Week 16 NFL Betting: Where Are the Sharps?

Jason Lake

Sunday, December 21, 2014 12:03 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014 12:03 PM UTC

It’s a nice, quiet holiday out there on the Week 16 NFL odds board. But the sharps are showing plenty of interest in Monday night’s matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jason’s record after Week 15: 36-50-1 ATS, 18-26-1 Totals
Welcome to the holidays, folks. Only a few days left to get in all your last-minute shopping, if you haven’t done so already. If you have, excellent – you’ve got time to make some sharp NFL picks instead. So where are the sharps right now? Good question. It’s a slow Saturday afternoon as we go to press; between the holiday shopping and the two Saturday games on the Week 16 schedule, it seems we don’t have enough data for expanded consensus reports on any of Sunday’s games.

Monday is a different matter. There’s a fair amount of action for the matchup at Paul Brown Stadium between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Denver Broncos – and most of the action has been on the Bengals. Even though our reports show 64.43 percent of bettors taking Denver’s side, in terms of raw dollars, 72.65 percent of the action is on Cincinnati. The average bet size on the Bengals is $184.17, nearly five times as big as the $38.29 bet for the Broncos.

Asleep on the Hay
The timing is a bit surprising. We thought it might be a good idea to be patient and wait until the weekend to bet on the Bengals as 3.5-point home favorites, even though we ended up putting Denver in our football picks at –3. But at press time, the betting public has yet to drive those NFL odds fully off that magic number – depending on where you shop. Bodog and Bovada are offering Cincinnati +3.5 (–105); otherwise, you’ll have to pay a premium if you want that extra half-point under your tree.

Things may have changed by the time you read this, of course. Holidays or no, we still expect casual fans to open up on Denver as the weekend rolls on and Monday’s kick-off approaches (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). There hasn’t been much news to change people’s minds, unless people are concerned about Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (89 catches, seven TDs), who missed Saturday’s practice with flu-like symptoms. Sanders is still expected to play on Monday.

Magic Marker
Even though we don’t have the data yet, we can still make some educated guesses about which Week 16 games the sharps have been waiting patiently to hammer. That late afternoon Sunday matchup between the St. Louis Rams and the New York Giants looks intriguing; the Rams (6-8 SU, 7-7 ATS) are 6.5-point home favorites as we go to press, and they certainly could end up hitting that magic number seven or beyond. The G-Men (5-9 SU, 6-8 ATS) might be worth a flyer at the larger spread.

The Oakland Raiders (2-12 SU, 7-7 ATS) have already reached the Rubicon, but will they cross it? They’re +7 at home versus the Buffalo Bills (8-6 SU and ATS), and again, we could see that spread reach +7.5 before kick-off. Here are three other teams who could add some valuable half-points if you’re willing to wait a while longer:

Minnesota +6 vs. Miami

Atlanta +6.5 vs. New Orleans

Kansas City +3 vs. Pittsburgh

Start Your Engines
At least the Indianapolis Colts (10-4 SU, 9-4-1 ATS) didn’t leave anyone hanging. They opened as 3-point road dogs for their game against the Dallas Cowboys (10-4 SU, 8-6 ATS), and by early Saturday morning, the Colts were available at the full +3.5, with no premium required on the vigorish.

We wouldn’t be surprised if our expanded consensus reports show big money coming in on Indianapolis by the time you read this. Naturally, you never know for sure with these things. But we hope you’ve struck the perfect balance between jumping on the early NFL odds and waiting patiently for the right price. And please allow me personally to wish you and yours the best of the holiday season.

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