The tragic events of Monday night have created more questions than answers at the top of the AFC, but there are a lot more seeds to be filled in the final week of the regular season.
When one thinks of divisional matchups, you envision games that are played closer to the vest than most because of the innate familiarity the teams have playing twice a year. But nine of the 16 games have one team favored by six or more points, clearly giving the impression that there should be some blowout games on the weekend schedule. When some teams have a lot to play for and others have nothing, strange things happen.
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NFL Betting Odds and Lines: Week 18
Kansas City Chiefs (-425) at Las Vegas Raiders (+350)
This game has the highest Over/Under of this week’s games (52.5 points at -110 for both the Over and Under). The Chiefs need to win to have a chance for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. These two teams have gone Over this point in their last five meetings, and the Raiders have been a thorn in the Chiefs side. They won’t let up if they get a big lead. Take the Over (-110).
Tennessee Titans (+220) at Jacksonville Jaguars (-260)
The Jaguars are on the precipice of locking down the division title and are heavy favorites (6 points at -112 Titans, -108 Jaguars). While I think they will find a way to win, the potential of Derrick Henry running 30 or more times gives me cause for pause to give away that many points to an upstart to their throne. Take the Titans plus 6 points (-112).
Cleveland Browns (+125) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-145)
The Steelers haven’t hit above this O/U (40 points at -110 for both) in their last five games (four wins) and the last time they went Over, 41 points were scored. The Browns have been under this number the last four games, and 41 points were scored the last time they hit the Over. That sounds like a trend to me. Take the Under (-110).
New England Patriots (+280) at Buffalo Bills (-340)
The Bills will be playing for Damar Hamlin and emotion is an unsung factor that motivates teams. Buffalo is a big favorite (7.5 points at -112 Patriots, -108 Bills), but they entered Week 17 as the No. 1 seed in the AFC and are going to force the issue to resume the Bengals game at some point out of competitive fairness. Take the Bills and lay 7.5 points (-108).
Baltimore Ravens (+270) at Cincinnati Bengals (-330)
Like the Bills, the Bengals still have a chance to be the No. 1 seed. They’re big favorites (7 points at -111 Ravens, -109 Bengals). If Lamar Jackson was playing, I’d see this much differently, but he hasn’t practiced in a month and the Ravens are already in the playoffs. A rematch could be coming in the first week of the playoffs … with Jackson under center. Take the Bengals and lay 7 points (-109).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+170) at Atlanta Falcons (-200)
The Bucs are talking tough about playing all their starters. I’m not buying it and was looking at getting 3.5 points. However, the best tactic is assuming Todd Bowles is lying or will treat this like a preseason game and pull the starters after one quarter. The Over/Under is decent (40.5 points at -110 Over, -110 Under). The Bucs backups can keep Atlanta in check, and the backup Tampa offense will keep their punter busy. Take the Under (-110).
Houston Texans (+125) at Indianapolis Colts (-145)
I’m no fan of the Colts, but the Texans need to lose to assure the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft. When Houston was trying, they can’t beat the Colts. Indy is 4-0-1 in their last five meetings. The Colts are given the standard home-field advantage (3 points at -108 Texans, -112 Colts). Given the gravity of winning this game and potentially losing the No. 1 pick to Chicago, shady things may take place. Take the Colts and lay 3 points (-112).
New York Jets (-115) at Miami Dolphins (-105)
Miami is likely relegated to seventh-round rookie Skyler Thompson against a strong Jets defense. New York has lost five straight with point totals of 12, 17, 3 and 6 in their last four. The O/U is the lowest of the week (38.5 points at -110 for both). Not low enough. Take the Under (-110).
Minnesota Vikings (-350) at Chicago Bears (+290)
The Vikings are healthy road favorites (7 points at -116 Vikings, -104 Bears), primarily because Justin Fields is out. Given the circumstances, the Bears could land the No. 1 overall pick and have a lot of trade capital. Minnesota likely won’t move out of the No. 3 seed, but they should have enough to handle this number. Take the Vikings and lay 7 points (-116).
Carolina Panthers (+155) at New Orleans Saints (-180)
The Over/Under is low (41.5 points at -110 Over, -110 Under). The Saints haven’t hit Over this number in their last five games. The Panthers and Saints haven’t hit Over this number in their last four meetings. There’s a whole lot of trending going on. Take the Under (-110).
Dallas Cowboys (-370) at Washington Commanders (+305)
Technically, Dallas can lock down the No. 1 seed if the Eagles falter. Not likely, but possible. As such, the Commanders are big home underdogs (7.5 points at -106 Cowboys, -114 Commanders). There may be scoreboard watching going on that pull starters, but until that happens, let the beating commence. Take the Cowboys and lay 7.5 points (-106).
Los Angeles Chargers (+105) at Denver Broncos (-125)
The Chargers are going to know before they start if they need to win to lock down the No. 5 seed (which gets the AFC South winner). That is huge. Because I’m convinced the Bengals will win, they’ll be locked in at 5 and have no reason to play. The O/U reflects that (39.5 points at -111 Over, -109 Under). The Broncos can’t score and neither can the Chargers’ junior varsity against a good Denver defense. Take the Under (-109).
Los Angeles Rams (+235) at Seattle Seahawks (-280)
All the Seahawks can do to make the playoffs is win and hope Detroit beats Green Bay. They’re good favorites (6.5 points at -111 Rams, -109 Seahawks). The Rams are limping out of 2022 with their rings in hand from the previous year. They’re going to be evaluating the back end of their roster talent in this one. Take the Seahawks and lay 6.5 points (-109).
New York Giants (+700) at Philadelphia Eagles (-1000)
The Giants are locked into their playoff spot at No. 6. The Eagles need to win to earn a bye they blew last week. Philadelphia has been installed as a massive favorite (13.5 points at -108 Giants, -112 Eagles). One team has everything to play for. The other has nothing. I’d lay more than this under the current scenario. Take the Eagles and lay 13.5 points (-112).
Arizona Cardinals (+800) at San Francisco 49ers (-1200)
The 49ers have won nine straight, the last few with Mr. Irrelevant 2022. While it’s unlikely the Eagles lose, anything is possible when they all kick off at the same time. Arizona is mailing it in with an offense not built for a No. 3 QB, and they’re giant dogs as a result (14 points at -110 for both teams). The 49ers will play their starters as long as the out of town scoreboard requires. Take the 49ers and lay 14 points (-110).
Detroit Lions (+190) at Green Bay Packers (-220)
The NFL wants Green Bay in the playoffs, which scares me a little bit because ref-related shenanigans have been known to take place. If Seattle wins, Detroit is eliminated. All they can do is keep Green Bay out. The Packers are solid favorites (4.5 points at -112 Lions, -108 Packers). While I think the Lions have a shot, things will take place that they lose – but not by five points. Take the Lions plus 4.5 points (-112).
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