NFL Week 16: Opening Lines And Early Betting Value

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Monday, December 19, 2016 1:08 AM GMT

As a holiday treat, we are gifted four days of NFL action this week. There are the final Thursday and Monday games of the season and the majority of teams play Saturday, with just two games Christmas Sunday. Here are some interesting opening Week 16 lines.

Tennessee Titans At Jacksonville Jaguars (+3.5)

This game is Saturday. We didn't have a coach fired all season until last Monday when the Rams canned Jeff Fisher. The only coach who has been worse than Fisher the past few seasons? That would be Jacksonville's Gus Bradley, and the team fired him Sunday after blowing a 13-0 lead in Houston and falling 21-20.  It was Jacksonville's ninth straight loss and apparently the final straw for owner Shad Khan. Bradley was just 14-48 in his tenure so you'd have to say this is justified. It's a tad harsh to do it right around Christmas, though. "I thought it would be best to do it immediately after today’s result so Gus can step away, relax and regroup with his family during the Christmas and holiday season," Khan said in explaining his decision. GM Dave Caldwell will announce the interim coach on Monday. My guess is it would be Doug Marrone, the Jags' offensive line coach and the former Bills head coach. Certainly the team will want to hire an offensive mind for the full-time role because QB Blake Bortles has hugely regressed this season. He threw a terrible interception to clinch the loss against the Texans. The Titans are tied atop the AFC South with Houston and those two close against one another in Week 17 in Nashville. Tennessee upset the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday thanks to a Ryan Succop 53-yard field goal as time expired. He used to play for the Chiefs. Succop actually missed short his first attempt but K.C. coach Andy Reid had called timeout. The Titans beat the visiting Jaguars 36-22 on Thursday night in Week 8. A lot of people thought Bradley might get fired then. Marcus Mariota threw for 270 yards and two scores.

NFL Early Pick: Titans -3.5

Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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Cincinnati Bengals At Houston Texans (-2.5)

Saturday night matchup. The Brock Osweiler Era could already be over in Houston as the free-agent bust, who got $37 million guaranteed this offseason to leave Denver, was benched during the first half of Sunday's win over Jacksonville. Osweiler was an ugly 6-for-11 for 48 yards with two interceptions and his team down 13-0 in the second quarter when he was pulled by Coach Bill O'Brien. Tom Savage replaced him and looked pretty solid, going 23 of 36 for 260 yards in leading the comeback. Savage, a 2014 fourth-round pick, is guaranteed $300,584 this year by the way. There's no possible way that O'Brien starts Osweiler this week. When asked after the game, O'Brien simply said that he would make a decision that was best for the team and that the two QBs would compete this week. Yeah right.  O'Brien would have a mutiny on his hands if the doesn't start Savage. As noted above, Houston is tied with the Titans for the AFC South lead. So the two could set up a winner-take-all Week 17 game if they both win on Saturday. The Bengals were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday in blowing a big lead at home and losing to Pittsburgh.

NFL Early Pick: Texans -2.5

Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Baltimore Ravens At Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5)

The lone Sunday afternoon game of the week and arguably the most important game of them all. The Steelers would clinch the AFC North with a victory as they have a one-game lead over the Ravens. Pittsburgh won its fifth straight game Sunday, 24-20 in Cincinnati. The Steelers were down 20-6 late in the second quarter. Chris Boswell tied a team record with six field goals, and Ben Roethlisberger hit Eli Rogers from 24 yards out with 7:29 to go for the winning points. Two key Pittsburgh players were injured, however, in tight end Ladarius Green (concussion) and defensive end Stephon Tuitt (knee). It's too early to know if they can play here. Baltimore nearly blew Sunday's home game against Philadelphia. It was up 27-17 when Joe Flacco threw a terrible interception at the Eagles 11 with just over six minutes left. Philly would kick a field goal on the ensuing drive and then get within one on a Carson Wentz 4-yard run with four seconds left. The Eagles had nothing to play for so they went for 2 and Wentz's pass was incomplete. The Ravens beat the visiting Steelers 21-14 in Week 9 so a Baltimore victory here gives it the tiebreaker should the two teams finish with the same record. The loser of this game might miss the playoffs entirely.

NFL Early Pick: Steelers -5.5

Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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