FOX Sports Betting Analyst
Week 16 of the NFL season is a unique one.
Weather will play a factor in a handful of these games, there are some notable quarterback injuries and a few award races could be finalized after the weekend.
And as always, I’ve got some wagers for you that I hope will put some cash in our pockets by the end of the weekend (odds via FOX Bet).
Were the Kansas City Chiefs exposed in their 30-24 OT win in Week 15?
Nick Wright weighs in on whether the Kansas City Chiefs were exposed in their overtime win in Week 15 vs. the Houston Texans.
Seahawks at Chiefs (1 p.m. ET Saturday, FOX)
I feel confident the Chiefs will cover any game where they are a short favorite of three points or fewer. And I certainly expect them to cover in those rare instances when they’re underdogs. However, if the Chiefs are favored by more than a touchdown, take the other side.
Kansas City failed to cover nine points against the Broncos two weekends ago, getting out to a 27-0 lead before holding on to win by six. Last weekend, the Chiefs were 14.5-point favorites at Houston, and it took overtime for them to escape with a victory. A month ago, the Rams went to Arrowhead, catching anywhere from 15 to 16.5 points without Matt Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald. The Chiefs won, but it was an ugly 26-10.
I do not know why the Chiefs play this way against inferior opponents, but it has been a trend for years. Turnovers, lackadaisical game plans, poor red zone offense and lack of defense make these games closer than they should be.
Seattle is coming to town, and the Seahawks need a win to keep themselves afloat in the NFC playoff race. And while Seattle hasn’t played well on offense in the last month, the Hawks can still move the ball on the Chiefs defense. KC’s defense allows everyone to move the ball. That unit is ranked 24th in defensive DVOA. Even if the Chiefs do their thing and post a score in the low 30s, their defense will allow points to a desperate Seattle Seahawks squad.
I will take the Seahawks to cover.
PICK: Seahawks (+9.5 at FOX Bet) to lose by fewer than 9.5 points (or win outright)
Can Brock Purdy carry the 49ers to a Super Bowl after clinching the NFC West?
FOX Sports NFL analyst Eric Mangini joins Colin Cowherd on The Herd to discuss the San Francisco 49ers 21-13 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15.
Commanders at 49ers (4:05 p.m. ET Saturday, CBS)
I’m throwing out all of my gambling principles in this game. I’m taking the 7.5-point home team favorite whose head coach has routinely struggled in this spot. Give me the super-hot Niners against the Commanders — a squad coming off a national TV loss. Sure, the line is inflated. I do not care. San Francisco will win big.
The Commanders started slow. They had a single win through five weeks, then struggled to beat the Bears in Week 6. Carson Wentz was benched. Taylor Heinicke took over the offense and sparked the entire team. Then, Washington won six of their next seven, including handing the Eagles their only loss of the season. The other five wins were close. The Commanders beat the Packers by two, the Colts by one and the Falcons by six. Then came the games against the Giants that were sandwiched with a bye week. Against the Giants, Washington posted one tie and one outright loss, and now the squad is looking at not making the playoffs.
Washington has struggled to beat better teams because of Heinicke’s limitations. He’s a fun player to root for, but ultimately, he’s not good. The Commanders are scoring only 16 points a game since he took over, and now they head to San Francisco.
The Niners defense is the best in the NFL. They do not allow points, their defensive line is fierce, the linebackers are fast, and the secondary is quick. Teams do not score against them, and I’m not sure what would propel the Commanders to score in this game.
The 49ers offense continues to roll with third-string quarterback Brock Purdy running the show. Kyle Shanahan isn’t asking Purdy to do much, relying on the run game, offensive line and screen game. However, when Purdy is tasked with throwing it, he appears more competent than most expected. The Niners are a real offense with Purdy. And while the Commanders defense is excellent, this is a game where the Niners can wear them down.
Washington’s defense will be on the field for a long game. San Francisco will score late to cover this game and push the lead to double digits by the final whistle.
PICK: 49ers (-7.5 at FOX Bet) to win by more than 7.5 points
Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.
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