NFL Week 16 Top Betting Picks: Cowboys to Delay Eagles’ Top Seed Coronation

It’s very important for NFL bettors to check the weather forecast in their respective games this weekend if they are being played outdoors somewhere in the Midwest or Northeast part of the country as a winter bomb cyclone is expected to wreak havoc.

Here are two top NFL picks with odds from the best sportsbooks

New Orleans Saints vs. Cleveland Browns 

Saturday, December 24, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at FirstEnergy Stadium 

Playoffs Are Not an Option

CBS has the telecast of this matchup with both the Saints and Browns close to playoff elimination.

New Orleans (5-9) will be out with a loss and Tampa Bay win at Arizona on Christmas night, and the Bucs winning seems likely considering the already-eliminated Cardinals will be starting third-stringer Trace McSorley at quarterback.

Cleveland (6-8) will be out with a loss. The Browns also could be eliminated with a win but it would involve a few other Week 16 games (too many scenarios to mention) going the wrong way for them. 

Crazy Weather

The total is just 31.5 points as of this writing, which is the NFL’s lowest since 2008. Why so low? Here’s the weather for Saturday: “Occasional snow showers. Quite windy. High 13F. Winds SW at 25 to 35 mph. Chance of snow 40%. Snow accumulations less than one inch. Winds could occasionally gust over 50 mph.”

The Browns haven’t played a home game with a kickoff temperature below 15 degrees since 1989 vs the Vikings. 

Running Is Key

I’m not really interested in the total, although I might be when we are closer to kickoff, but I do like the Browns ATS at home as long as Nick Chubb plays in what should be a run-heavy matchup because of the wind.

He hasn’t practiced as of Wednesday but is expected to go, and of course, the Browns have probably the best backup as well in the league in Kareem Hunt. Chubb is averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season at home with nine TDs. The Saints have struggled against the run, allowing 132.6 yards per game and 13 TDs. 

The Pick

I expect Browns QB Deshaun Watson to get a bit better as he has improved his rating in each game since returning from his 11-game suspension. It was a season-high 91.5 last Saturday in a win over Baltimore.

New Orleans, meanwhile, has lost five straight road games (tied for longest skid in the league) and has the league’s worst scoring offense since Week 9 at 14.5 ppg. 

Cleveland is 5-0 ATS on the NFL odds in its past five Saturday games, while New Orleans is 0-5 ATS in its past five after a win. The Saints beat Atlanta last week but haven’t won back-to-back games in 2022. The current lean at TheRX’s top-rated books is Cleveland at better than 75%. 

NFL Pick: Browns -2.5 (-118) at FanDuel

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys 

Saturday, December 24, 2022 – 04:25 PM EST at AT&T Stadium

Dallas Sees Philly From Distance

This was to be clearly the game of the week and would have drawn incredible ratings and betting action at TheRX’s top-rated books. It still might be simply because the Cowboys are involved and it’s Christmas Eve, but it lost a ton of luster when Dallas was upset in Jacksonville in Week 15 and Philadelphia held off Chicago.  

If the Cowboys had won their fifth straight game, and they led 27-10 late in the third quarter and 34-31 in the final seconds of regulation (they lost 40-34 in OT), they still would have had a shot to catch Philadelphia for the NFC East title and conference’s top seed.

That’s almost surely not happening now as Philly holds a three-game lead and has a magic number of one to clinch both for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. 

That’s the thing, though: Why even play their key guys against a bitter rival this week? Jalen Hurts sprained his shoulder against the Bears and is in serious doubt as he hasn’t practiced yet this week. Although it would be possible for Hurts to play Saturday without practicing, it would be unusual. Gardner Minshew looks set to start.  

No Reason to Risk It

I truly think the Eagles may just punt on this game mentally and worry about clinching the top seed at home in Week 17 vs. New Orleans. Better to get Hurts healthy, and I’ve even heard talk of him sitting the rest of the regular season, although he’s going to lose any shot at becoming the first Eagles player to win MVP in the Super Bowl era.

He was the betting favorite entering Week 15 but with the injury and a big game from the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, Hurts is now a +425 second favorite with Mahomes -330. 

Cowboys Want Momentum

Dallas has clinched a playoff spot so I suppose one could argue the Cowboys have little to play for, but they will want some momentum entering the postseason and to get last week’s ugly loss out of their system.

Plus, it would be beneficial to earn the top NFC wild-card spot and the chance to play lousy Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs instead of potentially San Francisco or Minnesota.  

The Pick

The Cowboys have played up to their competition this year with victories against the 11-win Vikings, the current No. 2 seeds in the NFC, and the 10-win Bengals, the leaders of the AFC North.

They also swept the 8-5-1 New York Giants. Their only loss to a team with a winning record is in Week 6 in Philadelphia when Dak Prescott was out injured. 

Prescott and co. have won seven straight home games, the longest active streak in the NFL, and they are averaging 35.5 points per game since Week 7 when Prescott returned from injury, which is tops in the league. 

NFL Pick: Cowboys -4.5 (-110) at BetMGM