Beating the Spread: Week 18 Picks

Our Week 18 Beat the Spread column is ready to go for your consideration as you put in your weekly bets!

Welcome back to another week of Beating the Spread. As always, I’m Jake Roy and I’m joined by Brennan Rampe and Tyler Gentile. We’ll be here every Friday throughout the season, posting our picks along with some analysis.

It’s the last week of the season and we’re in a tight race for the Beat the Spread crown. NFL teams are also in a tight playoff race with teams ranging from win-and-in to nothing but spoilers. I recommend waiting till closer to game time if you’re betting on a team that could be eliminated by the time their game tips. And of course, thanks for reading all season long.

You can play along in the comments or find us on Twitter (@Jake3Roy, @808Paperboi, @phdinnfl). Assuming -110 odds we need about 53% to break even, let’s see if we can hit that magic number for the season and come out with some profit. So, without further ado, here are the lines we’ll use for Week 18!


Week 18 Betting Lines
Away Home Line O/U
Chiefs Raiders Chiefs -8.0 52.5
Titans Jaguars Jaguars -6.5 40.0
Rams Seahawks Seahawks -6.5 41.5
Texans Colts Colts -2.5 38.0
Lions Packers Packers -4.5 49.0
Vikings Bears Vikings -6.0 46.0
Chargers Broncos Chargers -3.5 40.0
Jets Dolphins Dolphins -1.0 38.5
Panthers Saints Saints -3.5 41.5
Giants Eagles Eagles -14.0 43.0
Cardinals 49ers 49ers -14.0 40.0
Buccaneers Falcons Falcons -4.5 40.5
Browns Steelers Steelers -3.0 40.5
Cowboys Commanders Cowboys -5.5 41.0


Staff Picks
Jake Roy (@Jake3Roy) Brennan Rampe (@Phdinnfl) Tyler Gentile (@808PaperBoi)
Pick #1 Dolphins -1.0 Chiefs -8.0 Rams +6.5
Pick #2 Dolphins/Jets under 38.5 Seahawks -6.5 Browns +3.0
Pick #3 Packers -4.5 Eagles -14.0 Dolphins/Jets under 38.5
Pick #4 Chiefs/Raiders under 52.5 49ers -14.0 Cowboys -5.5
Pick #5 Rams/Seahawks over 41.5 Cowboys -5/5 Lions +4.5
Record 46-34 35-42-3 45-34-1




Jake Roy


Playoffs are on the line and some teams have nothing to play for. Some teams will use playing spoiler as motivation and others will roll over and play like they have nothing to play for. One of those teams that need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive is the Miami Dolphins. It’s likely Skylar Thompson will start at quarterback for the Fins which isn’t who you want to see as a fan, but he may not need to do a ton to get the job done. The Dolphins’ defense plays much better at home and is facing an anemic Jets’ offense, headlined by Mike White. I just don’t see a way to Dolphins lose a sixth straight game to tumble out of playoffs, not to the Jets. MIA -1.0

Read that last paragraph again. Focus on the two names in bold. It’s Mike White against Skylar Thompson. This won’t be a “fun” game to watch. The Jets’ defense is strong, and I already mentioned the Miami defense has played much better at home. I don’t see a way both of these teams end this game in the 20s. NYJ/MIA U38.5

Another team fighting for the right to play in the playoffs is the Green Bay Packers. Everyone wrote them off early in the season, but they’ve managed to claw their way back into the picture after a few games went their way. Win, and they’re in. It’s as simple as that. Aaron Rodgers is 18-7 with 53 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his career against the Lions. If you tell me that Aaron Rodgers has to beat the Lions at home on Sunday Night Football to get into the playoffs, I’m telling you that I’m taking the Packers by 100 every time. There’s even a chance the Lions are eliminated by kickoff based on results elsewhere. I can’t imagine how deflating that must be. GB -4.5

There are a couple of games happening on Saturday, the first of which has the Chiefs hosting the Raiders. The Chiefs are still in contention for the one seed, pending the results of the Bengals/Bills game that was suspended on Monday night. We still don’t know how the league will proceed, but for now, the Chiefs still have something to play for. I don’t think the Raiders’ offense will be able to move the ball much here, especially with Jarrett Stidham at quarterback. He looked solid on Sunday, which is only driving this total up. We’ve seen a quarterback shows up for an afternoon countless times, only to go back to mediocrity the following week. The Chiefs should be able to score without too much issue, but I don’t think the Vegas offense will be able to do enough to push this one over the very high total. LV/KC U52.5

It’s been a pleasure writing for anyone who’s read this season, be sure to follow me on Twitter for all your sports betting needs. My last pick of the season, here we go. I think probably 50% of my picks this season have been unders. Naturally, I’m going with an over to round out my handicapping campaign. We’ve got the Rams and Seahawks with the Seahawks needing a win to solidify their playoff hopes. The offense has sputtered as of late, but they did just score 23 against a strong Jets’ defense. The Rams’ offense has also looked more dynamic since Baker Mayfield took over and Cam Akers began doing the bulk of the work in the backfield. The total is set at just 41.5. These two teams could easily get up and down the field and put up a few quick hitter touchdowns. Just a few weeks ago, the two teams combined for 50 points. Once again, thanks for reading. LAR/SEA O41.5

Brennan Rampe


It’s been a tough season. Maybe I’ll have better luck next year.

The Chiefs barely defeated the Broncos 27-24 and improved to 12-3. They have been in a lot of close games recently, but winning is all that matters. The Raiders lost in a wild overtime game, 37-34, against the 49ers. Las Vegas had another 10-point lead and blew it again. Jarrett Stidham played really well in his first career start against an elite San Francisco defense. However, he won’t be catching anyone by surprise this week. Kansas City is undefeated in division games this year. The Raiders’ defense is without Chandler Jones and Denzel Perryman. Derek Carr is not starting this game, and he played in the first meeting between these two teams in Week 5. Las Vegas was up 17-0 in that game before losing 30-29. If the Chiefs win, they will have a good chance of being the top seed in the AFC, depending on what happens with the postponed Bills vs. Bengals game last week. I think Kansas City will sweep their divisional rival while covering.  Inside the Numbers: The Chiefs are 21-18-1 with an average margin of victory (MOV) of 6.6 as a away team against the spread under Andy Reid since 2018. KC -8.0

The Seahawks dominated the Jets 23-6 to improve to 8-8. If they beat the Rams and the Lions defeat the Packers, Seattle will make the playoffs. They beat them the first time back in Week 13, 27-23. It was a close victory, but they got it done. The Rams have just been too injured this season. They have used so many different offensive line combinations. Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald have all been out for weeks. Maybe they’ll be better next year when fully healthy. The Seahawks should win and cover. Even if they miss out on the playoffs, 9-8 would be incredible for this team after trading Russell Wilson. Inside the Numbers: The Seahawks are 21-19-1 with an MOV of 3.4 as a home team against the spread under Pete Carroll since 2018. SEA -6.5 
The Eagles have lost two games in a row. Losing to the Cowboys 40-34 on the road with backup quarterback Gardner Minshew was understandable, but losing to the Saints at home 20-10 was surprising. Philadelphia has been dealing with some injuries recently, but they just have to beat the Giants to get the top seed in the NFC. New York has made the playoffs for the first time since 2016 after crushing the Colts, 38-10. They are locked into the sixth seed, so there is no reason for the starters to play. The Eagles should get the top seed with a win.  Inside the Numbers: The Eagles are 8-2-1 with an MOV of 10.2 as a home favorite against the spread under Nick Sirianni. PHI -14.0
The 49ers have won nine consecutive games after starting 3-4. San Francisco still looks like a Super Bowl contender despite being down to their third quarterback, rookie Brock Purdy. Purdy has played extremely well and is undefeated as a starter so far. The defense got lit up by the Raiders, but they still won. The defense should have a great performance against the Cardinals. Arizona fought until the very end against the Falcons, but they lost 20-19. They were competitive despite being without DeAndre Hopkins and they were starting their fourth quarterback, David Blough. However, I don’t expect this game to be competitive. The 49ers destroyed the Cardinals in their first meeting 38-10, and I expect them to win by a lot again. San Francisco has just been dominating their opponents over the past couple of weeks. Inside the Numbers: The 49ers are 31-22 with an MOV of 6.9 against the spread after a win under Kyle Shanahan. SF-14.0 
The Cowboys last played on Thursday, and they took care of business against the Titans, 27-13. The Commanders lost a game they had to win against the Browns, 24-10. Carson Wentz started for the first time since Week 6, and he threw three interceptions. In my opinion, Wentz isn’t a good starting quarterback anymore. He’ll probably be a backup for the rest of his career. Rookie quarterback Sam Howell will make his first career start, and he’ll be going up against a talented Dallas defense. It’s probably going to be a disaster. I still think the Cowboys are going to win it all, and I think they’ll finish the regular season with a win while covering.  Inside the Numbers: The Cowboys are 8-3 with an MOV of 11.3 as an away favorite against the spread under Mike McCarthy. DAL -5.5

Tyler Gentile


The final week of the regular season is finally here, and this is arguably the most difficult week for Beat the Spread with the majority of the playoff picture set.

If this were any other week I think this would be closer to +4.5, not +6.5. We’re likely getting a discount because of the narrative surrounding the game which is: the Rams have nothing to play for, and the Seahawks do. Here’s the thing though: the Rams have been eliminated for weeks now, and the Hawks have not played well over the back half of the season. I faded them last week and it clearly didn’t work out, but Seattle has still lost five of their last seven games. Defensively over that span, they are 28th in EPA/play and 26th in DVOA, while on offense they are 18th in DVOA and 17th in EPA/play. The Rams played the Hawks tough a month back with John Wolford starting and Seattle won 27-23 on their last drive of the game with 36 seconds left. Too many points for the road Rams here in my opinion. LAR +6.5

Cleveland has made it clear they are not going to roll over against the Steelers just because they are eliminated from the playoffs. They want to play spoiler against their divisional foe, and for as good of a team as the Steelers have been since week 10, albeit with an incredibly easy schedule over that span, they are not a team that wins by a margin. Four of their last five games have finished within a field goal, and there’s not much separating the Browns and the Steelers in my eyes. Deshaun Watson started to show some life in the second half of last week against a stout Washington defense, and it’s not like Kenny Pickett is some world-beater. The Browns have been playing better defense of late too. I’m not saying we’re going to see Cleveland steamroll the Steelers here, but +3 is once again too many points here. The current spread lies at +2.5 now, but the Browns are a phenomenal teaser leg up to +8.5 this week. I like them paired with the Bills down to -1. CLE +3.0

Joe Flacco vs Skylar Thompson. Buckle up. We saw what Thompson was able to do against this vaunted Jets defense back in week 5, and I’d expect more of the same from the Dolphins’ third-string QB. After Bridgewater’s early exit from that game, Thompson was 19/33 with 166 passing yards, and an interception. The Dolphins scored just 17 points that game. The seventh-round rookie hasn’t faired any better in his other appearances this year, and there’s no reason for optimism facing the Jets’ sixth-best defense according to DVOA.

Joe Flacco is no longer “elite” and the Jets’ offense hasn’t put up more than 17 points over their last four games and is averaging just 9.5 points per game over that span. The Dolphins appear to be healthy on defense this week, and their pass rush should get after an extremely beat-up offensive line. The Jets will also be without both starting tackles and their right guard. Let’s go punters! NYJ/MIA U38.5

This is all the way up to -7 now for dem boys, and for good reason. The Commanders are onto their third starting QB this year with Sam Howell (who?) and will be without both Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson, so how exactly are they going to move the ball? They will also be without two starting offensive linemen and have added four defensive pieces to the IR. In a similar contest last week facing a Titans team resting half of their starters, the Cowboys closed as -13.5 road favorites. I don’t see how Washington warrants being +7 in a similar state of affairs. Ron Rivera has lost it and the Cowboys are in need of a big win to get some momentum going into the playoffs. The only thing stopping them from covering with ease is if they rest their own starters in the second half if the Eagles are destroying the Giants. DAL -5.5

I’ll be keeping tabs on the Rams and Seahawks game until wagering on this game, but ultimately this is the Lions all the way. They’ve covered the spread in eight of their last nine games and can go score for score with the Packers with their sixth-best offense by DVOA and EPA metrics. If the Hawks take care of business at home we will likely see plenty of Green Bay support coming to the books, which should push this number closer to +6. Even if they are eliminated from the playoffs, Dan Campbell’s Lions will be playing to win the game. “When you knock us down, we’re gonna get up, and when we get up, we’re going to bite a kneecap off,” Dan Campbell. YOU THINK THIS GUY IS JUST GOING TO LET THE PACKERS WALTZ INTO THE PLAYOFFS?! The Packers have been hot as of late, but let’s not get carried away here. The Lions have been feisty all year and they’re not going to make it easy on the Packers even if they’re out of contention. Wait until the Rams/Seahawks result and pounce on a +6 if that becomes available. DET +4.5

Bonus write-up:

We took the Bills and Bengals off of the article, but Buffalo -7 at home is the best play on the board this week. The emotions will be high for the Bills, but that is baked into the line, and it should fuel the team, especially playing behind a home crowd. Aside from the crazy wind/snow game last season, Buffalo has owned New England in just about every instance since 2020 outscoring them 176-92 across six games. The Bills have all intentions of winning this week with playoff-seeding ramifications.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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