My favorites are edging upward, going 10-4-1 ATS in the last five weeks. Still being under .500 overall with my favorites this year just shows how bad the early portion of the NFL season was to me.
This week offers some big spreads, with some teams likely to be checked out for the season. Here's the week 16 NFL picks featuring my three best favorites to cover the spread.
Favorites: 19-24-2 ATS
Overall: 38-49-3 ATS
Atlanta at New Orleans (-6)
I made a mental note two weeks ago during these teams' first meeting to not forget what I witnessed. Atlanta won the game and covered (thank you for that Falcons), but the result was a sham.
New Orleans was the better team on that night. And they'll once again be the better team in week 16 at home.
Oddsmakers know it, too, putting this game a little higher than I desire. With how much better the Saints are, though, I'm willing to give up less than a touchdown.
New Orleans has a better offense and defense. And they're at home.
This isn't the same Falcons team we saw from 2016. The offense is stagnant at times and Matt Ryan is not someone you can trust on the road in a big game. The Saints were opportunistic during the last meeting, and I expect the same approach. The Saints have done a better job in recent weeks against the run, so that should be able to make the Falcons more of a one-dimensional team.
New Orleans will jump out to a lead, and will coast in this one. -- Go Chalk with New Orleans
Detroit (-5) at Cincinnati
This bet isn't based on just last week's result. Ever since blowing that huge first-half lead against Pittsburgh in week 13, the Bengals have been outscored 77-14.
That game against Pittsburgh wrecked the Bengals physically and mentally. Cincinnati has injuries spread across their entire team, especially in the defensive secondary.
That's a bad sign against a Detroit team that averages 7.3 yards per pass attempt, one of the higher marks in the NFL.
The Bengals are fading. There's no magic potion to get them back. The defense isn't near the team it was toward the early part of the season when they were competitive. And the offense never has gotten its footing this season.
Without a defense to carry it, the Bengals will continue to lose, by more than a touchdown. The Lions have a good enough offense to move the ball consistently against a battered Bengals defense. I feel confident in giving up only five points in this game. -- Go Chalk with Detroit
Miami at Kansas City (-10.5)
I may regret this, because the last time I picked Kansas City at this spread against an AFC East team, the Chiefs lost straight up.
But I feel pretty confident in the Dolphins sinking, and the Chiefs being back closer to where they were earlier in the season.
The defense still isn't good enough to be consistent, but they've made strides in recent weeks. In the last three games, the Chiefs are allowing 5.3 yards per play, down from their season average of 5.6. Most of that can be attributed to their secondary playing better.
That should continue against a Dolphins team that averages just 5.7 yards per pass attempt this season, one of the lowest numbers in the NFL. When the Chiefs can run the ball, control clock and build an early lead, they're dangerous.
That should be the formula in this game, with the Chiefs owning the much better offense. This is a lot of points to give up, but watch for the Dolphins to not come prepared after traveling on the road two consecutive weeks after an emotional Monday night win against New England. -- Go Chalk with Kansas City
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH