Week 15 was the first week of what could be a crazy end to the regular season due to COVID-19. Several teams were missing key players, and it threw people off when trying to place bets at the last minute.
Team rosters will be a fluid situation as the week goes on, but the picks against the spread right now look pretty intriguing. These are the Sunday games to pick with the spread for Week 16.
Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons -3.5
Are the Detroit Lions actually good now? While that might not be exactly the case, they certainly aren’t as bad as the record indicates. They’ve shown some decent flashes of competent football with new head coach Dan Campbell. Beating the Arizona Cardinals last week was an impressive feat, but now they have to go to Atlanta and beat a veteran Matt Ryan to solidify that play.
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One thing going in Detroit’s favor is that Atlanta has to feel bad about dropping that tough loss of San Francisco last week. They would like to wrap up their non-divisional schedule with a win, but Detroit will give them all they can handle. Atlanta might still win, but with the spread, Detroit’s the safer pick.
Pick: Detroit Lions +3.5
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals -2.5
After working so hard to get control of the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals have to back it up with a win on Sunday at home. The good news for Cincinnati is that the Baltimore defense has looked dreadful this year, and injuries are only making it worse. Joe Burrow should be able to have his way once again, putting up enough points to give Cincinnati a pull-away victory.
Baltimore is also dealing with some Covid cases that leave a bit up in the air as far as who will be doing the bulk of their running and passing. With that said, they’ll keep it competitive enough, but the close spread means it’s almost a pick’em game. In that case, take the home team to win and cover.
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals -2.5
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings
Los Angeles Rams -3
With a short week, the sportsbooks don’t really have too much confidence with the Minnesota Vikings. However, the schedule change had the Rams playing on Tuesday, so they’ll be coming off of even shorter rest. This could be a sloppy game overall, but who will prevail?
Minnesota has a knack for keeping games close all year long. Kirk Cousins will keep it close enough that they could pull off the mild upset at home. Considering they are giving Minnesota a few points, it just seems like the safer bet.
Pick: Minnesota Vikings +3
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
New England Patriots -2.5
In a virtual tossup game between two even teams, the Buffalo Bills will try to pull off a mild upset on the road against the New England Patriots. They are hoping to build off the success that they had this past week, running the ball a little more consistently with Devin Singletary. If Josh Allen can do his part as a quarterback, they have the firepower to pull out the win.
Some people feel like the New England Patriots had their game plan figured out a bit with Mac Jones. They seem a little too one-dimensional right now, and Buffalo will be looking for revenge after losing the first time on their home field.
Pick: Buffalo Bills +2.5
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets
New York Jets -2.5
This is a battle of the #1 pick versus the #2 pick in the most recent NFL draft, both these teams are going nowhere. Jacksonville‘s been a mess all year long with coaching changes and a ton of injuries, while the New York Jets haven’t been much better. To make matters worse, COVID-19 has played a role in hurting both teams in the last few weeks.
This could very well come down to which quarterback has the better individual performance. Wilson’s been a little more consistent, but he’s also received more help from his teammates. It’s a tossup game for the most part, which is why favoring the home team is probably the safest bet. Take the Jets to win by less than a touchdown.
Pick: New York Jets -2.5
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles -10
The Giants might be a mess on offense, but their defense has been extremely sharp. That’s why a double-digit point spread against the Philadelphia Eagles seems a little too much at first glance. The question is, will the Giants be able to score at all to keep it close?
As long as they give Saquon Barkley a lot of touches, they should be relatively fine. That’s not to say they win the game, but Philadelphia won’t be able to pull away as the spread would indicate. Philadelphia is also coming off a short week, so they won’t be as sharp as they would like to be. This could be a defensive battle where neither team passes 20 points, but the spread is too much for anyone to avoid the Giants.
Pick: New York Giants +10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -11
Tampa Bay‘s offense looked absolutely dreadful in Week 15. They were shut out by the New Orleans Saints, and the passing game looks like a major struggle. Tom Brady will get Antonio Brown back this week, but Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are still out. That means a good amount of running with Leonard Fornette and Ronald Jones.
Fortunately, Tampa Bay’s defense has been solid enough that they should be able to take care of the Panthers. They put a lot of pressure on the home team and bounce back from an embarrassing loss. It’s a pretty big spread for Tampa Bay, but take them to cover.
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -11
Los Angeles Chargers at Houston Texans
Los Angeles Chargers -9.5
Los Angeles is rested, healthy, and facing a team that is pretty much packed it in at this point of the year. It seemed likely that this would be a double-digit point spread, but early releases say otherwise. This makes the Chargers pretty much a lock compared to the rest of the schedule.
Houston’s quarterback Davis Mills will put up a fight, but there’s just not the talent available for the Texans to keep this close. Los Angeles will be motivated since they need a win to stay competitive in the AFC West. This has a blowout victory written all over it.
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -9.5
Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks -7
Not only does Chicago have to deal with a short week, but they are traveling to the Pacific Northwest. They face another team on short rest, which means that this is likely going to be a low-scoring affair.
Seattle seems like the favorite, but they are currently favored by seven points. That seems like way too much in what could be a race to 21. Another factor to consider is that Justin Fields will get a chance to show what he can do late in the season. He’s shown some good flashes so far, and if he balances out the passing with David Montgomery rushing the ball, Chicago will keep it close.
Take Seattle to win outright, but they fail to cover the spread. Chicago has too much motivation to let this get away.
Pick: Chicago Bears +7
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs -10
The defense looked pretty solid for Pittsburgh last time out against the Tennessee Titans. Even though they gave up a lot of rushing yards, the passing game had all sorts of issues. However, that’s likely not going to be the case this week as they face a potent Kansas City offense led by Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs still have plans to secure a #1 seed in the conference, so they’ll be looking for a blowout victory from the beginning. Pittsburgh still has plenty to play for as well, but a loss this week will pretty much ruin their playoff hopes. Kansas City takes full control of the game early on and cruises to a win.
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -10
Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders -1.5
In the first matchup in Denver, the Raiders came into town and won by double digits. It might seem like a no-brainer that Las Vegas will win at home, but with two pretty unpredictable teams, just about anything can happen.
Denver plans to once again rely on Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon to handle most of the offensive load. They won’t need to do much, as this likely plays out as a low-scoring game. They seem a little more trustworthy than Derek Carr and Las Vegas’ offense at this moment. The game could go either way, which is why favoring the underdog is probably the best way to go. History might say otherwise, but the Raiders played much better than compared to what they’ve done lately.
Pick: Denver Broncos +1.5
Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys -10
To wrap up Sunday, Washington travels to Dallas to see if they can pull off an upset victory. Dallas had control of the game the last time they played, but Washington came back and almost make a surprise push in the end.
This is a bit of a scheduling problem for Washington, as they face a short week with little to play for. They can’t come back and win the division, so their motivation is gone. To make matters worse, Dallas‘s defense is looking like the best in the NFL, so Washington will have a hard time scoring any points.
Dak Prescott and the offense haven’t been amazing, but they’ll do enough to win by double-digits against Washington. It’s a nice game for the Cowboys to get in a rhythm as they prepare for the final two games of the regular season, and what they’re hoping for is a long playoff run.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys -10