NFL Best Bets Week 18
Welcome to the wacky world of week 18 where the betting landscape is treacherous, to say the least. I did my best to navigate through all the uncertainty among starting players and team motivation this week. We’re coming off our worst week of the season, but still hitting 60% of our Best Bets for the year. To hedge our bets a bit this week, I added a few “Bonus Bets” at the end. We’re not going anywhere just yet, so check back again next week as we will be posting our Best Bets throughout the postseason, including the Super Bowl. As always, you can see all my picks for free here.
Jacksonville Jaguars -6.5 vs Tennessee Titans
The winner of this game is ensured a playoff spot as the AFC South champion, so both teams have extra motivation. Jacksonville has peaked at the right time, winning four games in a row by an average of 16 points, including a 14-point win against Tennessee on the road in week 14. Trevor Lawrence threw for 368 yards and three touchdowns in that game. The Jags won despite Derrick Henry rushing for 121 yards. They forced four Titans turnovers, two of which were Henry fumbles. That’s not likely to happen again, so Jacksonville will need to shut down Joshua Dobbs. Dobbs showed promise against the Cowboys last week, especially considering Henry sat out that game, but I don’t think he can provide the explosiveness the Titans will need to keep up with the Jaguars. At home, Jacksonville has the fourth-ranked offense, while Tennessee’s offense sits at 31st on the road. I think Lawrence leads his team to the first of many divisional championships in his career and does it in spectacular fashion.
Las Vegas Raiders +9.5 vs Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs earn a first-round bye with a win and Patrick Mahomes has a shot to break the single-season passing record against a defense ranked dead last in pass DVOA, so you could argue they’re doubly motivated. This game has the making of a classic shoot-out and the week’s highest game total reflects that. The Raiders are coming off a 34 point performance against the league’s top defense in a game I thought they might be tanking. It’s apparent they’re playing to win and they almost win against Kansas City earlier this season. If you had asked me last week, I would have advised taking KC and the points here, but not after watching the Raiders offense come alive under Jarrett Stidham. The Chiefs are giving up 25 points per game on the road and I actually think this could be a close game. I’m almost always going to favor a decent team as a 9.5 point home underdog and this game is no exception. I think the Chiefs will win, but it’ll be closer than they would like.
New York Giants +14 at Philadelphia Eagles
It looks like Jalen Hurts will suit up for a huge game against the Giants. A win gives the Eagles the number one seed and a first-round bye in the NFC, so they will be highly motivated. New York, on the other hand, is locked into the sixth seed regardless of the outcome. There’s a decent chance the Giants rest some starters, especially in the second half. However, Tyrod Taylor is more than competent as a backup and should keep the game reasonably close throughout. I think this line is way too high, even with Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley on the bench. Brian Daboll has shown he can get the best out of a mediocre team and he’ll have the Giants ready to compete, no matter who is on the field.
Here are some other games I like this week.
- Dallas Cowboys -7 at Washington Commanders
- Los Angeles Chargers +3 at Denver Broncos
- Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5 vs Cleveland Browns
Doug Burrell is a lifelong NFL fan and has been playing fantasy football for over 25 years. He specializes in auction drafts and has been ranked in the top 1% of Yahoo owners since 2014. He enjoys breaking down advanced statistics and complicated game theory into easy, actionable steps that even novice players can use to gain an edge over the competition.
Doug is a veteran, an avid runner, and works as a copywriter. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and three dogs. You can reach him on Twitter @dougwburrell.