Most Surprising Opening Lines That Look Odd for Week 16

Kevin Stott

Monday, December 18, 2017 4:06 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 4:06 PM UTC

Let’s dissect three games for Week 16 with opening Point Spreads that may looked a little tilted one way or another at first and then try to explain why these numbers are where they are for these Christmas weekend games and offer up a pair of picks.

Saturday: Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (-13)

Joe Flacco and Baltimore (8-6 SU, 8-5-1 ATS) have been playing so well of late heading into this this Week 16 Regular Season game between Baltimore and Indianapolis on Saturday night (NFL Network, 8:25 pm ET). But to see the Ravens as big 13-point Home Favorites here against the Colts -- even with Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck out and even with The Tackling Edgar Allen Poes (66/1 to win Super Bowl 52, Heritage) needing the Win in their chase for an AFC Wild Card spot -- the opening Point Spread appears a bit shocking. Not counting a 2014 AFC North game against NFL problem child Cleveland (0-14 SU, 4-42 L46 SU), the last time 10th-year Head Coach John Harbaugh (89-75-9 ATS) and Co. were installed as double-digit Favorites at Home was in 2014 at Home against then-crappy Tennessee as 10-point chalks in Week 10 (the Ravens won and covered ATS, 21-7), and the Blackbirds have actually been 10-point Home Underdogs more recently (2015, Week 14, SEA -10; SEA 35 BALT 6).

In Week 15 play on Sunday, the Ravens painted the Browns a lighter shade of pale, winning 27-10 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland as Baltimore benefited from 3 Cleveland TO’s to stay in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race (BALT -7, 40½, BetOnline), while the Colts were defeated by the Broncos in Indianapolis on Thursday Night Football, 25-16 as host Indianapolis (3-11 SU) was outscored 18-3 in the 2nd Half, also losing ATS as closing 2½- to 3-point Home Underdogs. The Trends show Flacco (51-47 ATS as Favorite) and the Ravens are a money-burning, lesson-learning, butter-churning 1-9 ATS the L10 against the Colts and 1-5 ATS the L6 at Home in Crab City, although the Colts had healthy fellas named Peyton Manning and Luck under center and not Jacoby Brissett. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook 2017 NFL Games of the Year opened Baltimore as 4-point Favorites over Indianapolis in the Summer to show the contrast in perceptions.

Los Angeles Chargers (-7½) at New York Jets

Even if this Christmas Eve game were played in La La Land, the TD-plus Point Spread would look odd, but with this one being at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and the Jets somewhat improved this season, seeing the Chargers as 7½-point Favorites looks weird quite simply because the Bolts are seldom such big-digit road chalk (The Westgate SuperBook Advanced Line opened the Chargers as 10½-point Favorites before Sunday’s results.) The last time the Chargers (21/1 to win Super Bowl 52, Heritage) were even favored by 10 points or more on the Road was back in 2009 at Oakland in Week 1, where the then San Diego Chargers were 10½-point chalk and failed to cover ATS in a 24-20 Win. So this is a semi-situational number, based on the Chargers need to stay alive.

In Week 15, the Chargers were at Kansas City on Saturday for a massive AFC West showdown which saw Alex Smith and the Chiefs regain their balance in a 30-13 win at Arrowhead Stadium (KC -1, 47, Pinnacle) while the Jets were in New Orleans to face Drew Brees and the Saints in a game which saw Mark Ingram and the the Who Dats win 31-19 (NO -16½, Intertops). Even after their ATS Loss to the Chiefs, the Trends here reveal that Philip Rivers (53-42-1 ATS on Road, 4-1-1 ATS in 2017) and Los Angeles AFC are 7-3 ATS their L10 games and a profitable 4-2-1 ATS on the Road this season and 14-8-1 ATS on the Road since 2015 (63.6%), the second most-profitable mark in the NFL behind the Bengals (15-5 ATS, 65.2%), who actually lost in the betting role on Sunday in an ugly 34-7 blasting in Minneapolis on Sunday. (MIN -13, 43, Bookmaker).

Monday: Oakland Raiders at Philadelphia Eagles (-7½)

The opening Point Spread for this Week 16 inter-conference Christmas Day game from Lincoln Financial Field looks a little odd in that even with backup Nick Foles coming in for the injured Carson Wentz, the Raiders (6-8 SU, 4-8-1 ATS) will actually need the Win more in the do-or-die context of staying alive for the coming NFL Playoffs. In Week 15 action, the Raiders lost to Dak Prescott and the Cowboys 20-17, while the Eagles faced the Giants in NFC East play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford in a game which saw the Iggles rally for a 34-29 victory (PHIL -7½, 40½, Bovada).

The Trends here show Philadelphia (+1050 to win Super Bowl 52, 5Dimes) is 1-4 ATS the L5 against the Silver and Black with Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper and Oakland (300/1 to win Super Bowl 52, 5Dimes) last playing the Eagles way back in 2013 when Chip Kelly was still in charge in the City of Brotherly Love and Santa Claus Boo-birds at Oakland with visiting Philadelphia laying the hurt on the hosts in a 49-20 romp, easily covering the Point Spread in a Pick ‘Em situation.

Expect Foles to be more of a game manager, although his past experience as the Eagles starting QB should serve him well both in waiting for Receivers to get open as well as in his head psychologically. Hey, maybe Santa Claus deserved to be booed? The Westgate SuperBook — which has TVs so big you can see them from Mars — opened Philadelphia as small 1½-point Home Favorites over the Raiders in this one in its renowned 2017 Games of the Year.

Free NFL Pick: Colts +13.5, Eagles -7.5Best Lines Offered: BetOnline

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