Last week saw yet another double-digit NFL betting underdog pull off an improbable upset win. In fact, not only did the Detroit Lions stun the Arizona Cardinals, but they did so in blowout fashion. Dan Campbell’s team made a little history in the process and proved that there is still value to be had betting on underdogs late in the season.
League-wide parity continues to be a prevalent theme on a weekly basis in the NFL this season. In addition, bettors now must add the age-old angle of teams pushing for the playoffs to their handicapping analysis. The betting market typically overvalues teams in must-win mode with respect to their playoff aspirations. Not only does this often create opportunities to play underdogs against the spread, but it also often presents some outright upset NFL betting picks as well. After all, teams who are out of the running for a postseason spot certainly have a lot less pressure to deal with.
The following article looks at three NFL betting favorites who are officially on upset alert ahead of their Week 16 matchups including the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs.
3 Teams on Upset Alert for Week 16 | NFL Betting Picks
Lions vs Falcons (-5.5)
Can the Detroit Lions actually string together back-to-back wins after starting out 1-11-1? Well, momentum certainly figures to be on their side heading into Sunday’s road tilt against the Atlanta Falcons. Offensively, Detroit has made great strides from the beginning of the season to now despite being without some of their top playmakers. Craig Reynolds went over 100 yards rushing last week behind an underrated offensive line. Not only should the Lions be able to run the ball against an awful Atlanta defense, but they will also welcome back Jamaal Williams following a two-game virus-related absence. While starting QB Jared Goff’s status is now in doubt after he tested positive for said virus, backups David Blough and Tim Boyle are far from the worst potential alternatives.
At 6-8, the Falcons are now barely hanging on in the fight for the NFC’s last Wild Card spot. Of course, most NFL betting analysts have viewed Atlanta as a longshot to make the playoffs all along. Arthur Smith’s team has not beaten a single opponent with a winning record to date. After getting gashed on the ground in a lopsided defeat against the San Francisco 49ers last week, the Falcons’ run defense will need to improve if they hope to slow down Detroit. It’s also worth noting that Atlanta has not won a home game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium all season. Their only “home” win came across the pond in London.
Lions vs Falcons NFL Betting Picks
Even though they may be without Jared Goff, the Lions will be live NFL betting underdogs on Sunday. The matchup in the trenches favors Detroit heavily, particularly on offense. Rookie wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown has emerged as a clear top target and should be able to make plays for whoever is under center. After shutting down Kyler Murray and the Cardinals last week, there’s no reason why the Lions can’t do the same to Matt Ryan.
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Ravens vs Bengals (-3)
The Baltimore Ravens have gone from holding a multi-game lead in the AFC North Division to now being on the outside of the AFC playoff picture looking in. John Harbaugh’s team comes in having lost three straight games, albeit by a combined four points. Yes, the defensive secondary is decimated with injuries. The loss of Marlon Humphrey for the season two weeks ago was the latest blow to the unit. Yes, Lamar Jackson is also considered unlikely to play for the second straight game according to sources close to the team. Is it possible that Jackson’s absence could be a blessing in disguise? After all, the Ravens’ offense looked the best it has in some time with Tyler Huntley at the controls last week.
For the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday’s game serves as an opportunity to draw ever-closer to their first division title since 2015. The defense rose to the occasion on the road last week in a huge win over the Denver Broncos. That snapped a two-game skid and pulled Cincy even with Baltimore in the standings. The Bengals hold the tiebreaker courtesy of a 41-17 thrashing of the Ravens back in late October. Joe Burrow was spectacular on that day, throwing for over 400 yards and three touchdowns. Baltimore will have to find an answer for the talented receiving corps of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd if they hope to spring an NFL betting upset.
Ravens vs Bengals NFL Betting Picks
After losing on failed two-point conversion tries in the waning seconds in each of the last two weeks, the Ravens come into this divisional showdown starving for a win. Baltimore certainly has a decisive coaching edge. One has to believe that John Harbaugh will have adjustments at the ready after the first meeting between these teams went poorly. If the Ravens can succeed in making this a hard-hitting, ugly game, they’ll have a shot to pull out a road upset.
Steelers vs Chiefs (-7.5)
Say what you want about Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers winning ugly. The key is that they continue to find ways to pull out close games. After being dominated for much of last week’s game against the Tennessee Titans, the Steelers used some key takeaways down the stretch to pull out a low-scoring victory. They did so despite totaling all of 168 yards of offense, including just 35 yards rushing. While those numbers will certainly have to improve if Pittsburgh is to pull off an NFL betting upset in Week 16, they do stand in line to possibly benefit from a depleted Kansas City Chiefs roster.
This week’s batch of positive virus tests was sent to Kansas City. As a result, Andy Reid’s team could very well be shorthanded on both sides of the ball come Sunday. Offensively, Patrick Mahomes is staring at the possibility of being without both Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Guard Kyle Long and tackle Lucas Niang are also in virus protocols. On defense, the four most impactful players to test positive are pass-rusher Chris Jones, corner Charvarius Ward and linebackers Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. Even placekicker Harrison Butker is currently in virus protocols. The NFL betting line for this game has already moved two full points in the Steelers’ favor as a result of the virus updates.
Steelers vs Chiefs NFL Betting Picks
With a record of 7-6-1, every game is critical to the Steelers’ hopes of making the playoffs. While the Chiefs also have a No. 1 overall seed to play for, the prospect of being shorthanded on both sides of the ball could spell doom for what is now a seven-game winning streak. Be sure to keep up to date on the latest news regarding player availability. If the Chiefs fail to get players back from virus protocols in time for Sunday’s game, Mike Tomlin and the Steelers are worth including among this week’s NFL betting upset picks.
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