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It finally happened. Fifteen straight weeks of avoiding a losing record, but regression finally hit us. And when regression hits, it hits hard. Our NFL betting picks went just 1-4 in Week 16.
Still, because we built up such a strong early-season record, we’re at 64% winning for the year. Not bad at all.
Week 16 NFL Betting Picks (1-4)
Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs Over 49 points ❌
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings Over 48 points ✅
Washington Commanders +7 over San Francisco 49ers ❌
Miami Dolphins -3.5 over Green Bay Packers ❌
Las Vegas Raiders +2 over Pittsburgh Steelers ❌
Week 17 NFL Betting Picks
Philadelphia Eagles -6.5 over New Orleans Saints
This line should be at least a touchdown, minimum. I’m happy to snag this under seven. The Eagles are an elite team in the NFL. They should have beaten the Cowboys in Dallas last week with their backup quarterback. Jalen Hurts may return for this one, but even if he doesn’t the disparity between these two teams is immense.
The Eagles are at home and trying to clinch the #1 seed in the NFC. You better believe they want that spot and they want to get it this week and not leave anything to chance in Week 18. New Orleans is all but eliminated.
Here’s why this line is wrong: if you look at similar Week 17 matchups, the spreads are much higher.
Philadelphia is in the top tier in the NFL with regard to EPA/play, along with San Francisco, Kansas City and Buffalo.
They are playing a team in the fourth tier — basically the middle of the NFL pack where the majority reside. San Francisco and Kansas City are both playing opponents from the same tier as New Orleans. San Francisco — which has less on the line than Philadelphia in terms of playoff implications — is a ten-point favorite ON THE ROAD against Las Vegas.
Kansas City is a two-touchdown favorite at home against the Denver Broncos. It doesn’t add up. I believe Philadelphia is a little underrated because of the potential of Gardner Minshew playing and New Orleans is a little overrated because … well, quite honestly, I’m not sure why.
The Saints haven’t beaten a likely playoff team once this season. They’ve won two in a row, but they beat Cleveland and Atlanta. Prior to that, they lost four out of five and prior to beating the Browns last week hadn’t won a road game since Week 1. The win in Cleveland was also the first time this season the Saints won a game played outdoors. The Saints average just 15 points per game outdoors — and that’s buoyed by a 34-point game in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Outside of that match, they haven’t scored more than 17 points.
The Eagles aren’t shy about putting it on teams, either. They’ve won seven games by multiple scores and only four of their 13 wins have come by less than a touchdown. And, by the way, all of their wins by fewer than seven points have come on the road. In their six home victories, the average margin is 14 points. They’ve averaged 30 points per game in seven home contests (6-1 record), and allowed opponents to score just 19 points per contest at Lincoln Financial Field.
Somehow, the team with the best record in NFL is undervalued in Week 17, so we’ll happily side with them here.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions Over 52 points
I honestly thought this was a sucker line when I first saw it. “Everyone has to be hammering this Over!” I thought to myself. But then I went to VSIN to check the money percentages and it turns out there are more bets on the UNDER than on the Over here (54% to 46%). But, of course, the money is on the Over (65%) because that’s the clear correct side here.
First of all, these teams played to a 31-30 games last time they met. They are the two worst defenses in the league and Detroit just allowed Carolina (!!) to score 37 points on over 300 yards rushing. Other than a low-scoring affair with the Jets, the Lions have seen at least 53 total points scored in each of their other past four games. They even got to 49 points against the Giants, one of the heaviest Under teams in the league.
There are four teams in the NFL tied for the highest Over percentage in the league at 10-5 (O-U); these are two of them (the others are Minnesota and Philadelphia). Eight of the last nine Bears games have gone over the total since a 2-4 (O-U) start in their first six. Detroit is 5-2 (O-U) in the last seven games. They are also 6-2 to the Over at home this season.
Chicago has played three games indoors this season: at Minnesota, Dallas, and Atlanta. All three of those games went over by an average of 15 points per game. Overall on the road, Chicago is 5-2 to the Over by an average of +6 points. These are the two worst teams in the NFL in terms of points allowed to opponents and Detroit is Top 5 in points scored. Chicago is not, but that has a lot to do with a slow start. In Justin Fields past eight starts, the team has averaged 25 points/game.
I was quite shocked to find that people are backing the Under here. The Over is such an obvious play.
Baltimore Ravens -2.5 over Pittsburgh Steelers
Speaking of obvious plays, Baltimore giving up less than a field goal at home seems criminal. If you refer back to the EPA/play chart from earlier, the Ravens are a tier better than the Steelers and they’re at home. And while Baltimore has already clinched a playoff spot, a win this week against Pittsburgh and next week against Cincinnati earns them the AFC North title and home playoff game. That definitely matters to them. Plus, they can eliminate the Steelers with a win this week.
I think we’re getting a little bit of recency bias here for Pittsburgh. Kenny Pickett had a really nice game-winning drive last week against the Raiders. But everyone has game-winning drives against the Raiders. It annoyed me because I bet the Raiders last week, but I’m not putting a ton of stock in beating the Raiders in Pittsburgh while needing a last-second TD to do it.
These two teams played in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago and Baltimore had Tyler Huntley starting. The Ravens won 16-14. Perhaps that’s affecting this number, too. But this game will be played in Baltimore. The Ravens haven’t lost at home since October 2nd and that was against Buffalo. In fact, the Ravens started 0-2 at home and have won five straight.
The Steelers have won five of their past seven, but lost both games they played against playoff teams (these Ravens and the Bengals). All of the wins came against teams under .500: Saints, Colts, Falcons, Panthers and Raiders. So they beat up on the NFC South, plus the hapless Colts and Raiders who have both since benched their starting quarterbacks from those games.
Lamar Jackson is unlikely to play, and I’m fine still laying the points with Huntley. But Jackson could play, and if he does this line is going to shoot towards to Ravens. In that case, we lock in a great price at 2.5.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ