NFL Week 18 Odds

Thomas Snodgrass

Updated: Jan 3, 2024

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The final week of the NFL regular season is here!

This week brings some excitement for teams looking to claw their way into the playoffs, but also a lack of excitement for other clubs as they bench their starters with little or nothing to gain in their finale.

For the San Francisco 49ers, it could be a heavy dose of Sam Darnold at QB and Jordan Mason at running back. So, that should be interesting in its own way.

To me, the most interesting team to watch in Week 18 is the Buffalo Bills.

If the Bills beat the Miami Dolphins, not only will they win the AFC East division for the fourth-straight season, but they’ll also be the No. 2 seed in the AFC Playoff picture.

Here’s where things can get really hairy for Buffalo. 

On Saturday, if the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans-Indianapolis Colts game doesn’t finish in a tie . . .

Then . . .

If the Jacksonville Jaguars defeat the Tennessee Titans at 1:00 pm on Sunday, that scenario would present an uncompromising Sunday Night Football game.

If the Bills win: they are the AFC East Champs and No. 2 seed.

If Buffalo loses: they pack their bags and head back to western New York.

Potentially wild stuff.

Let’s parse through this amusing Week 18 slate and hunt down some possibly profitable wagers.

And as always, with the best odds!

Saturday, January 6th

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5, -178 ML) vs. Baltimore Ravens (+3.5, +165 ML)

Total: Over 36.5 (-105 | BetMGM), Under 36.5 (-106 | BetRivers)

As the playoffs loom, the Baltimore Ravens have a litany of players that are listed on the injury report with varying levels of severity and will most likely be benching many to rest up and get healthy.

Much of the Ravens healthy players could get the week off, too.

The books have taken notice and set the Pittsburgh Steelers as the favorite.

Even with quarterback Kenny Pickett healthy and practicing, Mike Tomlin has already penciled in Mason Rudolph as the Steelers’ starting QB for Week 18.

If Pittsburgh finds their way into the playoffs, do they continue rolling with Rudolph? Is Pickett’s time as QB1 in the ‘Burgh already over?

BestOdds EDGE gives the Steelers only a 16% chance of winning this matchup.

Pittsburgh’s chances aren’t great, but if the Ravens decide to bench a few key players, that percentage could be higher. Maybe 25%?

The Steelers have more to play for this week, and it’s the first game of the wild scenario that could throw a wrench in the Bills season.

Pick: Steelers Moneyline | Best Odds: (-178) FanDuel

Houston Texans (-1, -118 ML) vs. Indianapolis Colts (+1.5, +102 ML)

Total: Over 47.5 (-105 | DraftKings), Under 47.5 (-110 | bet365)

If the Jacksonville Jaguars lose on Sunday, the winner of this game will decide the AFC South division champion.

Either way, whichever team wins is in the playoffs.

Both teams have subpar passing defenses, so this game could quickly turn into a shootout between C.J. Stroud and Gardner Minshew.

This visual from BestOdds EDGE shows the Texans’ offense trending in a positive direction in recent weeks.

The over is 7-1 in games played at Lucas Oil Stadium this season, and with a potential football flinging festival in the domed stadium, I like the over here again.

Pick: Over 47.5 | Best Odds: (-105) DraftKings

Sunday, January 7th – 1:00 pm EST

Cleveland Browns (+6, +220 ML) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-6, -245 ML)

Total: Over 38 (-111 | BetRivers), Under 38.5 (-108 | DraftKings)

The Cleveland Browns are in the playoffs, and the Cincinnati Bengals have already been eliminated.

But, the state of Ohio can still enjoy one more cross-state battle before the season closes.

The Browns are benching Joe Flacco, and rightfully so, as the second-coming of Johnny Unitas is transforming Cleveland’s offense into a legitimate threat.

Backup quarterback Dorian Thompson Robinson is injured, so with DTR on the IR, QB1 on Sunday could be Jeff Driskel.

Driskel stepped in for the Houston Texans for a spell last season, and finished 14-of-20 for 108 yards and a touchdown and a QB rating of 99.6.

This is the year of the backup QB, so why not let a third-stringer with a deep defense pick up an underdog win?

The Bengals have nothing to gain. Might as well take one more loss and get a better draft pick.

Pick: Browns Moneyline | Best Odds: (+220) bet365

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-5.5, -245 ML) vs. Carolina Panthers (+5.5, +205 ML)

Total: Over 37.5 (-110 | Caesars), Under 37.5 (-110 | FanDuel)

If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win, they’re the NFC South Champs!

If they lose, they are out of the playoffs.

The Carolina Panthers were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs weeks ago, but if we’re being honest, they were eliminated after Week 1.

Bucs’ QB Baker Mayfield is a little banged up right now, but he should be good to go in this one.

There is too much at stake for Tampa Bay in this game to just hand the keys over to backup QB Kyle Trask.

The Buccaneers should win big.

Pick: Buccaneers (-5.5) | Best Odds: (-110) Caesars

New York Jets (+2.5, +120 ML) vs. New England Patriots (-2, -135 ML)

Total: Over 30.5 (-110 | FanDuel), Under 30.5 (-110 | BetMGM)

Right after New England Patriots’ quarterback Bailey Zappe seemingly grabbed the starting job by the throat, he goes out and throws three interceptions against the Bills.

Both of these teams have questionable offenses, but their defenses are fairly strong.

This chart from BestOdds EDGE depicts how poorly these offenses have played this season.

Neither offense has exceeded a ranking of 25th in the NFL in any major category.

I’m still checking out who is and who isn’t playing in this game, but with some fog clouding these rosters and both teams having nothing to play for, I’ll back the under.

The under has gone 9-7 for both the Jets and Patriots. No reason to believe this can’t be the tenth under for both clubs.

Earlier this year, the Patriots-Steelers Week 14 matchup was set at 30 points, the lowest total for an NFL game in 30 years.

At closing, I wouldn’t be surprised if this game fell to 29.5.

Pick: Under 30.5 | Best Odds: (-110) BetMGM

Minnesota Vikings (+3, +142 ML) vs. Detroit Lions (-3, -158 ML)

Total: Over 45 (-110 | DraftKings), Under 46 (-110 | bet365)

For the Minnesota Vikings to make the playoffs, they’ll need to beat the Lions, have the Packers lose to the Bears, the Seahawks lose to the Cardinals and the Bucs to lose to the Panthers.

Or . . .

Beat the Lions, Packers lose to the Bears, Seahawks lose to the Cardinals and the Saints to lose to the Falcons.

They need a ton of help.

Step one would be winning, but I still see Detroit coming out on top.

The No. 2 seed is still within reach for the Lions and they’ll be gunning for it.

Pick: Lions Moneyline | Best Odds: (-158) FanDuel

Jacksonville Jaguars (-5.5, -218 ML) vs. Tennessee Titans (+5.5, +198 ML)

Total: Over 39.5 (-112 | DraftKings), Under 40.5 (-115 | FanDuel)

It’s hard to believe that about five or six weeks ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars were 8-3 and in the conversation for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Now, the Jags are 9-7 and fighting to stay in the playoff picture.

You know that famous “Hang In There” poster with the cat clinging to a limb of a tree? Just put the Jaguars mascot on there instead.

Trevor Lawrence is dealing with an AC joint injury and is questionable to play, so the fate of Jacksonville could rest in the hands of C.J. Beathard once again.

Tennessee has nothing to play for and a crumbling roster that I don’t view as one that plays “spoiler”.

Pick: Jaguars (-5.5) | Best Odds: (-108) FanDuel

Atlanta Falcons (+3.5, +150 ML) vs. New Orleans Saints (-3, -164 ML)

Total: Over 42 (-108 | BetRivers), Under 42.5 (-110 | Caesars)

If the Buccaneers lose the Panthers, which would be a surprising turn, the Saints could win the NFC South.

If Tampa Bay wins, New Orleans will need some help getting into the playoffs.

The Saints would need to win this game, and they’d need both the Seahawks and Packers to lose.

New Orleans has won three of their last four games to keep their squad in the conversation, and with Atlanta eliminated from playoff contention, I don’t think the Saints will drop a potential division title/playoff spot drift away in a loss to a rival.

Considering that New Orleans has only beat one team this season that holds a winning record, beating the Indianapolis Colts (9-7) back in Week 8, this could be a close battle for the Saints.

Also, this trend from BestOdds EDGE is a little concerning.

I like New Orleans to win here, but Atlanta will give them a scare.

Pick: Falcons (+3) | Best Odds: (+100) BetMGM

Sunday, January 7 – 4:25 pm EST

Dallas Cowboys (-13, -800 ML) vs. Washington Commanders (+13.5, +610 ML)

Total: Over 45.5 (-110 | BetRivers), Under 45.5 (-108 | DraftKings)

The Dallas Cowboys are still challenging for a better seed in the NFC Playoff Picture, so the Cowboys winning this game is almost a foregone conclusion.

Washington Commanders’ QB Sam Howell played well earlier in the season, but lately, not so much.

Howell has thrown for an average of 168.3 passing yards per game and has thrown three touchdown passes to 10 interceptions in his last six starts.

Things won’t get any easier for Howell in Week 18, facing a Dallas defense that is fifth in the NFL in passing yards allowed (207.8), and has surrendered only three touchdown passes in the last four games.

The QBs that the Cowboys stopped in the last four games, Jalen Hurts of the Eagles, Josh Allen of the Bills, Tua Tagovailoa of the Dolphins, and Jared Goff of the Lions.

A big win coming for Dallas.

Pick: Cowboys (-13) | Best Odds: (-110) BetMGM

Kansas City Chiefs (+4, +160 ML) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (-4, -184 ML)

Total: Over 35.5 (-110 | DraftKings), Under 36 (-110 | Caesars)

The Kansas City Chiefs have had an iffy 2023, iffy by their standards.

Strangely, much of the concern surrounding the Chiefs is their offense.

Here’s how Kansas City’s offense has finished in total yards since 2017:

YearChiefs’ OffenseNFL Ranking
2017375.4 ypg5th
2018425.6 ypg1st
2019379.2 ypg6th
2020415.8 ypg1st
2021396.8 ypg3rd
2022413.6 ypg1st
2023 (Entering WK 18)356.5 ypg9th

Having the NFL’s 9th-best total offense isn’t terrible by any means, but it is for the Chiefs.

Kansas City’s offense steals all the headlines, especially with Taylor Swfit being thrown into the mix, but it’s the Chiefs’ 2nd-ranked total defense that steals wins.

KC’s defense is allowing only 285.8 total yards per game, and even if they bench a few key players, I still don’t see the Los Angeles Chargers picking up a win.

Wouldn’t LA rather have a loss here for the better draft pick?

I’m sure future head coach Bill Belichick would prefer it.

Just kidding. Or maybe not.

Pick: Chiefs Moneyline | Best Odds: (+160) BetRivers

Denver Broncos (+3, +125 ML) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (-2.5, -142 ML)

Total: Over 38 (-108 | BetRivers), Under 37.5 (-105 | FanDuel)

Las Vegas Raiders’ quarterback Aidan O’Connell has made two great starts in the last three weeks.

O’Connell threw for 248 yards and four touchdowns against the Chargers in Week 15 and he collected 299 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts in Week 17, both of those games sandwiching a dud performance against Kansas City, which Las Vegas still won.

The Denver Broncos are eliminated from the playoffs, and they’ll travel into Allegiant Stadium with Jarrett Stidham as their new quarterback.

There’s nothing for me to like about the Broncos in Week 18, they’re just going through the motions now.

Pick: Raiders (-2.5) | Best Odds: (-115) BetMGM

Los Angeles Rams (+4.5, +170 ML) vs. San Francisco 49ers (-3.5, -192 ML)

Total: Over 42 (-110 | Caesars), Under 42.5 (-110 | BetMGM)

It’ll probably feel like a preseason game for San Francisco 49ers fans on Sunday.

Sam Darnold, Jordan Mason, Tyrion Davis-Price, Ray-Ray McCloud, Ronnie Bell – just a few names the Niners’ fans can look forward to seeing on the gridiron.

Although those names aren’t ones that helped fantasy football players win their leagues, those names could be the better depth of San Francisco that could make this game a close one in Week 18.

Los Angeles will either play the Detroit Lions or the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs, and how many of the Rams’ starters to be rested could ultimately decide their opponent.

In the end, I don’t see Sean McVay giving his starters the week off. A win over San Fran, in any capacity, could be a nice boost for the Rams prior to the playoffs.

Pick: Rams Moneyline | Best Odds: (+170) Caesars

Philadelphia Eagles (-5, -230 ML) vs. New York Giants (+5.5, +205 ML)

Total: Over 41.5 (-105 | FanDuel), Under 41.5 (-110 | DraftKings)

Only a Dallas Cowboys’ loss could improve the Eagles’ playoff seeding.

But, Dallas is playing the Commanders, so that’s probably not going to happen.

WIth Philly being cemented to the No. 5 seed, they’ll most likely be benching starters.

As for the New York Giants, they could give their demoralized fans something to cheer for on Sunday, with a prideful victory over an NFC East rival.

Just two weeks ago, the Giants were within five points of the Eagles with only a little over five minutes to go, but they still lost.

It was a good loss for the G-Men.

This week, New York can pick up a bad win against the shell of an Eagles typical lineup.

Pick: Giants Moneyline | Best Odds: (+205) BetMGM

Chicago Bears (+3, +143 ML) vs. Green Bay Packers (-3, -165 ML)

Total: Over 44 (-110 | BetMGM), Under 44.5 (-109 | BetRivers)

If one team were to play spoiler this week, my pick would be the Chicago Bears beating the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field to eliminate their rival from the playoffs.

Plus, with the Bears locking down the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, this would be the cherry on top for Matt Eberflus and co.

It’s hard to find a better sub-.500 team than Chicago.

The Bears have the NFL’s top-ranked rushing defense, allowing only 84 rushing yards per game, then they bolstered their defense by adding pass-rushing defensive end Montez Sweat (12.5 sacks).

Chicago has a dynamic quarterback in Justin Fields, who has thrown for 2,414 yards and 16 touchdowns and has rushed for 630 yards and four touchdowns in only 12 games.

The Bears have a true No. 1 wide receiver in D.J. Moore, who has reeled in 92 receptions for 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns.

Plus, Chicago’s kicker Cairo Santos is nails, making 32 of 35 field goal attempts.

This insight from BestOdds EDGE tells me that the Bears are good at giving opposing offenses a reality check.

Spoiler Alert!

Pick: Bears Moneyline | Best Odds: (+143) DraftKings

Seattle Seahawks (-2.5, -132 ML) vs. Arizona Cardinals (+3, +125 ML)

Total: Over 47.5 (-109 | BetRivers), Under 47.5 (-110 | bet365)

If the Seahawks are going to make it into the playoffs, they’ll need that upset from the Bears in Lambeau Field.

With both the Seattle and Green Bay games being played at the same time, Pete Carroll’s focus will be on the field and winning this game.

I can’t go against a laser-focused Pete Carroll.

The Arizona Cardinals picked up a stunning victory over the Philadelphia Eagles last week, with Kyler Murray throwing for three touchdowns.

Murray won’t be duplicating that effort.

The Seahawks still have something to play for and the final score will reflect that.

Pick: Seahawks (-2.5) | Best Odds: (-110) FanDuel

Sunday Night Football

Buffalo Bills (-3, -156 ML) vs. Miami Dolphins (+3, +140 ML)

Total: Over 49.5 (-110 | FanDuel), Under 50 (-110 | bet365)

If the Steelers beat the Ravens, and the Houston-Indianapolis game doesn’t end in a tie, and the Jaguars defeat the Titans, then the Bills will need to win this game just to make the playoffs.

This could be a high-stakes game for Buffalo.

This scenario would make for a wild regular season finale on Sunday Night Football.

A win for the Dolphins would give Miami their first AFC East divisional title since 2008, when Tua Tagovailoa was 10-years-old.

In the previous meeting of these two teams back in Week 4, the Bills stomped the Dolphins, 48-20.

Josh Allen completed 21-of-25 passes for 320 yards and four touchdowns and didn’t turn the football over once. It was Allen’s best performance of the season.

Miami will be playing without edge rusher Bradley Chubb after he suffered a torn ACL in Week 17, and cornerback Xavien Howard will be out after a foot injury as well.

To make matters worse, the Dolphins receiving duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle and running backs Raheem Mostert and DeVon Achane are all listed as questionable.

What’s more important for Miami right now: a division title or a healthier squad in the playoffs?

With key players on Miami’s defense dropping and the Dolphins already guaranteed a playoff spot, Buffalo will walk out of Miami with a playoff spot secured and their fourth-consecutive AFC East division title.

Pick: Bills Moneyline | Best Odds: (-156) FanDuel

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About the author

A fan of both the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, which is rare! Thomas provides sports betting content with the intent to educate and en...

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