I split things right down the middle with my NFL picks in week 15.
The Browns (+135) were an excellent upset pick and the Texans (-113) did a good job covering the spread in New York. Unfortunately, Arizona (+8.5) got absolutely stomped in Atlanta and the Patriots (-117) fell short in Pittsburgh.
I’ll take a 2-2 mark, but the big thing I say each week is that acknowledging betting value and knowing when to go from one bet to the next is almost as important as getting wins.
After all, that logic can have you go 2-2 one week and 4-0 the next.
Either way, I love to dive into the NFL betting lines to see how Vegas is pricing things, how the public is viewing games and if there’s a wrinkle somewhere within the entire process that exploits some value.
Let’s see where that might be in the NFL betting scene for week 16:
Baltimore Ravens @ Los Angeles Chargers
I actually really like the Ravens as an upset pick this week. The Chargers are in a classic letdown spot after such an incredible win in Kansas City in week 15 and Baltimore needs to win out to lock up a playoff spot.
This game is in Los Angeles, but the Bolts know they’re making the playoffs and the Ravens don’t have the luxury of security.
But aiming high for an upset isn’t always the right thing to do. To be frank, ideally, I’m getting a little bit more value if I’m backing the Ravens on the road against what appears to be a very good Chargers squad.
After all, L.A. is expecting star rusher Melvin Gordon back in the fold and this team has their own aspirations still. Not only do the Chargers want to steal the AFC West, but if things break just right, they could still lock up the top seed in the AFC.
Regardless, the Ravens have a pretty good (albeit probably unsustainable) formula for winning games right now; they run the ball and they play good defense.
I don’t think Baltimore gets very far with that Tim Tebow-esque style of play, but it’s kept them in every single game since Lamar Jackson took over and I bet it will again in week 16.
You don’t have to bet on Baltimore to win to obtain some value this week. Just bank on them beating a 4.5-point spread.
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers
Here are two extremely talented teams that are totally dead in the water.
Carolina had the Saints on their home field and right where they wanted them, but they simply couldn’t get the job done. The Panthers have now dropped a ridiculous six games in a row and are out of the playoffs.
That’s quite the fall from a 6-2 start and it’s had a lot to do with Cam Newton not being healthy and a previously strong defense falling apart.
Carolina put up a fight last week and failed, while Atlanta just got done snapping their own nasty skid by punishing the Arizona Cardinals in week 15.
Both of these teams have nothing to play for, but pride and a division rivalry should create enough of a spark to get fans to tune in. That, and there is a ton of offensive talent to work with here, while neither defense classifies necessarily as elite.
You can waste your time trying to figure out who wins this thing, but I’d rather bet on a good amount of points being scored. This 47 Total feels pretty low considering both offenses are more than capable of putting up close to that on their own.
Heck, the last time these two sides met, Atlanta pulled away with a 31-24 win in a shootout. That would have easily breezed by this week’s Total and something similar can be expected.
Green Bay Packers @ New York Jets
This is the lone true NFL pick’em game going into week 16 and I can see why Vegas (and the public) have no clue who to back.
Both of these teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, which means both sides could easily cave and give way to a blowout loss. Green Bay had higher expectations and are presently 0-7 on the road in 2018, however, so I find myself going against them in this spot.
Technically you’re getting home dog money with the Jets, who have been pretty competitive with Sam Darnold back from injury. He helped Gang Green to a win over the Bills just two weeks ago and if things broke a bit differently, he may have ruined my Texans pick in week 15 as well.
The Packers are staving off talk of shutting down Aaron Rodgers and will be without top running back Aaron Jones. In fact, bodies are dropping like flies in Green Bay and due to their inability to win on the road to this point, there isn’t much reason to believe anything changes here.
I get it, the Jets aren’t as good as the Packers. But is that even true?
New York has just one less win than the Packers do and bettors get some nice value with them at home. I don’t mind assuming the Packers fall to an astonishing 0-8 away from Lambeau here.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Seattle Seahawks
Lastly, I am prepared to soak up all of the value associated with the Chiefs this week.
Normally I’d look at their -135 moneyline and shrug it off to chase a palatable -2.5 spread, but I actually am feeling the former is the superior play.
I can’t ignore the fact that Seattle is a brutal place to play. The Seahawks can run the ball, they can defend and Russell Wilson has the ability to match wits with anyone. Seattle also technically needs to win still just to secure a spot in the NFC playoffs.
That all may be true, but the Chiefs have actually been quite good (5-2) on the road this year and don’t just lose to anybody. Their three defeats came by the hands of the Rams, Patriots, and Chargers and they all came by a combined seven points.
Seattle is a rock solid team that could be a problem come playoff time, but this isn’t a game I’m willing to confide in them. They just lost to the 49ers, after all, and now bettors should turn around and take them at +2.5 or their weak +115 moneyline?
No thanks. Instead, I’ll eat a -135 moneyline for arguably the best team in the NFL, if for no other reason than it being a price you may not see attached to them again this season.
You can hunt the big underdogs this week if you’d like. There are quite a few of them. I’m in the business of securing wins and loading up value, though. That doesn’t always equate to fat lines and monster upsets, but the hope is it does lead to sustained profit.
If you can tweak your perspective on how Vegas and the public view things, often times that value will end up being obvious. Hopefully, that’s the case in week 16 and these four NFL picks treat you well. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!