Christmas weekend betting is a tradition like no other!
Christmas weekend betting is a tradition like no other!
Photo by Jack Gorman

NFL Football, Week 16: This Weekend's Best Bets

After a red hot start to the football betting season that saw me hang consistently above an aggregate winning percentage of 60 percent for much of the season, my plummet back down to earth has been pronounced and precipitous over the last month or so, including an horrific 3-9 record over the last two weeks. As a result, my winning percentage has dropped to just under 55 percent (still winning, but trending poorly) and I no longer have any friends.

Well, at least no friends among the people who have been piggybacking my selections all season. It's funny how quickly people will turn on you. In September and October, people would hit me up on Twitter demanding my picks. Now, they wait for me to tweet about ANYTHING (so they know I'm on Twitter to see their barbs) and then follow up with insults.

It's hurtful, but not nearly as hurtful as losing money. I get it. This weekend, we have a combination of lower level bowl games and an NFL slate that is chock full of double digit spreads (which we will be staying away from!). Let's go find six winners and get this train back on track.

Kansas State -2.5 over UCLA (Cactus Bowl)
UCLA, with Josh Rosen under center, was supposed to be one of the dark horse teams this season, and after an historic comeback against Texas A&M in Week 1, Rosen was being touted as a Heisman frontrunner. Six losses later, and barely bowl eligible, the Bruins, who fired head coach Jim Mora, Jr. and made the best hire of the offseason in Chip Kelly, are probably looking forward to the season ending. It doesn't help that they face the wizard Bill Snyder, who is looking to become the first head coach to win a bowl game in the same year that he turns 143 years old. (That's not true, but it feels true, right?) The Wildcats were 4-1 SU down the stretch, including wins in Stillwater and Lubbock against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, respectively. We will back a Snyder-coached team against the headless Bruins.

Texas +3 over Missouri (Academy Texas Bowl)
This looks like a risky pick, given how explosive the Tigers have been offensively during their six game winning streak to close the regular season. They've averaged over 50 points a game during that stretch. The thing is, they compiled those stats against a slew of foes who were a collective train wreck — Idaho, Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas. All of those teams finished with five wins or fewer. Now, Texas only had six wins, but they lost to USC, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State by a combined total of 11 points. This will be a home game for Texas and Tom Herman, who I love to back with extra time to prepare. The Longhorns grab their first winning season since 2013.

Rams -6.5 over TITANS
Hey, it's the Former Employers of Jeff Fisher Bowl! I said after their win over the Texans a couple weeks ago that the Titans were the worst 8-4 team I've ever seen in my life, and in the last two weeks, they have not disappointed me in making me look smart, losing 12-7 in Arizona and losing on a last second field goal in San Francisco last weekend. So now the Titans sit at 8-6 with games against the red hot Rams and the equally hot Jaguars to close out the season. The Rams are 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS on the road this season, and should continue to make life hell for Titans QB Marcus Mariota as the season winds down. The Titans will miss the playoffs at 8-8 and will have some serious decisions to make about the coaching staff at season's end.

REDSKINS -3 over Broncos
The Broncos are coming off their first road win of the season in Indianapolis last Thursday night, in what might have been Brock Osweiler's best start as a pro. The Broncos were so enamored with Brock and believe in him so much that Paxton Lynch is probably going to get the start this week. (Poor Brock.) The Redskins are an underrated defensive team (10th in defensive DVOA), and I'm not about to begin thinking the Broncos are capable of stringing together multiple wins on the road.

49ERS +4 over Jaguars
You see this pick, and you're probably saying "But Sean, the Jags are destroying everything in their path... I mean, they just destroyed the MIGHTY HOUSTON TEXANS by 38 points last weekend!" The Jags have been really good, and they just clinched the AFC South last weekend for the first time in nearly two decades. This game is in a tricky spot — an out of conference foe on the road, sandwiched between two division games. It doesn't help the Jags that said out of conference foe is 3-0 with their new franchise QB starting games. The Niners can hang in this one with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback.

COWBOYS -4 over Seahawks
With both of these teams sitting at 8-6, the winner will still be hanging on the fringe of the playoff picture and the loser is almost certainly eliminated from playoff contention. The Cowboys get Ezekiel Elliott back from his six game suspension, just in time to feast on a Seahawk defense that allowed 244 yards rushing to Todd Gurley and the Rams last weekend. The Seahawks are ravaged with injuries on the defensive side of the ball, and this week were smiling at each other through the media (looking at you Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas!). The bet here is that the Cowboys send the Seahawks into an offseason of soul searching, and Elliott runs for like a buck twenty five on the ground.

LAST WEEK: 2-4
SEASON RECORD: 51-43-2 (54.3 percent)

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.

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