This week, NFL betting trends for Week 16 fit into four big days.
The NFL schedule contains a big game for bettors on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and a Monday tripleheader.
Let’s unpack one big trend each day.
NFL Week 16 Thursday Night Football
Los Angeles Rams vs New Orleans Saints
It’s a 7 and 7. Not a drink. But the winner between these 7-7 teams will raise a glass and toast a step toward the NFC playoffs.
The public says, “Gimme Those Rams.”
A strong 91% of the handle backs the Rams in a battle of upticking teams.
The Rams are 4-1 after the return of Matthew Stafford and the Saints have won their last two.
The Rams lost to the AFC top-seeded Baltimore Ravens in overtime. They then stumbled through a 28-20 victory, albeit a cover at -6.5 against the Washington Commanders.
Los Angeles overcame two fumbles and nearly squandered third-quarter leads of 20-0 and 28-7. It allowed two late touchdown drives by Jacoby Brissett.
The Rams have major threats like Cooper Kupp, who secured 111 yards and a TD last week. Puka Nacua is just as lethal, especially on deep plays.
Kyren Williams had 152 yards and a touchdown, but also the fumbles.
New Orleans went 2-1 in three straight home games. It has a head of steam after covering victories against the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants.
They beat the Giants on third down, hitting 6-of-12 while limiting the Giants to 2-of-16.
Not a flashy team, but weapons like Jimmy Graham, Alvin Kamara, and Juwan Johnson keep the Saints in games.
Looks like ball control for the Saints versus big-play potential for the Rams.
Good game to start the week.
NFL Week 16 Saturday
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Break up the Bengals.
Three weeks after sputtering in a 16-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, this team has been reborn. Three straight wins.
Cincinnati featured not one, but two overtime victories in a three-game win streak that looks large late in the season. This is a team that lost all-world quarterback Joe Burrow to injury, but has found another gear with Jake Browning.
Can they now do it on the road?
Bettors think so. A substantial 78% of the early DraftKings handle has backed the Bengals, who are starting to get the pieces coming together.
Whether that’s the hard running of Joe Mixon, the prowess of Ja’Marr Chase, or the acrobatics of Tee Higgins, who made an insane catch to tie the game Cincinnati won over the Minnesota Vikings last week, this team is humming.
But is it living dangerously? Is it getting so many breaks that this will balance out?
Pittsburgh has lost three straight and spun out of a playoff berth since the win in Cincinnati. Mitchell Trubisky has been less effective than Kenny Pickett and stars like Pat Freiermuth and George Pickens are not getting the ball.
After going up 13-0 against the Indianapolis Colts last week, the Steelers yielded 30 straight points.
The question is whether seeing the Bengals gets them healthy.
NFL Week 16 Sunday
Cowboys-Dolphins Provide Top Game of the Day
The public is split on this as one would suspect. The early handle is 55% for Dallas at +1.5 (Best Live Odds: ).
The ‘Boys haven’t beaten a good team on the road this season and were blasted 31-10 by the Buffalo Bills last week.
You still have Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Tony Pollard, and Jake Ferguson as Dallas weapons. Dak did not throw a TD last week. Look for this group to come out with a vengeance and think about TD prop totals for Prescott.
Miami has Tua Tagovailoa, Raheem Mostert, and Jaylen Waddle as major threats. Tyreek Hill, nursing an injury, may or may not go.
That’s close to a game-time call.
Both first-place teams are 10-4 and heading for the playoffs. It’s just a matter of which team can position itself for a possible top seed.
NFL Week 16 Monday Tripleheader
While the final volume will determine liability, DraftKings already sees public sentiment brewing for the Philadelphia Eagles, who have 85% of the early handle at -12 (Best Live Odds: ) versus the New York Giants.
The Eagles have lost three straight and while the perception is that they’ll handle the beleaguered Giants, this is a big number. Philly let an imminent victory against the Seattle Seahawks dissolve in Seattle’s 92-yard game-winning drive.
San Francisco 49ers
And then, there are the Niners. Always the Niners.
This time, the handle is more balanced, 74% at -5 (Best Live Odds: ) against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.
Some view this game as a potential Super Bowl preview. These are the No. 1 seeds in the NFC and AFC.
Arriving after people have enjoyed Christmas dinner, this matchup is a natural gambling home run, if not a grand slam.
“This will probably be the most heavily-written game of the week and the most-watched,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Gaming Today.
“I would not be surprised if that number bumps up to -6 at some point and comes back down.
“The public has just been loving the 49ers all year, especially after all their big players returned. This is a terrific game for Monday night.”
Kansas City Chiefs
Bettors favor the Chiefs at 91% of the moneyline in a rivalry they have recently controlled. The Chiefs have won six straight and 18 of the last 21.
The public likes where the number of Kansas City -10 (Best Live Odds: ) sits. Bettors are divided with 57% favoring the Chiefs, who come off a get-right 27-17 triumph over the New England Patriots.
Las Vegas has a respectable quarterback in Aidan O’Connell and stars like receiver Davante Adams.
Kansas City has Patrick Mahomes, a banged-up Travis Kelce, and the expected return of Isiah Pacheco, who missed two games with a shoulder contusion.
Pacheco has blinding speed and is a benefit to Mahomes out of the backfield. He should elevate Kansas City’s efficiency.
The Wonder of the Under
There are four games this week with totals under 40. The highest is 50, in which 72% of the handle favors the Over between the Dolphins and Cowboys.
Otherwise, scoring is markedly down throughout the league.
“You continue to see a lot of unders in these primetime games because of the backup quarterbacks on teams,” Avello noted. “You’re not seeing the scoring that you would like to see. It’s been like that all year long.
“The teams keep working around it the best they can. The philosophy seems to be to keep the game plan simple, minimize mistakes.”