NFL Week 16 Opening Lines and Analysis
Let’s take a look at a few games that are sure to draw attention from bettors for Week 16. We will just be discussing the matchups; if you are looking for more concrete predictions and projections, be sure to check back throughout the week for our game picks.
All odds are courtesy of our friends at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
Odds: Steelers -3, O/U n/a
Indianapolis has a 10-4 record on the season but remains in second place in the AFC South due to the tiebreaker with the Tennessee Titans. The Colts’ offseason moves have turned into a resounding success, as their marquee additions, Philip Rivers, DeForest Buckner, and rookie Jonathan Taylor have all been difference makers. The Colts have gotten hot at the right time, winning three in a row heading into Week 16. A win over the Steelers would be a major confidence booster. They could meet them in the wild card or divisional round, so beating the Steelers while on the road could be a major coup for a team with designs on playing until February.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are 11-2 on the season and can now feel the Cleveland Browns breathing down their necks. Pittsburgh has lost two-straight heading into Monday night but have the good fortune of having the Cincinnati Bengals on tap to conclude Week 15. They close the season with the Colts and the Browns and will need to be careful not to lose another game. Another loss would drop them to third place in the conference due to the tiebreaker with the Buffalo Bills (who beat them in Week 14). The injuries are piling up at linebacker for the Steelers, with Bud Dupree, Devin Bush, and Robert Spillane forcing the black and yellow to dip into their third-string to get bodies on the field. The defense is the strength of the team, so any more losses to the unit could result in a massive disappointment come playoff time.
The -3-point spread for this contest seems very fair and may even be set purposely low. However, the early money has still come in on Indianapolis, suggesting that the sharps and early bettors believe the value lies with the Colts. Pittsburgh plays on Monday night, so there is no over/under line posted at FanDuel as of the time of writing. It will likely be set in the 45-48 point range.
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Odds: Seahawks -1.5, O/U 46.5
Ouch. The Los Angeles Rams now hold the dubious distinction of being the only team the hapless New York Jets beat in 2020. It was a downright embarrassing and ‘humbling’ effort from a Rams team that was in first place in the NFC West heading into Week 15. Now in second place, you can be sure that every playoff team that cannot get the NFC East winner now wants a piece of the Rams. They are now 9-5 on the season with the tiebreaker over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the Rams finish the season with Seattle and the Arizona Cardinals, two teams that can pass them in the standings if tied due to divisional records. The Rams desperately need to get things back on track but may be running out of the runway to do so.
Despite two wins in a row, the Seattle Seahawks have not been much better than the Rams over the last few weeks. They have shown off their warts on both sides of the ball. They are just 4-3 on the road, a distinction that may come back to haunt them come playoff time. At 10-4, they are in the driver’s seat to win the NFC West. They have the Rams and the banged up, but still tough San Francisco 49ers to close the season, two teams that will give them fits. Seattle has already lost to Los Angeles this season and will need their defense to join Jamal Adams and Carlos Dunlap in playing at a high level in order for them to pull off these wins to close out the season. Seattle will be welcoming troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon back to the team this week and could also see injured tight end Greg Olsen return in time for the playoffs.
The small -1.5 point spread on Seattle accentuates the lack of a gap between these two teams. Both teams have struggled in recent weeks, but it is notable that the spread has been set at -1.5, instead of the -3 normally reserved for the home team when two teams were seen on equal footing meet. This has led to the early action coming in on the Seahawks. This line is very likely to see some movement before kickoff. The over/under has been set at 46.5, which is a very reasonable number given that this contest can just as easily turn into a shootout as it could turn into a defensive slugfest. The over/under will also likely see some movement before game time. The juice is currently on the over. The Rams beat the Seahawks 23-16 earlier this season.
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers (SNF)
Odds: Packers -4.5, O/U 55.5
The Tennessee Titans are once again peaking at the right time. Derrick Henry continues to be a second half of the season war horse, seemingly increasing his level of play when the temperature decreases. Tennessee is 10-4 on the season but may have to win out in order to stay ahead of the Indianapolis Colts in the NFC South. Luckily for the Titans, the Colts also have an extremely tough Week 16 opponent. If Tennessee can find a way to beat the Green Bay Packers, they should hold onto first place in the division and get a home game in the wild card round. A loss could drop them as far as seventh place in the conference, with only their Week 11 win over the Baltimore Ravens keeping them in the postseason picture. There is going to be a playoff level atmosphere in Green Bay in Week 16.
Speaking of playoff level atmosphere, the Green Bay Packers also need to win in order to secure a bye in the NFC. They are 11-3 on the season but have been struggling since losing to Tampa Bay in Week 6. They have won ‘ugly’ in five of their last six contests, with none coming over a playoff team. Their last three games against playoff-caliber teams have all been losses. Green Bay is going to need to buck that trend to lock up the bye in Week 16. Luckily, they have a Chicago Bears team they dismantled earlier this season on tap for Week 17, so there is a chance that they maintain their bye even if they lose this out of conference game to the Titans. This is an important factor bettors should consider, as Green Bay may elect to rest injured players in Week 16 in order to have them healthy for their Week 17 showdown with the Bears.
The -4.5 on the Green Bay Packers could be seen as a bit large given how uneven they have looked in recent weeks. Their struggles to defend the run also makes the spread a little perplexing. The early bettors and sharps are having none of it, with the early money coming in on the Titans. This is a spread that is likely to change by Tuesday morning. The over/under has been set rather high at 55.5, but the early action has still come in on the over. This could result in the total rising as the week progresses. The lines for this contest will not look like this for long, so take that into account when deciding when to place your action.