After a win on our play on TNF, we’ll look to keep the momentum going into the weekend slate as the NFL season winds down here in Week 16. We have Saturday action once again, with two teams in action.
We’ll cover Monday’s Christmas Day 3 game slate in the next article. Here we’ll focus on Saturday and Christmas Eve.
Here we have a divisional matchup between the 7-7 Steelers and 8-6 Bengals, both looking to secure a spot in the 2023 playoffs. The Steelers are going to their third QB on the season after deciding they’ve seen enough of Mitch Trubisky. Mason Rudolph will get the start in this one and I think this represents yet another downgrade at the position.
Let’s be clear, I don’t have Kenny Pickett rated too highly but I think the Steelers have now downgraded twice going to Rudolph to try and get some life into this offense. Perhaps the Bengals present a good opportunity to do so, given their 26th ranked defensive DVOA.
The Bengals will also be without DT DJ Reader which will lead the susceptible to the run. The Steelers will need to lean heavily on Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren in this one as Mason Rudolph can’t be counted on to do much in terms of moving the football.
The Bengals are a deserving favorite in this one, despite WR Ja’Marr Chase being out. QB Jake Browning has been great in relief of Joe Burrow and has been effective both down the field to Tee Higgins but also in the screen game getting both Joe Mixon and Chase Brown involved. I think Browning has answered many of the question marks we had when he entered his first start against the Steelers and only put up 10 points.
I’m getting increasingly concerned with the Steelers defense, despite ranking towards the middle of the pack in 2023. They are just losing too many pieces and are extremely thin at safety and LB.
The Steelers have already ruled Minkah Fitzpatrick and Trenton Thompson for this game to go along with Keanu Neal on IR and Damontae Kazee serving a suspension for a nasty hit on Michael Pittman Jr. in Week 15. TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith are still one of the league’s best pass rush duos, but I think the Steelers will be extremely susceptible to big plays whenever they are unable to get pressure on Browning.
I’m playing the Bengals at -2.5 (-120) in this one. This is essentially the same line as Bengals -3 (+100), so if you’d rather take that that is fine. If you’re laying more than -120 at -2.5 or getting less than +100 for -3, you might want to shop around! I’m also playing the Bengals team total over 20.5 at +110 at Caesar’s in this one for 1%.
The total has seen some back and forth movement in this one, re-opening at around 38.5 before getting bet down and then bet back up. I don’t mind taking the over at the 37.5’s that are available but I’d rather load up on the Bengals side that I think could end up running away with this one.
Here’s the marquee matchup on Sunday, despite not being flexed into SNF. The Cowboys head into Miami to face the Dolphins who are coming into this matchup quite banged up. The entire offensive line was a DNP on Wednesday with various injuries, however, most of them should be good to go in this Week 16 matchup. We can also expect Miami to get Tyreek Hill back after suffering an ankle injury in Week 15 and missing last week’s matchup against the Jets.
The Cowboys are coming off an embarrassing performance against the Buffalo Bills continuing the narrative that both of these teams have not been able to punch above their weight class and beat the top teams in the league. These are two of the best offenses’ in football but they’ve made their hay beating up on inferior opponents and running up the score in those matchups.
We saw the total reopen at 51.5 in this one and immediately get bet under. I think there is still value here, finding under 50.5 -115 at FD currently. I don’t see this getting bet the other way despite the public narrative surrounding the two high scoring teams. I think Buffalo proved our suspicion on the Dallas defense on how they can be beat on the ground. Miami’s tandem of Mostert and Achane should carve up this Dallas defense and allow the Dolphins to control the clock and pace of the game.
Micah Parsons and the Cowboys pass rush is always a concern here but I’m hopeful a strong run game will allow Tua to utilize the play action enough to keep the Cowboys on their toes. Miami’s defense has improved week by week and I think we’ll get another strong showing from them hosting the Cowboys Sunday afternoon. While I do think there’s value in laying the -1.5 with Miami, this is probably a spot you either want to look live or look at alternate lines.
If Miami can control the game, we could see a similar outcome to the Cowboys/Bills, as the market has likely not downgraded the Cowboys too much off one performance. We’ll play under 50.5 -115 for a 1% play, but again, keep an eye out for some good Miami prices in this one.
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