NFL Picks Week #16 (2021 regular season)
NFL PICKS (WEEK #16)
BY PROFESSOR MJ
Written Wednesday December 22nd, 2021 at 4 PM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)
Last week’s NFL picks against the spread (ATS) generated a 3-1 record, way to go!
Overall this season, our record now stands at 31-20-1, which amounts to a 60.6% winning rate.
As far as NFL prop bets are concerned, we have won 58 bets and lost 44. In this case, the win probability equates to 57%. It truly has been a lucrative year for us!
This article will unveil my top 3 NFL picks for Week 16. Buckle up my sports betting friends!
PICK #1 (4 STARS): LOS ANGELES CHARGERS -9.5 AT HOUSTON TEXANS
As I was analyzing all NFL games Wednesday afternoon, I was finding the Chargers -9 points to be an attractive bet. Then, at around 4 PM Eastern Time, it was announced that Houston’s top wide receiver by a wide margin, Brandin Cooks, had just been placed on the COVID list. The line barely moved by half a point, so that was it! I had to pull the trigger on this one.
The Texans also have a couple of offensive linemen listed as questionable, as well as 8 starters on defense. Some of them will eventually suit up for the game, but that’s a lot of uncertain cases.
On L.A.’s side, they have fewer guys listed as questionable, but some of them are pretty impactful: running back Austin Ekeler, defensive end Joey Bosa, safety Derwin James and center Corey Linsley. Again, some of them will probably be on the field Sunday and I believe the Chargers could afford missing a few players compared to the Texans who were already a very weak team.
Please note that Los Angeles has beaten the spread in six of the past seven meetings between these two squads. The Chargers have also shown they can hammer bottom-tier teams, as evidenced by their 9-3-1 record ATS on the road against teams with a losing record.
I also like the fact that L.A. gets three additional days of rest after playing last Thursday. The motivation factor also plays largely in their favor since they are in the thick of the playoff race, while Houston has been eliminated for a while.
Let’s go with the Bolts to crush Houston this weekend!
PICK #2 (3 STARS): DENVER BRONCOS +1.5 AT LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
To me, it mostly comes down to the Broncos having a much more balanced attack. The Raiders simply cannot get their running game going!
Vegas has to rely on Derek Carr a lot. He is a pretty good quarterback, but he lacks the weapons to give him a hand. That is especially true with Darren Waller on the injury list and Henry Ruggs being waived after killing a woman with his car. To make matters worse, the Broncos happen to have the fourth-best defense against the pass, as measured by the passer rating allowed.
In terms of being rested, you can also give the edge to Denver. Indeed, they were at home in five of the past six weeks. Meanwhile, the Raiders traveled in three of the last four weeks. To top it all off, Las Vegas is coming off a Monday night game, so they will benefit from one LESS day to rest and game plan for this AFC West matchup.
Granted, the Raiders have beaten the spread the last five times they hosted the Broncos! However, Vegas has failed to cover the spread the last four times they were home favorites.
On Denver’s side, they tend to rebound extremely well following a bad offensive performance. In fact, they are 11-1 ATS after scoring 14 points or less. That is the case here since they lost 15-to-10 last week against Cincinnati.
The Broncos also do well after losing a game straight up, as shown by their 15-7 record ATS under such circumstances.
The big question mark is Drew Lock, who will be under center for the Broncos to replace Teddy Bridgewater, who suffered a concussion. Bridgewater is more of a game manager, while Lock is more of a gunslinger. He is more prone to turnovers, but he also makes more splash plays. I’m pretty sure Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy are excited to get an opportunity to make big plays this weekend. And they have a good chance of succeeding since Vegas has the 27th ranked defense against the pass in terms of passer rating allowed.
Denver also runs the ball effectively with its two-headed monster: Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams. With Lock stretching the field, that should give them more opportunities to find nice holes.
So, in summary, I am putting my money on Denver to pull off the mild upset in Sin City this weekend!
PICK #3 (2 STARS): MINNESOTA VIKINGS +3 VS LOS ANGELES RAMS
The last six times these teams met, Minnesota ended up rewarding people that bet on them against the spread. The Vikings also present a good 4-1 record ATS at home against teams with a winning record.
Also, they are 20-6-1 the last 27 times they were home underdogs. Their super loud crowd clearly helps Minnesota pull off upset or at least keep such games tight. That should be the case this Sunday, especially with the Vikings being in desperation mode. They must win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Rams also have motivation to win, obviously, but they aren’t as desperate. They might win this game, but it won’t be easy to get a victory by four points or more. In Minnesota’s seven losses this season, the margin of defeat exceeded three points on only three occasions.
The Rams have disappointed sports bettors when they have been established as favorites. Indeed, they have beaten the spread just two times out of the last seven cases where L.A. was favored to win.
Keep an eye on the status of wide receiver Adam Thielen. If he plays, I would grade this pick higher since that would take some pressure off Justin Jefferson, who may be blanketed by stud cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
I’m banking on the Vikings +3 points at home against Matthew Stafford and company.
Just for fun, here are some additional picks that I am NOT betting, but I consider them to be borderline acceptable:
- New England Patriots -2.5 vs Buffalo Bills (Last week, the Bills were my top pick of the week and they gave us a winning bet, but I am fading them this time around. Something is off with Buffalo’s offense this year, and things won’t be easy on the road against a top 5 defense against the pass. Buffalo’s run defense struggles at times, and their pass defense suffered a blow when Tre’Davious White got hurt. The Bills are 1-4 ATS when facing teams with a winning record, while the Pats are 4-1 in the same conditions.);
- Arizona Cardinals -1 vs Indianapolis Colts (Indy has been one of the hottest teams lately, which makes it hard to pull the trigger against them. Also, they are the top running offense, while that turns out to be Arizona’s weakness on defense. For some reason, I still have this strong feeling that the Cards are the right play. Coming off two straight losses, including an embarrassing defeat to the lowly Lions, they have got to rebound, right? The Colts are 6-2 in their past eight games, but four of those wins occurred against sub-par teams: the Texans twice, the Jets and the Jaguars. Finally, Carson Wentz looked pretty bad last week.);
- Tennessee Titans +3.5 vs San Francisco 49ers (The Niners are playing solid football, but I like the fact that A.J. Brown is coming back. He is sorely missed by the Titans when he’s not on the field. San Francisco has holes in the secondary so he should take advantage of that. To me, the 49ers have much less than a 50% chance of winning this game on the road by four points or more.);
Merry Christmas, my sports betting friend! I appreciate you and I hope you’ll have a blast this weekend. Stay safe!
(Sports Betting Expert / University Professor / PhD in statistics)