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Week 16 NFL Betting Preview

Crunch Time In The NFL

This is the time of year when handicappers really make their money. The NFL regular season is down to its final two weeks; some teams have nothing to play for and become instant fade candidates, while others are fighting for a place in the postseason. The bigger the stakes, the higher the motivation. Let’s pluck the two highest-stakes games from the Week 16 slate and see what angles we can take to the bank. For current lines, visit Bodog Sportsbook.  

By: BoDog Sportsbook

Baltimore at Dallas

The Ravens (9-5 SU, 10-4 ATS) are clinging to the sixth and final playoff seed in the AFC. There are three other teams knocking on the door; Miami and New England are also 9-5, while San Diego is still alive at 6-8. A win against the Cowboys will not be enough to clinch a Wild Card spot for Baltimore.

Dallas (9-5 SU, 7-7 ATS) has the fifth seed in the NFC at the moment, plus three potential clinching scenarios that start with a victory on Saturday night. But there are four teams with a chance to move up into a Wild Card spot: the 9-5 Falcons, the 8-5-1 Eagles, the 8-6 Bears and the 7-7 Redskins.

The Cowboys have the more difficult path to the playoffs. They play at Philadelphia in Week 17, while the Ravens have a date at home with 5-9 Jacksonville. The onus is on Dallas to win at Texas Stadium; the ‘Boys are 6-1 SU and 4-3 ATS at home thus far, including a 13-9 win over Tampa Bay (+1) with Brad Johnson at QB. Baltimore is 4-3 SU and 5-2 ATS on the road.

Dallas is laying four points in this matchup with a total of 39.5 points. The Cowboys are 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five games, while Baltimore is 7-2 SU and ATS in its last nine, including upset road wins at Miami (-3), Cleveland (-1) and Houston (-2.5). The under got paid in the last three Cowboys games and the last two Baltimore games.

Even with Johnson (50.5 passer rating) making three appearances in relief of Tony Romo (98.3), the Cowboys are sixth in the NFL in offense at 5.8 yards per play. Baltimore is No. 27 at 4.7 yards per play, but exactly the same number of first downs: 260. The Ravens have the No. 3 defense in the league at 4.5 yards allowed per play; Dallas is No. 5 at 4.8 yards allowed.

Click here to check out the Week 16 NFL odds in the Bodog Sportsbook.

Atlanta at Minnesota

The Falcons (9-5 SU, 8-6 ATS) are the first team in line waiting for an NFC Wild Card berth. They can punch their ticket on Sunday with a win, plus a Tampa Bay loss and either Dallas or Philadelphia going down to defeat. Minnesota (9-5 SU, 6-8 ATS) is in first place in the NFC North, but by only one game over the Bears. The Vikings can clinch the division title with a victory over Atlanta.

Like the Cowboys, Minnesota is staring down the barrel at two tough opponents: the Falcons, then the 11-3 Giants. In this case, both games will be at the Metrodome. Atlanta’s season finale is at home against the 2-12 Rams. The Vikings are 5-1 SU and 3-3 ATS at home, while the Falcons are 3-4 SU and ATS away.

Minnesota is a 3-point chalk on Sunday with the juice set at –125 and a total of 43 points. The Vikings have won their last four games in a row at 3-1 ATS; Atlanta is experiencing technical difficulties at 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS in its last five. Coach Mike Smith admitted his team was “not hitting on all cylinders” during its 13-10 overtime win at home over the Buccaneers (+5.5). That under extended Atlanta’s zigzag pattern against the total to six games; the over is 6-2 in Minny’s last eight.

Vikings coach Brad Childress has a very difficult decision to make before Sunday’s matchup. QB Tarvaris Jackson had four TD passes and no picks in last week’s 35-14 drubbing of Arizona (-4). Gus Frerotte (lower back) practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and appears ready to play; he took Jackson’s starting job in Week 3, and the Vikings are 8-3 SU and 5-6 ATS with Frerotte at the controls. The buzz in the local press favors Jackson getting the nod on Sunday.

Bet on NFL football in Bodog’s online sportsbook.

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