This article is part of our FanDuel Sportsbook series.
Washington Football Team at New York Giants (UNDER 38) (-108)
Quick, what's worse than betting on garbage Week 18 NFL games? Writing about betting on garbage Week 18 NFL games. The struggle is real, but my guess is nobody really cares about words, you just want winners. Let's get crackin' with this doozie. Full disclosure: I'm a WFT fan. And by fan, I mean I loathe Dan Snyder and what he's done to this once proud and distinguished organization. I'll still cheer for the players on the field, but I'm realistic with the product on the field. Taylor Heinicke is a fun story, but he's not a starter in the NFL. Antonio Gibson flashes, but he can't seem to stay healthy, and the defense should be better than they are. In general, they are a mediocre disappointment, which accurately describes the franchise for the last 20+ years. And then there's the Giants and mastermind Joe Judge. Hey, so……..Eli Manning, right? At least you have that, Giants fans. This game is no more than a final preseason game where the stars sit and the coaches evaluate what they may have in some of the young guys, be vanilla, shake hands, and get out of town. I don't think this game approaches 30 much less 38.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (UNDER 43.5) (-105)
Must we do this again? The 17-9 masterpiece between these two teams 3 weeks ago wasn't enough? Fine, if we must endure Part 2 of this horror show, let's at least make a little money doing it. Where to start? Perhaps with the amount of red representing the rankings of the Bears' passing offense? When Andy Dalton is a potential upgrade to your passing game, you have issues. I will give the Bears credit for playing hard the last couple of games. Meanwhile, the Vikings have played as though they wanted the season over two months ago after starting 0-2. It seems Mike Zimmer forgot to tell his team they still had a shot at the playoffs. Kirk Cousins is back in the lineup and Justin Jefferson needs 91 yards to become the first player in NFL history with 3,000 receiving yards in his first 2 seasons. My guess is we will see a steady diet of that combo early on, JJ will get the record, and both will exit the game, as will any care or energy for the rest of the game, leaving Dalvin Cook and David Montgomery to slug it out on the ground. The moving trucks are already being loaded for Mike Zimmer and his staff. This should be another fast-moving, low-scoring affair.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (UNDER 39.5) (-110)
Just because a team needs to win a game doesn't mean they are going to win by 20 or even win at all. The Saints need this game like blood, but they also know their path to victory is to control the game with Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara and their stout defense. New Orleans would love to win this game 17-10 with minimal possessions and the clock running constantly. Since Week 10, the Falcons have averaged just over 14 points per game. Teams started keying on Cordarrelle Patterson and ATL has few alternatives after that. I expect the Saints will follow that game plan, leaving Matt Ryan and Kyle Pitts to fend for themselves to carry the offense. Pitts is questionable with a hamstring injury and one would think the Falcons, with nothing to play for, will err on the side of caution and sit him for the finale. Getting in on the under before that is official will get you the best number.
Alt Spread 2-Team Teaser: Chicago Bears (+7.5) and Tampa Bay Bucs (-6.5), Parlay (+174)
Teasing both of these teams to get on the other side of key numbers results in an interesting pairing. As mentioned earlier, Andy Dalton may actually bring some semblance of a passing game to the Chicago offense and at least keep the Vikings' defense on their toes. Minnesota has checked out and has nothing interesting on the line outside of getting Justin Jefferson to 91 yards. I'm not so sure we even need the points, but we'll take them, just in case. In Tampa, Tom Brady wants to play, Bruce Arians has said they are playing to win to get the 2 seed, and even if they don't, what is Carolina going to do about it? I've documented the Panthers struggle enough on these pages the last few weeks for you to know how I feel about them. With Antonio Brown no longer a distraction on the field, the Tampa rolls into the playoffs.
Derek Carr passing yards (UNDER 271.5) (-114)
Again, I remind folks, just because a team is in a must-win scenario doesn't mean the necessary results will follow. Predicting results from the Raiders and Chargers have been nearly impossible, but we can take a look at individual players. This strikes me as a very high number for a guy that has gone over 263 yards passing only once in his last 8 games, and many of those games have been W's for the Raiders. In Carr's first meeting against the Chargers, he was 21-34 for 196 passing yards. The LA defense does well against the pass…..their weakness lies against the run. The Chargers front generates plenty of pressure, and when Carr gets pressured, he relies on dump-offs and the short passing game. A shoot-out doesn't benefit the Raiders, so I like them to control the ball with Josh Jacobs, keeping Carr well under this total.
Cordarrelle Patterson rushing yards (UNDER 35.5) (-108)
As I mentioned in the Saints/Falcons game write-up, the Atlanta offense has really struggled once teams started keying on stopping Patterson. The Saints D is among the very best at stopping the run, and when these teams faced off in Week 9, New Orleans held Patterson to 9 carries for 10 yards. He did have a season-high 126 yards receiving in that game, and I suspect his usage will be similar here. While Patterson has had an excellent season, it is interesting to note he has only topped 35 yards rushing 6 times all year.
Last week: 1-5, -4.38 units
Here I thought studying and making picks on a Florida beach would help me gain clarity. Turns out, nope. Betting the NFL is hard, but it isn't like we're going to stop. Onto the final regular-season week!
Overall: 16-20, -5.01 units