Hello Friends! After a long holiday break, it is time to jump back on the betting sleigh to deliver some winners to the masses. Week 18 can be the most fun or most frustrating for bettors as you are not always sure who will be playing and what teams’ motivations are. After diving into the sleight with a fine-tooth comb, we have found some winners below to help you fill up your bank account after spending heavily for the holidays.
While it seems easy to just bet on the teams that need to win to make the playoffs in Week 18, this can be a losing formula as books usually have their lines overinflated, and those teams tend to play very tight/conservative. Since 1990, eliminated teams playing teams that need to win over the last two weeks of the regular season are 100-64-1 (61%) against the spread. Not all of our bets will follow this formula (I refuse to bet on the Panthers to end the year), but we will take advantage of a couple of games this trend supports. I hope we end the year on a perfect note!
Well try to gain momentum this week going into the playoffs and go for the ever-elusive perfect week, good luck and happy winning!
6-point Teaser of the Week:
Giants (+11.5) vs Eagles – The Eagles are a team in turmoil, having gone 1-4 in their past five games. Enter a Giants team that has been playing tough to end the season and only lost to these same Eagles two weeks ago at Philadelphia by 8 points (which would easily cover our spread here). Now, back home and in what looks to be bad weather, I like this scrappy Giants team to battle their division foe hard enough to keep it to at least a one-score game. There is also a chance that the Cowboys are up so big in their game that the Eagles decide to rest their players in the second half so as to not get hurt (if the Cowboys win, the Eagles are locked into the 5 seed no matter what happens in their game), making this Giants play an even better one. Even if the Eagles starters play the whole game, I think the Giants can keep this one within double digits.
Titans (+10) vs Jaguars – It appears that the Jaguars will have Trevor Lawrence and maybe Christian Kirk back this weekend, but I’m not expecting either to be at 100%. The way to beat the Titans is through the air, which might be tough for the Titans if Trevor is still banged up. While the Jaguars may do enough to win, they have not proven they can cover a double-digit number. The Titans have some positive things going for them, like that they play much better at home and have a coach who is adamant against resting players or tanking. The Jags need to win to secure the AFC South, but I don’t think they will do it by double digits. In 46 career games as a dog, Mike Vrabel is 23-23 straight up and 27-18-1 against the spread. Take Mike Vrabel and the points.
7-point Teaser of the Week:
Bears (+10) at Packers – Since the Montez Sweat trade, the Bears have quietly been one of the best teams in the NFL, and they will be looking for revenge against a Packers team that beat them 38-20 in week 1. The Packers will be looking to secure a playoff spot with a win, but on the other side, Justin Fields is looking to keep his job as starting QB, while Matt Eberflus is looking for a win to help him keep his job, so there is plenty of motivation on each side. While the Bears defense has transformed since the Sweat trade, the Packers defense has taken a bit of a dip recently. While they did shut down the Vikings last week (their QBs left a lot to be desired), the three weeks before, they gave up 30/34/24 points, and the 24 points were to Tommy Devito! This seems like a great spot to grab the Bears and the points to at least be able to keep up with Love and the Packers.
Ravens (+10.5) vs Steelers – While it appears Lamar Jackson and most players of significance will be sitting for the Ravens, they do still have to field a team and can’t sit anyone. They have one of the best backup QBs in the league in Tyler Huntley, who was a pro bowler last year (yes I know how ridiculous that was). Also, let’s not forget that the Steelers themselves are playing a backup QB in Mason Rudolph, so it’s not as though they will have a huge advantage at the position. John Harbaugh clearly knows how to get the most out of his whole roster, as shown by his record preseason winning streak. These teams love to play close games no matter what, when the line is 3 or higher in this rivalry the underdog is 19-2 against the spread. Since Tomlin and Harbaugh started facing off, the underdog in the series is 23-5-3 against the spread.
Bonus Teaser of the Week: 4-Part Win and You’re In Teaser (7 points):
Bills (+4.5) at Dolphins / Texans (+5.5) vs. Colts / Bills at Dolphins (under 55)/ Texans at Colts (over 40.5) – The Bills are just one win away from battling all the way back and winning the division, and they seem to have a great set up to do it. Miami is coming into this game very banged up with Bradley Chubb out for the season, plus Jaylen Waddle and multiple offensive linemen questionable to play. The Bills have really figured it out on offense ever since they switched offensive coordinators and focused more on their running game. The Bills defense has also looked good recently, highlighted by the trade acquisition of Rasul Douglas, who had a pick 6 last week. With the Bills looking to lean more on their running game and the Dolphins dealing with lots of injuries, I love the under in this game, especially with the extra points. Unlike in past years, it appears the Bills will be leaning on their defense and run game to get them into the playoffs.
To me, this Colts and Texans game will come down to the QBs, and while I love Minshew, this seems like CJ Stroud’s time to officially become a superstar. While Tank Dell is out for the season, the rest of Stroud’s weapons should be healthy, which should allow him to dominate this weak Colts defense. Minshew has also shown to be more turnover-prone than Stroud, which could easily be the difference in the game. With both teams looking to lean on their QBs to win the game, we will take the over and hope for a shootout.
Over’s of the week:
Bears at Packers (Over 45) – This game has the potential to be a shootout, and, in this season, you can’t say that about many games. While the Bears defense has played a lot better since getting Sweat, they still have a tendency to give up the big play, which Jordan Love has shown he can take advantage of. On the other side the Packers defense looked good last week but the two weeks before gave up 30 points to the Carolina Panther and Baker Mayfield in back-to-back weeks. With Justin Fields fighting for his starting QB life expect him to go all out and lead the Bears to multiple endzone scores. This should be a back-and-forth game that, even with an improved Bears defense, should still hit the over.
Texans at Colts (Over 47.5) – Both of these teams will be looking to sling the ball, which should lead to lots of opportunities for touchdowns. I expect CJ Stroud to light up this Colts defense and make the Colts must throw to keep up. The Texans rush defense has also been amazing which leads most teams having to try to attach them through the air. Also, since the winner of this team gets into the playoffs, these coaches will be pulling out all the stops to score and empty their playbooks. Both teams will also battle until the end, with the worst case getting this cover in garbage time. Hopefully, these QBs can do enough to get this over.
Under’s of the week:
Browns at Bengals (Under 37.5) – We have a classic week 18 game that basically means nothing to either team and both (especially the Browns) just want to get out of this game healthy. The Brown have locked up the 5 seed in the AFC and the Bengals will be on vacation next week, so this game is nothing more than a formality. Expect a heavy dose of the running game from both teams, with the Browns especially just trying to run out the clock. This feels like a low scoring divisional game that neither team wants to win, lets grab points and watch the clock keep ticking in this one.
Falcons at Saints (Under 42) – We have one final AFC South under we can play, an opportunity that can’t be missed. These two matched up earlier this year and ended up with a total of 39, and I see no reason why they will beat that total in week 18. While both offenses leave a lot to be desired, both of these defenses have been playing pretty well as of late leading to lots of unders. This season the Saints are 11-5 and the Falcons are 10- 6 towards the under, making them a juicy combo when playing each other. Additionally, NFC South games have averaged only 35.3 points a game this year (almost 7 points less than this total) and on the season the total has been 39 points or less in 9 out of the 10 divisional games this year. While it was terrible, we had to watch so many NFC South games this year at least we can cash in on one more under.
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