NFL Week 18 Best Bets for the 1:00 Games
NFL WEEK 18 BEST BETS FOR THE 1:00 GAMES - The energy is absolutely through the roof in the corner of Godzilla Wins after the Jacksonville Jaguars clinched the AFC South and in the process cashed about a bazillion futures for me.
There is no time to gloat, as much as I’d love to, because there is a whole pile of games today that will have seeding implications. Other games will be about teams just trying to end on a good note. And still others will be featuring teams just going through the motions before the offseason officially starts in a few hours.
All of this is to say that it can be tricky to handicap these late season games. So I’ll be here to help guide you through the chaos.
These aren’t the sexiest picks you’ll see on the internet, but there’s value out there if you’re willing to play some totals.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3, o/u 40, +105)
This is my biggest play of the day. If you’re like Godzilla and don’t play totals, then go ahead and keep on scrolling. But if you like to actually make money betting on sports, then keep reading.
Ultimately, this is a game featuring two mediocre QBs, run-first offenses, and stingy defenses.
The Browns have regressed into a complete disaster on offense with Deshaun Watson under center after coming back from a 14-game suspension.
Kenny Pickett has been less than spectacular in his rookie season.
I think the Browns will get up for this game because they will want to play spoiler to the Steelers playoff chances. I’m not sure their offense can be trusted to get them a win simply because the Steelers have really elevated their defensive play after T.J. Watt returned from injury.
Look for both defenses to outshine the offenses in this game. These teams are going to slow things down and run a ton.
This has all the makings of a pretty ugly game, so just grab the under here.
Under 40 total points
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-4, o/u 40.5)
If you’re wondering, we’re leaning heavy on unders for this slate of games. This is another one.
This comes down to whether or not the GOAT plays in a meaningless game for the Bucs. Tampa clinched the NFC South last week, shattering Jack’s hopes, dreams, and Carolina Panthers futures to win the NFC South. (He grabbed them at 18/1 to win the division and has been bemoaning the Brady magic all week long.)
I suspect Brady will probably start this game for a least a little while just to stay in a rhythm, but I doubt he plays the entire game, simply because it isn’t necessary.
The Bucs defense is banged up, but the one area they’ve routinely excelled at is rushing defense. That’s basically all the Falcons are capable of doing. So this is a strength-on-strength matchup for that side of the ball.
The Falcons defense is barely capable of stopping anyone and they’ve allowed many mediocre quarterbacks to run roughshod on their pathetic secondary. But, they probably get to face Blaine Gabbert for most of the game (bonus points if you knew he was still in the league), and he probably isn’t going to go scorched earth on the Falcons defense.
It’s tempting to take the points here, on the off-chance that Brady goes one full half and runs up a big lead, but I prefer the under here.
This is probably a game between two QBs with skill levels that are firmly at the backup-level. I doubt Tampa goes crazy here and they probably keep the playcalling basic to not show too much for next week.
The under is the play here.
Under 40.5 total points
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-3.5 -105, o/u 41.5)
Here’s a weird matchup. Since week nine, the Saints have the best passing defense by DVOA in the league. You may be thinking, this should be an easy matchup against Sam Darnold and the Panthers, but you would be wrong.
Sam Darnold actually leads the most efficient passing attack in the league by DVOA when he is under center for the Panthers.
These numbers feel ridiculous, but I assure you they are not. Now, is it fair to question how much stock we at Godzilla Wins put into stats like DVOA? Sure. But that’s just what we do and we aren’t stopping.
So we have two big strengths facing off against each other, and the truth is that even though the metrics are outstanding for Darnold, they are probably a mirage.
He has never shown himself to be an elite quarterback, and I don’t think he is. The Saints defense, however, is for real and they should make it difficult for the Panthers to move the ball through the air.
Saints games have gone under 40 points in eight of their last nine games. I suspect that this meaningless game will probably be low-scoring as both teams are firmly focused on golf trips, Disneyland and poolside cocktails.
I’m not saying you want to watch this game. I’m not even suggesting you should watch this game with so many other games on the schedule. But I am suggesting you bet on it.
Under 41.5 total points
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-3.5, o/u 37.5)
This is the last one I’ll suggest here. But we gotta look real hard at another under. I warned you in the introduction that these picks aren’t sexy. But here we go.
This game should be meaningless for the Jets since they are out of playoff contention after losing last week. Miami, after a hot start, needs a win and a little help to get into the playoffs. They get in with a win against the Jets and a Patriots loss.
That being said, I think the Jets will be looking to play spoiler here. They are a young, feisty team that may have overperformed at times this season and might have made a real run at the playoffs if they had anybody at all to play the quarterback position in a somewhat competent manner. Instead, they destroyed Zach Wilson’s psyche and played musical chairs with a variety of other backups.
The real strength of the Jets, and the reason they were in the playoff hunt right up until last week, is the defense which is plain nasty.
The Dolphins are dealing with QB issues of their own as Tua continues to collect concussions and Teddy Bridgewater recovers from a broken finger. So, with everything on the line, the Dolphins turn to the most unlikely of heroes in Skylar Thompson. Teddy will back him up, but he only recently started throwing the ball again late this week, so I don’t think the Dolphins will be in a hurry to get him in there, even if things go sideways in a hurry for Thompson.
Two teams with bad QBs and one elite defense will again force me to take the under here.
Under 37.5 total points
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (+7, o/u 43)Nathan Peterman draws the start for the Bears and he is bad. Like, horrible. Even though this game is largely meaningless for the Vikings, they could win this game with mostly backups.
The Vikings probably keep Cousins in a rhythm for at least the first half. I’m not big on incentives being a huge driver of gameplans, but I suspect they will also have Justin Jefferson on the field for a little while as well since he’s chasing the receiving yards crown and could potentially be OPOY.
Don’t get cute here. The Vikings will probably try for a half, and they are playing one of the worst defenses in the league.
The Bears have totally given up.
I’ll take the Vikings to hop out early then cruise.
Vikings 1st Half -6.5