Gamblers face several unique variables as they handicap the NFL Week 16 betting card.
Frigid temperatures, uncertain status for Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson, relative parity for point spreads, and the year’s largest Saturday slate greet bettors. Here are current NFL Week 16 odds, followed by a look at early betting trends from top US sportsbooks.
Hurts Status Impacts Eagles vs. Cowboys Betting Line
Bettors are following news regarding Hurts, as the line of Philadelphia +4.5 against the host Dallas Cowboys reflects the belief Hurts will rest his strained shoulder. As Hurts news broke Monday afternoon, the line jumped from Dallas -1 to -6, before inching back at DraftKings.
Gardner Minshew will replace Hurts if he can’t go. Hurts hasn’t been ruled out, so that line will tumble back inside a field goal if he starts.
Hurts fed the speculation frenzy Tuesday, saying there’s a chance he could play. Whether Hurts is following the team party line to make Dallas prepare for two quarterbacks, or whether he is simply young and resilient remains to be seen.
Logic suggests that Hurts, who is more of a team leader than he’s credited for, should nonetheless sit. Emotion on Hurts’ part may be a different story.
Bettors who took Dallas -1 before the Hurts development obtained excellent value, a premium of several points.
In related Hurts news, DraftKings substantially moved his MVP line from -140 chalk to +425, installing Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs as the new -330 favorite.
If an MVP candidate misses a game now, kiss the award goodbye.
The 13-1 Eagles can afford to rest Hurts. They can practically waltz to the NFC No. 1 seed, home field throughout the playoffs and a first-round bye. They need Hurts ready for the post-season.
Betting Market Expects Lamar Jackson Back for Ravens
If the Eagles needed to string wins, Hurts might be cajoled to play.
And that could be the case for Jackson.
His expected return from a knee injury is incorporated into the line of Baltimore -7.5 against the Atlanta Falcons. The 9-5 Ravens need a victory to stay near the Cincinnati Bengals, whom they play in the final week, for AFC North honors.
Bettors received mixed signals Tuesday, when Jackson missed practice. If he can’t go, Tyler Huntley will likely start.
Atlanta will start Desmond Ridder, who looked lost until the second half last week. He helped Atlanta notch two second-half touchdowns and a cover at +4.5 in a 21-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints. A key to this game will be running backs Tyler Allgeier of Atlanta and J.K. Dobbins for Atlanta.
NFL Point Spreads Tighten Up
As Wednesday dawned, there were no double-digit point spreads for Week 16. That’s a rare occurrence, especially in light of the Houston Texans receiving 17 points from the Cowboys and 14.5 from the Kansas City Chiefs in consecutive weeks. The Texans covered both games and nearly won them on the moneyline.
As the 11-3 Chiefs chase the AFC top seed, point spreads do them no favors. Kansas City is 2-5 against the number the last seven weeks, both victories coming by half a point, and has lost three straight against the spread. Bettors have nonetheless linked the Chiefs to moneyline parlays, with KC going 6-1 over that time.
A betting line of -9 or -9.5 is still a lot against the Seattle Seahawks, but not the -14.5 from last week.
Who will lift the trophy? Odds to win Super Bowl 57
Weather Factoring In Over/Under Totals
Bettors must account for cold and winds this weekend, “weather” they like it or not.
DraftKings posted a season-high seven totals under 40. This reflects conditions that make passes hard to catch and throw.
Winds of 15 mph or higher usually coincide with low-scoring games, especially for stadiums near the water in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Here is a list of the low-total games. Many coaxed divided over-under handle, with some exceptions.
Games with fairly-even percentages:
- The Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets launch the schedule with a 38 total Thursday. Yes, this is the same Jags team that just returned +2200 to FanDuel bettors for being the highest-scoring team of the week, 40, against the Cowboys. That 40-34 victory generated 74 points. This is expected to hit roughly half.
- The New Orleans Saints and host Cleveland Browns feature the lowest total, 32 points. If the number holds, it will be the lowest total for an NFL game since the Bills’ 30-7 home win over the Colts stayed Under 32 on Jan. 3, 2010. In similar conditions last week, the Browns outlasted the Baltimore Ravens 13-3.
- The total is up to 36.5 points for the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams, two teams who struggle to score even in balmy conditions.
- The Las Vegas Raiders and host Pittsburgh Steelers have a total of 39.
How Totals are Trending in Early Week 16 Wagering
The public was more definitive on three other games with the first released figures.
- The highest Under backing is 85% handle for the Texans and Tennessee Titans to finish Under 37.
- A large majority, 79% handle, pegs the Washington Commanders and San Francisco 49ers Under 39.
- Nearly three-quarters of the handle, 74%, rests with the Falcons-Ravens to stay under 37.5.
Tickets Versus Handle Highlights
Some games feature a big difference of opinion among small and larger bettors.
- The San Francisco-Washington Under began with 38% tickets, but 79% of the handle. That 41% swing was the biggest difference on the board.
- Another substantial split came in the Lions-Panthers, in which 89% of the original bets but only 51% of the handle went on the Lions -3.
- Another big one concerns the Saints (+2.5), who had only 35% of the spread tickets but 65% of the handle against the Browns.
How The Public Sees Prominent Teams
- The Bengals (-3.5), who have covered six straight and assume first place in the AFC North, obtained 77% of the early spread handle against the host Patriots.
- The 49ers, with five consecutive covers, earned a lofty 89% of the spread handle at -7 against the desperate Commanders.
- Bettors also backed the ice-cold Buccaneers, who lead the AFC South in spite of themselves. The 6-8 Bucs, “ruling” the division roost, gained 93% of the handle at -6.5 against the visiting Cardinals.
Line moves: NFL Week 16 odds
Lessons to Carry Forward
Bettors enjoyed some monumental moments from Week 15. Even those with modest bankrolls can glean something from a fantastic DraftKings payout.
Johnny Avello, director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Gaming Today that a bettor wagered $31,000 in-game to win $2.8 million on a courageous call.
“The player started off with the Minnesota Vikings in-game at +700, when they were still down two touchdowns,” he noted about Minnesota, down 33-0 at halftime (and priced +4000), launching the biggest comeback in NFL history to beat the Indianapolis Colts 39-36 in overtime.
“The next leg was Miami plus seven against the Buffalo Bills,” he added of Miami’s 32-29, road-covering setback. “And then it was the Browns -2.5 (in their 13-3 win over the Ravens), the Jacksonville Jaguars on the moneyline (over the Cowboys ) and the Las Vegas Raiders on the moneyline (versus the Patriots).”
The Jags overcame a 27-10 third-quarter deficit to beat the Cowboys in overtime. The Raiders were down to their final play, 4th-and-10 deep in their territory, before notching an improbable set of circumstances to defeat the Patriots on the last play of the game.
Five legs. Three selections looked absolutely dead. And yet a seemingly-impossible collection went in the bank.
Avello said there are millions of NFL bets placed weekly at DraftKings, and gamblers should not be misled into thinking random big-money risks are likely to come out in the players’ favor.
But they point to a concept.
“This kind of payoff gives people a lot of confidence,” he said. “Most people can’t gamble that kind of money, but seeing the bet come out gives them hope that something similar can happen for them on these $10 same-game parlays. They pay pretty well, too.”
Yes, one bettor turned $10 into more than $60,000 last week on a multi-legged parlay involving the Eagles and Giants. The clinching portion illustrated both the razor-thin margin of the collection and the need for responsible wagering. A.J. Brown of the Eagles needed 69.5 yards to bring home the bet. He notched 70, just half a yard more than needed.
That’s a titanic sweat on a $10 bet, let alone one for several thousand.
BetMGM offered a couple early prop bets for the Jets-Jaguars.
Trevor Lawrence to throw for more than 220 yards, at least two touchdowns and the Jags to win is +360.
Garrett Wilson and Travis Etienne to each score and the total to go over 39 is a nice +775. Bettors would love the luxury of seeing an early tally from each and then rooting for everyone on both teams to score.