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We’ve had a good run with our NFL betting picks on the OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark podcast. So far this season, we’re cashing at a 69% (nice) clip at 37-17.
And, because it’s Christmas weekend, I’m giving FIVE picks this week. Normally I don’t give out more than four. But this is a special weekend for all the good little girls and good little boys. Let’s not waste time and get into our NFL betting picks for Week 16 after a quick recap of Week 15…
Week 15 NFL Betting Picks (3-1)
Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos Under 36 ❌
New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders Over 44.5 ✅
New York Giants +4.5 over Washington Commanders ✅
Green Bay Packers -7 over Los Angeles Rams ✅
Week 16 NFL Betting Picks
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings Over 48 points
Admittedly, Vikings totals have given me fits this season. I lost badly when I took the Under in their Thanksgiving Day win over the Patriots. I’ve been trying to figure Minnesota out ever since and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is just an Over team. They make big plays — both positively and negatively — and they don’t play any defense.
Plus, people think Minnesota and they think good defense and Kirk Cousins. That doesn’t exactly scream Over. But Cousins is a very competent quarterback — evidenced by erasing a 33-point deficit in one half against an above-average defense — and the Vikings defense is below-average.
We get a perfect storm here, too, because the Giants defense is actually terrible. According to Warren Sharp on Twitter… “Both defenses have struggled since week 10… Opponent % of scoring drives: MIN – 53% (NFL-worst) NYG – 42% (8th-worst).”
Over the past five weeks, New York has allowed 31 points to Detroit, 28 points to Dallas, and 48 points to Philadelphia. The only team they were able to stop was Washington (20 points and then 12 points), but Minnesota’s offense is far superior.
Plus, we get Daniel Jones in a dome. Jones hasn’t had much dome experience in his career since he plays his home games outdoors — as do two of the three teams in his division — but in limited action he has been very good. His passer rating indoors is 15 points higher than outdoors. He completes 67.5% of dome passes vs. 63.5% outdoors.
Minnesota is a heavy over team this season (9-5 O/U, tied for highest over percentage) and even more so as a home favorite (6-1 O/U). Each of their past four games have gone over the total by an average of 14 (!!) points per game. To me, this line should be in the 50s, so we’ll take the value on the Over.
Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs Over 49 points
Very similar situation here to the one above: above-average offenses and below-average defenses. The Kansas City Chiefs offense isn’t just above-average, either: it’s Godly. Their EPA/play is the highest in the NFL by a decent margin. And defensively, they just allowed 24 points to Houston and 28 points to Denver.
The Seahawks feature a Top 10 offense, as well, according to EPA/play. And their defense is hovering around the Bottom 5. The only reason this line is below 50, in my opinion, is because of weather. Much has been made of the fact that the entire country is going to get hit with an incredible cold front. Totals across the league have been depressed in response.
But, here’s the thing: cold weather doesn’t necessarily mean low scoring. But people think it does, which actually creates value on the Over. Per Accuweather: since 2005, games with temperatures 20° or lower are 25-22 O/U. The biggest factor in affecting the total is wind. Then precipitation, with rain actually being a little worse than snow.
Here is the current weather forecast for Saturday in Kansas City according to Stadium Forecast: “Sunny and cold, with a high near 15. West northwest wind 7 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.”
That’s pretty mild. A wind around 10 won’t have much affect and there’s no snow forecasted. Both of these teams leans towards the Over, with Seattle playing to a +5.3/game to the Over (highest in the NFL) and Kansas City at +2.9/game (fifth-highest).
Normally, I take more Unders than Overs because generally numbers are inflated towards the Over. Why? The public prefers to bet the Over. But when weather is a factor, the public jumps on the Under, believing themselves to be gaining an advantage. But the real advantage lies in going against that perception. If this game were being played indoors, I think the total would be somewhere around 55.
I think we’re getting huge value with a number under 50, so go ahead and take it.
Washington Commanders +7 over San Francisco 49ers
There is almost nothing I hate more than a handicapper who says “I just have a feeling.” That being said … I truly just have a feeling that this game is going to be close. I think Washington can even win.
Yes, you read that correctly. One of my favorite handicapping angles is to fade what we we saw most recently. And what we saw most recently was Washington losing to the Giants on national television, scoring just 12 points. That’s not ideal, especially considering San Francisco’s defense is much better than New York.
So what the hell am I doing here? Well, Washington’s defense is pretty damn good, too. And I love the Brock Purdy story as much as the next guy, but there’s a reason he was the last pick in the NFL Draft and started the season not even dressing for games. He’s due for regression.
And, talk about recency bias: the 49ers are essentially 3-0 with Purdy (technically Jimmy G gets credit for the win against Miami since he started, but Purdy played virtually the entire game). That includes absolutely dump trucking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady, 35-7.
One of the major factors here to me is motivation. The 49ers don’t really have that much to play for. They’ve already clinched the NFC West and they have virtually no shot at catching the 13-1 Philadelphia Eagles for the #1 seed. They’re going to finish either second or third in the NFC, and the difference in those spots is negligible.
Washington, on the other hand, is hanging onto a playoff spot by a thread. Their tie against the Giants is the only thing keeping them in right now over 7-7 Seattle and 7-7 Detroit. They need every game badly at this point.
The total for this game is sitting at 37. That’s very low. Vegas thinks it will be a low-scoring game and we’re backing a team that’s getting a touchdown in a potentially low-scoring affair. That’s plenty enough for me to pull the trigger here.
Miami Dolphins -3.5 over Green Bay Packers
FADE RECENCY BIAS! Yes it was a win over the Rams, but the Green Bay Packers looked pretty good on Monday Night Football in front of a national audience. Miami, on the other hand, has lost three straight games. Yes, they kept it close against Buffalo in primetime, but I don’t think the public is much on their side right now.
This is a great bounce-back spot for the Miami offense. Green Bay’s defense stinks. They don’t have anyone that can stick with Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle so the Dolphins should be able to score. Plus, Miami actually looked really good on the ground against Buffalo and I think they can control the pace and tempo in this game.
The Dolphins have torched bad defenses this season, especially in the NFC North. They hung 31 on Detroit and 35 on Chicago. They only scored 16 against Minnesota, but that was without Tua. According to EPA/play, Miami is just outside the second-highest tier. They’re a notch below the Buffalos and Cincinnatis of the world, but a very good team. The Packers, meanwhile, are very average.
If home-field advantage is worth between 1.5-2 points, that means on a neutral field Vegas is saying the Dolphins are just about two points better than Green Bay. That’s just not true. Miami is should be closer to 4-5 points better than Green Bay and this line should be much closer to a touchdown. In fact, when I saw Miami was just 3.5-point favorites, I assumed they were on the road.
We also get a nice rest and preparation advantage here, since the Dolphins played on Saturday and the Packers played Monday night. Don’t underestimate Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel with a couple extra days to prepare. In a very big game for the Dolphins in terms of playoff position, expect a complex gameplan for their first-year head man. There’s value in this line, so lay the points.
Las Vegas Raiders +2 over Pittsburgh Steelers
Yeah, this is pretty terrifying. The Las Vegas Raiders became the first team in NFL history to blow four double-digit second-half leads in one season. And, it should have been five last week, if not for a controversial call on a touchdown catch and arguably the dumbest play in NFL history.
So why in the world would we take them here? Quite simply, I think they’re the better team. Based on the home-field, Las Vegas (the betting entity, not the team) believes these two teams are essentially equal.
However, the Raiders have quietly won four out of the past five and it should have been five-straight games if not for that crazy Baker Mayfield drive. Yes, the Steelers have won three out of four, but all of their wins have come against teams lower on the EPA chart than the Raiders: the Falcons, Colts and Panthers.
In fact, if not for a season-opening win over Cincinnati, Pittsburgh wouldn’t have a single win over a team ranked higher than Las Vegas. The Raiders, meanwhile, have beaten three teams better than the Steelers in the past four weeks alone: the Patriots, Seahawks and Chargers.
Yes, there’s a chance the Raiders will find a way to blow the game late. Let’s just hope it’s on something like a two-point conversion for the win instead of the extra point to tie and the two points we’re getting still earn us the victory.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ