Upset Picks for NFL Week 16, 2020

| December 21, 2020 2:09 pm PDT

Last week’s NFL upset picks were pretty close to being amazing. The Chargers got things started off on a good note with a win on Thursday Night Football (+165), and two other plays nearly paid off.

Philly was a fun upset play and came back from a huge hole to tie the Cardinals (26-26) before losing by a score. New Orleans fought hard against the Chiefs and for stretches of their game looked like they might get the win, as well.

I’ll take one upset pick and run with it, but it’s always tough for bettors when you could taste a little bit more.

It’s even more unsettling when the Jets beat the Rams for their first win of the year, and I never considered it. I backed New York against the Raiders and in a couple of other more winnable spots, and this is where they get their first win?


There is a lot of upside to be had in betting on the NFL this week. The underdog spots aren’t quite as alluring to me, of course, just based on how I feel games will go.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t advantageous spots for bettors, though. Let’s see which NFL upset picks for week 16 stand out.

Indianapolis Colts (+105)

Let’s start off my week 16 NFL upset picks with a firm backing of Indy. Not only am I out on the Steelers as a scary team, but the Colts look quite legit these days.

Indianapolis quietly has one of the more balanced offenses in the league, as they’ve completely unleashed T.Y. Hilton and Jonathan Taylor over the last few games.

Taylor specifically has been a bit of a revelation.

Philip Rivers and co. have been dealing during a nice three-game winning streak, and the Colts are still trying to claim the AFC South division title.

There is major incentive for them to snag a tough road win here, and they match up with the Steelers better than expected. Taylor could feast on a slumping Pittsburgh run defense, while Rivers has enough weapons to take advantage of the Steelers through the air.

Among passers who have thrown at least 400 attempts, Rivers has taken the second-fewest sacks in 2020.

That could give him a boost against a tough Pittsburgh pass rush, while the Steelers’ inability to run the football, in general, could once again force the issue a bit too much for Ben Roethlisberger and this Steelers passing game.

Ultimately, this is a close one to call, but the Colts are a bit more balanced and need this game more. I’ll back the Colts at a nice +105 price over at BetOnline.

Denver Broncos (+160)

There isn’t a lot of value on this slate that blows me away, but I do like Denver at a cool +160.

I’d certainly shop around at your favorite NFL betting websites to get the best price possible, but that’s not a bad landing spot if that’s as good as it gets.

Denver laid an egg against the Bills in their last game, but I like their matchup with the Chargers quite a bit more. It’s all about coaching and health for me, as the Bolts have been insanely banged up lately, and Anthony Lynn has been publicly knocked for his decision-making.

Lynn has worked hard to coach the Chargers out of games in 2020, and he’d probably be looking at a far worse season if it weren’t for the magical rookie year of Justin Herbert.

The latter gives the Bolts a good chance here, but Drew Lock did rally to beat them in the earlier meeting. The Over is among the safest week 16 NFL bets, but I still think the combination of Lynn and so many injuries will be tough to overcome.

Tennessee Titans (+160)

Lastly, I am very interested in the Titans this week. Green Bay is a very solid team, and Aaron Rodgers is having an NFL MVP-type season.

They’re 11-3 for a reason, and they’re putting up over 30 points per game at home in 2020.

However, the Packers have the dubious honor of beating precisely one team that’s had a winning record (at the time of facing them) this season.

That isn’t to suggest Green Bay is a fraud, but they’ve also played down to their level of competition a bit, and in other games, they didn’t finish off opponents as great teams should.

Tennessee isn’t without their warts, but they have the Packers’ kryptonite, and that’s a lethal rushing attack. Everyone saw what someone of Derrick Henry’s stature could do to this defense, as Green Bay has been abused on the ground by teams willing to pound the rock.

Last year’s NFC title game was the best example, but Dalvin Cook torched the Packers in a win at Lambeau Field earlier this season.

Even if Henry doesn’t do it all by himself, the Titans have too many weapons to track, as Jonnu Smith, Corey Davis, and of course A.J. Brown are all threats to go the distance every time they touch the ball.

Whether the Titans ride Henry and control the pace, or this game busts wide open, they have the ability to beat out the Packers. At +160, they’re probably my favorite upset pick for week 16.


It’s weird to look at some weeks and see precious few realistic opportunities for an underdog to win.

Not having the gift of hindsight can prevent bettors from seeing what possibilities are in front of them, but in week 16, your options really do seem to be limited.

I highly doubt the Jets or Jaguars are going to drop the hammer on the NFL betting world this week. New York is probably hoping the Jags somehow win at this point, and with Trevor Lawrence to lose at this point, I can’t imagine Jacksonville going out of their way to win down the stretch.

That leaves bettors with few bets that really stand out. To obtain value, you may have to find it in other venues or just lockdown on my favorite week 16 NFL underdog picks. Hopefully, they treat you well.

For a little more week 16 NFL betting advice, hit the links below.

Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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