The 2011 NFL season is winding down, and we now head to week 16 where most games will be played on Saturday Christmas Eve day. In this article I’ll provide you five free week 16 picks but first allow me to address last week results and the full season results. Last week we took our shot with a huge +EV long shot play and had no dice. This was a round robin wager so I’m unsure how we should count it as far as a win/loss record but in any case this brought our season results to down to +0.78 units on long shots. On the other picks we went 2-1 for +0.90 units bringing our record on these to 36-23-3 for +9.91 units. With this now covered, let’s dive straight into Week 16 free picks.
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
The Packers chances at a perfect season ended last week at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs and they now sit 13-1 on the season. This is tough game to handicap for a few reasons. One how will the Packers respond? With the streak snapped and the #1 seed locked up there’s nothing on the line here for the Packers. Secondly, despite their 7-7 record Chicago is still alive for a chance at a wild card seed, and… the two teams they trail (who are both 9-5) have tough match ups this week. Pulling off an unlikely upset could very well have the Bears alive for the playoffs especially considering the Vikings are their week 17 opponent. However the final question is how are the Bears going to respond to their late collapse two weeks ago and getting blown out last week?
With not too much on the line for the Packers and everything on the line for the Bears, an adjustment is probably in order here, but there are still plenty of variables. The deciding factor that led me to bet this one was the fact Bears are +12 -110 at Pinnacle, +13 -120 at Bookmaker and +14 -130 at 5Dimes. Despite the changes in pricing, the +14 -130 is off market enough that it makes this a solid wager. My advice is to jump on this one right away as 5Dimes likely adjust the line closer to game time.
New York Giants @ New York Jets
This is one of those rare cases in professional sports where it is a home game for both teams, as the Giants and Jets each share MetLife Stadium in a 50/50 partnership. As far as motivation is concerned there is no lack of it in this match up. Each team got beaten badly last week and is now desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. However both teams have struggled with turnovers and neither has fared well against the spread recently, each covering only about 1/3 of the time. In a game between two struggling teams, both playing at home, and both having all the motivation in the world to win, I’m not sure how you don’t take the points.
^Note: Be sure to shop – at the moment this is available outside the www.5dimes.com reduced juice tab. If Giants are +3 -115 look elsewhere as other sites are likely to have them +3 -110.
San Diego Chargers @ Detroit Lions
As is the theme pretty much all our week 16 picks, motivation and need to win is again a factor here. The Lions with a win this week will clinch a playoff spot for the first time since the 1999 season. The Chargers with a win and a Denver loss would find themselves tied for first place which is amazing considering they lost 6 games in a row earlier this season. The handicapping for this one is a tough as well. For two seasons now the Lions have demonstrated amazing heart and are rarely ever out of game due to fighting to the final whistle and pulling of some impressive late backdoor covers as well as straight up victories. However the Chargers are playing lights outs, pulling off three blowout victories in a row including the then 10-3 Baltimore Ravens last week. In this game, once again we have a slightly off market price available to bet as Bovada is offering Chargers +3 -125. In this match I’m taking the team with momentum who is priced a bit off.
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
This is another game where motivation is a huge factor. The Falcons with a win can clinch a spot in the playoffs while the Saints are in a battle with the San Francisco 49ers for the #2 seed. I’ve mentioned it several times this season, the Falcons started off high in the preseason power rankings and have done just enough against weak opponents to stay respectably viewed. It’s amazing after 16 weeks I’m still questioning if this team is legit or not, but that question does remain. What I do know is the Saints are for real, their defense is greatly improved, their offense is prolific and I strongly suspect they’re out for blood in this match up.
Saint Louis Rams @ Pittsburgh Steelers
This is a unique match-up as well, that has the critics debating whether or not Big Ben should sit out and to allow his injuries to better heal. With The Steelers down in the tie breaker to the Ravens it seems the Wild Card is most likely anyhow, and this is already clinched. Will Ben Roethlisberger play the full game? As I’m writing this article the Colts game is still being played. If the Colts were to win this week, then this pick becomes a little more questionable as the Rams could then be more prone to play the draft pick game. In any case this is only a minor factor. I expect this game to be low scoring and as a result I’m going to purchase some added points at Bookmaker here. I’m basing this off the fact that if Pinnacle’s line of +15.5 -104 is correct the equivalent no-vig price for +17.5 should be -144. At Bookmaker they are +16 -110 and I can buy 3 half points taking them to +17.5 -140. With the low scoring expected (over/under set at 37) this is a far better play.
This is concludes my 2011 NFL Week 16 picks. As a reminder please bet responsibly and I wish all of you the best holiday season and I’ll see you here again next week for my New Year NFL Week 17 free picks.