NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 18, 2023 – Late Games

Tua Tagovailoa
NFL Picks (Preseason 2023): 4-7 (-$905)
NFL Picks (Week 1, 2023): 10-6 (+$760)
NFL Picks (Week 2, 2023): 8-7-1 (-$435)
NFL Picks (Week 3, 2023): 12-4 (-$995)
NFL Picks (Week 4, 2023): 6-8-2 (+$440)
NFL Picks (Week 5, 2023): 5-9 (-$2,110)
NFL Picks (Week 6, 2023): 6-8-1 (-$2,230)
NFL Picks (Week 7, 2023): 7-6 (+$30)
NFL Picks (Week 8, 2023): 5-10-1 (-$1,295)
NFL Picks (Week 9, 2023): 5-9 (-$935)
NFL Picks (Week 10, 2023): 7-6 (-$1,230)
NFL Picks (Week 11, 2023): 5-9 ($0)
NFL Picks (Week 12, 2023): 13-2-1 (+$1,960)
NFL Picks (Week 13, 2023): 6-7 (-$115)
NFL Picks (Week 14, 2023): 7-7-1 (+$740)
NFL Picks (Week 15, 2023): 6-8-2 (+$120)
NFL Picks (Week 16, 2023): 7-8-1 (-$800)
NFL Picks (Week 17, 2023): 8-8 (-$320)
2023 NFL Picks: 127-129-10 (-$7,320)

NFL Picks (2022): 154-134-8 (+$9,860)
NFL Picks (2021): 144-137-2 (-$5,365)
NFL Picks (2020): 138-124-7 (+$9,350)
NFL Picks (2019): 148-128-9 (+$1,200)
NFL Picks (2018): 140-134-12 (+$845)
NFL Picks (2017): 137-147-10 (-$4,300)
NFL Picks (2016): 148-127-10 (+$780)
NFL Picks (2015): 133-138-10 (-$3,215)
NFL Picks (2014): 143-133-7 (-$1,885)
NFL Picks (2013): 144-131-8 (+$7,825)
NFL Picks (2012): 130-145-8 (-$7,445)
NFL Picks (2011): 137-133-12 (-$1,335)
NFL Picks (2010): 144-131-8 (+$5,880)
NFL Picks (2009): 151-124-9 (+$4,235)
NFL Picks (2008): 136-125-6 (+$6,105)
NFL Picks (2007): 162-135-10 (+$3,585)
If you don’t quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.

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Vegas betting action updated Jan. 7, 12:10 p.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Go to Week 18 NFL Picks – Early Games

NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 18 Late Games

Dallas Cowboys (11-5) at Washington Redskins (4-12)
Line: Cowboys by 13. Total: 47.

Sunday, Jan. 7, 4:25 PM

The Matchup. Edge: Cowboys.

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DALLAS OFFENSE: Dak Prescott and his receivers had an incredible performance against Washington’s defense on Thanksgiving. This wasn’t much of a surprise because the Redskins have allowed the most deep passes in the NFL this year. What was a bit shocking was that Tony Pollard performed so well after struggling for weeks.

Pollard could be crucial in this rematch if the weather is bad. There’s a chance of a snowstorm hitting the East Coast on Sunday, though current projections don’t look too bad. Regardless, the Cowboys will be playing in the elements as opposed to their cozy stadium, where they’ve had most of their success this year. Prescott won’t be nearly as effective in the cold and wind.

However, that’s where Pollard comes into play. The Redskins used to be stout versus the run, but that changed once Jack Del Rio was fired. Pollard figures to thrive once again as both a runner and a receiver out of the backfield; Washington has allowed the sixth-most receiving yards to opposing backs.

WASHINGTON OFFENSE: It’s unclear what Washington’s offense will look like because we don’t know who will be starting at quarterback at the moment. Ron Rivera said he’ll name a starting quarterback later in the week, but I have to imagine that he’s pulling for Jacoby Brissett. He planned to go with Brissett last week, but Brissett tweaked his hamstring in practice, forcing Sam Howell into action again.

Howell predictably floundered against the 49ers, and he will once again struggle if given the nod. Howell holds on to the ball way too long in the pocket, which leads to too many sacks. As you might imagine, this is too problematic against Micah Parsons and the rest of the Dallas front.

Brissett, however, will give the Redskins a chance. Brissett is actually a competent quarterback who can consistently deliver the ball to Terry McLaurin. The Cowboys have been torched by quality quarterbacks this year, so Brissett could be the next signal-caller to do so.

RECAP: This pick is TBD right now because Washington’s quarterback situation is enormous for handicapping purposes. If Howell starts, I’ll be betting the Cowboys, provided the weather isn’t too bad. Howell stands no chance against a talented defense that can generate plenty of pressure.

If, however, Brissett starts, the Redskins will look very appealing. Brissett is capable of at least generating a back-door cover, as we’ve seen in his two stints. The veterans want to play with Brissett, so his presence will be extra motivation to knock off the Cowboys. This is the Redskins’ Super Bowl, after all, and I imagine the players will be confident that they can pull the upset with Brissett.

THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Sam Howell will start this game, which makes the Cowboys look very appealing. I plan on betting four units on Dallas. I’d like to make sure we’re in the clear weather-wise before I lock in anything.

LOCKED IN: I’m locking this in at -13 -110, which is available at Caesars and BetMGM. The reason is because NBC Washington is reporting that the vibe around the Redskins facility is that many of their veterans won’t play. If it’s announced that some key guys will be out, this spread could shoot past -14, so I want to lock in the -13.

SATURDAY NOTES: The Redskins are keeping out Jonathan Allen and Kendall Fuller. I was hoping for more veterans to sit, but the Cowboys should still be able to win this game easily.

PLAYER PROPS: I went with the Brandin Cooks over in the Thanksgiving matchup. I’m going to go with CeeDee Lamb this time with Kendall Fuller sidelined. The best number is over 92.5 receiving yards -115 at BetMGM. You can Get $1,500 in bonus bets from BetMGM by clicking the link.

SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: This spread has crept up to -13.5 in some sportsbooks, so I’m glad that we got the -13 locked in.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I don’t like seeing that the Cowboys won’t have Zack Martin and Tyler Smith. However, the Redskins are resting some veteran defenders like Jonathan Allen, Kendall Fuller and Kamren Curl. The best line is -13 -105 at Bovada. The sharps haven’t touched this game.

The Motivation. Edge: None.

No edge found.

The Spread. Edge: Redskins. Calculated Spread: Cowboys -10.5.

Westgate Advance Point Spread: Cowboys -3.

Computer Model: Cowboys -6.5.

The Vegas. Edge: Redskins.

Good action on the Cowboys.

Percentage of money on Dallas: 68% (120,000 bets)

The Trends. Edge: Cowboys.

  • History: Cowboys have won 11 of the previous 15 meetings.
  • Opening Line: Cowboys -13.5.
  • Opening Total: 48.5.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 45 degrees. Mild wind, 10 mph.

  • Week 18 NFL Pick: Cowboys 38, Redskins 17
    Cowboys -13 (4 Units) — Correct; +$400
    Over 47 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Player Prop: CeeDee Lamb over 92.5 receiving yards -115 (0.5 Units) – BetMGM — Correct; +$50
    Cowboys 38, Redskins 10

    Los Angeles Rams (9-7) at San Francisco 49ers (12-4)
    Line: 49ers by 4.5. Total: 40.

    Sunday, Jan. 7, 4:25 PM

    The Matchup. Edge: None.

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    RESTING STARTERS : Both teams will be resting their starters. The 49ers have clinched the No. 1 seed, while the Rams are locked into the No. 6 or 7 seed. So, we’ll be getting Carson Wentz versus Sam Darnold. I’m intrigued to see how Wentz looks under Sean McVay, but it’s not like he’ll be playing against a defense that has schemed for him at all.

    RECAP: Flip a coin. Seriously, that’s the best way to approach this worthless game. I guess I’ll just take the points with Wentz, but I’m not doing this with any confidence.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Carson Wentz was announced as the Rams’ starter, which is exciting. I still don’t plan to bet this game though.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Nothing new here. I don’t see an angle to bet this game.

    PLAYER PROPS: I was hoping to find some Davis Allen props, but there are none available.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: I will not be betting this game. The sharps haven’t touched this either.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Some sharp money has come in on the 49ers in the past few hours. I can’t say I understand why. The best line is +4.5 -105 at Bovada.

    The Motivation. Edge: None.

    Both teams may sit their starters.

    The Spread. Edge: None. Calculated Spread: N/A.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: 49ers -7.

    Computer Model: N/A.

    The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.

    People find the Rams appealing for some reason.

    Percentage of money on Los Angeles: 63% (46,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: 49ers.

  • History: 49ers have won 27 of the last 37 meetings, excluding the 2012 tie.
  • Brock Purdy is 18-4 SU, 14-8 ATS.
  • Opening Line: 49ers -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 42.5.
  • Weather: Sunny, 52 degrees. Mild wind, 13 mph.

  • Week 18 NFL Pick: Rams 20, 49ers 17
    Rams +4.5 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Under 40 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Rams 21, 49ers 20

    Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) at New York Giants (5-11)
    Line: Eagles by 5.5. Total: 43.

    Sunday, Jan. 7, 4:25 PM

    The Matchup. Edge: None.

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    PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: Things are certainly unraveling for the Eagles. First, it was their pass defense that was the only issue. Then, the run defense got worse. Now, the offense has taken a hit with DeVonta Smith suffering an injury against the Cardinals. He got dinged with a mild ankle sprain, which could keep him out or limited in this game.

    The Eagles have a great one-two punch at receiver, but they don’t have much beyond that. Julio Jones is the next option, but he’s decrepit. It doesn’t seem as though the Eagles will be able to fully take advantage of the Giants’ secondary, which has depth issues. The Giants are terrible versus slot receivers, but Philadelphia doesn’t have the personnel to take advantage of that.

    Perhaps the Eagles will be able to run the ball well. They were doing so with D’Andre Swift in the two games leading up to the Arizona contest, but they forgot to establish Swift in that defeat. I’m sure they’ll make amends in this contest against a leaky Giants rush defense, especially now that they’re dealing with Smith being hurt.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: As mentioned earlier, Philadelphia’s run defense has gotten progressively worse throughout the season. The Eagles were tremendous versus the rush to start the year, but it appears as though their young, Georgia defensive tackles have hit a wall.

    With that in mind, Saquon Barkley projects extremely well. Barkley isn’t having as good of a season this year, but he’s still had some big performances against weaker run defenses. We saw him thrive against the Packers in a Monday night affair five weeks ago, and he could have even more success in this game.

    Meanwhile, the Eagles will also have to deal with the Giants’ passing game. I didn’t think this was the case in the first matchup between these teams a couple of weeks ago, but things have changed a lot since then because Tyrod Taylor has taken over as the new quarterback. Tommy DeVito was a disaster, so Taylor has been a colossal upgrade. He kept the game close against the Rams last week by hitting a deep bomb to Darius Slayton – something he also did against the Eagles in the second half of the Christmas affair. Taylor also connected on several occasions with Darren Waller, who also has a plus matchup.

    RECAP: I’ve been betting against the Eagles for most of the regular season, and I don’t see why I would change strategies now. Philadelphia continues to be greatly overrated. The team has so many problems now, from the horrible secondary, to the leaky run defense, to the injury at receiver. Given the current state of affairs with the Eagles, they should not be favored by five points in a road game against the Giants now that Taylor has supplanted DeVito as the starter.

    The Giants are live to pull this upset. With Taylor at the helm, they’ve nearly defeated the Bills and Rams. Both of those teams are better than the Eagles in their current state. The only reason this spread is so high is because the Eagles have 11 wins and the Giants have five victories. As I’ve said many times in the past, team records are the siren song of the uninformed ESPN viewer. It’s often a big edge to fade a team with an inflated record like the Eagles, so that’s what we’ll be doing here.

    I’m going to bet three units on the Giants, and I’m actually going to lock that in now because there’s a chance the Eagles will sit their starters. Nick Sirianni mentioned that as a possibility, which makes sense because the Eagles would only move up in the playoff seeding if the Cowboys were to lose. If the announcement is made that Jalen Hurts won’t play, this line will plummet, so I want to make sure to get the +5 now.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: We haven’t heard anything about the starters yet, but I’d be surprised if the Eagles played their guys.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Still nothing on the Eagles starters, save for DeVonta Smith, who is out. I could see the Eagles sitting their players after a quarter or a half. The one concern for the Giants is that Tyrod Taylor got tagged with a back issue throughout the week, but he has no injury designation.

    PLAYER PROPS: Tyrod Taylor loves throwing to Darius Slayton. Taylor has seen extensive action in four games this year, and Slayton has logged 69 receiving yards or more in three of those games. I like the over 43.5, and the best vig for that is -115, which can be found at BetMGM. You can Get $1,500 in bonus bets from BetMGM by clicking the link.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: It’s sounding like D’Andre Swift won’t play, which is a sign that the Eagles may sit their starters for a portion of this game.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The Eagles are resting D’Andre Swift and Fletcher Cox. I can’t imagine them playing the entire game, but you never know – dumb teams like the 2022 Chargers and 2023 Lions have done so and paid the price. The sharps are betting the Giants. The best line is +4.5 -102 at FanDuel. You can Get $150 in bonus bets from FanDuel by clicking the link.

    The Motivation. Edge: None.

    No edge found.

    The Spread. Edge: Giants. Calculated Spread: Eagles -3.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Eagles -3.

    Computer Model: Eagles -3.

    The Vegas. Edge: Eagles.

    Decent money on the Giants.

    Percentage of money on New York: 70% (115,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Eagles.

  • History: Eagles have won 27 the last 32 meetings.
  • Opening Line: Eagles -5.5.
  • Opening Total: 45.5.
  • Weather: Slight chance of snow, 35 degrees. Light wind.

  • Week 18 NFL Pick: Giants 20, Eagles 17
    Giants +5.5 -107 (3 Units) – Bookmaker — Correct; +$300
    Under 43 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Player Prop: Darius Slayton over 43.5 receiving yards -115 (0.5 Units) – BetMGM — Correct; +$50
    Giants 27, Eagles 10

    Chicago Bears (7-9) at Green Bay Packers (8-8)
    Line: Packers by 3. Total: 46.

    Sunday, Jan. 7, 4:25 PM

    The Matchup. Edge: Bears.

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    CHICAGO OFFENSE: This is an easy matchup for the Bears. As good as the Packers were on Sunday night, their defense is still a major question mark. Sure, they limited Jaren Hall, but Justin Fields is obviously a much tougher quarterback to contain.

    Fields will be battling a defense that recently allowed Tommy DeVito to be NFC Offensive Player of the Week and then granted Bryce Young his best performance as a pro. Anyone foolish to think that this was more on Young than the Green Bay defense lost money the following week with Young struggling mightily against Jacksonville’s beleaguered defense.

    The Packers have been known to surrender some big production to outside receivers – most recently D.J. Chark – so D.J. Moore figures to thrive in this matchup. Cole Kmet will be able to take advantage of a defense that is slightly worse than average against tight ends. Furthermore, Green Bay is still shaky against the run, so Khalil Herbert, who has looked better recently, could have another 100-yard performance.

    GREEN BAY OFFENSE: “No Cookie” Jordan Love has been the most erratic quarterback in the NFL. He’s had so many horrible performances that he would be written off if he didn’t also have several brilliant games. We saw one of the latter against the Vikings last week.

    The Minnesota game was much more favorable for Love than this matchup. The Bears have ranked No. 1 in defensive EPA since Montez Sweat joined the team. There’s only one weakness the Bears have on this side of the ball. They’re stout against the run, so Aaron Jones won’t get much. They pressure the quarterback at a high rate, and they also cover outside receivers extremely well.

    As for the one defensive liability, that would be that the Bears surrender a decent amount of production to the slot. I’d say that bodes poorly against Jayden Reed, but Reed suffered an injury on Sunday night, so there’s no telling if he’ll be able to play.

    RECAP: I’ve been backing the Bears the entire second half of the season, and I won’t stop now. NFC playoff teams should be thanking their lucky stars that the Bears have been eliminated from the postseason because the argument can be made that the Bears are the third-best team in the NFC playoff race behind the 49ers and Rams. Chicago is seventh in net EPA and first in defensive EPA.

    The Packers are ranked highly as well. They also need this game more, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll win. Yes, this is our third Aurora Snowmo game. The Packers have to prevail to stay alive for a playoff berth, while Chicago has been eliminated. You may wonder if the Bears will slack off because they just lost out on a chance to reach the playoffs, but I liken their situation to that of the Lions last year. They are clearly building something for the following season, and one more convincing victory could go a lng way in coaxing the front office to retain Fields.

    I plan on betting the Bears heavily once again. We’re getting a great number at +3, considering that Chicago is the better team and won’t have to deal with any sort of choking factor. In fact, I’m considering this to be my December NFL Pick of the Month, but I’d like to see some injury reports first.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Jayden Reed was limited in Wednesday’s practice, which is great news for the Packers because he has the best matchup of all their skill players.

    SATURDAY NOTES: The Bears have a major injury with Jaylon Johnson listed as doubtful. Johnson is one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks, so don’t dismiss this injury as meaningless. However, Christian Watson suffered a downgrade on Friday with a DNP, so Johnson’s absence will be less impactful as it could have been. Meanwhile, Jayden Reed has been limited all week, so it’s impossible to know if he’ll be 100 percent. I still love the Bears.

    PLAYER PROPS: Chicago’s defense has been great, but the team has allowed the most receiving yards to opposing running backs. With A.J. Dillon out, and some receivers banged up, Aaron Jones should get plenty of touches. I like his over 17.5 receiving yards (-115), which you can find at DraftKings. You can Get $150 in bonus bets from DraftKings by clicking the link.

    LOCKED IN: I’m going to lock in the Bears +3 as my December NFL Pick of the Month. I wanted to wait on the Packer receiver news, but Christian Watson was downgraded on Friday. The sharps have taken this line to +2.5 in some books, so I want to get +3 -115 before it disappears. You can get +3 -115 at DraftKings. You can Get $150 in bonus bets from DraftKings by clicking the link.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: The best line I see now is Bears +3 -116 at Bookmaker, followed by +3 -118 at DraftKings.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Jayden Reed will play, but Christian Watson is out. This is great news for Chicago, who have gotten some sharp money go their way. The best line is +3 -115 at BetMGM. You can Get $1,500 in bonus bets from BetMGM by clicking the link.

    The Motivation. Edge: Bears.

    The Packers need to win, while the Bears have been eliminated. This is an Aurora Snowmo game.

    The Spread. Edge: Bears. Calculated Spread: Bears -2.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Packers -2.

    Computer Model: Bears -1.5.

    The Vegas. Edge: Packers.

    Decent action on the Bears.

    Percentage of money on Chicago: 83% (153,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Packers.

  • History: Packers have won 18 of the last 20 meetings.
  • Bears are 22-41 ATS in December road games the previous 63 instances.
  • Packers are 40-24 ATS in December/January home games since 2000.
  • Packers are 64-40 ATS in divisional games since 2006.
  • Opening Line: Packers -2.5.
  • Opening Total: 44.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 35 degrees. Light wind.

  • Week 18 NFL Pick: Bears 27, Packers 20
    Bears +3 -115 (8 Units – December NFL Pick of the Month) — Incorrect; -$920
    Over 46 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Player Prop: Aaron Jones over 17.5 receiving yards -115 (0.5 Units) – DraftKings — Correct; +$50
    Packers 17, Bears 9

    Seattle Seahawks (8-8) at Arizona Cardinals (4-12)
    Line: Seahawks by 3. Total: 47.5.

    Sunday, Jan. 7, 4:25 PM

    The Matchup. Edge: None.

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    ARIZONA OFFENSE: What a performance by James Conner! The veteran running back had one of the best games of his career, as he trampled over a Philadelphia run defense that had no chance to stop him. This was quite the surprise from Conner, who didn’t seem like the type of runner who could dominate a matchup that wasn’t overly favorable.

    This matchup is certainly overly favorable. In the past six weeks, the Seahawks are ranked dead last in EPA run defense. If you want any evidence of that, just watch what the Steelers did to the Seahawks last week. Najee Harris had a terrific performance, as he and Jaylen Warren steamrolled over a sorry defense.

    Conner’s great running will obviously open things up for Kyler Murray, who will need more assistance this week. Murray had the luxury of battling Philadelphia’s incompetent secondary last week, but this matchup is more difficult, especially with Marquise Brown being unavailable. There’s still Trey McBride, who has a nice matchup against a Seattle defense that has surrendered the eighth-most production to tight ends.

    SEATTLE OFFENSE: The Seahawks likely won’t have their primary runner. Kenneth Walker had some bright moments against the Steelers, but suffered yet another injury in the second half of that game. If Walker can’t go, it’ll be Zach Charbonnet, who has underwhelmed thus far as a second-round rookie.

    Charbonnet probably won’t be able to fully take advantage of a poor run defense, so it’ll be up to Geno Smith and the receivers to be more productive. Given the matchup, that doesn’t seem like much of a problem.

    The Cardinals, as you may know, are woeful against aerial attacks as well. They struggle to cover outside receivers, which bodes poorly in this matchup because of D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Metcalf didn’t play in the 20-10 Seattle victory over Arizona earlier in the year, so the Cardinals will have to deal with him this time. It’s been Lockett, however, who has given the Cardinals the most problems in the pre-Jonathan Gannon era.

    RECAP: This is our final Aurora Snowmo game of the slate. The Seahawks need to win to stay in playoff contention. The Cardinals have been eliminated. Thus, the Seahawks will likely just choke like most teams have done in their situation.

    The Cardinals are live to pull another upset. They’ll be able to run on the Seahawks, and it’ll help that they won’t have to worry about Seattle’s rushing attack as much.

    Curiously, this spread hasn’t been pushed up as much as other Aurora Snowmo games. The Seahawks are just -2.5, and it seems as though they would have gotten more than half the bets at a higher number. Taking +2.5 seems so unappealing because we lose on the common Seattle by three result, but perhaps this spread being so uncomfortable to bet means that it’s the right side.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I’ve heard the opinion that the Cardinals are not going to try very hard in this game because they had just won their Super Bowl by beating the Eagles. Perhaps that’s correct, but I think they’d love a chance to knock the Seahawks out of the playoffs.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Kenneth Walker will play, but I still like the Cardinals a bit. I worry about their desire to lose this game to preserve their draft positioning as they aim to land Marvin Harrison Jr.

    PLAYER PROPS: Arizona’s run defense is atrocious, so Kenneth Walker should have a huge game, especially if the Cardinals are a bit flat after beating the Eagles. Walker’s rushing number is 58.5 -110 at BetMGM. You can Get $1,500 in bonus bets from BetMGM by clicking the link.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: I’ve removed the unit count from this game because it seems as though the Cardinals will want to lose this game so they don’t miss out on Marvin Harrison Jr.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Again, I’ve removed the units in this game. The sharps don’t have a lean either. The best line is +3 -115 at BetMGM if you want to bet on Arizona. You can Get $1,500 in bonus bets from BetMGM by clicking the link.

    The Motivation. Edge: Cardinals.

    The Seahawks need to win, while the Cardinals have been eliminated. This is an Aurora Snowmo game.

    The Spread. Edge: None. Calculated Spread: Seahawks -2.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Seahawks -5.

    Computer Model: Seahawks -1.

    The Vegas. Edge: Seahawks.

    Slight lean on the Cardinals.

    Percentage of money on Arizona: 61% (113,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.

  • History: Road team has won 12 of the past 17 meetings, excluding a 2016 tie.
  • Pete Carroll is 21-11 ATS after losing as a favorite.
  • Cardinals are 46-33 ATS at home as underdogs or favorites of less than -3 since 2007.
  • Opening Line: Seahawks -3.
  • Opening Total: 47.5.
  • Weather: Dome.

  • Week 18 NFL Pick: Cardinals 27, Seahawks 24
    Cardinals +3 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Over 47.5 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Player Prop: Kenneth Walker over 58.5 rushing yards -110 (0.5 Units) – BetMGM — Correct; +$50
    Seahawks 21, Cardinals 20

    Denver Broncos (8-8) at Las Vegas Raiders (7-9)
    Line: Raiders by 3. Total: 37.

    Sunday, Jan. 7, 4:25 PM

    The Matchup. Edge: None.

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    DENVER OFFENSE: Much was made of the Russell Wilson benching, but those crying over it didn’t watch Wilson play at all this year. Wilson was trash for most of the season, only playing well when down multiple scores. Jarrett Stidham took over and won last week, albeit against the Chargers at home. Stidham had some communication issues with his receivers, but did a decent job of moving the chains otherwise.

    This matchup, however, is a different animal, and not just because it’s a human pillager compared to a horse. The Raiders have one of the best defenses in the NFL. They’ve been ranked in the top 10 of defensive EPA for most of the second half of the season. A big part of that is Maxx Crosby, who will undoubtedly place a ton of pressure on Stidham. If there are more miscommunications, Stidham will likely throw interceptions this time.

    The Broncos will want to establish the run to keep the ball out of Stidham’s hands. The problem with this, however, is that the Raiders have gotten better against ground attacks of late. Their EPA rush defense rankings in the past five weeks put them No. 2 in the NFL, believe it or not, so I don’t see Javonte Williams doing much.

    LAS VEGAS OFFENSE: Like the Broncos, the Raiders are starting a backup quarterback. Aidan O’Connell has had some bright moments against weak defenses, as witnessed against the Chargers, whom he torched with numerous decisive throws, in a Thursday night blowout.

    O’Connell, however, failed to complete a single pass in the final three quarters against the Chiefs, so he’s prone to struggle against the better defenses in the NFL. Whether or not the Broncos have one of the better defenses in the NFL is debatable. They rank fourth in defensive EPA, but for a team slotted that highly, they sure have a lot of deficiencies. For one, they’ve surrendered the most rushing yards to running backs in the NFL. They’ve been better against the run lately, but they’ve faced just one powerful ground attack since their Week 9 bye. That was against the Lions, who trampled them in epic fashion.

    The Broncos are also extremely weak to tight ends. This, however, is not an area in which the Raiders can take advantage. Unless Michael Mayer heals up and instantly develops as a finished product, the Raiders won’t be able to expose this liability.

    RECAP: Both quarterbacks appear to have rough matchups, so that makes me want to say the under is the play rather than anything. However, I don’t like betting totals because wonky stuff can happen like defensive scores and special teams touchdowns.

    As for a side, I’m inclined to back the Raiders. I trust O’Connell a bit more than Stidham in this matchup, and I believe the Raiders will have more success running the ball than the Broncos. I’m not overly enthusiastic about siding with the Raiders, so as you can probably guess, I don’t plan on betting either team.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Courtland Sutton was limited in Wednesday’s practice. His return would be a nice boost for Jarrett Stidham. Conversely, Josh Jacobs missed practice once again. His absence wouldn’t mean all that much because Zamir White has performed well in his place.

    SATURDAY NOTES: I wouldn’t blame anyone for jumping on the Broncos with the sharps. Courtland Sutton will play, while the Raiders will be missing starting offensive lineman Thayer Munford.

    PLAYER PROPS: I was looking for Zamir White props, but none are available yet. I’ll keep looking.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: Still a slight lean on the Raiders for me. The sharps are on the Broncos. By the way, I found Zamir White props, but the rushing number (73.5) is pretty high, so I’ll pass.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Again, the sharps are on the Broncos, and if you want to bet them, you can get +3.5 -124 at Bookmaker. I would side with the Raiders, with the best line being -3 -110 at several sportsbooks, including FanDuel. You can Get $150 in bonus bets from FanDuel by clicking the link.

    The Motivation. Edge: None.

    No edge found.

    The Spread. Edge: None. Calculated Spread: Raiders -1.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Broncos -1.

    Computer Model: Raiders -1.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.

    Equal action.

    Percentage of money on Las Vegas: 55% (69,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Broncos.

  • History: Home Team has won 11 of the last 15 meetings (Raiders won last six).
  • Sean Payton is 14-4 ATS in same-season revenge games.
  • Opening Line: Raiders -2.5.
  • Opening Total: 38.
  • Weather: Dome.

  • Week 18 NFL Pick: Raiders 16, Broncos 10
    Raiders -3 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Under 37 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Raiders 27, Broncos 14

    Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (5-11)
    Line: Chargers by 3. Total: 35.

    Sunday, Jan. 7, 4:25 PM

    The Matchup. Edge: None.

    I’m using this section to promote things from friends and readers of the Web site. If you want something promoted, shoot me an e-mail.

    We had Ben Wasley of Fantasy First Down on the WalterFootball After Dark Show multiple times during the summer. Check out his site if you want some more fantasy football content!

    RESTING STARTERS: The Chiefs will be resting their starters because they’re locked into the No. 3 seed. Andy Reid has a history of resting his players in meaningless games at the end of the year, so I don’t see why this would be any different. Patrick Mahomes will play a drive or two at most, and then it’ll be Blaine Gabbert time.

    RECAP: However, just because the Chiefs will be resting starters doesn’t mean the Chargers are the right side. The Chargers suck as a result of countless injuries they’ve incurred throughout the year. I’m still inclined to pick the Chargers, but I’m not going to bet this game.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Blaine Gabbert has been announced as Kansas City’s starting quarterback. As if this game couldn’t be more meaningless!

    SATURDAY NOTES: Keenan Allen will be out, but Joshua Palmer will play. I guess I still like the Chargers. Meh.

    PLAYER PROPS: Hard pass on anything in this game.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: This line is down to -3, but I still have no interest.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: There’s slight sharp action on the Chargers, but nothing substantial. The best line is -3 -118 at FanDuel. You can Get $150 in bonus bets from FanDuel by clicking the link.

    The Motivation. Edge: Chargers.

    The Chiefs may rest their starters.

    The Spread. Edge: None. Calculated Spread: N/A.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Chiefs -2.

    Computer Model: N/A.

    The Vegas. Edge: Chargers.

    Do people know the Chiefs will be resting starters?

    Percentage of money on Kansas City: 62% (41,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.

  • History: Chiefs have won 16 of the last 19 meetings.
  • Chargers are 20-29 ATS in San Angeles.
  • Opening Line: Chargers -1.5.
  • Opening Total: 35.5.
  • Weather: Dome.

  • Week 18 NFL Pick: Chargers 16, Chiefs 10
    Chargers -3 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Under 35 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Chiefs 13, Chargers 12

    Buffalo Bills (10-6) at Miami Dolphins (11-5)
    Line: Bills by 3. Total: 48.5.

    Sunday, Jan. 7, 8:20 PM

    The Matchup. Edge: Bills.

    This week on ESPN, we’re going to have awful announcers calling the shots instead the great preseason homers like Kevin Reilly, Ron Wolfley and Don Tollefson, inept ESPN guys Emmitt, Herman Edwards, and aloof people like Jay Cutler. Here’s what it would sound like if some of these dudes (and some special guests) were calling this game:

    Reilly: Welcome to the city of Miami, where tonight, the Miami Hurricanes take on the Buffalo Sabres. Guys, everyone is calling this a play-in game. I’m going to call this a play-out game because I’m out on watching this game. I know it’s my job to be an announcer, but I’m sick and tired of these games that don’t include my Philadelphia Eagles. As a superfan of my Philadelphia Eagles, it’s my duty to make sure that we cover them as much as possible.

    Emmitt: Thanks, Gogo. I feel the same way you does except for the Dallas Cowboy. If another team on TV or in real life for my job, I not really pay any attentions which are why I do not knowed the name of the player and guess that the player last name are Johnson. Johnson the most common name in the world so the odds say you gonna get it right. It is like when you flip flop a coin. They say that heads never fails so if you call heads, you never gonna lost.

    Reilly: Emmitt, I believe the saying is that tails never fails. I used to flip a coin in my room for fun, but Mother took it away because she said that gambling on flipping coins is the Devil’s work.

    Tollefson: Reilly, tell your mother that it’s OK to flip coins sometimes. When I’m debating between the blonde and the brunette at the bar, I flip a coin to determine which I’m going to kidnap and enslave first. Then, I go back for the other if she’s still there.

    Reilly: Tolly, you must be crazy if you think I’m going to stand up to Mother by telling her that flipping coins is OK. But speaking of Mother, we’ve been interviewing potential singer girlfriends for me so that she can prove her friends at the hair salon wrong that I can date a more beautiful singer than Taylor Swift. But we’re taking a break this week because we have the lovely couple in as guests, and trust me guys, there are no nefarious surprises waiting for you like a fat singer who will eat one of your faces! Taylor and Travis, how are you?

    Taylor Swift: I’m so glad to be here, I love football, yeah!

    Travis Kelce: Two things at once. Being dragged to places by my girlfriend and being bored out of my mind. Two things at once.

    Reilly: Guys, I have to say that you’re an inspiration to me in my search of a female singer I can force into being my girlfriend. What’s your secret? How do you keep the passion going? And which one of you forced the other to be in a relationship at first?

    Taylor Swift: I’m so glad to be dating a football player, football is fun, yeah!

    Travis Kelce: Two things at once. Pretend to listen to my girlfriend talk and nod my head in agreement after not really listening to her. Two things at once.

    Reilly: Well, I want to stand you over here behind this chair, and don’t think for a second that the blob behind the chair is a threat to you. Senator President John Feasterman, can you assure Taylor and Travis that they’re not in danger at all right now?

    John Fetterman: I like chairs! I don’t like chairs! I hate chairs! Sit down on chair! Stand up on chair! Eat and drink your chair! What do you make of what to do with chairs!? I want to drink them like water bottles and mustard. My favorite TV show is olive oil!

    Reilly: Wow, I can see why people voted for you, John Festerman! Our country is better in your hands! I- wait a second, we’re getting buzzed by Charissa Thompson, who has this sideline report for us. Charissa?

    Charissa Thompson: Thanks, Kevin. I’m reporting that the fat blob behind the chair is Lizzo, and she plans on eating Taylor Swift’s face. Also, unicorns are real. Back to you, Kevin.

    Reilly: Don’t listen to Charissa Thompson, she has no idea what she’s talking about! I don’t even know why we cut away to her when she just makes stuff up all the time.

    Taylor Swift: I’m just glad to be here, and football is fun, yeah!

    Travis Kelce: Two things at once. Get a heart attack and don’t get any sort of immunity from a disease that only attacks old people. Two things at once.

    Reilly: Guys, I have a surprise for you. Ready, one, two, three! Uhh, one, two, three! Hello!? Surprise, come on, surprise! Ugh, why is the surprise not moving? Hold on while I figure this out. In the meantime, our great president Joe Bident will talk to us about something. He’s very wise and a huge believer in democracy because the most democratic thing anyone can possibly do is imprison their political rivals and also take their names off the ballot.

    Joe Biden: Now look here, you brownie-busting fire engine salesman, when I was growing up in a North Korean baseball stadium, the North Koreans, they would call me Round Eye Joe on the count of my round eyes compared to theirs, which looked like something you’d see out of a jungle or an inner-city school. Now, here’s the deal: When I killed these North Koreans in the Vietnam War, I ran into this 18-year-old woman. I knew then that I had fallen in love because she had a 3-year-old daughter who looked like a mature woman of about five years old. Now, her father did not like this, probably because he wanted to have relations with her as well. Her father’s name was Captain Crunch. He told me something in Japanese and then challenged me to a pushup contest. This should come as no surprise to you, but I won the contest with both hands tied behind my back. No Arm Pushup Joe they called me, and by they, I mean all the foxy ladies who were still breast feeding with their mothers.

    Donald Trump: Excuse me, excuse me, Sleepy Joe is wrong, wrong, excuse me, excuse me, Sleepy Joe just said that he grew up in a North Korean baseball stadium, which is not true and a total lie, it’s such a big lie that no one has ever seen anything like it, because I’ve talked to all the North Korean baseball managers, and they all like me, and we’re great friends along with Kim Jong-Un, who I call Rocket Man, which is a great nickname, by the way, one of the greatest nicknames you’ve ever heard, and all the North Korean baseball managers tell me that I’m known as the Joe DiMaggio Don in North Korea, their words not mine, and they think I’m the greatest, even though I know I’m great, but not the greatest, frankly, but they seem to think so, probably because they’re the smartest people, unlike Sleepy Joe, who keeps challenging people to pushup contests but never follows through with it, probably because he couldn’t even beat Martha Stewart in a pushup contest, Skinny Arms Martha we used to call her, and Sleepy Joe can’t even beat Skinny Arms Martha, which is a total disgrace and a total disaster, and everyone agrees.


    Reilly: Shut up, idiots! Lizzo, attack!


    Taylor Swift: Oh no, my face is being eaten, ahhhh!!!

    Travis Kelce: Two things at once. My girlfriend’s face was eaten, and she actually somehow looks even prettier than before. Two things at once.

    Reilly: What!? How did my plan not work!? This is bulls**t! New Daddy, eat some more of Taylor Swift’s face because Lizzo is doing a bad job of it!

    Jay Cutler: Um, no.

    Reilly: New Daddy, come on! I feel like I’m Wile E. Coyote with these plans backfiring!

    Charles Davis: Kevin, sounds like you’re talking about Looney Tunes characters, Kevin. Why don’t we begin with what you brought up, Wile E. Coyote, Kevin? And then there’s the Road Runer, Kevin. We can transition to Daffy Duck, Kevin. Or maybe Bugs Bunny, Kevin. What about Porky Pig, Kevin? Can we chat about Elmer Fudd, Kevin? We can talk about Marvin the Martian, Kevin. Before I ask, tell me about Yosemite Sam, Kevin. Or Foghorn Leghorn, Kevin. And then, of course, there’s Kevin the Loner Loser, Kevin.


    MIAMI OFFENSE: The Dolphins have suffered a number of injuries lately that have made them much worse than they were when they were beating up the opposition several weeks ago. Tua Tagovailoa was the latest offensive player to get hurt, as he injured his shoulder late in the game versus Baltimore. Tagovailoa said he’ll play, but there’s no telling if he’ll be 100 percent.

    Tagovailoa’s supporting cast isn’t intact either. The offensive line is missing multiple blockers, which is going to be a problem against the Bills. Buffalo has a fierce pass rush that will be able to put pressure on the injured Miami quarterback.

    Furthermore, Jaylen Waddle may be out or hobbled, which will further restrict the Miami offense. The Bills have gotten much better in the secondary since incorporating Rasul Douglas into it, and defending an aerial assault featuring just one threat catching passes from an injured quarterback doesn’t seem too difficult.

    BUFFALO OFFENSE: The Dolphins have also lost some players on this side of the ball. Two defenders went down against the Ravens: Bradley Chubb and Xavien Howard. Of the two, Chubb’s injury was more dire because it was a torn ACL. The Dolphins already were missing Jaelan Phillips, so losing another pass rusher will hurt one of the strengths of the team. Miami was second in pressure rate, but that won’t be the case moving forward.

    Josh Allen will see less heat as originally expected, so he’ll be able to connect with his many talented weapons. This includes Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, who may not see Howard’s coverage. Jalen Ramsey is still in the secondary, but it’s going to be much tougher for the Dolphins to defend the Buffalo passing attack.

    The Dolphins should at least be able to handle the run well. Miami is seventh in rush defense EPA, which obviously bodes poorly for James Cook, who has been the focal point of the offense since Joe Brady took over for Ken Dorsey as the offensive coordinator.

    RECAP: I’ve seen some people ask why the Bills are favored by three on the road. The answer is that the sportsbooks want people to bet on Miami. The sharps aren’t falling for it, as they’ve been betting Buffalo thus far.

    I’m in agreement with the sharps. I probably would have thought differently several weeks ago, but the Dolphins are in rough shape with their injuries. They’re going to be missing several key players, and some of their top talents, including their quarterback, will be playing hurt. I’ll be betting a few units on the Bills at -3 or less.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There’s some chatter that Jaylen Waddle may return this week, but he was DNP in Wednesday’s practice. The same goes for Raheem Mostert and Xavien Howard, but the week is still young.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Sharp money has come in on the Dolphins at +3, probably because there’s more optimism about the health of Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle. I’m going to remove my anticipated units on the Bills for now.

    PLAYER PROPS: I was hoping to find De’Von Achane receiving props because the Bills allow the fifth-most receiving yardage to running backs. Maybe we’ll be able to get something soon.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: I’m putting my three units back on the Bills with Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert expected to be out.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: No Jaylen Waddle or Raheem Mostert, as expected. I’m going to be betting the Bills. The sharps are as well. The best line is -2.5 -114 at Bookmaker.

    The Motivation. Edge: None.

    No edge found.

    The Spread. Edge: Dolphins. Calculated Spread: Bills -2.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Dolphins -1.5.

    Computer Model: Dolphins -2.5.

    The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.

    Plenty of money on the Bills.

    Percentage of money on Buffalo: 67% (328,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Bills.

  • History: Bills have won 16 of the last 21 meetings.
  • Bills are 24-18 ATS after playing the New England Patriots since 1999.
  • Opening Line: Bills -3.
  • Opening Total: 50.
  • Weather: Clear, 52 degrees. Mild wind, 13 mph.

  • Week 18 NFL Pick: Bills 31, Dolphins 24
    Bills -2.5 -114 (3 Units) – Bookmaker — Correct; +$300
    Over 48.5 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Bills 21, Dolphins 14

    Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks
    A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week
    (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted whenever winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.

    NFL Picks Week 18 – Early Games

    Steelers at Ravens  |  Texans at Colts  |  Falcons at Saints  |  Browns at Bengals  |  Jets at Patriots  |  Jaguars at Titans  |  Vikings at Lions  |  Buccaneers at Panthers  | 

    Comments on the 2023 NFL Season’s Games and Picks

    NFL Picks - Sept. 11

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 7

    2024 NFL Mock Draft - July 25

    NFL Power Rankings - June 2

    Review Walt’s Past Record Picking Games

    On the bottom half of our NFL Weekly Lander page is the history of picks Walt maintains. Walt’s Results