Week 18 Expert Betting Picks and Predictions
Each and every week throughout the NFL season, the experts at numberFire will bring you their three favorite bets on the board -- one side, one total, and one player prop. They'll share some insight into one of their picks to provide context for their reasoning.
For this article, we are using the odds provided at FanDuel Sportsbook to pinpoint spots where value can be had this week.
Note: Betting lines and our player projections may change after this article is published.
Brandon Gdula, Senior Managing Editor
Side: Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5 (-110)
Player Prop: D.K. Metcalf Over 64.5 Receiving Yards (-114)
The Seattle Seahawks will have motivation throughout this game based on how the schedule falls with the @ Detroit Lions playing on Sunday night. Metcalf has had games of 51 and 3 yards in two of his past three games, each against top-four adjusted pass defenses. In six matchups with teams outside the top 20 in adjusted pass defense (which the Los Angeles Rams are), Metcalf has averaged 10.8 targets (a 30.8% target share), 137.2 air yards, and 92.7 receiving yards per game. That includes an 8-catch, 8-target, 127-yard, 1-touchdown showing against the Rams earlier this season. He should see a lot of work in this must-win matchup, and we shouldn't overreact to his recent results in tougher matchups.
Jim Sannes, Senior Writer and Analyst
Side: Detroit Lions +4.5 (-105)
It's tough to bet a side you know could move against you depending on a result earlier in the day. But with Dan Campbell, I'd bet the Lions put out a full effort even if they're eliminated from the postseason. This number likely accounts for the likelihood the Seahawks win earlier in the day and push the Lions out of postseason contention. We should also consider the flipside -- if the Seahawks win, this number should shorten. If I run this game as normal, I've got a much tighter contest than 4.5 points. So even with the risk of negative CLV acknowledged, I think the Lions are a great value where things stand.
Player Prop: Trevor Lawrence Over 261.5 Passing Yards (-114)
Austan Kas, Editor
Side: Las Vegas Raiders +9.5 (-118)
Player Prop: Austin Hooper Over 2.5 Receptions (+102)
The Tennessee Titans' tight ends had a monster day in the first meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars, catching all 11 of their targets for 113 yards. Hooper totaled five grabs for 68 yards in that one, and he was targeted six times last week in Joshua Dobbs debut start. With Tennessee nearly a touchdown road 'dog on Saturday night, game script should lead to the Titans having to go to the air. I think you can also target the over on Hooper's yardage prop (23.5; -114). Our model forecasts him to rack up 3.1 catches and 28.2 yards.
Kenyatta Storin, Editor
Side: Los Angeles Rams +6.0 (-110)
With the Bears rolling out Nathan Peterman, who has just 3 career touchdowns to 13 interceptions, it's hard to see them scoring many points on Sunday, and they're probably content to take the loss to improve their draft stock. Meanwhile, the Vikings can't drop below the NFC's No. 3 seed and need an unlikely 49ers loss to move up, so they could be inclined to rest players late if they get a comfortable lead. In all, there just isn't a ton at stake here, likely leading to the under hitting.
Player Prop: Baker Mayfield over 187.5 Passing Yards (-114)
Tom Vecchio, Editor
Side: Dallas Cowboys -7.0 (-110)
Player Prop: Christian Kirk Over 59.5 Receiving Yards (-114)
Kirk plays a large role in the Jaguars' passing attack with a 22.9% target share, 29.2% air yards share, 9.2 average depth of target (aDOT), and 28.9% red zone target share. The Jaguars are in a must-win spot, and it just so happens to be an elite matchup for him since the Titans have allowed the third-most (3,042) receiving yards and the second-most (19) touchdowns to wide receivers this season.
Austin Swaim, Editor
Side: Baltimore Ravens +9.5 (-115)
Player Prop: Najee Harris Over 69.5 Rushing Yards (-114)
In a must-win game for the Steelers, I expect them to lean heavily on Harris as the path of least resistance. Cleveland is numberFire's eighth-worst rushing defense, allowing the fifth-most yards and sixth-most carries to running backs. With the 10th-best pass defense, the Browns are a true run-funnel D. Despite a reduction in snaps with Jaylen Warren working more in the passing game, Harris has averaged 20.7 carries per game across his last three outings, which is his highest three-game volume stretch of the season.