- NFL odds for Week 18 are finally here, with the playoffs right around the corner.
- Joe Flacco and Skylar Thompson will play in Sunday’s Jets vs. Dolphins game.
- NFL bettors shouldn’t assume teams with more to play for will always cover.
Another Sunday is almost here, so it’s time to bet on NFL again.
As I do at the end of every week during the fall, I’m sharing three of my favorite NFL betting lines from the upcoming Week 18 games. Tail or fade at your leisure.
NFL Best Bets: Week 18 NFL Predictions
After I’ve handicapped the whole board each week, I will publish my three best plays from the wider canon of NFL odds.
I’ll provide a short explanation of why I like each bet, so you don’t have to go on faith alone.
If you prefer an audio version of this weekly article, you can always subscribe to The Lion’s Edge, my weekly handicapping podcast for BetMGM. More on that in a little bit.
One rule to keep in mind: Any time there’s an underdog in the range of +3 to +7, I’m almost always sprinkling a quarter-unit moneyline play on top of the spread play.
As seasoned NFL betting aficionados know, Week 18 is extra funky. Tread carefully.
Jets at Dolphins (-2.5)
I listed the Jets as my pick in our Week 18 BetMGM staff bets on Thursday. At the time, the Jets were priced as a one-point favorite in Miami. Since then, the Jets have announced Joe Flacco will start at quarterback, which has moved the line back to Miami -2.5.
The fundamentals of my Thursday handicap still ring true. The Jets have nothing to play for, and Miami is still alive for a playoff spot with a win, so it’s natural to think that Miami should be the clear favorite here. The fact that there was any point this week where the Jets were road favorites in this situation is pretty telling.
I don’t blame anyone who wants to sit out Skylar Thompson vs. Joe Flacco. But Miami is now on a long, crash-and-burn losing streak, and I’m not sure that Thompson will have a fun time navigating 60 minutes against the Jets’ defense.
Flacco and the run game can do enough to win here. Betting this today means we get a bonus 2.5 points to play with, too, which is a nice (but likely inconsequential) development.
Play: Jets +2.5
Giants vs. Eagles (-14)
This number seems huge but is easily explained. The Giants are locked into the No. 6 seed and have nothing to gain from playing here; meanwhile, the Eagles have one of the widest outcome charts of any team in action this week.
If Philly wins, they’re the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. If it loses and Dallas wins, it’s the No. 5 seed and – after spending nearly all season as the top team in the NFC – must play at Tampa on Wild Card Weekend.
That scenario would seem to heavily favor Philadelphia, hence the stiff number. Online sportsbooks need to insulate themselves against the obvious and foreseeable deluge of Eagles betting action this weekend.
However, I do wonder if this number is too high, even given the circumstances. For one thing, we don’t know for sure that Jalen Hurts is healthy and ready to play. Even if he is, there may be other issues with this team and roster right now. Eagles apologists will say that Hurts’ presence will fix everything, but I’ve yet to see him line up on the defensive line this year and try to stop the run.
Even if New York sits some players this week, I think they can keep this within two scores. Don’t let the uneven stakes of the game lull you into laying a huge number with Philadelphia.
Play: Giants +14
Rams at Seahawks (-6)
Here’s another game where one team has nothing to play for, traveling to face an opponent with real playoff stakes on the line. The Rams have long been eliminated from the playoff picture this year, and the Seahawks need to win this weekend to keep their playoff dreams alive.
On that spec alone, it’s safe to assume that Seattle is the right play. But Seattle has played very mediocre football over the last two months. And after establishing an early reputation as a spread darling, it hasn’t covered as a favorite since October. Yikes.
Six points feels like a lot to afford a team like the Rams, who may or may not take pride in playing spoiler to a divisional rival. Personally, I think the Rams are live to win the game. Every year, bettors assume that the more motivated teams are the ones that win in Week 18, and every year, they’re wrong.
Play: Rams +6
NFL Parlay for Week 18
Lots of Week 18 parlays and teasers will focus on correlated outcomes and teams playing with a playoff spot hanging in the balance. I’m opting to take a more conservative approach, fading teams that have major quarterback drama.
- Minnesota -350
- Cincinnati -400
- Dallas -350
That’s a three-team parlay for +106.
NFL Week 18 Predictions
Want to check out the full NFL Week 18 podcast? Don’t forget to subscribe to The Lion’s Edge for intelligent, weekly insights into trends and betting tips across the online sports betting world. It’s available on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
You can also listen to it in the web player below.
Build an NFL Parlay at BetMGM
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