Week 16 NFL Pick'em and Survivor Pool Picks
Week 15 gave us some of the most massive upsets of the NFL season, let’s see what this week brings as 2020 winds down.
Week 15 Recap
Last week was a .500 effort for me, as Tampa Bay and Seattle won, while both Pittsburgh and San Francisco came out on the losing end of their contests. After 15 weeks, my record in this column is 46-16.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Detroit Lions
Of the big favorites this week, the Buccaneers stand out to me as the team with the most to gain and the pick with the best value. We’re talking about Tom Brady playing for playoff rights against a Detroit team with issues on defense.
Tampa Bay is a double-digit favorite in this contest (10 points) with 80% win odds via TeamRankings. Only 95% of the public is backing them as opposed to 98% of bettors, who are riding with Baltimore and Kansas City this week. It’s a sliver of value in a week with a hearty group of big favorites at the top.
Sensibly Priced Favorite
Chicago Bears @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags are now in the driver’s seat to get Trevor Lawrence—they should be smart enough to not New York Jet it up. Also, they are in this position because they are not a very good Football Team. The Bears are surprisingly efficient with Mitch Trubisky back at the helm and are fighting for a playoff berth.
Chicago is a 7.5-point road favorite in this contest, with 77% win odds. The public is backing the Bears 94% of the time, which is high, but a tad lower than similar spread favorites New Orleans and Cleveland.
Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The oft-undervalued Colts have been in this column quite a bit this season, and make a final appearance in Week 16. Pittsburgh’s offense just can’t seem to do anything right and will face a stout Colts defense on a short week. It may be a close one as the Steelers are no slouch at defending the football. Of the two aging quarterbacks, Philip Rivers is the one who can throw the ball right now.
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
The Rams are coming off the most embarrassing loss of 2020 (well, Pittsburgh last week is a contender, too), and will be looking to get-right this week in their quest to make the playoffs. Los Angeles is 5-1 in the last six meetings between these two teams, and they seem to have Russell Wilson’s number.
This is one of the closest spreads of Week 16. The Rams still have a real shot at re-taking the lead in the NFC West. If you’re looking for a slight upset, this one leads the way from a value perspective.
Survivor Picks for Week 16
Win Odds: Top 5 Week 16 Picks
Stating the obvious here, but higher is better when it comes to win odds. Everything else being equal, you want to pick the team with the best likelihood of making it through.
Here are the five safest teams this week, according to the TeamRankings Data Grid model (chances to win in parentheses):
- Baltimore Ravens vs. Giants (83%, 10.5-point favorites)
- Kansas City Chiefs vs. Falcons (81%, 10.5-point favorites)
- Cleveland Browns @ Jets (79%, 10-point favorites)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Lions (78%, 10-point favorites)
- Chicago Bears @ Jaguars (77%, 7.5-point favorites)
Diversifying your survivor picks from the crowd is an advantageous strategy, as the pool winnings can increase significantly if your pick hits and another popular pick loses.
Here are the five most popular survivor picks for Week 16 (referencing Data Grid mentioned earlier):
- Cleveland Browns @ Jets (34%)
- Chicago Bears @ Jaguars (22%)
- Houston Texans vs. Bengals (13%)
- Kansas City Chiefs vs. Falcons (8%)
- Baltimore Ravens vs. Giants (5%)
The last piece of the survivor pool puzzle is future value. If you fire off a powerful team in Week 16, you won’t be able to use them next week.
According to TeamRankings, here are the top five teams in future value entering this week for a 100-entry standard rules pool:
- Baltimore Ravens (1.3)
- Indianapolis Colts (1.3)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0.8)
- New Orleans Saints (0.5)
- Buffalo Bills (0.5)
Note: The numbers in parentheses are a proprietary rating of future value found in the TeamRankings Data Grid, which is also impacted by factors such as pool size.