NFL Week 16 Best Bets
Saturday was an incredibly busy day as we stayed in the Tuley’s Takes home office to watch the NFL Week 16 schedule on Christmas Eve.
In addition to following all the action on the playing fields – both as a reporter and an active bettor – I also was following my other (but related) beat on the high-end handicapping contests here in Las Vegas. Circa Survivor was incredibly exciting as it looked like it might end with a single winner of the $6.133 million prize pool by the end of the day. As it turned out, four entries are alive and have to submit their next play on Sunday morning for the Sunday/Monday games of what they’re calling Week 16b (aka “Christmas Week”). Check out my “Circa contest update” story at VSiN.com
for more details as well as a further update after the four Survivors have their selections announced after 9 a.m. PT Sunday morning.
As for my own action on Saturday, I lost my Best Bet on the Bears +8.5 vs. the Bills as they were with the spread at 21-13 well into the fourth quarter before the Bills pulled away for a 35-13 victory.. That dropped our record to 36-20-2 ATS (64.3%) with our daily top play the last 58 days.
We also lost other ATS plays on the Patriots +3, Falcons +7.5 and Eagles +4.5 while only winning with the Texans +5 (closed +3). However, we did clean up on our teaser portfolio to cut our losses as our top posted 2-team, 6-point teaser on Saints +9/Panthers +8.5 easily cashed as both won outright. We also won our Jaguars +8.5/Under 43 teaser from Thursday Night Football as well as other teasers using the Texans +9, 49ers -1 and Raiders +8.5.
The Falcons’ loss also dropped our record of our Sunday night picks on “The Greg Peterson Experience” to 31-16 ATS (66%) since the start of football season and 18-7 ATS (72%) since the start of November. We certainly can’t complain about the football season we’ve had.
Let’s get to our usual daily recaps of Saturday’s betting action and then rerun our breakdown of the rest of the NFL Week 16 schedule, including our Best Bet for Sunday’s holiday tripleheader and our “takes” on the remaining games on the weekend.
NFL: Steelers rallied to beat Raiders 13-10 on Saturday Night Football as they ended up covering as 2-point home favorites (game stayed Under the betting total of 37.5 points). On the day, faves went 8-3 SU and 7-4 ATS while home teams went 7-4 SU and 6-5 ATS and Unders led 6-5.
More NFL: On the season, faves improved to 150-80-2 SU with 4 pick-'ems, but dogs still lead 122-103-7 ATS (54.2%). Home teams improved to 127-101-2 SU with 6 neutral-site games and 114-110-6 ATS (50.9%). Unders lead 129-105-2 (55.1%) with primetime Unders improving to 29-19-1 (60.4%).
Even more NFL: Faves went 5-3 SU in Saturday’s early games, but split 4-4 ATS with the Giants (+4.5) covering in their 27-24 loss at the Vikings. The upsets were by the Saints (+3 at Browns), Texans (+3 at Titans) and Panthers (+2 vs. Lions). Home/road teams split 4-4 SU but road teams led 5-3 ATS. Unders led 5-3. In the afternoon window, faves (& home teams) went 2-0 SU and ATS with the 49ers (-6.5) covering in 37-20 win vs. the Commanders and Cowboys (-4) covering in 40-34 win vs. the Eagles. Overs swept 2-0.
CFB: Middle Tennessee State rallied to upset San Diego State 25-23 in Hawai'i Bowl on Christmas Eve. MTSU did it as a7-point underdog (game went just Over closing total of 47 points). Overall in bowl season, faves dropped to 10-7 SU while dogs lead 10-7 ATS. Unders dipped to 9-7-1.
Sunday Best Bet
Here's a rerun of the rest of Wednesday's column in which I broke down the full NFL Week 16 schedule and then included updates through the weekend, including Sunday's Best Bet on the Cardinals +7.5 vs. the Buccaneers:
Note: Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of Wednesday afternoon unless otherwise noted. Check out VSIN.com's live NFL odds page for current odds.
Green Bay Packers at Miami Dolphins (-3.5)
The Packers beat the Rams on Sunday Night Football to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, but I’m not buying it. If the Dolphins continue to increase the workload of RB Raheem Mostert (136 yards vs. the Bills last Saturday), he should gash the Packers’ No. 30 run defense and set up the passing game with Tua Tagovailoa, who should welcome the return to the warmer climate (though he didn’t fare as bad as many expected in cold and snowy Buffalo).
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Dolphins 55/45 in ATS contests and at least 75/25 in SU pools).
Denver Broncos (-2.5) at Los Angeles Rams
Baker Mayfield wasn’t able to follow up on his Hollywood comeback in Green Bay on Monday Night Football and now he brings the Rams into a Christmas afternoon game vs. the Broncos, though the game will probably be most remember for the cartoon treatment it’ll receive on Nickelodeon (remember that you read that here first!). Russell Wilson is expected to return after Brett Rypien led the Week 15 win vs. the Cardinals. I can’t quite pull the trigger on the Rams as short home dogs, but we’re happy to include it as the anchor game in our teaser portfolio.
Best Bet: Rams in teasers (pool play: Rams 55/45 in all SU and ATS contests). Sunday update: we hope you have live teasers to the Rams +8.5 or +9; those who don't, might consider using Rams +9/Buccaneers -1.5 (though, as you'll see below, we like the Cardinals 7.5, though you could shoot for a middle).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6.5) at Arizona Cardinals
The Buccaneers, less than two years from their Super Bowl LV victory, continue their disappointing season as they’re only 6-8 but still leading the NFC South with a one-game lead over the Falcons, Saints and Panthers all tied for second place at 5-9. The Cardinals have lost their last four games and six of seven with the only win coming against the equally disappointing Rams. The Cardinals are also only 2-5 ATS down the stretch as they’re barely been competitive, which makes them a risky proposition even if getting a full touchdown. Tom Brady obviously has a knack for keeping his team in games, even when the offense is struggling, but the strength of the team is the defense that ranks No. 7, allowing just 314.7 yards per game. It’s looking like Arizona third-string QB Trace McSorley will make his first NFL start, which led this line to go from Buccaneers -4 to -6.5 earlier in the week. I’m still passing.
Best Bet: Pass (pool play: Buccaneers 55/45 in ATS contests and 80/20 in SU pools). Thursday update: I resisted and resisted taking the Cardinals, but with the move to +7.5, I have to take the Sunday night home underdog as mostly a play against the Buccaneers, who shouldn't be a favorite of more than a TD over anyone; also, dogs are 10-5 ATS on SNF this season.
Los Angeles Chargers (-5) at Indianapolis Colts
Before getting to the Monday Night Football game, I should probably pause for everyone to make their jokes about the Colts and wipe away their tears from all the laughter. But even though the Colts have lost four straight games, don’t forget that it takes talent to build up a 33-0 lead vs. the Vikings even if they blew it, plus the Colts still covered as 3.5-point underdogs in the historic 39-36 OT loss (condolences to those who had them on any kind of money line). In addition, they’re 3-2 ATS under interim coach Jeff Saturday with an upset of the Raiders and a cover in their 17-16 loss to the Eagles. So, I have no problem backing them here against a Chargers team that is playing better lately (two straight wins and three of four), but have only had two wins all season by more than this spread: 10-point win over the Texans in Week 4 and 6-point win over the Dolphins in Week 14.
Best Bet: Colts +5 (pool play: Colts 60/40 in ATS contests, though Chargers still 60/40 in SU pools). Thursday update: this line is down to +4.5 with Nick Foles replacing Matt Ryan -- and I'm OK with that.