In this weekly column, we shine the spotlight on the NFL betting odds board and analyze some major line moves that matter towards the weekend’s NFL picks. For week 16 NFL picks we look at two seemingly unassuming matchups to spot.
It's no secret the Jaguars are in major transition as the season winds down. The coach is definitely headed for the sack by season end and the team is simply going through the motions, looking ahead to a fun-filled and relaxing postseason on the golf course or something of the sort. The Titans, by contrast, are definitely in the hunt for a playoffs spot, made possible by a late surge which features a three-game winning streak ahead of week 16. As a result, books opened with the Titans as the -3 to -3.5 road chalk and the public has lapped it up. Since early doors the betting on this matchup was entirely one-sided and it doesn't look to be changing anytime soon. According to SBR Consensus Betting Reports books have received approximately 70% of tickets on the Titans.
The upshot of which the NFL line for this matchup is swelling something huge. Most sportsbooks raised the NFL line to -4.5 by midweek, including Bookmaker, BetOnline, Just Bet and Bet Cris to name a few. Others have gone as high -5 (bet365) or even -6 (Sports Interaction).
The diversity of NFL lines for this matchup only accentuates the importance to NFL bettors to have multiple sportsbooks at their disposal in order to shop for the best line for their weekly NFL picks. It also affords wiggle room on both sides of the coin, proffering value on both the Titans and Jaguars depending on your choice sportsbook. In other words, there is a choice to buy low for the Titans or sell high on the Jaguars.
As much as the Patriots are typically the darling of the public, this matchup reveals the Jets are nudging ahead as the consensus bet according to SBR Consensus Betting Reports. Granted the edge is just slight with almost 53% of tickets taken. The interesting bit though is the market features a reverse line movement. Despite the Patriots garnering just 47.1% of tickets, the line is moving in their direction and contrary to the flow of betting.
Books opened with the Patriots laying -14.5 at home to the Jets but they are now in the region of -16.5 almost unanimously across the sports betting board. While most sportsbooks seem to be in accord with the NFL line the betting action on this game clearly pits the public against the books. Goes to show just how much the public love a big underdog?
For books, needing a team of Patriots' quality to cover is never a nightmare. For those that fancy stats, let's trot out this one; the Patriots lead the league with an 11-3-0 ATS mark in 2016 which includes a 9.4 winning margin and +3.8 differential versus the spread on average. The Jets meanwhile are merely 5-9-0 ATS with an -8.3 losing margin on average and -5.6 differential versus the spread.
This brings up a proven NFL theory: avoid the obvious. If it is too good to be true, it probably is. If everyone sees something the opposite is going to happen. This might be a case where practicing a contrarian attitude towards week 16 NFL picks will prove fruitful.