NFL Live Betting Week 18: How We’re Live Betting Lions-Packers on Sunday Night Football
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: David Bakhtiari.
The final week of the season is always a tricky one in the NFL. Many teams are locked into — or out of — their playoff spot already, with nothing to play for this week. Others might have something to play for, if earlier games provide them some help.
Thus, some of these angles will be dependent on goings-on in other games. For example, as we turn to Sunday Night Football, Detroit has been eliminated from the playoffs after the Seahawks beat the Rams. While Detroit will tell you they want to eliminate the rival Packers, it’s certainly fair to question whether they’ll play starters the full 60 minutes.
With that said, we can also take advantage of some of these scenarios. It’s unlikely that sportsbooks’ live algorithms will take into account which teams will be taking their feet off the gas pedal.
Here’s how we’ll be looking to attack live betting in NFL Week 18 on Sunday Night Football.
The Live Bet to Watch For on Sunday Night Football in Week 18
Packers-Lions: Live Unders in the Right Circumstances (LIVE BET MADE)
This one was especially tricky from a motivation standpoint. Green Bay controls their own playoff destiny, with a win getting them in regardless of what happens around the league.
On the other hand, Detroit was eliminated from playoff contention with Seattle’s win over the Rams earlier on Sunday. Of course, the Dan Campbell-led Lions would love to knock Green Bay out of the playoffs, regardless of their own playoff chances. Still, there’s going to be a bit of a letdown for the Lions.
Even if they’re still motivated, it would only make sense to get some younger players game reps, while protecting some of the more worn down players like Amon-Ra St. Brown and De’Andre Swift who’ve struggled with injuries this season.
I’ll be looking to bet live unders here, given Green Bay gets off to an early lead.
This lines up with what we’d be betting were this a “normal” week anyway. Green Bay is much worse defensively against the run, so Detroit will struggle to score if forced to pass more. Green Bay also ranks 30th in pace of play with a lead.
It’s been a field goal fest early on, with the Packers taking a 12-3 lead. We’ll take the live under of 46.5. Detroit’s offense has been out of sync, with Jared Goff’s well-documented troubles in the cold rearing their ugly head. He’s 2-for-7 for 18 yards in the early going. Detroit’s defense is playing well too, so we’ve got a big edge here.
The Live Betting Scenarios We Watched For Earlier on Sunday In Week 18
Eagles-Giants: As Philly Goes, So Go Totals (LIVE BETS MADE)
The Eagles have everything to play for in this one, needing a win to secure a first round bye in the playoffs. Jalen Hurts will be back in the lineup for the first time since December 18th, and they likely want to get him some live reps before having the next week off to get him back in rhythm.
On the other hand, New York’s playoff seeding is locked up, and they’re expected to sit Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and other key starters. Since they won’t have a bye week to begin the playoffs, this is their chance to get some much needed rest.
How we play this one live depends on the Eagles’ early offensive performance. It’s quite possible that Hurts struggles early after missing time. In that case, Philadelphia will probably leave him in until they get out to a comfortable lead.
On the other hand, with the Giants resting starters, it could be a blood bath from the opening kick. If that’s the case, I’d bet Hurts gets pulled somewhere around halftime.
Therefore, we’ll be looking to bet overs if Philadelphia struggles early. Hurts should eventually be able to lead this offense to some success, but it’s understandable if he needs a few series to get his mojo back.
On the flip side, if the Eagles go up big early on, look to bet unders. My guess is Hurts will be in long enough to both regain some rhythm and put this one out of hand, but probably not play a full four quarters.
With the Eagles going up 19-0 late in the third quarter, we have a bit of a live betting double dip. We’ll take the Giants +20.5 on the live spread under the assumption Philly will start to rest starters, and a live under of 33.5, with 14 more points being a key number.
Bucs-Falcons: Waiting on Brady (LIVE BET MADE)
Sean Koerner has a sharp pregame angle on this game, based on the idea that Tampa will be playing their starters for roughly a quarter of the game before pulling Tom Brady and company.
Atlanta is already eliminated, but they’re a young team and have more to gain experience-wise from playing this one out. They’re pregame favorites for a reason, so getting them and some points would clearly be the right play.
Additionally, we could take the under if Brady and company score quickly (or the spread doesn’t move much). There’s not enough depth on an NFL roster to replace all of the defensive starters, so Tampa shifting to backups hurts overall scoring.
We’ll only consider the total if the scoring drives the live line up considerably from the pregame 40, though.
The first Blaine Gabbert drive of the day started on the edge of the red zone, and ended in a Tampa touchdown. They won’t come that easily the rest of the day. With Brady (and probably Russel Gage as well) to the sidelines and the total up to 48.5, we’ll take the under.
How We Approach Live Betting in General
The NFL is perfect for live betting, with the pauses between plays providing plenty of time to get bets in. This season, I’ve built a model to project the pace of play under a variety of in-game scenarios. These include first vs. second half, as well as which team is leading or when the game is within a touchdown.
The primary benefit is for betting totals. If the game is going to be faster or slower than was assumed pregame, the application is obvious. Faster-paced games tend to produce more points.
Player props also present some interesting opportunities. Sportsbooks are offering a variety of live player props, and faster or slower than expected games create obvious opportunities.
Take a look around various books before placing bets, though. There tends to be more variation between shops in live markets than there is pregame.