NFL Week 16 Betting Preview – Best Bets, Analysis, and More as the NFL Playoffs Picture Takes Shape
With only three weeks left in the NFL season, the playoff picture is heating up with four spots still up for grabs in the AFC and three spots up for grabs in the NFC. There are currently 7 teams in the AFC with 8 or 9 wins, and teams like the Broncos and Steelers still have an outside shot at 7-7 if a few things shake out their way. However, if either of them were in the NFC, they’d be tied with the Bucs, Vikings, Rams, and Saints as the four .500 teams fight for the remaining three NFC wild card spots.
As teams continue to make their push for the playoffs, or on the opposite side, mail it in for the Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Marvin Harrison Jr. sweepstakes, there is plenty of opportunity to find some value on sides and totals. If you are new to this article, welcome to the show, as I preview every Sunday and Monday some of the early NFL betting markets I am diving into in advance to lock in a positive closing line value, beating the closing line as best as we can. Week 15 was a weird one, with the bye weeks officially ending and fantasy playoffs beginning, but this Week 16 slate presents many enticing matchups with a lot of playoff implications on the line.
There are two games on Saturday, December 23, with the Bengals and Steelers headlining the Saturday slate as they fight for the final spots in the AFC wild-card race. The Colts and Falcons are also a crucial matchup as Indy vies for their spot in the playoffs and Atlanta tries to bounce back after getting embarrassed in Charlotte over the weekend to keep their slim chances at the playoffs alive. The Lions versus the Vikings, Browns versus the Texans, and Jaguars versus the Buccaneers will all be important to the playoff picture too, but they pale in comparison to the two marquee matchups of Week 16.
With NBC holding down both Saturday NFL games, the NFL Network gets to hold onto the greatest matchup of the weekend late Sunday night as Santa delivers his presents: the Bailey Zappe-led Patriots taking on the Denver Broncos. Jokes aside, the game before the Sunday night football matchup of the Cowboys and Dolphins will be very interesting as Miami has only seen success against teams that are outside of the current playoff picture this season. The Cowboys looked promising but will now have a chip on their shoulder again after being embarrassed by the Bills on Sunday. Which high-powered offense will prevail and which defense is more in form as we close out the 2023 NFL regular season?
Finally, I am most excited for the Super Bowl XLVII rematch between the Ravens and Niners as both teams have continued to dominate their conferences this season in a year that has not seen a top dog in terms of record. When the 49ers have been fully healthy it is hard to say if anyone in the league is better than San Fran. However, Lamar Jackson and company will have something to say about that as they look to their defense in the biggest test of Baltimore’s season on the road.
If you like NFL betting content and enjoy the article, you can find me every week on the Sharpen The Public NFL betting podcast where myself and DJ Bianco preview every NFL game every week. We examine public, money, and sharp betting splits and how they correlate to the current landscape of each NFL matchup every week, and identify profitable trends from there that can help you back up the research you are already doing on your NFL betting plays every Sunday. You can also find me on Twitter @AndyHHSports where I am quite active with NFL, UFC, and NBA topics. With that introduction out of the way, let’s get into my NFL Week 16 Betting Preview.
Indianapolis Colts vs Atlanta Falcons Betting Preview
The Falcons traveled to Charlotte, NC on Sunday and dropped an all-time dud against the Panthers, giving Bryce Young and company their second win of the year. The Panthers could not find the end zone once, yet Eddy Pineiro hammered in three field goals including the eventual game-winner at the end of the fourth quarter to down Desmond Ridder and Atlanta. How can Atlanta right the ship on offense after such an abysmal performance by Bijan Robinson, Desmond Ridder, and their young receiving core? A matchup with the Colts could do just the trick.
Indy has had a surprising season, as Shane Steichen has crafted one of the better offenses in the league with little to work with. Anthony Richardson was only able to play a few games before injuring his shoulder for the rest of the season, and Jonathan Taylor’s health has also been spotty. Yet, even with Michael Pittman going out due to concussion against the Steelers, Gardner Minshew and company still pulled it off defeating the Steelers 30-13 on Saturday. The defense held up against Pittsburgh, but can they against a better Falcons offense?
The Colts get an extra day to prep for their Christmas Eve matchup on Sunday, which should hopefully shed some light on the injuries of Michael Pittman and Zack Moss as both went out against the Steelers. However, as we saw when both guys went down, it was next man up as Trey Sermon and Tyler Goodson combined for 157 rushing yards off 28 attempts. The Falcons’ defense has been middle of the pack defending the run but has only seen their opponents run the ball around 44.5% of the time this season which ranks in the bottom quarter of the league. No matter who is behind this Colts offensive line, I trust Indianapolis to still have a great ground game performance against Atlanta.
On top of that, Bijan and Cordarelle Patterson were outrushed by Tyler Allgeier against the Panthers, but none of the three backs could get anything going running the ball. Fortunately for them, the Colts are one of the weakest rush defenses in the league. Indy ranks in the bottom quarter of several key statistics for their run defense, and I would be surprised if Bijan had another quiet outing two weeks in a row. This was only the second time that Bijan has had under double digits in rushing attempts and he had caught eleven passes in the three games before their matchup against the Panthers, so with a favorable matchup against Indy coming up I expect him to once again get back on track.
With neither team being very strong against the run, I expect a lot of pounding the rock on the ground in this matchup. However, that does not mean this game is going to burn out the clock and go under. I think the Colts’ offense still gets theirs as Josh Downs and whoever ends up starting at runningback both will see favorable matchups in the slot and in the trenches respectively. However, with the Colts defense allowing close to 24 points a game, I would be surprised if the Falcons did not also find their way to the end zone, with Indy allowing 1.4 opposing rushing touchdowns a game against much inferior runningbacks to Bijan and Allgeier. I like the Colts to keep their streak against the spread and against the over going strong, as Indy sit 9-5 ATS and 10-4 to the over with three weeks to go.
- Colts -1.5 (-110) on FanDuel – 1 Unit
- Over 44 (-108) on Draftkings – 1 Unit
Green Bay Packers vs Carolina Panthers Betting Preview
The Green Bay Packers had a very successful November that spilled into December, as they went 4-1 in a five-game stretch that included wins over the Rams, Lions, and Chiefs. Since their win to start the month though, Green Bay has fallen in their last two games against the Giants and Buccaneers, raising legitimate questions about if their streak of form two weeks ago was a fluke. I believe that this is what the Packers signed up for by fully installing Matt LaFleur’s offense with the departure of Aaron Rodgers, and when you have Jordan Love who is still learning and growing up before our eyes paired up with a group of receivers exclusively made up of rookies and second-year’s, you get some streaky results.
A trip to Charlotte will make everything right for the Packers though, as the Panthers are flying high regarding their win against divisional rival Atlanta on Sunday, but likely will not be able to repeat the same magic against Green Bay. Carolina was unable to score a touchdown against Atlanta, and although Green Bay’s defense is a tier or two below the Falcons, they should have no problems against the Panthers. Although the Packers will be without Jaire Alexander to lockdown Adam Thielen, the supporting cast will have no problem containing the one-man show as Bryce Young’s favorite receiver has continued to be his comfortable play. The Packers should win the defensive line vs offensive line battle in the trenches against Young, causing a lot of pressure for the worst quarterback in the NFL under pressure.
Jordan Love may not have the most favorable matchups as the Panthers’ pass defense has been a ray of light for an otherwise gloomy season. However, with Bryce Young having one fumble per game in the last five games, and 9 interceptions to match his 9 touchdowns this season, I feel confident that Love will have enough time to find his way around this Carolina defense. Jayden Reed should have a favorable matchup against Donte Jackson and Troy Hill in the slot, while Doubs will find some space in the middle with favorable matchups against Grugier-Hill and Vonn Bell. The rest of the defense has been solid for Carolina, but this feels like a game where the spread would have been a bit larger just a couple of weeks ago, and the market is reacting a bit to the form of both sides.
I’ll take the Packers here at -4.5, with the spread already trending up to 5 after it opened last night at 4.
The Play: Packers -4.5 (-110) on FanDuel – 1 Unit
THIS IS AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY ANDY CHASE
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