NFL odds Week 18: Betting edges on Chiefs-Raiders, Rams-Seahawks, more
This week’s NFL slate has some great matchups in store, including the Rams-Seahawks on FOX and the FOX Sports App.
I ran my models to give you my favorite betting edges and predictions for Week 18 of the season. My goal for this weekly column is to always provide you with nuggets you didn’t know before reading this piece.
As the playoff picture tightens, let’s take look at my favorite edges of the week (odds courtesy of FOX Bet).
Chiefs dethroned atop Nick’s Tiers + Bills & 49ers rise entering Week 18
Nick tiers the all 32 teams in the NFL including his beloved Kanas City Chiefs, NFC Super Bowl pick San Francisco 49ers and rival Buffalo Bills.
Chiefs at Raiders (4:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN)
Last week the Raiders narrowly lost to the 49ers.
Teams are 0-14 straight up (SU) and 3-10-1 against the spread (ATS) the week after playing the 49ers. The 49ers style just absolutely wears your defense down, and on defense, their physicality in the trenches drains your offensive line more than most opponents would.
However, there are some reasons for optimism for the Raiders.
Last week new starting QB Jarrett Stidham threw 24% of his passes 20-plus yards downfield.
That was the highest rate any QB chucked the ball deep last week.
Vs. passes 20-plus yards downfield, the KC defense ranks:
- 24th in EPA/att (+0.53)
- 24th in YPA (13.5)
- 27th in TD/INT rate (1.7)
This Raiders’ offense is significantly healthier with the return of Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller. Make no mistake, this offense goes as Davante Adams goes, but having other options certainly helps the upside of the Raiders passing attack.
This is a perfect buy-low spot on the Raiders, because the last three weeks, they’ve done nothing but play top-10 defenses in the 49ers, Patriots and Steelers. Now, they get to play a bottom-10 defense, the 23rd-ranked Chiefs, who have played the fifth-easiest schedule of opposing offenses this year.
Meanwhile, the Raiders’ offense has played the fifth-toughest schedule of defenses.
And now that Josh McDaniels sent Derek Carr packing, he seems to be out to prove a point that the problem with this offense was Carr, not McDaniels. The passing game was far more aggressive, and I guarantee McDaniels will be emptying the chamber with offensive playcalls in the final game of 2022.
On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs will get to face the 31st-ranked Raiders defense which has played the league’s easiest schedule of opposing offenses, meaning it’s extremely difficult to rank this bad against a schedule this easy.
The Raiders have played just three offenses all year other than the Chiefs that rank average or better:
In addition to 30 points allowed to the Chiefs earlier this season.
Patrick Mahomes is just 429 yards short of the all-time record for passing yardage, and I fully expect the Chiefs will be passing early and often vs. this terrible Raiders secondary. I bet the over when it was at 50 points, and while I don’t see enough value at 53 points, I would lean over still and potentially would target over 26.5 in the first half.
Where do the Dallas Cowboys fall in Colin’s Super Bowl Bubble?
Watch as he explains where Dallas falls in his rankings, and whether he believes in Dak Prescott’s ability to make a deep playoff run.
Chargers at Broncos (4:25 p.m., CBS)
This game is as simple as they come from a betting perspective. Chalk it up to one of many ways the NFL completely botched their schedule for Week 18.
Originally, the desire for holding off announcing start times of the games was blamed on a desire to group games that impact each other into the same time slot, so that no team would decide to bench starters before kickoff.
The NFL failed miserably.
By playing the Chiefs game ahead of the Bills game, Buffalo no longer can win the 1-seed if the Chiefs win, and may approach their game differently against the Patriots.
By playing the Ravens game ahead of the Chargers game, the Chargers will know if they are locked into the highest seed possible (5-seed) if Baltimore loses. And if the seven-point underdog Ravens lose to the Bengals, which seems likely based on the spread, the Chargers likely sit all key players.
The Chargers were favorites of 3.5 points on Wednesday morning. But at 3 p.m. ET, the NFL announced the Ravens-Bengals game would be played at 1 p.m. instead of 4:25 p.m. (the same time as the Chargers game). Within 45 minutes of that announcement, the Chargers line shifted from laying 3.5 points vs. the Broncos to the game being a pick-em. And within another 45 minutes, the Broncos became a 2.5 point favorite.
I was able to make several correlated bets which are quite +EV, particularly now. First, I parlayed the Bengals moneyline to the Broncos moneyline. If the Bengals won, the Chargers would rest, allowing an easier path for the Broncos to win. As the Broncos line began to move, I then teased the Broncos up through the 3 and 7 and paired them with the Bengals down through the 3.
Unfortunately, the extreme value is no longer the same, but the moneyline parlay is still correlated and could be a bet that is +EV.
Ravens at Bengals (1 p.m., CBS)
See above analysis and recommendation.
This game likely does not see any team rest their starters, but there is an interesting dilemma.
The below assumes the NFL does not resume the Bengals vs. Bills game and simply uses win percentage to seed the teams for the AFC playoffs.
If the Bills beat the Patriots to earn the 2-seed, that locks the Bengals into the 3-seed, regardless of the result of this game.
And in a unique situation, the Bengals, as the 3-seed, would then face the Ravens in the first round of the playoffs, who would be the 6-seed.
(Note that the only way the above scenario does not occur would be a Ravens win paired with a Chargers loss.)
So these teams potentially will play this week and again next week.
It would be an odd situation to be certain and would likely cause both teams to make some adjustments to their strategy, understanding that revealing too much of their best game plan would allow their opponent to make adjustments for the playoff game.
These two teams met earlier this season in a 19-17 Ravens victory in Baltimore. The game was a huge revenge spot for the Ravens, who had allowed 41 points in blowout losses to the Bengals in both games in 2021.
If there is a chance that either team decides to bottle up their offensive game plan in some capacity, a look to the under might be attractive.
How Seahawks built a formula, Jets future plans at QB
Colin Cowherd evaluates both teams, explaining Seattle’s formula and what the Jets should do with the QB position moving forward.
Rams at Seahawks (4:25 p.m., FOX and the FOX Sports App)
By nature of this game being a must-win situation for the Seahawks to make the playoffs, the line naturally gets inflated in their favor.
Particularly because the Rams are already eliminated from the playoffs.
But the Rams are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings against the Seahawks, and after playing a difficult game against an ascending Chargers team which has improved both defensively and offensively, the Rams may be in a solid situation to back in their underdog role.
And I can guarantee former Seahawk Bobby Wagner would like nothing more than to keep his old team out of the playoffs.
The Rams’ Cam Akers has been running extremely well and has averaged 5.7 YPC over the last three games. And the Seahawks run defense has shown to be problematic at times.
But that pales in comparison to the Rams run defense, which allowed a season-high 192 rushing yards to the Chargers, a team that doesn’t even run the ball often, and has allowed over 100 rushing yards in each of their last four games after previously allowing 100 rushing yards just four times this year.
Warren Sharp is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He is the founder of Sharp Football Analysis and has worked as a consultant for league franchises while also previously contributing to ESPN and The Ringer, among other outlets. He studied engineering before using his statistical acumen to create predictive football models. You can follow Warren on Twitter at @SharpFootball.
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