Week 18 of the NFL season brings us all types of playoff situations, from who’s in and who’s out to seeding. Video games with out postseason implications could be notably troublesome to navigate as a result of it may be a guessing sport of which groups will or will not play starters or how lengthy they are going to play.
So what’s value from a betting perspective? And that are the very best performs that will help you make good wagering choices?
Betting analysts Doug Kezirian, Tyler Fulghum, Joe Fortenbaugh, Anita Marks and Erin Dolan, fantasy and sports activities betting analysts Eric Moody and Andre Snellings, ESPN Stats & Data’s Seth Walder and Soccer Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz supply their insights into the video games with suggestions and picks.
Be aware: Strains are from Caesars Sportsbook until in any other case indicated.
The Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars meet Saturday evening to resolve the winner of the AFC South (8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN/ABC/ESPN+). The Jaguars (-6.5, 40) are winners of 4 straight, whereas Tennessee is on a four-game dropping streak and coping with accidents throughout the board. Who do you see profitable this sport and incomes the division title and fourth seed within the AFC playoffs?
Fortenbaugh: Beer-money guess on the Titans. With 9 days or extra to arrange for a regular-season sport, Mike Vrabel is 9-1 straight-up and 9-1 ATS whereas beating the closing level unfold by shut to fifteen factors per sport. Derrick Henry is again, and Joshua Dobbs has one other week to determine the Titans’ playbook. I feel this will probably be a aggressive sport.
Fulghum: I just like the Jaguars to shut this factor out, win the sport and the division. I do not love laying the quantity, however I do love the over 40. Trevor Lawrence is enjoying unbelievable soccer and will get an excellent matchup vs. a depleted Titans protection that was already one of many league’s best to go in opposition to this season. On the opposite aspect, Henry is freshly rested to deal with an enormous workload in opposition to a workforce he has historically dominated within the field rating.
Schatz: I just like the Jaguars on this sport and would lay the factors as effectively. Our DVOA rankings have an enormous hole between the Jaguars (fifteenth in weighted DVOA, which supplies much less power to early video games) and the Titans (twenty sixth in the identical metric). And that is with out contemplating that Dobbs will probably be making solely his second NFL begin. ESPN Stats & Data has the Jaguars tenth within the league in stress charge, and they need to be capable of stress an inexperienced quarterback comparable to Dobbs. In the meantime, Lawrence has grown into one of many high 10 quarterbacks within the sport, and the Titans’ protection is twenty eighth in opposition to the go in comparison with second in opposition to the run. The Jaguars ought to put this sport in Lawrence’s palms and win simply.
Marks: I’ve the Jags profitable the matchup however the Titans masking. I additionally just like the Titans +3.5 within the first half. I can even play the below at 40. The Titans are a strong first-half workforce and utilized final week to relaxation up and get wholesome for this all-or-nothing matchup. Dobbs will probably be below heart, which is able to make the Jags respect the passing sport extra so than they’d with Malik Willis on the helm. The below has hit 11 of 16 occasions in Titans matchups, and their protection needs to be able to roll. For the Jags, unders have hit 5 occasions in seven residence video games this season. For props, I like Zay Jones over 4.5 receptions (-121) and 53.5 receiving yards (-131), contemplating he has bonus incentives heading into the sport.
Snellings: I will take the Titans with the factors. The Jaguars have performed a lot better of late, but it surely simply feels just like the Titans are that veteran workforce that is aware of find out how to win powerful video games. I anticipate this one to be bodily and ugly, with the Titans rested and comparatively wholesome after their “bye” final week. Even when Lawrence finds a technique to pull it out on the finish, I anticipate it to be shut.
Doug Kezirian expects the Eagles to “put up some numbers” of their sport vs. the Giants this Sunday.
The final spot within the AFC playoffs comes right down to the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers. It is win-and-in for the Patriots at Buffalo (-7, 42.5). The Dolphins, doubtlessly with out their high two QBs, are a house underdog vs. the Jets (-1, 38.5) and want a win and Patriots loss. Pittsburgh (-2.5, 40.5), as soon as 2-6, can get in with a win over the Browns and losses by the Patriots and Dolphins. How do you see any of those video games ending up, and who will seize that No. 7 seed?
Schatz: Regardless of the presence of Skylar Thompson because the quarterback for Miami, our playoff odds simulation at Soccer Outsiders provides the Dolphins the very best likelihood of profitable the seventh seed, at 40%. Personally, I favor the Steelers to get in. It is exhausting to know the present psychological state of the Payments, but when they’re ready for this sport, the actual fact stays that they’re a a lot better workforce than the Patriots and it is a notably dangerous matchup for New England. The subsequent domino can be the Jets and Dolphins, and I do assume the Jets’ protection has a powerful likelihood of shutting down Thompson. The Miami protection has been higher since Bradley Chubb arrived, bringing extra stress, however Mike White ought to do sufficient to win. At that time, the Steelers simply have to beat Cleveland, which has been a lot worse on offense (surprisingly) since Deshaun Watson took over at quarterback. If I needed to lay cash, I might keep away from the Payments unfold due to the emotional unknowns, take the Jets -1, the Steelers -2.5 and the Payments on the cash line.
Marks: Steelers -2.5, below 40.5. Plenty of motivation right here for the Steelers to win with a chance to make it to the postseason and for Mike Tomlin to keep away from his first dropping season. The Steelers’ protection has improved since T.J. Watt returned, having allowed 250 yards or fewer in three straight video games and rating second in INT charge. The Browns’ offense has struggled with QB Deshaun Watson, however the protection is permitting solely 13.4 factors per sport since his Week 13 return. Cleveland additionally might be with out OT Jack Conklin (ankle) and CB Denzel Ward (shoulder).
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What’s your favourite participant prop for the weekend?
Fulghum: Derrick Henry over 21.5 dashing makes an attempt (-125). As I stated earlier, I anticipate a heavy dose of Henry. The Titans seemingly can not win this sport leaning on Dobbs and the passing sport. Mike Vrabel is aware of this. Henry is rested after sitting out Week 17 and is able to contact the ball 25-plus occasions.
Schatz: Let’s give some like to breakout Titans tight finish Chigoziem Okonkwo (over 23.5 yards). The Jaguars rank thirty first in DVOA in opposition to tight ends and twenty seventh in yards allowed per sport (adjusted for opponents). The over/below on Okonkwo is simply 23.5 yards (-137), and he needs to be a great safety blanket for an inexperienced Joshua Dobbs. Okonkwo has solely 34 yards complete the previous two weeks, however he went over this complete in seven straight video games earlier than that, together with Week 14 in opposition to Jacksonville (45 yards and a landing).
Marks: Zay Jones over 4.5 receptions (-121). Week 18 is all about incentives. Jones has a chance to make $250K to $500K extra in his sport in opposition to Tennessee. The weak go protection is the place you assault the Titans, and opposing QBs common 40 passing makes an attempt a sport. Trevor Lawrence will probably be that includes one in all his favourite targets on Saturday evening.
Tyler Fulghum explains why he is laying the factors with the Packers vs. the Lions in Week 18.
What’s your favourite guess for the weekend’s video games?
Fortenbaugh: Browns-Steelers below 40 factors. Do not look now, however Cleveland’s protection has lastly come round, as that unit is surrendering a mean of simply 14 factors per sport over the workforce’s previous six outings. The identical can’t be stated concerning the Watson-led offense, which is averaging a disappointing 16.8 factors per sport within the quarterback’s 5 begins. T.J. Watt and the Steelers’ protection will carry it, so I see this sport being your typical AFC North grind fest.
Fulghum: Inexperienced Bay Packers -4.5 vs. Detroit Lions. Aaron Rodgers is 28-4 at Lambeau Area in December/January regular-season video games. In a must-win scenario with a playoff spot on the road, I imagine the Packers end out the 5-0 near the season wanted to qualify for the postseason and so they accomplish that with a canopy. The offense is usually wholesome, the protection is enjoying its greatest soccer of the yr and the Lions’ offense is nowhere close to as environment friendly on the street as when at residence at Ford Area.
Schatz: Please give me below 43 within the Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears sport. I needn’t provide you with stats right here, only a identify: Nathan Peterman. I do know, you are in all probability considering “take the over, Peterman will throw two pick-sixes,” however interceptions hardly ever flip into pick-sixes irrespective of how memorable these performs are. It is extra seemingly that the Bears simply do not rating many factors and the Vikings run out a result in maintain their rating down as effectively. Do not forget they’re enjoying outdoors in chilly Chicago as a substitute of indoors in Minneapolis.
Marks: New York Giants +14 at Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants have secured the sixth seed and are anticipated to relaxation a lot of their starters, however their backups are fairly strong. QB Tyrod Taylor and RBs Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell can deal with the load simply sufficient to cowl. The Eagles will probably be with out OT Lane Johnson (9-22 SU with out), and QB Jalen Hurts, who is predicted to start out, will probably be enjoying with an injured shoulder. Eagles win, however Giants cowl.