We're back for another round of NFL picks against the spread! For the second straight season, I am back for the LVH SuperContest. SB Nation's partners over at Odds Shark are sponsoring my entry again. The contest requires selecting 5 games each week and picking them against the spread. This year's contest is expected to have nearly 1,400 participants, including myself, Matt Ufford and Eric Sollenberger from SB Nation. Everybody picks their own five games and there will be a running leaderboard HERE. You can follow my standings under the name "Fooch".
Last year, I finished 39-45-1. This year, I got off to a hot start. Things settled into decent performances each week, but I took a step backward the last two weeks, with a pair of 2-3 performances. There are now two weeks remaining, and things are getting intense. I am currently 46-27-2 through 15 weeks, so we'll see if I can finish strong. I went 7-9 overall ATS with my picks last week.
Here are my SuperContest picks for Week 16:
VIKINGS (-4.5) over Giants
BUCCANEERS (-3) over Bears
Panthers (-6.5) over FALCONS
Browns (+12) over CHIEFS
CARDINALS (-4.5) over Packers
I went back and forth on 49ers-Lions this week. Early in the week, my thought was that if the Lions were laying less than double digits, why not grab them? The 49ers have been awful on the road more often than not, and Matthew Stafford is playing some strong football the last four weeks. The Lions seem capable of putting up 20+ points with relative ease, and this 49ers offense has struggled to get past 17 points this season.
By mid-week, I had started to change my thoughts on it. The Lions expended a lot to hold on for their Monday Night Football road win against the New Orleans Saints. A home game two days after Christmas seemed like a perfect opportunity for a regressive effort. And of course, although Stafford is playing well, the Lions are still among the worst in turnover differential.
I ended up just staying away from it entirely. I don't have any faith in the 49ers offense doing a whole lot of much, but I also am skeptical about the Lions. I'm picking the 49ers to cover, because I think we actually see the 49ers defense show up decently. The point total is set at 43, and I think this game ends up coming in UNDER the total. If that happens, the 49ers will cover the spread. Nonetheless, I'm not using a SuperContest pick on it. With two weeks of picks remaining, every pick counts, and I just can't feel comfortable with either team.
Of course, I generally don't feel overly comfortable with most of my picks when it comes to the SuperContest. I go back and forth, and just hope to squeak out a 3-2 week. This week, I am going primarily with favorites. The Vikings and Bucs picks are concerning because I am worried I might be overreacting to Odell Beckham Jr.'s absence due to suspension, and Alshon Jeffery's expected absence due to injury (he's listed as doubtful). I think the Vikings and Bucs could win with both playing though, so hopefully these absences only help.
That Browns picks is obviously a tough one. They had two players arrested on Christmas, including their second leading pass rusher. I still think they can hang close with Kansas City, but if I had heard that news before my picks, I probably would have ended up questioning myself even further. The Chiefs won big in Baltimore, but benefited from a crazy fumble return for a touchdown, and a late pick-six. Consider this a bet on their turnover numbers coming back to earth for one week. Of course, now watch them go out and destroy Cleveland.
Here are all my picks for Week 16
RAIDERS vs. Chargers (+6.5): Raiders - Loss
EAGLES vs. Washington (+3): Eagles
VIKINGS vs. Giants (+4.5): Vikings
BUCCANEERS vs. Bears (+3): Bucs
FALCONS vs. Panthers (-6.5): Panthers
BILLS vs. Cowboys (+6.5): Cowboys
SAINTS vs. Jaguars (+2.5): Jaguars
LIONS vs. 49ers (+9.5): 49ers
CHIEFS vs. Browns (+12): Browns
DOLPHINS vs. Colts (+1.5): Dolphins
JETS vs. Patriots (-3): Jets
TITANS vs. Texans (-4): Texans
CARDINALS vs. Packers (+4.5): Cardinals
SEAHAWKS vs. Rams (+13.5): Seahawks
RAVENS vs. Steelers (-10): Steelers
BRONCOS vs. Bengals (+3.5): Broncos