NFL Week 16 Betting Insights
There may only be 3 weeks left in the 2023 NFL regular season, but there’s still much to be decided on the gridiron as teams continue to fight and claw for a spot in the playoffs. With only the San Francisco 49ers having clinched their division title, football fans will see plenty of meaningful games down the stretch. Week 16 will be no exception – the slate features several marquee matchups.
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While the 49ers have already locked up the NFC West, both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles have at least guaranteed themselves a spot in this year’s NFL Playoffs. That leaves four NFC playoff spots up for grabs: The NFC North winners, the NFC South winners and two additional Wild Card teams.
The Baltimore Ravens just became the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the AFC, leaving six more spots to be claimed. The Ravens, along with the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs, have the inside track on their respective divisions but there’s a logjam in the AFC Wild Card race with four teams tied for the final two playoff spots.
Week 16 provides yet another opportunity for NFL bettors to profit off their predictions at Bovada Sportsbook. With so many great matchups scheduled over the next few days, let’s jump right into some of the more intriguing battles and uncover the key betting trends to know heading into Week 16 in the NFL.
McVay All Day
This week’s NFL schedule kicks off on Thursday Night Football with a matchup between the 7-7 New Orleans Saints and 7-7 Los Angeles Rams. The Saints are tied atop their division, a byproduct of playing in the unimpressive NFC South, and have rebounded from a three-game losing streak with back-to-back wins. They’ll face a stiff test in Los Angeles, as the Rams have won four of their last five and are now inside the NFC playoff picture.
Looking at New Orleans from a betting standpoint, recent history does not inspire much confidence. Despite being four-point underdogs in this game, the Saints have gone just 4-9-1 against the spread (ATS) this season and failed to come through for NFL bettors on a number of occasions. On the other side of the ball, the Rams biggest advantage in this game could be at head coach. Sean McVay is one of the game’s best and considering his 17-4-1 ATS in their last 22 games in December, it’s clear his teams know how to finish strong.
Saturday Night Fever
In a game featuring a pair of teams heading in completely opposite directions, the 5-9 Los Angeles Chargers will play host to the 8-6 Buffalo Bills in prime time on Saturday night. The Chargers season reached a new low last week with the 62-31 defeat versus the Raiders and the subsequent firing of head coach Brandon Staley. Things look much different in Bills camp, as the team is favored by 11.5 points in this week’s game and players are beginning to get their swagger back after impressive wins over the Chiefs and Cowboys in the past two weeks.
While most of the media attention in Buffalo is focused on QB Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense, it’s the team’s defensive unit that has been a major catalyst for their late-season turnaround. Despite battling elite quarterbacks (Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott) in their past two games, Buffalo’s defense surrendered just 27 points total. Now they face the Chargers with the unproven Easton Stick under center… you can see where this is going. The over/under for this game currently stands at 42.5. Combined, these two teams have stayed below the total in 20 of 28 games this season. Bet on that trend to continue in Week 16.
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Ho Ho Home Team
This week’s matchup between the 9-5 Cleveland Browns and the 8-6 Houston Texans could end up having major ramifications on the AFC playoff picture. The Browns have won two straight with 38-year-old Joe Flacco coming off the couch to take over quarterback duties in Cleveland. The Texans are coming off a huge comeback win over the Titans and now tied atop the AFC South standings, but are still dealing with an injury to star rookie quarterback, C.J. Stroud.
If you’re planning on betting this game, there’s a couple of things you should know beforehand. For starters, Stroud is listed as questionable but it appears as though he will not be in this week’s lineup for Houston. You may assume that Cleveland’s defense will feast on his replacement, but the Browns’ stop-unit is not nearly as dominant on the road. In fact, Cleveland has gone just 1-4-1 ATS on the road this year, compared to a stout 7-1 ATS record at home. With this game going down in Houston and the Texans currently available at +2.5, you may to want to think about backing the home side.
Battle of the Best
Week 16 wraps up with a potential Super Bowl preview as the 11-3 Baltimore Ravens travel to the Bay area to face the 11-3 San Francisco 49ers in a Monday Night Football on Christmas Day. Baltimore has secure a spot in the postseason but has yet to lock up the AFC North and would love to pull out a massive win on national television. With six straight wins, San Francisco is the hottest team in football right now and seems to be finding their rhythm at the perfect time of year.
The Ravens looks as strong as ever this season, with the team winning eight of their last nine, including six of their last seven on the road. While they’re usually listed as the favorite, Baltimore is getting 5.5 points from the 49ers in this betting matchup. They should have no trouble in this scenario, having gone 20-4-1 ATS over their past 25 games as an underdog. They’ll still have their work cut out for them against San Francisco – The 49ers are 16-5 in their last 21 home games, as well as 16-5 in their last 21 games played on a Monday.