Week 18 NFL Odds, Picks & Previews

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Steelers at Ravens Odds

Steelers Odds +3.5
Ravens Odds -3.5
Over/Under 41
Time 1 p.m. ET
Odds via Parx. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Brandon Anderson: Early in the week, it looked like the Steelers might face a COVID scare, but now that the key names are getting cleared, the bets are coming in on Pittsburgh. Baltimore was as much as a six-point favorite early this week, but the line has been cut nearly in half after the news that Lamar Jackson is officially out.

Pittsburgh is still an underdog, though, and bettors should know by now that Mike Tomlin is very dangerous as a dog. After Week 5, Tomlin’s Steelers are 35-14-1 against the spread (ATS) as underdogs, covering an incredible 71% of the time. They’re also 29-21 straight up in those games, giving moneyline bettors a robust 46% return on investment in that spot.

For whatever reason, Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger are pure magic as underdogs, and that includes 5-3 ATS this season and 4-4 outright in those games. Roethlisberger is also 5-2 ATS in regular-season finales since 2010. When he’s out there because there’s something to play for, he’s been one of the most profitable QBs in the league.

This line has dropped, but it’s still just barely above the key number. And in this rivalry, that’s really all we need to know. Since 2005, when either team is more than a field-goal favorite in this rivalry, the underdog is 17-2 ATS. Seventeen and two!! Pittsburgh is 5-0 itself in that spot, with three wins outright. These teams just almost always play close games.

We have to back Big Ben and the Steelers here one last time in an underdog spot. The history in this rivalry means we have to love Steelers +3.5, even after losing a couple points of value. And it means we should play the moneyline too.

But we might be able to do better than just the moneyline. At BetMGM, we can bet on Pittsburgh to win by 1-6 points at +375. Seven of the Steelers’ eight wins have been by one score, and the Ravens have five losses by 1-6 points, plus 11 of their 16 games overall. The total for this game is 41, so books are expecting a low-scoring game. It makes total sense for the Steelers to win a close one.

There’s a prop angle worth playing too. T.J. Watt is at 21.5 sacks after Monday night’s outburst, and that puts him one away from tying the all-time sack record. You can bet on Watt to break the record at +165 at BetMGM. Watt only needs 1.5 sacks to set the record, and with 21.5 sacks in 14 games, he’s averaging 1.54 per game. He also had 3.5 sacks the first game against Baltimore, plus three in two games against the Ravens last season. With no Ronnie Stanley for Baltimore, there’s no stopping Watt from this record.

I’ll bet on another big Watt performance, and I’ll bank on the Steelers’ healthy defense to come through for Big Ben in his final regular-season game. I love the Steelers on the road here, and I’ll bet them to cover the spread and win outright. With a little help from Jacksonville, maybe we’ll get one more Big Ben game yet.

Pick: Steelers +3.5 | Bet to: +3

Bonus Pick: T.J. Watt to Set Single-Season Sack Record (+165) at BetMGM

Read the full Steelers vs. Ravens preview or return to the table of contents

Bengals at Browns Odds

Bengals Odds +6
Browns Odds -6
Over/Under 37
Time 1 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Billy Ward: While 38 points is a remarkably low total in the NFL, it might just be too high here. We’ve seen it on both ends of the spectrum — oddsmakers are only willing to go so far with where they set totals, even when games are expected to be true outliers.

Cleveland has been held to 14 points or fewer in five of its last seven outings — and it is favored here. It’s hard to see either backup quarterback leading the Browns to much offensive production this week.

Keep an eye on the status of the Bengals receivers and the Browns defensive starters as we get closer to game time. The former group playing (or the latter group sitting) would both increase the expected production in this one.

Barring any unforeseen news, though, expect a slow-paced, offensively challenged game here. I’m taking the under.

Pick: Under 38 | Bet to: 36

Read the full Bengals vs. Browns preview or return to the table of contents

Packers at Lions Odds

Packers Odds -3
Lions Odds +3
Over/Under 44.5
Time 1 p.m. ET
Odds via Gun Lake. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Billy Ward: Given the motivation levels of these teams, I’m anticipating a relatively high-scoring game here.

Both defenses are bad at what the opposing offense is good at. The Packers also have reasons to unleash their passing attack throughout this one. While Jordan Love — if he plays significant reps — is clearly a downgrade from Aaron Rodgers, the Lions passing defense is a downgrade from the rest of the league as well.

On the Lions side, their running game should do enough to put at least some points on the board against a Packers team that’s allowing 4.8 yards per carry.

Pick: Over 44.5 | Bet to: 46

Read the full Packers vs. Lions preview or return to the table of contents

Titans at Texans Odds

Titans Odds -10
Texans Odds +10
Over/Under 42.5
Time 1 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Mike Vitanza: In a game with a relatively large 10- to 10.5-point spread, the implication from oddsmakers is the Texans will be trailing by a wide margin. In that scenario, we’re going to be seeing a large dose of Davis Mills and the passing game. That also means a lot of targets for Brandin Cooks.

The Houston standout has been on a tear lately, averaging 90 yards and a touchdown over his last three games. He’s also been Mills’ top target by a wide margin, averaging 11 targets during that same span. Mills has also shown he’s capable of big passing performances. In 10 starts, he’s already exceeded 300 yards passing on three occasions.

Given the projected game script, Cooks’ current receiving prop of 64.5 yards provides immense value, particularly when we consider the combination of his big-play ability and target share. I’m taking the over on this prop and would comfortably play it up to 69.5 yards if the line were to shift prior to kickoff.

Pick: Brandin Cooks Over 64.5 Receiving Yards | Bet to: Over 69.5

Read the full Titans vs. Texans preview or return to the table of contents

Colts at Jaguars Odds

Colts Odds -15
Jaguars Odds +15
Over/Under 44
Time 1 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Anthony Dabbundo: Believe it or not, Indianapolis has not won in Jacksonville since 2014. That includes multiple puzzling defeats, like the 2018 loss with Andrew Luck at quarterback that ended 6-0, and the Gardner Minshew game to open the 2020 season — Jacksonville’s only win last year. When these two teams met in the same spot last season in Indy, the Jaguars were within a score for almost the entire game until the Colts pulled away late to win by 14.

Earlier this year, the Colts raced out to a 17-0 lead and held on for dear life, winning 23-17 after a strip sack of Trevor Lawrence on the final drive.

The Colts offense isn’t good enough to be laying 15 on the road against anyone, and the trends are there for teams coming off of a blowout loss like Jacksonville is from last week.

You have to play the number here on the Jags and hope that they can keep Jonathan Taylor somewhat in check and force Carson Wentz to beat them. Wentz is unlikely to do enough to cover multiple touchdowns given the offensive passing limitations the Colts have had for the last month.

Given the turnover regression coming for Wentz and the inflated line in a must-win spot for the Colts, I like the Jaguars at anything more than two touchdowns.

Pick: Jaguars +15 | Bet to: +14

Read the full Colts vs. Jaguars preview or return to the table of contents

Bears at Vikings Odds

Bears Odds +5
Vikings Odds -5
Over/Under 44.5
Time 1 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Mike Randle: Despite their recent struggles, the Vikings are still a strong historic bet at home under head coach Mike Zimmer.

The Vikings are healthier, have already defeated Chicago and will certainly be focused against a team that has beaten them three straight times at home.

I’m not sure if it will save Zimmer’s job, but the Vikings will get revenge against a limited Bears offense on Sunday.

Pick: Vikings -5.5 | Bet to: -5.5

Read the full Bears vs. Vikings preview or return to the table of contents

Washington at Giants Odds

Washington Odds -7
Giants Odds +7
Over/Under 37.5
Time 1 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Mike Vitanza: Since the loss of Daniel Jones back in Week 13, this Giants offense has been laughably bad. During that time, the Giants are averaging just 9.8 points per game and have lost five straight. While Mike Glennon was by no means a strong option, the Giants were at least able to move the ball occasionally with him under center.

This week, they’ll run out Jake Fromm, a second-year quarterback who threw for just 25 yards in their 29-3 loss last week. In a Week 18 game with nothing to play for, there’s no reason to expect an offensive breakthrough here. While Washington has been ineffective in their own right, they’ve at least been able to find the end zone, averaging 17 points over their last five.

After losing their last four games, WFT coming in as a seven-point favorite on the road may feel like too many points. Against any other opponent, that would likely be the case. Fortunately for them, they’re going to be lining up against one of the most incompetent NFL offenses we’ve seen in a long time.

At the time of writing, 76% of tickets and 98% of the money has come in on Washington, indicating that both the public and sharps have found themselves on the same side here (check real-time public betting data here). Even at the key number of seven, I’m taking Washington to cover here and would play this up to -9.5, if the line were to shift prior to kickoff.

Pick: Washington -7 | Bet to: -9.5

Read the full Washington vs. Giants preview or return to the table of contents

Seahawks at Cardinals Odds

Seahawks Odds +5.5
Cardinals Odds -5.5
Over/Under 48.5
Time 4:25 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Phillip Kall: While the Arizona defense has found its rhythm, it is hard to trust the offense. The combination of being able to move the ball, but not create touchdowns is worrisome. When DeAndre Hopkins was healthy he could demand a defense’s attention, create rushing lanes or simply beat anyone one on one. The Cardinals will need Kliff Kingsbury to get more creative in those tight situations to have success.

As for the Seahawks offense, it’s also untrustworthy. Yes, Seattle is coming off a red-hot game, but its two recent impressive games have come against Houston and Detroit. Those are franchises they simply beat due to having more talent. Needless to say, that won’t be the case against Arizona.

The obvious angle with untrusted offenses is the under on the total. However, even that seems risky given these teams’ athletes and big-play ability.

Fortunately, we have a large spread to turn to instead. As long as the Cardinals continue to play the way they have been, it’s hard to imagine them beating anyone with ease.

That said, take Seattle and the points to keep things close in this showdown.

Pick: Seahawks +6.5  | Bet to: +6

Read the full Seahawks vs. Cardinals preview or return to the table of contents

Saints at Falcons Odds

Saints Odds -3.5
Falcons Odds +3.5
Over/Under 39.5
Time 4:25 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Michael Arinze: Even with this being a must-win game for the Saints, there is some trepidation with laying 3.5 points with Taysom Hill at quarterback. New Orleans’ game plan will likely utilize Hill’s strengths in some of their run-pass-option packages to control the game’s pace.

I also feel you can’t underestimate the role of the Saints defense in this spot. I’d expect them to carry on with how they’ve played in recent weeks against a Falcons team that could be struggling to find much motivation heading into this game. Combining the two scenarios does lend credence to the assertion that points could be at a premium in this contest.

Since Sean Payton became the Saints head coach in 2006, the total is 17-11-1 to the under in this meeting and 5-1 to the under in the past six meetings. You can grab the under at 40 as it’s still available at multiple sportsbooks.

Check out where the latest odds are here to make sure you’re getting the highest number possible

The final day of the regular season in the NFL can often be tricky and as a result, I won’t be risking any more than one-half unit on any of my wagers.

Pick: Under 40 (0.5 unit) | Bet to: 40

Read the full Saints vs. Falcons preview or return to the table of contents

Jets at Bills Odds

Jets Odds +16.5
Bills Odds -16.5
Over/Under 40.5
Time 4:25 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Mike Randle: I’m backing the Jets with this big number against the Bills. I understand Buffalo has everything to play for, but will it keep pushing the score and risking injury after the result is no longer in doubt?

Buffalo is just 1-2-2 ATS at home in their last five games as a favorite. That includes failing to cover big spreads against Atlanta, Miami and Indianapolis.

It will be a division-clinching day in Buffalo on Sunday, but not by 17 or more points.

Pick: Jets +16.5 | Bet to: +15.5

Read the full Jets vs. Bills preview or return to the table of contents

49ers at Rams Odds

49ers Odds +3.5
Rams Odds -3.5
Over/Under 44.5
Time 4:25 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Michael Arinze: It took a few weeks, but I finally got to the bottom of what’s been troubling me about the Rams. They’re often burdened by slow starts, making it difficult for them to cover the point spread consistently. While I haven’t been able to nail down the teams they generally have success against, I know enough to say that they struggle against Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers’ offensive scheme.

Rams head coach Sean McVay worked under Shanahan in Washington for almost seven years. While McVay might have intimate knowledge of how Shanahan thinks and operates, it hasn’t benefited him in the past five meetings. San Francisco is a perfect 5-0 in those meetings and 4-1 ATS. Moreover, San Francisco is 4-0 ATS in those meetings as an underdog.

Lastly, since 2003, the 49ers are 15-6-1 (+8.45 units) as an underdog in this matchup.

The Rams already have enough trouble on their hands trying to halt this five-game losing streak against the 49ers. I feel Shanahan’s decision not to announce his starter ahead of the game is another mind game he’s playing on McVay to keep him guessing. While it might seem subtle, it could create just enough distraction to give the 49ers an edge.

A week ago, the 49ers were catching as many as six points for this contest. Now, that number has careened down to +3.5. There’s still value at the current number, but I wouldn’t play it any lower than +3. As a result, I’ll only risk a half-unit on this play, given the line movement.

Pick: 49ers +3.5 (0.5 unit) | Bet to: +3

Read the full 49ers vs. Rams preview or return to the table of contents

Patriots at Dolphins Odds

Patriots Odds -6
Dolphins Odds +6
Over/Under 40
Time 4:25 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Phillip Kall: This year officially comes full circle as the season started with these teams facing off at 4:25 p.m. ET, and now it ends with the same matchup at the same time. Round one was a very different game though. It was the first NFL action that several key Patriots had in over a year after electing to sit out due to COVID in 2020. Also, and more importantly, it was Mac Jones’ first-ever NFL start. Now, New England’s defense is better constructed and planned, and Jones has 16 starts under his belt.

While things have changed for the Patriots to exceed our expectations, Miami has mostly stayed the same. In the preseason, the Dolphins were expected to be around a .500 team that could sneak into the playoffs. They may have taken an unanticipated streaky route to this point but have nonetheless ended where we expected.

Even with the additional questions for New England in Week 1, the matchup ended as a one-point game. The Patriots even had a chance to win if not for a late fumble in field-goal range.

For this game, I am expecting New England to take care of business handily. We have seen the Patriots show no remorse as they beat down on teams like the Jaguars and Jets, and that should continue.

The Dolphins’ struggles to block just scream trouble given the Patriots’ talent and creativity on defense. Miami’s defense is also weakest against the run as it ranks 19th in yards allowed per carry. Facing a run-first, physical team like New England is the opposite of who Miami is.

This has another Dolphins offensive struggle written all over it as the Patriots run the ball to a comfortable victory.

Pick: Patriots -6 | Bet to: -6.5

Read the full Patriots vs. Dolphins preview or return to the table of contents

Panthers at Bucs Odds

Panthers Odds +8.5
Bucs Odds -8.5
Over/Under 41.5
Time 4:25 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Michael Arinze: I suspect that Tampa Bay will want to put the Antonio Brown saga behind it as quickly as possible. That will likely have been part of Bruce Arians’ message to the team leading up to this game. The Bucs will need to look at Brown’s departure as more of an opportunity for their less-experienced players to step up. Arians might even frame it all as addition by subtraction.

After a week of answering questions about a player who’s no longer on the team, the Buccaneers need to regain control of the narrative entering the playoffs. Regardless of what happens on Sunday, the Buccaneers will be playing on Wild Card Weekend since only the Packers will receive a bye. Thus, I believe it would behoove them to approach this matchup as a possible postseason game.

If anything, the earlier Tampa Bay can switch on their playoff mode, the better things will be for them. A good performance against the Panthers will quiet much of the discussion surrounding Brown’s departure.

That’s why I feel the Buccaneers will come out with a point to prove, and there are plenty of trends that support the Buccaneers as a side.

  • The favorite is on a 4-0 against the spread (ATS)  run in the past four meetings.
  • Carolina is 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings.
  • Tampa Bay is 6-1 ATS at home this season.
  • Carolina is 0-6 ATS in their past six games.

Lastly, since 2017, teams that failed to cover the spread in six straight games heading into the final week of the season are 0-3 ATS in this spot.

I believe it makes sense to lay the eight points with the home favorites based on my research. Some sportsbooks are still offering the Buccaneers at -8, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding them at that number. I’d also recommend playing the Buccaneers as part of a two-team six-point teaser if you’re feeling frisky.

I plan to allocate a half-unit of my bankroll for each play.

Pick: Buccaneers -8 | Bet to: -8.5

Bonus Pick: Two-Team Six-Point Teaser (-110) — Buccaneers -2 & Patriots -1

Read the full Panthers vs. Bucs preview or return to the table of contents


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