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Final NFL Week 18 Picks for Every Game: Bets for Jets, Ravens, More

Final NFL Week 18 Picks for Every Game: Bets for Jets, Ravens, More article feature image
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Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Sauce Gardner.

It’s been a long week.

Monday Night Football turned into a nightmare, but the long week has given way to relief and gratitude as positive news continues to come in on Damar Hamlin’s health and recovery.

The show will go on, and the NFL has announced updates to the Week 18 schedule and playoff scenarios going forward. You can read more elsewhere, but the important takeaway for Week 18 is that the Chiefs, Bills, Bengals and Ravens have all been given clear reasons to win.

I’ll still tread a bit lightly this weekend.

We have no way to guess how this long, emotional week will impact players and teams around the league — not just in Buffalo, but in Cincinnati and really, on every sideline. Don’t trick yourself into believing you know how any team’s emotion or motivation will play out. Limit unit sizes. Bet cautiously.

Week 18 is also your last chance to hedge on many regular season futures bets. Many of you have asked about how to hedge some of our key positions backing the Eagles, Jaguars and others. You can see this Twitter thread for more, and we’ll hit on a couple hedges below as well.

Week 18 is hedging season. If you've been tailing futures and want to lock in some profit, this is the time.

Here are a couple ways you can hedge this week, and you can translate the math accordingly. You can always hedge some, all, or none pending confidence.

Thread 1/

— Brandon Anderson (@wheatonbrando) January 7, 2023

Earlier this week, we made decisions for most of the Week 18 games, so be sure to check the full explanations. Let’s recap those Bet, Lean and Pass decisions now that the lines have shifted and get to our final five decisions of the regular season.

Bet

  • Titans +6.5 at Jaguars & Under 40 SGP +271
  • Rams +6 at Seahawks (Rams-Lions ML parlay +879)
  • Browns-Steelers Under 40.5 (Pass Browns +3)

Lean

  • Raiders +9.5 vs Chiefs
  • Cardinals +14.5 at 49ers
  • Texans-Colts Under 38 (Pass Colts -2.5)
  • Panthers-Saints Under 42 (Pass Panthers +3.5)

Pass

  • Cowboys -7 at Commanders
  • Vikings -6 at Bears
  • Bucs +4.5 at Falcons
  • Chargers +3.5 at Broncos

Note: Odds are the best available for each pick as of writing. Shop for the best real-time lines with our NFL odds page.

Lions vs. 

Packers (-4.5)

The regular season finale on Sunday night should be a good one, though it may not be a win-and-in game like usual. If the Seahawks beat the Rams, the Lions will be eliminated before kickoff.

I suspect that’s why this line still sits at -4.5 — as a hedge. If Seattle loses and Detroit is live, this line probably drops to around a field goal. If the Lions are out, it might get to -6 — and I think that would be a mistake. The Fightin’ Dan Campbells are going to go all out either way, treating this like a playoff game and a chance to end a rival’s season.

This line already feels a bit inflated. Even as Green Bay makes another late-season run, Detroit has been the better side.

The Packers are getting big turnover luck and winning close games up until last week, while the Lions offense has been terrific all season when healthy. Green Bay’s line is getting a boost for Aaron Rodgers, the very real Lambeau effect, and the usual Week 18 inflation for must-win teams.

This is an awesome matchup. Both teams rank top four by DVOA over the past six weeks. The Packers have been elite running the ball and defending he pass. The Lions’ passing game has been mostly unstoppable. You want Rodgers over Jared Goff every time, but Goff and his plethora of weapons have been terrific in Ben Johnson’s offense.

But can Goff go on the road — outdoors, in the freezing cold — and beat Rodgers in a playoff game? That’s a terrifying thought and it’s why this line is so high.

Goff is 67% ATS indoors but 48% outdoors, and he’s 0-4 ATS in freezing temperatures. Rodgers is the most profitable QB in our system in freezing weather at 63% ATS in myriad opportunities. He’s 65% ATS at home, 64% ATS as a division favorite and 69% ATS at home in primetime. Pretty good.

While all the focus will be on Rodgers vs. Goff, don’t be surprised if the battle is won in the trenches. That could give Detroit a chance. Green Bay’s run defense remains dreadful, and the Lions have the better offensive line and a smash-mouth mindset. But Detroit’s run defense is bad, too, and Green Bay’s rushing attack has been more efficient and reliable.

If you like the Packers, I think you play an alternate line. A Green Bay win here looks a lot like last week, with a miserable, cold Goff struggling while the Packers keep the clock moving running the ball.

If you like the Lions, you have to trust them to get on the front foot early. Green Bay’s offense ranks 23rd by DVOA in the first quarter, while the Lions rank 5th.

Goff falling behind on the road in a must-win game is a death knell for the Lions. For Detroit to have any real chance, it has to hang early. If you want to back the Lions, consider playing just the first quarter or first half and cashing out early. I may also make a small Lions +6 or longer play if Detroit gets eliminated earlier Sunday and the line balloons.

I can’t make up my mind enough to need to back either side, so I’ll pass and enjoy one last awesome football game before the postseason.

The Pick: Lions +3.5 (Pass) | Previously: Wait to see if the line moves

Jets vs. 

Dolphins (-3)

These are both deserving playoff teams, but the injury report went sideways at the wrong time. The NFL is a war of attrition, and the Jets and Dolphins lost.

A week ago, this looked like a marquee Week 18 postseason play-in. Instead, the Jets are already eliminated and the Dolphins are barely hanging on, and both teams will turn to third-string QBs as Joe Flacco and Skylar Thompson battle.

It’s not just the quarterbacks, though. Both offensive lines are in sorry shape. With Terron Armstead doubtful, it looks like we’ll be missing all four offensive tackles in this game.

Miami’s secondary is in shambles with Xavien Howard questionable and others missing, and key trade acquisition Bradley Chubb is a question mark as well. I figure some of these guys will give it a go in such a big game, but still, the Jets have a clear health advantage.

I love the under. How can you not like an under in a key January game in the weather with two third-string quarterbacks and no blocking? Besides, these teams have been mirror images of late.

You already know the Jets are all defense with a piecemeal offense, but the Dolphins profile the same over the past six weeks with an improving defense offsetting the faltering attack. Jets unders are 11-5, and for all the hype surrounding Miami, the offense has been held to 21 or fewer in 10 of 16 games.

The Jets are the better team right now. Their defense is easily the best unit on the field, and even an ancient Flacco is a better option than Thompson, who got thrashed by these very Jets in his only other professional start.

Miami is at home and still alive for the playoffs, but that’s really the only reason this team is favored. I trust Robert Saleh’s guys to come out swinging, end the season on a high note and send the Dolphins packing.

I’ll lean Jets instead of betting, partly because I’ve already faded Miami’s playoffs, but you can bet this multiple ways. I like the under best, but you could bet Jets as well or play a SGP with both — or you can take maybe the safest combo play with the Dolphins team total under 20.5.

The Pick: Bet Under 37.5 (Lean Jets +3, Dolphins TT Under 20.5) | Previously: Wait for definitive Miami QB news

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Giants vs. 

Eagles (-14.5)

We still don’t have a clear injury report for this game. Most notably, we still don’t have an answer on Jalen Hurts. It looks like he’ll play, while the Giants have a long injury list and are already locked into the 6-seed.

Philly would also be New York’s likely opponent if the Giants win an opening game, so New York has every reason to rest up and not show any cards.

The Eagles are massive favorites, and I expect them to win and finally lock up the 1-seed and bye week, but I have no need to bet on this spread. I’ve got so much invested in Eagles futures — division multiple times, 1-seed +1200, most wins +2000, Nick Sirianni Coach of the Year +2000, all given out here on Action Network — that I’ll take advantage of the long Giants moneyline price to hedge a few units here just to be safe.

I've got Eagles best record 20-1, 1 seed 12-1, division +170/+145/-150. Also have Sirianni COY 20-1/9-1.

In line to win 30u + Sirianni $. Loss tmrw kills all that. possible 60u gone.

Giants +750 ML. NYG-DAL ML +1007 FD. ~3u returns ~30u to offset huge PHI loss. Pick your spot.

— Brandon Anderson (@wheatonbrando) January 7, 2023

The Eagles should be fine though, and the truth is that this is probably your last chance to buy low on Philly futures. They nearly won each of the last two weeks even without Hurts.

I’ll be happy to bet a live ML here if the Giants hang early. Expect the Eagles to take care of business. The NFC road to the Super Bowl still runs through Philly.

The Pick: Giants +14.5 (Pass) | Previously: Wait for clarity from either side

Ravens vs. 

Bengals (-9.5)

The Bengals are arguably the biggest losers from the decision to cancel Monday night’s game. They can no longer win the 1-seed — though they needed help anyway — and are apparently incensed that a loss here would leave them flipping a coin to determine who would host a rematch in next week’s playoff.

The line suggests there will be no coin flip.

The Bengals are huge favorites. They’re the far healthier team now that their edge rushers are playing again.

Baltimore is still missing Lamar Jackson, and it’s not even a certainty that Tyler Huntley will play. He’s listed as questionable, and if there’s worry about Jackson’s availability next week, then it might make sense to rest Huntley now. Other key names like Marcus Peters, Calais Campbell and Desean Jackson are also questionable.

The Bengals are the far better team with Jackson sidelined. Baltimore’s offense just hasn’t been good, and the passing defense remains very beatable. Joe Burrow has been good in the cold at 5-1 ATS and should be able to do enough to secure a win.

But we have to play the number. Huntley has featured prominently in 10 NFL games over his career. All but one of them covered this spread, the lone miss by half-point, and eight of the 10 games finished within a field goal.

John Harbaugh is 5-1 ATS as an underdog of at least 9.5 points, with all but one of those games finishing within one score. Harbaugh knows how to slow the game down, ugly it up, and give his guys a chance.

If you like the Bengals, you may want to play just the second half. Cincinnati has covered 21 of its last 24 second halves, and Baltimore has been excellent in the first half under Harbaugh. Such a high line pushes me toward Baltimore, and if you do think the Ravens keep it close, the under 40 looks good. Ravens unders are 12-4 this year, while Bengals unders are 10-5.

Remember, this was an emotional, exhausting week for Cincinnati. It’s possible the Ravens punt this game and wait for next week, but if they try, I think they can keep it close and give themselves a shot.

What chance would you give Baltimore to win outright? The Ravens are +350 on the moneyline, implying 22% to win. But if the Ravens do win, the Chargers (+138) will quickly become late-afternoon favorites in Denver.

L.A. is the healthier and better team, but right now, that line expects the Bolts to rest since a Ravens loss locks up the 5-seed for the Chargers and a far better first-round matchup.

We can play a Ravens-Chargers ML parlay at +970 at FanDuel, an implied 9.3%. Baltimore certainly has a better chance to win than that, and a Ravens win triggers great value on the Chargers later. That’s the best angle here.

The Pick: Ravens +350 & Chargers +138 ML parlay at +970 (Lean Ravens +9.5) | Previously: Wait for now

 

Patriots vs. 

Bills (-7.5)

I can’t get any money on this game right now, not until I see the Bills on the field. We just don’t know how an exhausted team will react after such an emotionally charged week.

The Patriots weirdly have more at stake here since they likely need to win to make the playoffs. As a fan of quality football, I sure hope they don’t. This is an extremely average team that’s well coached and has played good enough defense against a bunch of bad quarterbacks — just enough to get to the brink of the playoffs.

Buffalo is playing an entirely different sport than New England, and I would’ve absolutely smashed the Bills here if not for the emotional side of things. The Patriots secondary is compromised, and Josh Allen should do what he wants against a defense that hasn’t looked so elite against higher caliber NFL quarterbacks.

Buffalo has been at its worst in the first quarter all season. If the Bills start a bit slow in an emotional environment, I’ll look at a live line under a TD. These Patriots are not coming back late, not in Buffalo, not in this game. If I feel good about how the Bills look live, I’ll play there.

The Pick: Lean Bills -7.5 (Look to bet live) | Previously: Wait

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