Opening NFL Week 18 betting lines, odds and spreads: Rams can ruin Seahawks playoff hopes
Week 18 of the NFL season is approaching, so it’s time to look ahead to the opening betting lines, odds and spreads. Our lead betting analyst Jared Smith and Twinspires Director of Retail Trading Zachary Lucas offers insights into the lines and early betting takeaways for this week’s games.
Buy Low: Rams vs Seahawks
A popular theme this week will be trying to quantify motivation, as teams with nothing to play for square off against teams fighting for their postseason lives. In this case that motivation has been worth almost 3 points so far, with the Seahawks jumping from -4 to -6.5 quickly after the line reopened on Sunday. If John Wolford was able to keep this game close a few weeks ago I think Baker can do the same. Also as long as Bobby Wagner is playing, the Rams will be up for this game. Don’t tell him it means nothing.
Zachary’s Pick: Rams +6.5 – line is 3-4 pts too high. Sure it’s a must win, but the ‘Hawks should not be laying 6.5 vs anyone especially with how banged up they are.
Sell High: Steelers vs Browns
The motivation is not worth as much here as the Steelers only moved 1.5 points off the lookahead last week from -1 to -2.5. That makes sense to me considering the Browns are trying to milk every valuable rep out of Deshaun Watson considering how much time he missed this season. Watson looked better against the Commanders on Sunday and I can see that upward trend continuing this week, especially with the Steelers coming off a physical game against their division rival.
Zachary’s Pick: Browns +2.5 – Cleveland clicking at the right time. They’re too talented to be a dog to this Pickett led team. I have Browns -1 at Pittsburgh.
Freefall: Jets vs Dolphins
The motivation factor is significantly downgrading the Jets after their season ended with a thud in Seattle. Despite Miami losing in New England, the Dolphins line moved 4.5 points off the lookahead last week from +1 to -3.5. This move is even more noteworthy when you consider the Dolphins QB situation, which is very much up in the air after Teddy Bridgewater injured his finger. If Tua is not cleared from concussion protocol, that means Skylar Thompson would likely get the start.
Zachary’s Pick: Dolphins -3 or better looks good – Jets completely checked out and incompetent on offense.