Free NFL Bets Week 16
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, and thanks for reading and following along for the past four months. I know all I want for Christmas is a clean sweep of the free bets card, but just one single win will lock us into a winning record for the 2020 NFL season. Let’s take a look at the trends through 15 weeks of action:
- There have been two games this season where 80-plus points were scored, and just one where fewer than 20 points were scored. The Browns were involved in all three contests.
- Second meetings between teams have actually yielded more scoring than first meetings. In the second matchup between teams, games are averaging 50.3 points. In first or only matchups, games are averaging 49.5 points.
- When the Bengals upset the Steelers on Monday, they also covered the spread by 24.5 points. Surprisingly, this was just the 11th largest cover by an underdog this season. The largest was the Patriots 45-0 drubbing of the Chargers as two-point ‘dogs.
We’re bringing back the teaser after a week off, by popular demand. Also, I received some fantastic feedback about the team total bets from earlier in the year, and multiple readers mentioned how far too few websites and handicappers delve into team totals, so I’ve found a great one for Week 16, and I’ll be sure to do my homework this offseason so we can hit the team-total-ground running in 2021.
Check out my NFL Picks for Week 15 Here
Titans Team Total Over 26.5
It’s after Thanksgiving, which means the Titans offense is officially rolling. Here are Tennessee’s scoring outputs post-Week-11 the past two seasons: 42, 31, 42, 21, 28, 35, 45, 35, 31, 46; just once did they fail to eclipse 27 points. That’s 35.6 points per game, nine points more than we need in primetime on Sunday night to cash this ticket.
I understand that it’s scary to bet on anyone other than Aaron Rodgers in the snow, in primetime, at Lambeau Field. But Rodgers and the Packers can go ahead and win this game all they want. As long as the Titans score 27 or more points. That’s the beauty of team totals!
I also think the snow helps the Titans score here. They’re a run-first team, and it’s already hard enough tackling Derrick Henry. Now, factor in freezing temperatures, frozen ground, and slippery footing. Don’t be shocked if Henry breaks a big one or two, specifically in the second half as the Green Bay defense wears down a bit. He seems to be the main reason behind Tennessee’s monstrous late-season offensive performances: he averages 145.3 yards per game after Week 11 over the last two seasons. Sheesh.
I’m anticipating a back-and-forth battle between two of the three best offenses in the NFL – both teams average right around 31 points per game – going up against two of the weakest defenses in the NFL – both rank in the bottom-third per DVOA. Both defenses are also particularly weak against the opposing offense’s strength, which should prevent long, time-consuming drives and instead, promote quick strikes, chance-taking, and of course: scoring.
The Packers are just 22nd in rushing defense DVOA, while the Titans rank 3rd in rushing offense DVOA. That’s an enormous mismatch, and not only should allow Henry to run wild but should allow Tennessee to use some play action to take shots down the field. Green Bay has Jaire Alexander of course, but he can only shut down one of the Titans two dynamic receivers.
We’re also getting a nice number here. Not only is this total set below the key number of 28, it’s also set a half-point below 27, which allows us some breathing room if Stephen Gostkowski decides to miss another extra point. I’m also anticipating Mike Vrabel being extremely aggressive with his offense in the snow. In fourth-and-short situations, expect him to utilize his superhuman tailback instead of forcing his kicker to boot a frozen football. Touchdowns > field goals.
The Titans are motivated as they battle the Colts for the AFC South crown, so I don’t expect any sort of conservative game plan from Tennessee whatsoever. They know their offense is the best path to success, so they should come out firing and plan on going score-for-score with Rodgers and the Packers.
Bears -1 / Bills -1 Six-Point Teaser
At the time of writing, both Chicago and Buffalo are seven-point favorites. Come kickoff, I’d anticipate both of these lines sticking around -7.5 or -8. I still like this teaser even if the best your book allows is -2 on either side.
What we’re doing here is essentially fading two teams who were essentially handed reasons to lose after last week: the Jaguars and Patriots.
Jacksonville has just gifted the first overall pick after the Jets flew to Los Angeles and beat the Rams in the biggest upset in recent memory. I find it hard to believe they’ll do anything to screw up a chance to draft their first competent quarterback since Mark Brunell. Even the mayor of Jacksonville released a statement expressing his excitement. Will the Jaguars try to lose to Chicago? No, of course not. But will they be treating this more like a showcase game to evaluate talent for next season? You bet.
The Bears are also rolling and surprisingly still fighting for a possible Wild Card berth. Since their bye, they’re 2-2 – but have won two in a row – and are averaging 31.0 points per game. Jacksonville hasn’t scored 30 in a game since Week 2, and they still lost by three. Matt Nagy is fighting to keep his job, Mitchell Trubisky is fighting to earn a new contract; there’s a lot of motivation on the Chicago side and basically none on the Jacksonville side.
As far as the Bills are concerned in the second half of our teaser, they’ve got a huge motivational edge as well. They just locked up their first AFC East title since 1995, but they’re still fighting with Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Cleveland, and Indianapolis for playoff seeding. Sean McDermott will absolutely not allow a letdown game here.
A strange, COVID-influenced scheduling quirk forced the Bills to play three games in under two weeks, but outside of that blip on the radar, Buffalo is 10-1 in all other games. Their offense is obviously rolling, and it’s been rolling throughout the season, averaging 29.1 points per game – fourth in the NFL. But, their defense is starting to come together after a really rough start to the year. Buffalo was in the bottom third of the league in both points and yards allowed, but over the last four games, they’ve allowed just 18.8 points per game: eighth-best in the league over that span.
They won’t really need much defense against the dreadful Patriots, but it never hurts to get out in front early and put a game away with time to spare. The Patriots were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week, and if that’s not the ultimate de-motivator, I don’t know what is. What’s more: just a week after refusing to entertain questions about Jarrett Stidham, Bill Belichick has already changed his tune and said “we’ll see”, in regards to Stidham getting snaps in the final two games. Cam Newton has been absolutely brutal this season, so if Stidham hasn’t been able to take Newton’s job yet, and wasn’t given the starting nod over Brian Hoyer in the one game Newton sat out, how good can he possibly be?
Regardless of who the Pats trot out under center, the Bills are going to pin their ears back and get after him. They’ve also clearly got revenge on their mind and not just recent revenge. This is a chance for Buffalo to get just a sliver of payback after 20-straight years of being New England’s doormat. I like Buffalo big here on Monday Night Football.
Mike is an avid sports bettor and fantasy football player, and has been writing since 2013. He previously worked for NBC Sports Philadelphia and Alliance Football Focus, and currently contributes to BettingPros as a featured writer. Mike is a resident of New Jersey, a graduate of Rider University, and currently works as a research analyst. When he isn’t searching for his next wager or watching the New Jersey Devils, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife, his dog and his two cats.