Fairway's Football Forecast - NFL Week 16 Underdog Picks And Insights



FairwayJay fires at four underdogs with three home 'Dogs in Week 16. Insight, analysis and information you can bet on from a proven pro.

We're back in action with an underdog pick on Saturday, and come off a good Christmas Day supporting the Saints. Some prop bets came in but missed on Alvin Kamara receiving props. Kamara still had a huge day rushing and setting an NFL record with six rushing touchdowns in the Saints smackdown of the Vikings, 52-33. Teasers are alive and let's see if we can add some underdog winners in the closing weeks. The season-to-date record picking underdogs on these pages is 20-23 ATS with 14 outright underdog winners. That's not good enough or up to past season's success. But the 3-plus year record selecting underdogs only is now 97-77 ATS (55.7%).

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The playoff picture is becoming clearer into Week 16, but there are some big games that will impact divisions and playoff positioning including the Steelers vs Colts and Seahawks vs Rams. The Saturday game in Las Vegas is meaningful for Miami, who is still in the playoff hunt. The Dolphins (9-5) also have the best Against the Spread record this season at 11-3 ATS. The Raiders had their bubble burst last week and we cashed in on the Chargers (+3) as underdog. The Raiders (7-7) blew it and are essentially out of the playoff picture, and the line has shifted from the Raiders being favored to a 3-point home underdog against the Dolphins.

Miami's stock is high, and bettors easily forget Miami was a 3.5-point road favorite to mostly dreadful Denver back in Week 11 and the fish got fried 20-13 and were out-gained 459-223. As I covered two weeks ago on these pages, I don't believe the Dolphins turnaround will include the playoffs. But bettors are swimming with the fish with more than 2-of-every-3 spread bets on the Dolphins to win and cover against the Raiders. More than 73% of the money is supporting Miami at a majority of online sportsbooks

NFL Week 16 Underdog Picks 

462 Las Vegas (+3) vs Miami - Raiders Moneyline +135
456 NY Jets (+10) vs Cleveland - Jets Moneyline +380
468 Jacksonville (+7.5) vs Chicago - Jaguars Moneyline +305
475 LA Rams (+1) at Seattle - Rams Moneyline +100

Miami at Las Vegas

Raiders dolphins free pickSee some of my comments and analysis above, and know the Raiders will probably play both QB Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota this week. Carr left last week's game with a groin injury and Mariota was sharp in his Raiders debut adding mobility and running to the attack. Rookie speed receiver Henry Ruggs returns from COVID-19 protocol, and the Raiders dreadful defense gets some player back this week. Check the injury reports for all the teams, and recognize that the Raiders have an extra day of prep while Miami travels East to West for a prime time game. Oh, and the Dolphins are on a 0-9 ATS run after playing New England, which had to feel good knocking the AFC East kings out of the playoff chase. The Dolphins have covered four straight games, but the efficiency numbers don't match and Miami has been fortunate Inside the Numbers. The Dolphins defense and special teams are stronger and they have a plus-10 turnover margin to minus-6 for the Raiders this season. We're selling on Miami and expect the Raiders to show well despite most bettors feeling the Raiders season is shot after last week and prefer Miami's motivation. 

Cleveland at New York Jets 

I've been supporting the Browns (10-4) during the strong stretch and improved play, and now Cleveland's stock is also sky high. The Browns are taking 85% of the spread bets according to date from Sports Insights, Jets Browns betting tipswhich tracks betting activity from seven leading online sportsbooks. The Browns running game is top-4 in the league rushing 32 times per game for 152 yards per game, although just 120 YPG over their last three contests. But the Jets run defense is pretty solid, and held the Rams and Raiders below their season rush averages in recent weeks. The Jets (1-13) pulled off the biggest point spread upset in 25 years last week with a 23-20 shocker as 17.5-point 'Dog over the no-show Rams, who were looking forward to this week's game against Seattle. Some negative ATS situations are against the Jets off their huge upset win, but this game also sets up to have less scoring than expected like last week's Browns win 20-6 on the same field at MetLife against the Giants. The Browns may be watching the scorebard in Pittsburgh at the same time with the Steelers on deck next week for a potential AFC North title on the line. 

Chicago at Jacksonville 

Jags Bears free pickThe Jaguars (1-13) are now in line for the No.1 pick and QB Trevor Lawrence if they lose their final two games. Bettors are betting on the Bears (7-7) with 85% of the spread bets counting on Chicago. The Bears come off a pair of underdog wins including a big one last week at Minnesota to keep Chicago's playoff hopes alive. This line is one of the big moves of the week with last week's lookahead line Bears -5. The Jaguars have looked dreadful at times, and are off back-to-back blowout losses agaisnt the league's top two rushing teams with both Tennessee and Baltimore dominating the point of attack. But the Jaguars also hung with the Vikings and Packers in 3 and 4 point road losses, and lost to the Browns on this field a month ago 27-25 as a 7-point 'Dog. Now the Bears are an even bigger favorite and priced like a strong team, which they are not. Sure the Jaguars secondary is suspect, and its run defense can be worn down by strong running teams like the Ravens, Titans and Browns. The Bears run game has been better in recent weeks with David Montgomery going well against two poor run defenses the past two weeks. But this line is inflated, and the last home game for the Jaguars and final road game for the Bears sets up some favorable ATS situations for Jacksonville. Another lower scoring game projected and we're betting on the Jags and quarterback mustache Minshew with unheralded, undrafted rookie 1,000 yard rusher James Robinson to be more involved this week. 

LA Rams at Seattle 

A Seahawks (10-4) win secures the NFC West title while a Rams (9-5) win gives them a season sweep over Seattle and the division tiebreaker edge heading into Week 17. Seattle's defense has played better in recent Rams Seahawks betting tipsweeks with the return of CB Shaquill Griffin four games ago. But don't kid yourself, as the Seahawks defense is still deficient and poorly coordinated. Seattle has also faced the weak quartet of quarterbacks over their last four games - Wentz, McCoy, Darnold and Haskins. The Rams defense is an elite unit this season. The Rams have the best net yard per play differential (1.1) in the NFL and rate second in opponent-adjusted EPA (expected points added). Toss last week's embarrassing loss to the Jets and hope that QB Jared Goff minimizes mistakes as the Rams are the better team. Metrix and models may favor the Seahawks, but the match-ups favor the Rams. I teased the Rams earlier and still believe they pull out the victory.    

FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay 


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