care about is that Atlanta is 10-4 this season ATS, which is significantly better than the Saints’ mark of 5-9.