NFL Week 18 Preview. We’re in the final week before playoffs start. There are still several teams vying to make it there. And most of the teams that are in are still jockeying for the best position.
And there’s still a question mark on the unfinished Week 17 game between the Bills and the Bengals. No news yet on when that will be rescheduled.
Saturday Game – January 7
Kansas City Chiefs -9.5 at Las Vegas Raiders
This game doesn’t do anything for the Raiders since they are out of the playoffs. But the Chiefs are shooting for the No. 1 seed in their conference. They’ve only lost three games this season but have only covered the spread four times. Meanwhile, Las Vegas has recently benched quarterback Derek Carr and replaced him with Jarrett Stidham, who only lost to the 49ers in overtime. Vegas’ ATS record is 5 – 2 – 0 at home.
Action Prediction: If you see much action on this game, it could be all over the place. Keep your limits in.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars -6
Battling for the top spot in the AFC South division, the Titans need to win this one. But they’re fighting against their six-game losing streak, while the Jaguars have a four-game winning streak.
Action Prediction: Tennessee won’t be ending their losing streak, but they will probably improve their ATS record.
Sunday, January 8
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals -7
Cincinnati has all the right numbers for this last game of the season. Their ATS home record is 5 -1 – 0, and their last ten games were 9 – 1 – 0 ATS. Plus, most of the money is on them to win this game. The Ravens are in second place behind the Bengals in the AFC North but can’t quite catch them with a win.
Action Prediction: There might be some emotional betting on this game, so make sure your betting alerts are on.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills -7
Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson will be tasked to run fast and run often to keep Josh Allen on the sideline as long as possible. It will probably be a slow game to start as everyone tries to get their head in the game after last week’s unprecedented incident. All eyes will be on this game to see how the Bills react to Damar Hamlin’s injury.
Action Prediction: There will be a lot of emotional betting for this game, so be ready to use your layoff account or limit your bets.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5
Predicted to be a close game, Pittsburgh needs to win or tie this game to have any hope of a playoff birth. If they can do that, they’ll still need New England and Miami to lose or at least tie their games. Sounds like an interesting parlay. The Steelers hope rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett can answer the call. He’s been doing well since taking over for Mitchell Trubisky.
Action Prediction: These teams are evenly matched in all bets, so it should be easy to keep things balanced.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts -2.5
Another close game, but there isn’t much excitement for these two basement teams. With Houston’s 2 – 13 record, and Indianapolis’ 4 – 11 record, the outcome of this game won’t impact either team.
Action Prediction: Not much action is expected with this matchup.
New York Jets -1 at Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins might start third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson against the Jets as the other two quarterbacks are injured. Backup Teddy Bridgewater can’t throw a football at the moment because of a finger injury, but the team won’t count him out yet. They need to win this one, and Buffalo needs to beat the Patriots for them to clinch the final wild-card spot.
Action Prediction: You might want to open up this game for in-game betting. A last-minute announcement of the quarterback could drive additional betting.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons -4.5
The Buccaneers have clinched a playoff spot and will play their first game the following week. How hard are they going to play in this game? This could be one of the reasons the Falcons are expected to win by 4.5 points.
Action Prediction: Depending on the team that hits the field for the Buccaneers, betting could be all over the place. Keep your alerts on.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints -3.5
Having home-field advantage is the main reason the Saints are expected to win. The Panthers have only won one game on the road this season, so I wouldn’t expect them to pull off a second win here. Both teams are eliminated from the playoffs, which might mean a limited amount of betting.
Action Prediction: Carolina might be playing for draft seeding, so they have little reason to win.
Minnesota Vikings -7.5 at Chicago Bears
Even though the Vikings had three of their four losses on the road this season, they are expected to win by 7.5 points against the struggling Bears (3 – 13). Neither team has done well against the spread but has better records on total points: Minnesota 11-5-0, Chicago 10-6-0.
Action Prediction: Look out for a high-scoring game.
Dallas Cowboys -7.5 at Washington Commanders
Both teams have the same ATS record for their last ten games (5 – 4 – 1 ATS). Both have a similar ATS on their home and away games (DAL: 3 – 3 – 1 Road. WAS: 3 – 4 – 1 Home). But the wild card is rookie quarterback Sam Howell replacing Carson Wentz for this game. Will it have a positive effect on the team or a negative one?
Action Prediction: Most of the money is on Dallas, but most of their losses came on the road. Try to keep this bet balanced on your books.
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers -14
This is another lopsided matchup, with the 49ers having already clinched the division title. But a win for them and a loss for the Eagles against the Giants would give San Fran top seed, home-field advantage, and a first-round bye. It’s well worth it for them to go full out and win this game, which shouldn’t be a problem against an injury-laden Cardinals.
Action Prediction: Beware of too much action going to the 49ers.
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks -6.5
Last week, the Seahawks were three-point favorites. This week it’s up to 6.5 points. That might still might be light. The Rams have lost by double-digit spreads in their last three games. They only lost by four points when the two teams met in early December, but Seattle is coming off a win against the Jets and is still in playoff contention.
Action Prediction: The lines might keep moving but adjust as needed to keep your book balanced.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles -14
The heavy favorite Eagles have an excellent ATS record (6 – 2 – 0 at home), but the Giants aren’t light-weights either (5 – 1 – 0 on the road). Fourteen points is a big spread, but the Eagles did it last time they met on Dec 11. The Eagles won: 48 – 22. They also need to win this one to gain the No. 1 seed.
Action Prediction: The Eagles have faltered in their last few games, so be prepared for heavy betting. There are expectations.
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos -2.5
The Broncos played well against the Kansas City Chiefs in their last game, but they’re still 4 – 12, playing against LA Charges, who have a 10 – 6 record this season. But a win for the Chargers won’t make a difference in their playoff seed, so they might just sit their best players.
Action Prediction: Be careful on this one. The odds might change as soon as we see who’s on the field for LA.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers -4.5
This is probably the most evenly-matched game of Week 18. Both teams have an 8 – 8 record. Both have a 4 – 3 – 0 ATS record (Lions Away and Packers Home), and both still have a shot at the playoffs. The Packers just need to win, while the Lions need the win and three other games to go their way. Don’t bet against Aaron Rodgers at home when the playoffs are on the line.
Action Prediction: Be ready with your layoff account in case a lot of action comes in for Rodgers, as their game is on prime time.
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