NFL Point Spread Picks - Week 16
Posted this on Thursday on my Rokfin channel.
I'm not a big fan of football on Christmas day but my job is to analyze every single game and find opportunities. As we get closer to the playoffs, I start ramping up bets per game and go a full 30% of bank roll each week of the playoffs. For this week, let's dig in to opportunities but first Thursday Night Football.
49ers vs Titans predictions
The current line is 49ers as 3 point road favorites. Looks like AJ Brown is coming from IR and playing for the Titans which will be huge and is probably underrated. Julio Jones practiced on Wednesday but he has not a been factor this year. The 49ers have Mitchell out (RB), a safety Tartt, and LB Al-Shaair. Advantage: Titans.
The 49ers are looking good but also not they have beaten the Falcons, Bengals (barely), Vikings, and Jaguars. They also beat the Rams surprisingly but lost against the Seahawks. They are inflated. The Titans on the other hand deflated for losing against the Patriots and Texans.
Overall the Tennessee offense is ranked 22nd and has been hurt from Henry's absence. Their passing game is ranked 26th in the league while the 49ers offense is on fire and is ranked top 5 in both rush and defense. That's concerning if you're thinking of betting the Titans.
The 49ers defense ranks 2nd in rush but 21st in pass while TB is slightly better with a rank of 5th against the pass but 12th against the rush.
My models are split and have low confidence of betting this game as the prediction on either side is close to the spread. There doesn't seem to be an opportunity here. Gun to my head, I buy low sell high. 35% of bets and 53% of the money on the Titans. I like the home team with AJ Brown back and hopefully Julio Jones back to his old self plus Jimmy G throwing a few interceptions.
KANSAS CITY -7.5
It's a COVID mess. Hill, Bell, Kelce and others are on the Covid list. They should all be game time decisions. Assuming at least that Kelce and Hill play, this is a buy.
Pittsburgh is trash and it is time they get out of being "in the hunt". Last week they beat a depleted Titans offense while only scoring 19 points. This week they go to Kansas City to play the red hot Chiefs. None of the teams seems to have any significant injuries. Here's why I like the Chiefs:
-7.5 at home is usually a trap. They want you to bet the other side because 91% of the bets are on the Chiefs. Situationally it isn't great as home teams favorite by 7.5 have only covered 41% in the last 70 games.
The teams are trending in opposite directions. Chiefs up, Steelers down. Overall weighted DVOA at 4 for Chiefs vs 25 for the Steelers
One team falls behind, I trust the Chiefs will be able to throw themselves into a comeback. Although Mahomes didn't look for a big part of last week's game and still were able to cover thanks to an awesome performance from Kelce.
A team that still hasn't gotten the respect they deserve. It is not just Jonathan Taylor it's that tought #8 ranked defense that seems to be playing better every game. Assuming Deandre Hopkins will still be out for this game, the Cardinals offense gets a huge blow from this. For the Colts, seems like they are down 3 players due to Covid.
These are two teams that also seem to be heading in different direction and we always take the one with positive momentum. The Colts are 8th overall but 6th if weighted more for recent games according to Football Outsiders. Both teams are 9-5 ATS this year. Situationally, home teams favorites by less than 3 but more than 1 are 44% ATS in last ~300 games. Bet the road team!
Also seems like everyone agrees with my machine learning models as 68% of the bets and 95% of the money is on the Colts so bet it quick before it gets to Colts -3. Oh no, a Christmas game. I won't watch live but will see the money going into the bank.
GIANTS VS EAGLES
The models loved the Giants, but they don't know the QB situation they are on. Since Daniel Jones got injured, the Giants have lost 3 and have scored an average of 10 points per game. Now comes a 5th round pick in Fromm to see what he can do against the Eagles who they beat a few weeks back. This is too unpredictable. I'm gonna stay away.
WASHINGTON VS COWBOYS
Every time I like a big underdog like Washington +10, I ask myself if this is getting too cute. The Cowboys did beat them two weeks ago by 7 on the road so 10 at home seems ok right? Although the Cowboys rank #2 overall in DVOA, Dak has not been impressive at all. With one if not the best receiving squad he only ranks 8th in the league.
Heinekie and others are expected to come back from covid protocols and this divisional rivalry should stay close if not a potential upset. Dallas' weakness is the run so I expect Washington to have a full run game, bring the clock down, bet under?, and keep the game close.
Situationally it isn't great. Home teams favorite by 10 or more but less than 13 covered 57.4% of the time in the last 148 games. Maybe I am getting cute here. Ok, maybe a sprinkle or a unit but not big. Washington covers, hopefully.
TAMPA BAY VS CAROLINA
Another opportunity to fade Cam Newton and against the Bucs, let's go! Wait not so quick. Mike Evans, Fournette injured. Godwin out for season. The spread is still 10? Brady will find ways to win as he said.
Models estimated this at Bucs to win by 13 so not much but a potential blowout. I'm not too worried about Fournette as I know others will be able to fill his role. I'm more worried about Brady throwing pick 6s because receivers can't get open and that's where Evans and Godwin would step in. Good news is that Antonio Brown will be coming back.
Chargers in a David and Goliath battle here and needing a win to secure a playoff spot while the Texans might be looking into a better draft spot.
I can't believe the Packers didn't cover last week. They should have learned their lesson at almost losing that game. They come back and beat the crap out of the Browns at home.
Final take: probably a stay away or a half unit to see the Bucs defense come to life against Cam and get them through the hump.
MNF: NEW ORLEANS -3
Before they shut down the Bucs offense to zero, did you know the Saints defense is ranked #4 overall and first against the run? Sean Payton always carries a great defense and this year is no different. Imagine what they will do against Tua and the Dolphins #24 offense? You would be buying the Dolphins high since they have won 6 in a row, but the only decent team they beat was the Ravens. The rest was Jets (twice), Giants, Panthers, and Texans. Now they face a tough D, let's see how that goes...Easy money Saints -3.
Statistical model results below: