It’s the final week of the regular season, so before the NFL Playoffs begin, let’s nail some picks and head into the postseason with some extra cash to wager on the most exciting games of the year.
This season, we converted 62.5% of our Best Bets, which is an unheard-of percentage. The most successful sports bettors only get about 60% of their bets correct. It is simply unrealistic to think that you are going to win at a higher rate than that. Of course, there will be good days and bad days, but it is important to trust your process and remain diligent. And especially when you are just getting your feet wet in the sports betting world, it’s important to temper your expectations. Sports betting is not a quick money-making scheme. It is not realistic to expect a small deposit will turn into life-changing winnings. The most successful gamblers know that the only way to be profitable over a long period of time is to increase your bankroll in small increments.
With the regular season coming to a finish, there are no games this week on Thursday. There are two games on Saturday – the Kansas City Chiefs at the Denver Broncos followed by the Dallas Cowboys at the Philadelphia Eagles. In Week 18, no Monday night game will be played. The rest of this week’s games will be played on Sunday, concluding with a primetime matchup on Sunday Night Football between the Los Angeles Chargers at the Las Vegas Raiders. That game will have tons of playoff implications.
The postseason picture has become a whole lot clearer in recent weeks. 11 of the 14 playoff berths have already been clinched. The Green Bay Packers have locked down the top seed in the NFC, so they may not play their starters the entire game in Week 18 against the Detroit Lions, despite Matt Lafleur stating the opposite. The Titans will clinch a bye and the top seed in the AFC if they defeat the Houston Texans on Sunday. Tempers will be incredibly high for teams jockeying for playoff seeding, and particularly for teams attempting to clinch one of the three final playoff spots remaining (two in the AFC and one in the NFC).
And with that, it’s time to gear up for this week’s edition of NFL best bets. It takes a lot of energy and research to have success over the course of a season when it comes to sports betting. Here at FantasySP, we are committed to helping you cash. Remember, if you win 55% of your bets, you are a really good gambler. We are looking at some eye-opening odds this week and will help you decipher the best games to place your money on, whether it’s against-the-spread picks, moneylines, over-unders, or prop bets. With that, let’s dive in.
WEEK 18 NFL BEST BETS
Although the Chiefs perhaps blew their opportunity to win the top seed in the AFC by losing a heartbreaker to the Cincinnati Bengals last week, Kansas City can still earn a first-round bye and the No. 1 seed in their conference. They must win this game and hope that the Tennessee Titans somehow lose to the Houston Texans.
Last week, the Chiefs’ offense performed despite the absence of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and underwhelming performances from Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Still, Kansas City posted 31 points. It was the defense and some costly (and controversial penalties) that cost them the game. Kansas City’s defense has been on the rise prior to Week 17 and will get back on track against a Denver Broncos offense that has struggled to move the chains with Drew Lock under center. Lock has been unable to take advantage of some decent weapons in Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and Noah Fant. Although Jeudy and Patrick missed Week 17 due to COVID-19, the Broncos didn’t score a touchdown until the final minutes of their loss to the Chargers in garbage time. Lock is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league and it’s tough to envision the Broncos putting up more than 20 points in this game. Even Denver’s strong suit, their running game, has gone cold in recent weeks. Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams combined for just 73 rushing yards and zero touchdowns on 24 carries against an abysmal Chargers run defense.
Meanwhile, Mahomes has the best weapons in the league and has done an excellent job utilizing Darrell Williams out of the backfield. The Chiefs should roll in this one and dominate a Broncos team that has been officially eliminated from the playoffs. Kansas City will have no problem covering the spread despite playing on the road in Week 18.
- Pick: Chiefs (-10.5)
- Prediction: 30-16 Chiefs
San Francisco needs this victory to get into the playoffs while the Rams need this game to clinch the division over the Arizona Cardinals. This is probably the most interesting NFC matchup on the Week 18 slate. Under Kyle Shanahan, the Niners have gotten the best of Sean McVay’s Rams in recent meetings, including a 31-10 Week 10 blowout earlier this season. However, the 49ers won the first meeting with Jimmy G under center, but there is a decent chance rookie Trey Lance will be under center in the rematch.
Lance struggled to get it going early last week but finished strong against the Texans. He made some huge throws and moved the chains with his legs when needed. That said, the Rams defense is much better than Houston’s defensive unit. Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd will provide pressure like Lance has never seen before, and the Rams’ secondary featuring Jalen Ramsey will make things a lot more difficult for the rookie quarterback.
San Francisco will attempt to utilize their run-heavy approach, but Donald and the rest of the Rams will do a good job at limiting the Niners’ success on the ground. On the other side of the ball, Matthew Stafford has struggled with turnovers recently, but San Francisco has one of the worst secondaries in the league. Cooper Kupp will have a massive day, and it doesn’t hurt that Stafford and Odell Beckham are starting to link up for touchdowns on a weekly basis. Stafford is going to pick apart this secondary. And although the Niners have a stout rushing defense themselves, Sony Michel has done an excellent job since Darrell Henderson went down with an injury. Although the game plan will call for more passing plays than running plays, I still think Michel will have some success.
Both teams are 8-8 ATS this season, however, San Francisco failed to cover the one time they were road underdogs earlier this season. Meanwhile, Los Angeles is 3-3 ATS as home favorites.
Overall, I think San Francisco’s secondary is not strong enough to stop Stafford and his elite wide receiver corps. And Trey Lance has struggled to get superstar tight end George Kittle involved in the offense. Expect a hard-fought battle, with the Rams eventually getting the victory and clinching the NFC West. Although 61% of the bets ATS are on the Niners, a whopping 86% of the money is backing the Rams. In this scenario, it is a good idea to follow the “smart money.”
- Pick: Rams (-4.5)
- Prediction: 27-20 Rams
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The final game of the week will be a thriller. This is essentially a playoff game. The winner will earn a postseason berth and the loser will be watching the playoffs from home. Many didn’t expect the Raiders to be in this position, but they played a great game in Week 17, defeating the Indianapolis Colts on the road, largely behind their defense. Derek Carr has done well this season, particularly since he has been missing superstar tight end, Darren Waller, for the last month. Hunter Renfrow has come through in the clutch. Not only did he catch a touchdown last week, but he also made a great play in the late stages of last week’s game to set up Daniel Carlson’s game-winning field goal as time expired. The Raiders are now in a position to somehow earn a wild-card berth.
After losing to the Texans in an embarrassing fashion in Week 16, the Chargers got back on track behind Justin Herbert and some pretty excellent defense against the Broncos in Week 17. Although the Chargers are on the road in Week 18, the offensive weapons around Herbert featuring Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and tight end Jared Cook, should provide tons of matchup problems for the Vegas defense. Although the Chargers are 0-2 as road favorites this season with a 13.5-point average deficit, Los Angeles should take care of business and clinch a spot in the postseason. Don’t expect a blowout, but I do anticipate them covering the minimal spread.
Additionally, both defenses are very exploitable, so expect a high-scoring affair. I think this game should easily produce 50+ total points.
- Pick: Chargers (-3)
- Prediction: 30-24 Chargers
- Bonus: Over 49.5 points
Both NFC East teams have already clinched a playoff berth, however, the specific seeds in the NFC are still at stake. Dallas has a chance to earn the No. 2 seed in the NFC if they win and the Buccaneers and Rams suffer losses. The chances of that happening are pretty unlikely, so Dallas needs to be careful in who they suit up for this game. They already clinched the division so at the very worst, they will be the No. 4 seed. However, home-field advantage in any playoff game is very beneficial, so something tells me that Dak Prescott will start this game while the organization watches the scoreboard. If Dallas has no chance at moving up in the standings, Prescott may be benched. The Cowboys already lost wideout Michael Gallup for the season last week, and they don’t want to risk losing any other pivotal players.
The Eagles are currently the No. 7 seed in the NFC and the best they can do is finish as the No. 6 seed. There’s a good chance that Philadelphia rests Jalen Hurts for at least part of the game. Not to mention, Philly has a ton of players with COVID-19, so we should see several rested players on both sides of the ball.
The Cowboys are tied with the Packers for the best ATS record this season (12-4) while the Eagles are 8-7-1 ATS. Earlier this week, Jerry Jones hinted that the Cowboys will play to win. Although their running game has not looked great as of late with Ezekiel Elliott struggling immensely, this would be a good opportunity to get Zeke and Tony Pollard going ahead of the postseason. Plus, Dallas needs to get used to executing the offense without Michael Gallup.
I think it is more likely that Dallas plays their starters while Philadelphia rests a major group of their most important players. Don’t be surprised to see Gardner Minshew under center rather than Hurts. For this reason, I’m taking Dallas.
- Pick: Cowboys (-5)
- Prediction: 24-17 Cowboys
The Panthers are an absolute mess and will be starting Sam Darnold on Sunday. Their offensive line has been atrocious, giving absolutely no room for rookie Chuba Hubbard to find any holes. Not to mention, Tampa has one of the best run defenses in the NFL. The Bucs will dominate the trenches just as they did in the last meeting between these two teams in Week 16 when Brady led the Bucs to a 32-6 victory.
Carolina has the second-worst ATS record (5-11) in the NFL. Since the Bucs are still fighting for playoff positioning, Brady should play most (if not all) of this game. With Chris Godwin out for the season and Antonio Brown recently released, Brady will need to continue to establish a rapport with the rest of the wide receivers on the roster.
Expect the Buccaneers’ defense to turn in a strong outing against a Carolina offense that is prone to turning the ball over. I anticipate the Bucs leaning on their defense and the running game to get the victory. Tampa Bay has already clinched the division, but if they lose and the San Francisco 49ers win, the Bucs would have to face a team that nobody wants to see in the first round of the postseason. However, if the Bucs are victorious, they may be able to avoid the Niners in the wild-card round. That’s why I expect the Bucs to go all out to get the victory, as they would earn the No. 2 seed in the conference with a win and a Rams loss.
- Pick: Bucs (-8)
- Prediction: 30-17 Bucs
Top Week 18 NFL Player Props
Note: Keep in mind that not all player props have been released. These are the top five player props that have been released at the time of this publication.
- Cooper Kupp Under 136.5 receiving yards (-115)
- Deebo Samuel Over 47.5 receiving yards (-115)
- Tyreek Hill Over 62.5 receiving yards (-110)
- Josh Jacobs Over 55.5 rushing yards (-110)
- Patrick Mahomes Over 268.5 passing yards (-110)
In Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Warriors defended the home floor to take a 3-2 lead in the finals over the Boston Celtics. Largely, this is because Boston was careless with the basketball. The Warriors tallied nine steals and forced 18 turnovers by the Celtics. In contrast, the Warriors only got the ball stolen twice and turned the ball over just six times Monday night. While Stephen Curry was guarded ferociously and was held to just 16 points on 7-of-22 shooting (and 0-9 from downtown), his teammates stepped up.
Andrew Wiggins had another huge double-double, scoring 26 points (12-23 FG) and hauling in 13 rebounds. Finally, if the Celtics hope to win in Game 6, they will need to stay awake in the fourth quarter. Over the last two games, Boston has fallen asleep at the end of the game while the Warriors managed to sneak away with two consecutive victories.
Let's take a look at some of tonight's best bets for this huge NBA Finals Game 6.
Please Note: All betting odds were correct today as of 2:00 pm EST from Caesars Sportsbook
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Best Bets of the Night
Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics -4 (GSW Leads 3-2)
NBA Finals Best Bet #1: Boston Celtics -4 (-110)
It’s difficult to envision the Boston Celtics collapsing in the fourth quarter in three consecutive games. The Celtics may briefly watch the tape from Game 5 but they are going to have to shake it off and move forward immediately. Boston’s carelessness with the basketball Monday night should produce a much-needed wake-up call that will allow the team to make smarter passes and take fewer risks on offense against a Golden State defense that has surged over the last two games.
While Steph will likely score more than 16 points in Game 6, Jaylen Brown must have a bounce-back performance after going 5-of-18 for 18 points in Game 5. Though the Celtics shot above 40% from the field on Monday night, they turned the ball over at an uncharacteristic rate, finishing the night with 18 turnovers. Some of those were unforced errors while the Warriors earned nine steals as well.
At home in Game 6, the Celtics will play better and bring this 2022 NBA Finals series to a blockbuster Game 7 at the Chase Center. For NBA fans wishing for a seven-game series in the 2022 Finals and bettors looking to cash in on Game 6, Boston will win by at least four points at home in a win-or-go-home scenario. Jayson Tatum has yet to play his best basketball this series with Andrew Wiggins playing lethal defense but tonight will be the night that he finally drops 30+ points. Although Steve Kerr seems to think his squad is ready to close out the series, he may have to think again given how well Boston has bounced back from losses this postseason.
Don’t forget that the Celtics were in a three-game to two-game deficit against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals yet found a way to come out victorious. They may not be able to win two straight against Golden State but it’s tough to imagine the Warriors defeating the Celtics in three consecutive matchups. Boston wins by a few possessions: 110-104.
NBA Finals Best Bet #2: Over (O/U) 210 Total Points (-110)
Though only 204 points were scored between both teams in Game 5 (BOS 97 - 107 GSW), Game 6 will be a higher-scoring contest for multiple reasons. First, Jaylen Brown will have a bounce-back night. After being held to 18 points on 27.8% shooting from the field on Monday, Brown will almost certainly play more efficiently and score more in Game 6. Additionally, Boston had way fewer scoring opportunities due to their whopping 18 turnovers. Ima Udoke will make sure his starters take care of the ball in a game that can decide Boston’s fate. Marcus Smart and Al Horford have come up huge as role players but Tatum needs to really shift into an entirely new gear. Don’t be surprised if that happens tonight.
The story through Games 4 and 5 has been the same. Golden State has stepped it up on defense, managing to out-rebound the Celtics in both contests. Robert Williams III might have something to say about that tonight. In Game 6, the Celtics should be more cautious with the ball and therefore have more opportunities than they did over the last two contests. Meanwhile, the Warriors are always expected to drop at least 105+ points.
NBA Player Props
Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics -4 (GSW Leads 3-2)
Prop #1: Andrew Wiggins To Record a Double-Double (+225)
Throughout these NBA Finals, Andrew Wiggins has been on an absolute tear. Just over the last two contests where he finished both with double-doubles, he’s recorded 29 rebounds and 43 points. He has adapted his style of play and is spending more time down low in the post to help the Warriors out on the glass. Wiggins is putting significant pressure on Robert Williams III, Al Horford, and Jayson Tatum to rebounds the ball more efficiently. Not only is Wiggins keeping his scoring numbers up, he’s drastically improved on the defensive end to record 49 rebounds (9.8 rebounds per game in the Finals) through the first five games of this series. Wiggins’ shift to focus on rebounding and keeping the pressure down low has worked brilliantly for the Warriors over the last two games, both of which they won. In Game 6, expect him to continue to do what has been working, giving him a great chance to produce a third consecutive double-double in the NBA Finals. Perhaps he can even win the NBA Finals MVP Award if he continues to play at this level. Wiggins has been the true x-factor for the Dubs in this series.
Prop #2: Jaylen Brown Over 24.5 Points (-110)
After a rough shooting night in Game 5 where Brown only converted on five of his 18 shots from the field, he should wake up and score 25+ points in Game 6 at TD Garden. While you may want to stick away from three-point shooting props involving brown right now, he’ll hit the over in points tonight at the TD Garden. Brown has only scored over 24 points in one of five games this series (27 points in Game 3) but the Celtics do much better when Brown and Tatum perform like the perennial All-Stars that they are.
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In Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals, Stephen Curry and the Warriors executed exactly where they didn’t in Game 3 to tie up the series 2-2. Notably, Golden State dominated down low Friday night after being outrebounded and suffocated by the Celtics in Game 3. As a team, the Warriors recorded 16 offensive boards for a total of 55 rebounds for the night. For instance, Draymond Green struggled Wednesday night to finish the night with only four rebounds and three assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
In Game 4, Draymond dominated down low for eight rebounds, eight assists, and four steals without getting himself into foul trouble (only three PFs for Green in Game 4 after fouling out in Game 3).
Best Bets of the Night
Game: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors - 4 (-110)
Similar to Game 3, both teams shot the ball rather evenly. The Warriors finished the night with 44% shooting from the field, and 34.9% from downtown. The Celtics converted 40% of the field goal attempts and 39.5% of their shots from deep. One factor which helped Golden State keep up with the Celtics throughout the game was terrific rebounding. Andrew Wiggins stepped it up off the glass to produce a 17-point and 16-rebound double-double. What really caused the Celtics to lose in Game 3 was a complete offensive collapse in the fourth quarter.
With seven minutes remaining in the game, the Celtics had a 91-86 lead over Golden State. That means Boston was outscored 21-6 in the second half of the fourth quarter to lose Game 4 107-97. With Golden State back home, expect their offense to shoot better than they did on the road and secure a home victory in Game 5.
Bet: Golden State Warriors -4 (-110)
Throughout the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors shot 49.4% from the field and 40.7% from downtown in 11 games played at home. For their nine road games, the Warriors were less efficient on average averaging 47.2 FG% (2.2% less efficient from the field) and 34.9% (-5.8% less efficient from 3PT range). The numbers reveal clearly that for the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors have been more efficient scoring. With the prospect of taking a 3-2 lead over the Celtics, its likely that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have another big night in front of the home crowd.
Bet: Over (O/U) 212.5 Total Points (-110)
While only 204 points were scored in Game 4, expect Game 5 to be a much higher-scoring game. In addition to the Warriors shooting much better from the field, the team seems to have found some efficiency against the bigger Celtics down low. These two factors could push the Warriors to score 120+ points in Game 5. In turn, Jayson Tatum who scored 23 points (8-23 FG) will bounce back to have a 30+ point game. Both he and Steph are scoring big these NBA Finals.
While the defense was the main story of Games 3 and 4 at the TD Garden, scoring buckets will be the principal feature of Game 5 at the Chase Center. With him and Stephen Curry averaging more than 34 PPG through these finals, you can count on Game 5 in Golden State to be a high-scoring game.
NBA Player Props
Game: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors - 4 (-110)
Prop: Jayson Tatum, Over 26.5 Points
Jayson Tatum, like the rest of the Celtics, started hot but finished ice cold. If it wasn’t for the fourth quarter where Tatum shot the ball multiple times unsuccessfully. This negatively impacted his shooting numbers from Game 4 where he finished the night with 23 points (8-23 FG) converting only 34.9% of his shots taken. After a disappointing Friday night, Tatum will shoot more efficiently in Game 5. Since he still scored 23 points on an off-night, you can count on Tatum to score 30+ points in Game 5 even if the Warriors defeat the Celtics.
Prop: Andrew Wiggins, Over 6.5 Rebounds
One of the major adjustments made by the Warriors in Game 4 was boosting their presence off the glass. Andrew Wiggins recorded 16 of Golden State’s 55 rebounds Friday night.
Through the first four games of the NBA Finals, Wiggins has recorded a total of 34 rebounds. That means Wiggins is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game in the 2022 NBA Finals. Especially because the Warriors know how effective he was producing much-needed rebounds in Game 4, Wiggins will look to have a similar presence down-low in Game 5.
In Game 3, both teams shot almost equally well from the field and from downtown. However, Boston took more shots from the field and dominated off the glass to take Game 3 116-100. Boston’s defensive energy was on full display Wednesday night as they outrebounded and drew countless fouls from the Warriors. Boston’s defense was the story of Game 3. Will Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry overwhelm the Celtics in Game 4?
Let’s take a look at some of tonight’s best bets for Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals.
Best Bets of the Night
Game: Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics Game 4 (BOS Leads 2-1)
In Game 3, both teams shot virtually as efficiently from the field. The Celtics converted 48.3% of their shots (43-89 FG) from the field and went 37.1% from downtown. Golden State finished the night with a 46.2 FG% (36-78 FG) as a team, converting 37.5% from beyond the arc. The main reason for the Celtics’ victory was fantastic defense. For instance, Robert Williams III who isn’t 100% healthy, played 26 minutes to produce 10 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks. The Celtics dominated the Warriors off the glass to record 47 rebounds as a team with 15 of them recorded on the offensive end. In contrast, the Warriors totaled 31 rebounds on the game and only had six offensive rebounds. In addition, the Warriors committed 23 personal fouls allowing the Celtics to go to the line 24 times (Celtics were 17-24 FT) and had 16 turnovers as a team. For the Warriors to bounce back in Game 4, they will need to be more aggressive down low and less sloppy on the floor.
Bet #1: Golden State Warriors, +4 (-110)
The Warriors shot the ball well in Game 3, but were simply overwhelmed by the Celtics defense and the energy at the TD Garden Wednesday night. Golden State recorded 39 combined turnovers (16) and personal fouls (23) which demonstrates how sloppy they were with the basketball. This gave Boston a possession advantage throughout the game, ultimately allowing the Celtics to take 11 more field goal attempts and finish the night with seven more made FGs than the Warriors. Offensive efficiency is not the issue for the Warriors. Rather, they will need to ramp it up on defense in Game 4 to make the game interesting. Draymond Green fouled out of the contest after being shut down all night. Green was held to just two points, four rebounds, three assists, and two turnovers in 35 minutes on the floor before getting a sixth personal foul in Game 3.
Bet #2: Over (O/U) 215 Total Points (-110)
Though the Warriors were held to 100 points of offense on Wednesday night, they shot the ball well. Golden State was limited as a team for FGAs as a result of Boston’s defense. In Game 4, Golden State will have an answer to put up more points on the board than they did in Game 3. In turn, the Celtics will keep things interesting. Expect this Game 4 to be a high-scoring contest. Both teams have been scoring big throughout these playoffs, and that doesn't seem to be changing right now during the Finals.
NBA Player Props
Game: Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics Game 4 (BOS Leads 2-1)
Prop #1: Klay Thompson, Over 19.5 Points
Klay Thompson started the night shooting very well but cooled down towards the end. He went five for a whopping 13 attempts from downtown Wednesday night. He finished the night 7-of-17 from the field for 25 points. This comes after a terrible Game 2 performance where Klay went 4-of-19 from the field and only one-of-eight from beyond-the-arc. Tonight, Klay will shoot better tonight after an average Game 3 performance and bad Games 1 and 2.
Prop #2: Jaylen Brown, Over 2.5 Threes
Jaylen Brown has been knocking his shots from downtown as of late. In the last two games, he’s recorded at least three threes. He’s gone 7-of-17 (41.1%) from downtown through Games 2 and 3 combined. In the second of two home games at the TD Garden, it’s likely that Brown knocks down at least three buckets from beyond-the-arc tonight in Game 4.