NFL Week 16 Best Bets: Savvy Wagers Based on Likely Outcomes for Nick Chubb, Deshaun Watson, and the Miracle Vikings

    Here are the NFL Week 16 best bets for point spreads, moneylines, and point totals. Because why settle for bets when you can have the best bets?

    NFL Week 16 Best Bets: Savvy Wagers Based on Likely Outcomes for Nick Chubb, Deshaun Watson, and the Miracle Vikings

    If you’re planning to make Week 16 NFL bets, here are my favorite wagers — my best bets for Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday games.

    We’ve analyzed the game’s highest-probability scripts to assess the most likely outcomes, including which players are in line to thrive more than anticipated and which could fall short of expectations. All bets are based on DraftKings Sportsbook.

    Early NFL Week 16 Best Bets

    The following NFL betting recommendations are based on proprietary PFN predictive analytics culled from decades of NFL historical data. Using this data, we’ve built dozens of models showing actionable probabilities of better-than-expected and worse-than-expected outcomes.

    Browns vs. Saints | Moneyline — Browns (-170)

    Cleveland is built to compete. The challenge is that they gave the biggest contract in NFL history to someone who hadn’t seen the field in nearly two years. There would be an acclimation process. The team required patience.

    And yet, when Deshaun Watson returned, the Browns were 4-7 and unquestioned playoff long shots. At a certain point, the team would have to decide whether to keep starting him in a doomed season or else put him under wraps until the start of a more promising 2023 campaign.

    But the Browns have won two of Watson’s three games. And while he hasn’t closely resembled the greatness of his earlier seasons, and Cleveland’s defense can be largely credited for their Saturday victory over the Ravens, the facts are the facts: Watson seems to be getting more comfortable, and the Browns are still in playoff contention.

    I like their odds against a frequently underperforming Saints defense that’s produced the league’s fewest interceptions (three) and a healthy 4.6 yards per carry. On offense, the Saints’ Alvin Kamara has been merely “good.” In the old days, that might have been good enough. But in an offense with so few high-end weapons, Kamara’s noticeably diminished play gives the Browns a needed advantage.

    Browns vs. Saints | -3 Browns

    I believe Cleveland will win, and yes, I believe they’ll win by more than three points. In addition to what was covered above, we have to delve into Nick Chubb.

    When books are written about the history of NFL running backs, Chubb deserves his own chapter. This is his fifth straight season averaging 5.0+ yards per carry. He’s among the most efficient runners in history. And thankfully (because I want guys like Chubb playing for as long as possible), the Browns have managed his workload.

    How? In Weeks 1-4, he earned 20+ touches in each game, putting him on pace for a career-high 370. My research of all NFL RBs dating back to the 1940s shows that, simply put, that’s usually not sustainable long term.

    MORE: NFL Week 16 Early Odds

    Since Week 5, Chubb’s exceeded 18 touches only three times. As a result, while his efficiency has dipped, he still has the capacity to step up — as we observed against Baltimore’s tough run defense.

    Watson has two great pass-catching wideouts and a solid No. 1 tight end. Kareem Hunt continues to fill in as needed. But Chubb is the X-factor against the beatable Saints. The Browns’ bell cow can singlehandedly dominate on the ground, putting pressure on opposing defenses.

    It’s no wonder, then, that Cleveland is No. 3 in offensive time of possession, while the less-efficient Saints are merely 25th. As long as the Browns play their game — run heavy with timely passing — they should win by a touchdown or more.

    Vikings vs. Giants | Moneyline — Vikings (-180)

    Many have marveled at Minnesota’s remarkable, record-setting comeback against the Colts. That game actually symbolizes what the 2022 Vikings are all about. They can seemingly beat any team and lose to any team.

    Minnesota’s last 10 victories have been by a touchdown or less. If the balls had bounced a bit differently in a few contests, they might have been on the outside of the playoff bubble.

    With the Giants, we know what we’re getting: Saquon Barkley and an often capable defense. But the Giants are also dismal against the run, leading the league in most rushing yards allowed. Washington exploited this deficiency on Sunday night. The problem is that they didn’t stick with it.

    Minnesota knows how to win close games. They also know what it takes to come back from big deficits. How did the 2008 Davidson men’s basketball team erase a 17-point second-half deficit against Georgetown in the second round of the NCAA Tournament? Because they were battle-tested. Because earlier in the season, they nearly overcame big deficits to other powerhouses like No. 7 Duke and No. 1 UNC.

    The Vikings are a far more dangerous team now than they were entering Week 15. They know that they have the ability on offense and defense to take over. I expect them to apply that confidence against New York.

    B.J. Rudell is a betting and fantasy analyst at Pro Football Network. You can read all of BJ’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @BJRudell.

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