For The Win: Week 16

NFL picks against the Las Vegas lines.

Here we are again this year, back for more NFL picks. It is with great pleasure that I begin my second season writing this column. As someone who has won and lost their fair share of money on the NFL (and many other sports), this is bound to be a fun and unpredictable ride. Join me, won’t you?

As with the format in previous years, this article will help those of you who compete in confidence pools and in ranking selections, which may come in handy on those Las Vegas trips. Games are rated based on preference for both the point spread and other angles (such as totals or over/unders) with one to three Stars, which basically highlight the best bets for the week. Those games which have zero stars are not preferred one way or the other, but will still be covered, discussed and a winner will be predicted for those trying to get some advice for their weekly office pools.

A disappointing week for this column, as things continue to surprise and shock as the season wears on. With only two weeks to go, it is time to finish on a strong note. A quick thanks to everyone for following the column this year and I hope you have been able to make a tidy profit along the way. Happy Holidays to everyone.

Note that the over/unders are taken from VegasInsider.com

(Friday) MINNESOTA at NEW ORLEANS (-7) (Over/Under 52)

The Vikings’ chances of a playoff berth, slim already entering the clash with the Bears, plummeted from 22 percent to just four percent after the crushing defeat. There is a sense that Minnesota’s resurgence, while impressive, would eventually come to an end, but few would have expected a similarly resurgent Mitchell Trubisky to be the driving force behind it. With the organization already having one eye on 2021 given their mid-season trade of Yannick Ngakoue, this test in New Orleans will be a good measuring stick – and nothing more – as the season winds down.

As for the Saints, a victory will guarantee them a playoff spot, according to the New York Times playoff calculator. Their most likely scenario is hosting a wildcard game, with the return of Drew Brees likely to boost their passing game’s efficiency, though Taysom Hill offered something a little different that complemented their defense well. The Saints have covered 60% of games after a loss in the Sean Payton-Brees era. Expect a motivated home team to exorcise the demons of a closely fought battle against the streaking Chiefs.

Pick: New Orleans

(Saturday) TAMPA BAY (-8.5) at DETROIT (Over/Under 54)

The Bucs were on the ropes against the Falcons for long periods but managed to bounce back in a way that has become familiar in the Tom Brady era. Not necessarily in the Tompa era under Bruce Arians, but it is an encouraging sign that the team rallied so strongly in the second half. The 2020 Bucs are an enigmatic team, but they will be as tough an out as any team in the NFC bracket, with a roster capable of giving problems to almost any opponent. This week will serve as something of a tune-up if all goes to plan, with Vegas making the Bucs comfortable road favorites.

Detroit has already turned the page towards a new era of the franchise’s story, and it may not include stalwart passer Matthew Stafford. Things are very much up in the air, with a new head coach and new general manager set to be appointed in due course. For the remaining two games, the current players will be focused on putting on a good show and getting themselves in the ‘shop window’ for the incoming brass. The Lions are 1-3 ATS as home underdogs this season, and the Bucs simply look too motivated and powerful despite the large spread.

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