Merry Christmas! The commish got hot again last week and almost swept the board going 4-1 on his picks. If there ever was a time to get hot and gain confidence, it’s now. Our season record now stands at 38/72 (52.77%). Here’s who I have my eye on this week in our NFL 2021 Week 16 predictions as many teams find themselves in must win games and this should prove to be an incredible weekend of football. All lines are from Wannamakeabet.com at the time of posting.
Cleveland Browns +7.5 over Green Bay Packers
Back in the 80s the Browns were known as the Cardiac Kids. The more things change the more they stay the same. If you trace back the meaning of this nickname, they earned it because they had a chance to win every game they played in and could never be counted out (showing heart!). Fast forward to 2021. With the game on the line, the Browns could have beaten the Chiefs, Chargers and Raiders this season if they just got a first down with the clock winding down. And of all their seven losses, none have been by more than six points. Is the levy going to break today or will they bring enough fight to the table to stay in the playoff hunt now that most of the team is returning after testing positive for Covid with no symptoms. An angry Browns team shows out today in Green Bay against a Packers team that doesn’t have much incentive to do more than just get a win, much less cover a whopping 7 points. Trap game for the Pack and must win for Browns.
Arizona Cardinals -2 over Indianapolis Colts
It’s so hard to find line value these days in the NFL. But a buy low, sell high strategy of betting has been a nice approach to capture it this season. And so we find ourselves on Christmas night getting an opportunity to back Arizona at home on the right side of 3 after they blew up Survivor pools from here to eternity last week in Detroit. The Colts are over-rated. But everyone is swooning after the big win last week at home against the Pats. And even though I have them ranked 8th overall and the Cards 9th, I think their strength of schedule in the AFC South doesn’t compare to the NFC West, who will likely be sending three teams to the playoffs. With so much focus on getting to the playoffs now that the Titans have locked up the South, this is a game the Colts don’t necessarily need, and will be hard to focus on Christmas day as a roadie.
Baltimore Ravens + 4 over Cincinnati Bengals
Tyler Huntley has a non-Covid illness and missed practice this week. So I’m rolling the dice and betting that he’ll be able to play on Sunday in a must win game for the Ravens. That also gives me an additional two critical points ATS. When this line came out at two points it was fair, but now the Bengals find themselves on the wrong side of 3 having to lay more than a field goal to a team that has to win the game to stay alive. I have the Ravens ranked #16 and the Bengals ranked #19 and I know the laundry list of injuries in this game does not help the Ravens. And yes, Cincy should be able to take advantage of the Ravens banged up secondary and backup DBs. But there’s something about Cincy and Zach Taylor’s game planning and calling that does not inspire confidence. He’s been gun slinging all season long and now that all the chips are on the line with a chance to win the division, he’ll find himself in very uncomfortable situation and will struggle to keep his head above the water line.
Pittsburgh Steelers +8.5 over Kansas City Chiefs
This handicap is a combination of a Covid dice roll and a must win game. The Chiefs announced that their two best receivers, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are on the Covid-19 list and will likely miss the game this week. Now, of course, they could return if they test negative twice before Sunday but that just feels unlikely given how often it has happened to other players on other teams. So Mahomes has to lay more than a TD without his two biggest weapons. Meanwhile the Steelers are fighting for their playoff lives. I backed them last week in a similar spot at home against the Titans and they won the game. Are the Steelers fading? Yes. Is Ben done? Yes. But there is no quit here and plenty of fight left and if, nothing else, a huge margin of error in order to cover 8.5 points in a must win game.
New Orleans Saints + 2.5 over Miami Dolphins
The Saints are alive. With some Covid issues. Their win against the Bucs last week super impressive and now they get a home game as a dog on Monday night in front of the whole country to show they still have some gas in the tank. And the Dolphins are going to come in here and get punched right in the mouth by this defense. I have the Saints ranked 12th and Miami ranked 25th and the Saints are getting points at home?? Why? Well, they don’t have a quarterback for starters. With Taysum Hill and Trevor Simien on the Covid list, that puts Notre Dame rookie Ian Book next in line. This is their FOURTH quarterback this season. Has he ever thrown a pass in the league? No. Is it hard to throw the ball to Kamara? No. Rolling the dice they put together a simple game plan for the rook and let the defense do all the heavy lifting. Monday night home dogs usually fare pretty well. I also like to follow an old betting theory called the QB jinx. Basically, if you bet against a team because they have a backup QB, that backup QB will come in and blow you out of the water.
Good luck this week! NFL 2021 Week 16 Predictions
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