Three early Week 16 NFL lines to bet

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

December 18, 2022 07:50 PM
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Early NFL bets for Week 16

We had a ton of drama in Week 15 and some wacky and wild endings. With so many teams vying for Wild Card spots, most games over the next two weeks will carry a lot of significance. That should make for a lot of good football, but probably a lot of betting sweats as well.

It is hard to believe that Week 16 is already here, but we've only got three more weeks of the regular season before the playoffs get underway. There are some solid betting opportunities for next week, so let's jump on some early numbers. Keep in mind, most games are on Saturday because of the Christmas holiday falling on Sunday.

Check out the latest NFL odds and NFL betting splits.

Here are three early lines I like for Week 16:

New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns (-3.5, 35)

Another anemic total for a Browns game serves as a reminder of the rust that Deshaun Watson is trying to shake off, but the Saints are going outside to Cleveland in December. Even though Watson is still trying to find his way, the Saints are unlikely to do much offensively here.

New Orleans scored a three-point win over the Falcons in a game where Desmond Ridder was 13-of-26 for 99 yards. Moreover, the Saints only held a 28-yard edge in that one and the Falcons don't exactly have a defense to write home about, much like the Browns.

Atlanta, playing with a QB in his first start, still racked up 5.9 yards per carry. One would think that the Saints would have flooded the box and done everything they could to have Ridder beat them with his arm. They failed. They won the game, but it wasn't impressive at all.

New Orleans is 1-5 outside of the Superdome this season. The Browns are finding ways to win and stay relevant on the fringes of the playoff hunt. With each passing week, Watson should feel more comfortable. The running game got back on track a bit against the Ravens, as Nick Chubb nearly got to the century mark. There are -3s out there and there are a lot of factors pointing towards the Browns.

Pick: Browns -3 (widely available)

Atlanta Falcons at Baltimore Ravens (-6.5, 41)

Lamar Jackson will likely make his return this week for the Ravens, who, due to Cincinnati's recent run and some injury issues have given up their grasp on the AFC North. Even if Jackson returns, asking this team to win by margin is a tall ask.

The Ravens have had a lot of big leads this season and haven't been able to finish those games on a high note. Baltimore has nine wins this season and four are by enough to cover this kind of spread, but two of those happened in the first three weeks of the season.

The Falcons continue to be really adept at running the football and are able to keep games close as a result. They can play keep away and keep their defense from being exploited, but they can also score points with multiple looks on the ground.

Atlanta's record isn't impressive, but the Falcons only been beaten by double digits twice and one of those games featured an insurance field goal with 10 seconds left that took a seven-point game up to 10. They hang in contests, which is a problem for the Ravens because they're very good at letting teams hang around.

There are some +7s out there. There will probably be more and maybe even a 7.5 or two if Jackson is officially cleared. If Jackson isn't cleared, 7 will be too high here. So, there's some risk-reward in betting early, but I think the Falcons keep it close regardless of the QB for the home team.

Pick: Falcons +7 (widely available)

Los Angeles Chargers (-3, 47.5) at Indianapolis Colts

Don't let the 36 points that the Colts scored last week fool you. Indianapolis had a blocked punt and a pick-six to go along with five field goal drives of under 50 yards. This wasn't some sort of breakout showing for the offense. It was a gaudy point total built on a bunch of major Vikings mistakes.

In the second half and overtime, the Colts had 128 yards of offense. The Chargers defense has been improving with better health, so that's a unit that may be a little undervalued in the betting market. The Colts had 4.3 yards per play against the Vikings. The Titans just got done having just 5.0 yards per play against the Chargers. I really don't expect much from the Indy offense here.

I also seem to be a lot lower on the Chargers offense than the market. Los Angeles did cash in both red zone chances against Tennessee, but came into that game ranked 28th in red zone touchdown percentage.

Justin Herbert threw for over 300 yards again, but the Chargers only turned that into 17 points. He threw for over 350 yards last week and that became 23 points. The Chargers may put up yards, but they do not do a good job of converting all that effort into points.

I like the under in their game again this week. I liked it against the Titans and it was a 7-7 game through three quarters. Unless the Colts completely quit after last week's debacle, I think the defense can hang in here. And I really don't think their offense can do anything.

Pick: Under 47.5

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Live Bet Saturday: Don't rush to the college basketball futures market, unless you're taking some long shots that you believe will shorten greatly. For the top teams, you can often get the same number or better in March when you know their draw for the tournament. View more tips.

The Greg Peterson Experience: Focus on a single team or smaller conference, as a way into college basketball handicapping. View more tips.

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Dave Tuley: A 6-pt teaser - Chiefs +8.5 with Over 43.5. View more picks

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