NFL Week 18 Odds, Best Bets & Predictions for Key Games

NFL week 18 predictions

Author:

Paul Ricci

Updated:

Jan 3, 2024

Big sports enthusiast, long-time Seahawks fan who loves betting on major pro and college sports.

After 17 weeks filled with drama, injuries, official controversy and fighting talk (Ja’Marr Chase) we have reached the final week of the NFL regular season. This year will be remembered as the year of the backup QB with so many starters going down with injury, which of course none of us want but it has created some interesting storylines.

Last week saw Lamar likely lock up the MVP award, confusion abound in the Lions vs Cowboys game and John Harbaugh dancing in the locker room as his Ravens secured the NO.1  seed in the AFC. With that said, there are still playoff positions up for grabs as we tie a bow on the regular season action. Let’s take a look at some key games for teams who still have a chance of playing in the postseason.

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NFL Saturday, January 6

Indianapolis Colts logoIndianapolis Colts 🆚Houston Texans

It is simple for both of these teams heading into their game this week, win and you’re in. Neither of these clubs were heavily tipped to make the postseason when predictions were made in the summer, and both have defied those expectations. The Colts lost their starting QB Anthony Richardson early this season and have since got this far off the back of some solid QB play from Gardner Minshew. In their narrow 23-20 win over the Raiders last week Minshew threw for 224 yards and a TD while Jonathan Taylor produced 96 yards on the ground with a TD. If the Colts win this and the Jaguars lose to the the Titans on Sunday, they will clinch the AFC South. It has also been some year for the Texans. Rookie QB C.J Stroud and rookie coach DeMeco Ryans have both had outstanding seasons. Last week, the Texans demolished the Titans, 26-3, with Stroud throwing for 213 yards and a TD. It will likely be far trickier this week, but they will feel confident with their young QB seemingly unfazed by anything.

TeamOdds (To Win, Moneyline)
Indianapolis Colts-120
Houston Texans+102

Best Bet: Colts to win

Baltimore RavensBaltimore Ravens 🆚Pittsburgh SteelersPittsburgh Steelers

The Ravens wrapped up the AFC North title and the  No. 1 seed in impressive style last week, hammering the Dolphins 56-19. In a lot of people’s eyes, Lamar Jackson also secured the league MVP award with that victory, throwing for 321 yards and 5 TDs. He was at his elusive, mesmerizing best in a dominant win that really put the Ravens at the forefront of Super Bowl conversations. However, this game isn’t really about Baltimore, it is all about the Steelers. They kept their playoff hopes alive last week after going up to Seattle and recording a crucial win, once again with Mason Rudolph at Quarterback. The Steelers won this game by running all over Seattle, with Najee Harris posting 27 cars for 122 yards and 2 TDs, while fellow running back Jaylen Warren also had a good day. The good news for Pittsburgh fans is receiver George Pickens is also emerging late in the season, and he had 131 receiving yards against the Seahawks. The Steelers have a 29% chance of making the playoffs which is impressive considering it isn’t the most talented roster in the Mike Tomlin era. The result of this game could depend on which starters the Ravens decide to rest.

TeamOdds (To Win, Moneyline)
Baltimore Ravens+150
Pittsburgh Steelers-178

Best Bet: Steelers to win

NFL Sunday, January 7

New York Giants New York Giants 🆚Philadelphia Eagles Philadelphia Eagles

On the face of it, this game might not seem that big in terms if implications for playoffs, but Giants Eagles games are always a big occasion and this is particularly big for Philly.  The Eagles were lauded for most of the season as Super Bowl favorites but they have lost four of their last five, their players are arguing amongst each other and it is clear all is not well. Last week’s defeat was perhaps the worst yet, losing at home to a Cardinals team just playing for pride. The defense, which many tipped to be the best unit in football at the start of the season, can’t get off the field while injury rumors persist with QB Jalen Hurts. If the Cowboys lose, the Eagles can steal the NFC East title so must do their jobs in this game. The Giants would love to play spoiler this week so they will definitely feel they have something to play for. Tyrod Taylor has done well since he has come in at QB, and last week they only lost to the playoff bound Rams by a point. Receiver Darius Slayton had 106 yards and a TD in that game and everyone of a New York persuasion will be hoping they can harm the Eagles playoff seeding on Sunday.

TeamOdds (To Win, Moneyline)
New York Giants+190
Philadelphia Eagles-230

Best Bet: Eagles to win

Washington CommandersWashington Commanders 🆚  Dallas CowboysDallas Cowboys

Once again, when you look at the records of both of these teams you might think there isn’t much riding on this game, but the result will have an impact further down the line. For the Cowboys, the goal is clear. Win, and they will secure the NFC East title and a home playoff game which is so crucial when you look at their home record vs away this season. Dallas is perfect at home but far from perfect on the road. Setting aside the highly controversial finish to their victory over the Lions last week, they just about got the job done and will need to do the same this week against a weaker opponent. Cee Dee Lamb is a star, he had 227 yards and a TD last week and will be looking to enter the postseason with that sort of momentum. For the Commanders the landscape looks a lot different. An interesting subplot to this game is Washington currently holds the no2 draft pick and although they purposely won’t tank, many fans would like to keep hold of that pick. It is also widely expected to be head coach Ron Rivera’s final game in charge of the Commanders.

TeamOdds (To Win, Moneyline)
Washington Commanders+610
Dallas Cowboys-900

Best Bet: Cowboys to win

Miami DolphinsMiami Dolphins 🆚Buffalo BillsBuffalo Bills

We have saved the biggest game of this week for last. The stakes for this game are massive. The Dolphins are currently reeling and enter this one off the back of that hammering in Baltimore. To add insult to injury, they have lost running back Raheem Mostert, pass rusher Bradley Chubb and receiver Jaylen Waddle to injury. They added to an already extensive injury list in South Florida. Miami have already stamped their ticket into the playoffs but another defeat here would leave fans worried about form entering the postseason. The stakes are even higher for the Bills. It seems almost unfathomable that Buffalo can clinch the AFC East with a win considering they were 5-5 at one point earlier in the season. However, a defeat could also see them drop out of the playoffs entirely, which is a crazy scenario. A lot of teams, including the Ravens, will not want to see Josh Allen and co in the playoffs. Stand by for a huge game which could potentially shape how the playoffs play out.

TeamOdds (To Win, Moneyline)
Miami Dolphins+132
Buffalo Bills-156

Best Bet: Bills to win

 

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