Merry Christmas to all! What better way to celebrate the holiday weekend than with a boatload of NFL action? Interestingly enough, the special Christmas Day game this Friday between the Vikings and Saints ensures that an NFL game will have been played on all seven days of the week this season. Only in 2020, right?
With all 32 teams in action this weekend, there will be ample opportunity for bettors to top off their stuffed stockings with some extra cash. Let’s take a look at the current betting market for Week 16 relative to opening lines and try to diagnose where sharp money may be in play.
Refer to the side-by-side comparison of consensus opening lines and current odds for all Week 16 games in the table below. For games that have experienced especially significant or interesting movement, analysis of and reasoning for the changes are included in the sections below.
Week 16 Point Spread Movement Analysis
Odds courtesy of FOXBet
Buccaneers at Lions
The Move: Opening spread of Buccaneers (-7.5) up to Buccaneers (-9.5)
The Buccaneers were featured in this very column last week with a point spread moving heavily in their favor. It’s a similar situation this week as Tampa Bay is taking heavy respected action as a road favorite once again. The Bucs failed to cover in Atlanta last week and were really fortunate to win the game at all.
The Lions’ secondary that Tom Brady will face this week is roughly on par with the backups Falcons DBs that were thrust into action last week. Even so, nothing about the Bucs makes me want to lay near double digits with them on the road.
Colts at Steelers
The Move: Opening Spread of Colts (-2.5) down to Colts (-2)
The market hasn’t moved much this week when it comes to this critical battle between AFC contenders. The big line adjustment to note here is where the game reopened following Week 15 play as opposed to the number that was available last week on the lookahead lines. Indianapolis survived another close game against Houston, while Pittsburgh was embarrassed on Monday Night Football by the lowly Bengals.
A look-ahead line that opened Steelers -3 was adjusted a full 5.5 points to the Colts -2.5 that we saw to begin this week. While buying in on the broken Steelers offense is not easy to do right now, could this perhaps be an overreaction to recent form?
Panthers at Washington
The Move: Opening spread of Washington (-2) down to Washington (-1)
This line is worth keeping an eye on as we get more clarity on who will start at quarterback for Washington. The Panthers took quick sharp money when it was announced that Alex Smith is unlikely to be available as he continues to recover from a calf strain. As good as the Football Team’s defense is, I’m not sure Dwayne Haskins should ever be laying even one single point.
Week 16 Totals Movement Analysis
Odds courtesy of FOXBet
49ers at Cardinals
The Move: Opening total of 50.5 down to 48.5
This Saturday afternoon NFC West divisional battle carries far more weight for the Cardinals, given the current playoff standings. With that said, it seems logical to believe that the falling total is more in reaction to the 49ers’ quarterback news than anything. Nick Mullens is set to miss this week’s game, thrusting C.J. Beathard into the starting role. Even if George Kittle is able to return, points could still be hard to come by for San Fran.
Browns at Jets
The Move: Opening total of 44 up to 46.5
It seems somewhat ironic that a rising total for a game involving the horrendous Jets offense would mark the largest line move of the Week 16 slate. In fact, the current 46.5 at FOXBet is lower than most other books. Yes, New York beat a very talented Rams team last week. No, that doesn’t suddenly make the Jets “good.”
The natural handicap here has to be that Baker Mayfield will have a solid game against the young Jets secondary. If you gave me the opening line of 44, I’d be inclined to play Over. After rising four whole points at some sportsbooks earlier in the week, it appears some sharp buy-back has begun.
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