Bill Grundy

NFL Opening Line Report Week 16

Savour this Week 16 handicap because Week 17 is going to be a mess. There will be inflated lines due to “must-win” situations and you’ll have to play a guessing game early in the week on lines with teams that may be looking to sit guys in advance of the playoffs or punt for a better draft position. This week, it is mostly business as usual. We know the teams that have quit and those that are still driving and striving as fast as they can towards the playoffs.
Something that really stands out here as we look at the Week 16 lines is that none of them are on the key number of three or below. Every game is 3.5 or higher in the marketplace, which always creates an interesting setup. After favorites went 13-0 and 9-3-1 ATS on Sunday, books are very cognizant of what is going on. Favorites have been on a tremendous run overall. This week, we’re paying some of that inflated price on the teams that are clearly still playing and those that are not.

Indianapolis at Baltimore (-13.5, 41.5) – Here’s a microcosm of the 2017 NFL season. The two worst teams in the league on a yards per play basis play on Saturday and one of them is favored by 13.5 points. Baltimore’s defense is clearly exceptional and has forced a ton of turnovers, but a team averaging 4.7 yards per play is favored by nearly two touchdowns. We haven’t seen any real movement on this game as of yet, but it is telling. It is also the Saturday game with a line, as we wait to see if Aaron Rodgers will play for Green Bay in a now meaningless game against Minnesota.

Cleveland at Chicago (-6.5, 38.5) – Per usual, we have line value on the board on the hapless Browns, who are now 0-14 and are somehow 3-11 ATS this season. With the really low total and the fairly high spread, numbers guys have taken a position on the Browns, which is akin to lightning money on fire, peeing out the blaze, and then starting a new one for good measure. This line will probably dip down to 6 or maybe even fall into the dead zone, but public teasers later in the week pricing Chicago as a pick ‘em or -0.5 will balance out the action.

Denver at Washington (-3.5, 41) – This is the most competitive game of the week per the odds, probably because neither team is worth betting. Denver did win for the sharp guys and gals that hopped on the Broncos on Thursday Night Football last week and extra rest is a good thing. The Redskins should have lost, both straight up and ATS, to the Cardinals last week, but Arizona faltered in the red zone multiple times. Denver’s defense has gotten its bite back and Brock “The People’s Chump” Osweiler actually looked useful against Indy. This number is down from +4 to +3.5 and we could continue to see it fall.

Los Angeles Rams (-6.5, 48.5) at Tennessee – The Rams are a healthy favourite for a trip to Nashville, but the market is skeptical. And it should be. The Rams rolled the Seahawks last week by a 42-7 count. They would have run it up even more, but Sean McVay bubble-wrapped Todd Gurley in the second half and made it a point to get ready for future games. Losing to the 49ers isn’t a good look, hence the recency bias against Tennessee. The Rams are in a letdown spot after beating Seattle and their prices are high. Tennessee is a very ugly dog, but the right side from a line value standpoint. Those on the prowl for that early in the week are all over it.

Los Angeles Chargers (-7, 42.5) at New York Jets – Man, talk about another high number. The Chargers are in need of a ton of help in the AFC West. The Chiefs won both regular season meetings, so the tiebreaker is firmly in their hands for a playoff berth and a home game in the Divisional Round. The Chargers are a game back of three teams vying for two spots, so they need tiebreakers and other things to fall their way. The Jets looked really competitive against the Saints and very nearly found a way to pull an upset with Bryce Petty at the helm before running out of gas late. A West Coast team going to the East Coast, to the cold, damp weather, for a 10 a.m. kickoff is a touchdown favourite?! What has happened to the NFL?

Detroit (-4.5, 43) at Cincinnati – The Lions and Bengals walk into an elevator. The Lions push a button for a higher floor. The Bengals ride the elevator up and down for 13 hours straight before getting off at the bottom floor. That’s basically what this line is like this week. The Lions opened a 3.5-point favorite on the road in the Queen City and they are now favoured by 4.5 across the market and Bookmaker and MyBookie are already dealing 5. This line may not reach a stopping point until it gets up to 7. The Bengals found out before Sunday’s game that Marvin Lewis was leaving. They looked like a team that couldn’t care less. They are toxic. They are injured. They are untouchable. The market knows it.

Buffalo at New England (-12.5, 47) – Let’s put on a fan hat for a second. How freaking cool would it be for the Buffalo Bills to snap their Y2K playoff drought and have a win over the Patriots be the primary reason? The Bills are one of three teams at 8-6. If the playoffs started today, they would be in. They haven’t made the playoffs since 1999. They probably won’t win, but appear to be the preferred side at some books. This number is anywhere from 11 at the offshore exchange Matchbook to 13 with the teaser protection lines at 5Dimes. The Patriots are coming off of the Steelers win, so there is a hangover effect at Foxboro this week. I’d expect the Bills to be a sharp look throughout the week, with the public piling in on the Pats.

Jacksonville (-4.5, 42.5) at San Francisco – It has been three games and Jimmy Garoppolo never has to pay for a drink, a meal, an Uber, a Lyft, or a coffee in San Francisco. He’s probably been given a key to the city and a lifetime supply of Rice-A-Roni. The 49ers are a hot team right now as the Jaguars come to town. Jacksonville opened -5.5 and the initial move has been down to 4.5, but, we’ve reached a point of resistance, which is significant. We didn’t go to the semi key number of 4. We stopped. That means that we’ve seen an initial hit, but nothing overly sharp. That may still come, but, for now, this line is holding steady and that means we haven’t seen a true position from the influential fellows and ladies that drive the markets.

New York Giants at Arizona (-4.5, 40) – The magic number is 4.5 in the market this week. We’ve got a lot of games hovering in that dead zone that sits just above the key numbers of 3 and 4. We have seen nibbles of Giants investment here, as
sharper books are showing a little bit of additional juice on the G-Men. The Giants couldn’t stop Philadelphia, but managed to score on the Eagles, which was probably a shock to some. The Cardinals outgained the Redskins 286-218, but went 4-for-19 on third down and 0-for-6 in the red zone. It would certainly seem like the arrow would be pointing in their direction this week, but the betting market is unsure. Drew Stanton is back this week, so, yeah, whatever that’s worth!

Seattle at Dallas (-4.5, 47)With the Christmas Eve festivities, we don’t have Sunday Night Football this week. Seattle vs. Dallas marks the last game on the board by rotation order this week. The Seahawks are dealing with a ton of injuries. The Cowboys won ugly in Oakland and get Ezekiel Elliott back this week. They may be without Tyron Smith, though. With a lot of injuries and a lot of storylines, we’re in a holding pattern here, as well we should be.

Pittsburgh (-10, 44) at Houston – Sunday matinee football in Houston features the Steelers, who have some wounds to lick, and the Texans, who are tired of licking. Pittsburgh lost Antonio Brown for at least these last two games of the regular season. This past Sunday’s loss was demoralizing with how everything ended and the Steelers now to replace another star with Brown’s injury. How the hell are they laying 10 on the road? Pittsburgh needs a New England loss, which it won’t get, to get home field. The Steelers do run the risk, however, of falling behind Jacksonville. The bye week adds more importance with Antonio Brown’s injury. There is some incentive for Pittsburgh to go play well and remove all doubt. The Texans have no incentive. None. Pride, maybe, but is 6-10 somehow better than 4-12? Nah. Get the draft pick. The Texans do appear to be the preferred side with a handful of 9.5s out there and extra juice on the 10s.

Oakland at Philadelphia (-9, 47)
Stick a fork in the Raiders. They are done. Overcooked like your mom’s Christmas dinner. The manner in which Oakland lost that game to Dallas is not something that you recover from. Derek Carr is hurt. Michael Crabtree is hurt. Amari Cooper is hurt. Donald Penn is hurt. Philadelphia has some things to fix after getting marched on by the Giants last week. This game has epic blowout written all over it. Why do the Raiders care about flying cross-country on the holiday weekend with no shot at the playoffs? This number is too small. BetOnline opened 7.5 and it popped up to 8.5. Most of the market opened 9. This point spread elevator should be going up.

Hope these help.

Please Remember To Always Walk Your Dogs
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Bill Grundy

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The sports radio in our area has the Bills fired up for this matchup. All call-in shows are being hyped and callers are glad it is not a home game due to Brady and company OWNING the Bills in Orchard Park.
Myself I am liking a RDD in a division game getting DD's looking to make the playoffs.. Not sure the Pats can pull out a 2 touchdown win when all they need to do is win the game. Just my opinion. I do like this game to go OVER....that is how I would bet it......Mike

Bill Grundy

(Updating NFL WEEK 16)
Sharps vs. Joe Public

Jaguars at 49ers:

Fading the Jaguars? Yep...Jimmy Garoppolo is looking like one hell of a quarterback. I still can’t believe those Patriots only got a 2nd-rounder in return. You can go ahead and ask the Browns, quarterbacks don’t grow on trees and a young QB who’s proven that he can play at least a teeny bit is worth more than basically any other asset. With Jimmy G leading the 49ers to three straight wins, early money is backing San Fran despite the Jaguars’ strong defense.

We’ve also triggered two bet signals on the 49ers from two of the sharpest books on the market: Pinnacle and Buckeye. The line hasn’t moved through or reached any numbers of significance, but if we continue to see this type of action, +3 is in play.

Chargers at Jets: Reverse line movement on Bryce Petty and the Jets? Never thought I’d say that, but here we are.

After bettors who braved the Jets in New Orleans covered on Sunday, it would appear as if some sharp bettors went back to the well and snagged the Jets plus a touchdown. In the wee hours of the morning, they moved off the key number of +7 and down to +6.5. I’d be willing to bet that we see this line return back to seven at some point, as Chargers buyback seems imminent.

Popular Sides

81% on Lions (-5) at Bengals: You know what’s a good way to get the public to fade you? Lose your previous game by 27 points. After coming off a big loss to the Vikings, bettors have given up on the Bengals. With just 16.6 points per game, Andy Dalton’s offense is nowhere close to as fiery as his hair. And if you can’t score, people won’t bet on you. With all of the doughnuts showing up on Detroit's plate the line still moves towards Cincy now @ +3.5 from -5.5. That is sharp money with love for the Bengals.

78% on Rams (-6.5) at Titans: You know what’s a good way to get the public to bet on you? Beat the Seahawks in their own house by 35 points. Though the public is all over the 9-5 ATS Rams, they quickly moved from -7 to -6.5 after opening.

69% on Dallas (-4.5) vs. Seattle: You know what’s a….you know the rest. The Seahawks looked like, to quote Keith LeBlanc, “a pile of garbage” against the Rams. After seeing what Todd Gurley did to their defense, bettors are expecting Ezekiel Elliott to do the same thing in his return.

Lopsided Totals

82% on Jaguars/49ers over (42.5): Jimmy G! The hype is still real since you last read about him a couple of minutes ago. Though the public isn’t completely sold on taking the 49ers +4, they are sold on taking over 42.5 points. The 49ers have won all three games with Garoppolo starting and he’s played great, but they haven’t exactly been an offensive juggernaut, averaging 22 points per game. They’ll have an incredibly difficult test against the best defense in the league.

73% on Giants/Cardinals over (39.5): Not Carson Palmer, not Blaine Gabbert…Drew Stanton! The lifelong backup quarterback was given the nod for his third start this season and 18th of his career. Sporting a 66.3 QB rating, the over has gone just 5-11-1 in his starts. With that said, 64% of dollars are actually on the under and the total has gone from 40.5 to 39.5 since opening.

Hope these help.

Please Remember To Always Walk Your Dogs