NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Texans To Cover Spread vs. Titans, A Bengals-Browns Under, More Expert Bets
Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Texans WR Brandin Cooks
- In honor of the final NFL Sunday of the regular season, our experts sorted through the latest NFL odds in order to make their picks and predictions.
- We asked them each to highlight their favorite bet for Sunday's early window -- then compiled those below.
- Find out why they like the Texans to cover against the Titans and more bets for Week 18.
NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions
Packers at Lions
|1 p.m. ET|
Sean Koerner: The Packers have clinched the NFC’s No. 1 seed, which means they have nothing to play for this Sunday. Aaron Rodgers and their other starters will likely play one to two series before getting pulled, which is why the line for this game is only Packers -3 — they would be closer to 13.5-point favorites if this game was meaningful (check real-time NFL odds here).
However, the total is only two points lower than what it would likely be if this were a meaningful game, which is why I love the value on the under.
The Lions have the highest early-down rush rate in neutral game environments. Considering this should be a close game in which the Lions may even play with the lead at times, we could see them operate a run-heavy conservative offense.
I’m projecting this total closer to 41.5 and would bet down to 43.5 points.
Titans at Texans
|1 p.m. ET|
Chris Raybon: We’ve seen this movie before. The Titans had incentive to win last year against a four-win Texans team and had to stage a comeback to barely eke out a 41-38 win. The Texans also upset the Titans, 22-13, earlier this season in Tennessee.
This is also a great bounce-back spot for the Texans after being held to seven points by the 49ers last week. Since 2003, underdogs of two or more points that are coming off a game in which they scored fewer than 10 points and are facing a favorite with a winning percentage of .350 or better not coming off a bye are covering at a clip of 62% (219-135-8).
I’d bet this to +8.5 (shop for the best real-time line here).
Titans at Texans
Brandon Anderson: The Titans have it all in front of them now. The formula is simple: win against the lowly Texans and Tennessee clinches the 1-seed and a week off to rest up and get A.J. Brown, Julio Jones and maybe even Derrick Henry healthy. The Titans defense is playing well, and a team built around Henry is made for playoff football. All Tennessee has to do is win.
And yet… I still just can’t talk myself into the Titans.
Tennessee crushed Miami 34-3 to win the division, but that game was far more even than it looked, and it made us forget how mediocre this team has been. The Titans went 2-3 in their previous five with a second-half escape against the 49ers and losses to the Steelers, Patriots and these very Texans. Tennessee’s offense ranked 27th in EPA per play during that stretch, per RBSDM, behind Houston. The Titans are not playing good ball.
The Texans have actually been decent. The offense has improved as rookie Davis Mills has settled in, and the defense has been stout all season. This shapes up as a defensive battle, lower scoring and close, and that keeps the Texans live and gives them a shot at a huge upset.
The trends favoring Houston are myriad. Eight of the last 11 games in this rivalry covered this spread. Underdogs of 10 or more are 32-18 ATS in December or later since 2003, covering 64% of the time. Ryan Tannehill is 2-5 ATS in finales, and teams coming off blowout ATS wins like the Titans cover only 44% of the time. And then there’s this Week 17 trend: teams that have won two or three in a row entering the finale are just 28-46-1 ATS, covering under 38% of the time. As always, what goes up must come down.
Be careful just counting on an easy Titans win. That’s just not how these things go. This is the Texans’ Super Bowl. These guys want to go into their offseason celebrating. I’m playing Houston to cover and playing the moneyline, too.
Bengals at Browns
|1 p.m. ET|
Raheem Palmer: No Joe Burrow or Baker Mayfield in a game with a light chance of snow and possible 21 mph winds means we aren’t likely to see much scoring. I’ll take the first-half under in what should be a low-scoring matchup with the Bengals trying to stay healthy for the postseason and the Browns thinking about Cancun.
I would bet this down to 18.5 points.