Pickswise Pro Football Capper Contest - Week 18 picks

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Ricky Dimon

NFL· 2 weeks ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The Pickswise Pro Football Capper Contest is entering its final week. Pickswise fan entrant Steve McQueen and Professional Poker Player and SuperContest winner David Baker will battle it out for the the $10,000 prize. Thank you for following our experts’ picks all season, and for all of our Week 18 picks, and the current standings, check out our leaderboard here.

At Pickswise we specialize in providing free expert picks and predictions, and you can find all of our best bets, props, and parlays here.

Let’s check out this week’s picks from the contestants, who are listed in order of the current standings.

Steve McQueen

Best Bet: Colts -15.5

The last week in the NFL is always weird. Some teams have nothing to play for. Playoff teams rest in preparation. The Colts need a win to secure playoff bid. Jacksonville needs a loss for the top draft pick. Hand the ball off to Jonathan Taylor and hammer the Colts.

Additional Bet #1: Steelers vs Ravens Under 42

Pittsburgh can’t score. The Ravens are in freefall mode. I took the lead thanks to Steelers unders; I plan to win with Steelers unders.

Additional Bet #2 : Packers vs Lions Under 45

Aaron Rodgers says he is playing. If he does, it surely won’t be for long. His team is locked into the No. 1 seed and Detroit is looking for draft order. Fade this mess.

David Baker

Best Bet: Saints -4.5

I would like to first thank Pickswise for inviting me to this prestigious contest. It’s been an honor to compete all season as we chase first place. This week I’m moving all in with a team that needs a win. The Saints have looked awful at times and pretty good at other times this year. It mostly comes and goes with the QB. When Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill have suited up, the Saints have actually been decent. They have confidence beating the Bucs twice and now get a Falcons team I’m just not buying. Atlanta is playing for nothing. The Saints’ defense can be stifling and I expect it to be so Sunday. The Falcons have little toughness, so I expect the Saints to deliver a workmanlike 10-to-14-point victory.

Additional Bet #1: Lions +3.5

Why aren’t the Lions favored here? They have played very hard all year and I expect a top effort from head coach Dan Campbell and his team. Talk all you want, Packers, about playing your starters. But come on; you are really going to risk Aaron, Davante, and your RBs for what? I’m not buying it. But regardless of who is playing for the Packers, Campbell seems like the type of coach that wants to be able to tell his team they beat the eventual Super Bowl champs.

Additional Bet #2: Cowboys vs Eagles Under 43

Both of these teams are in the playoffs with nothing more than nominal seeding at stake. I expect both teams to play their main guys a very limited amount if at all. There is a chance they could meet up in round one and I look for a fairly vanilla game-plans by both teams. I anticipate a pretty boring football game as they both prepare for the bigger picture.

Ross Tucker

It used to be that Week 17 was one of the hardest weeks of the season, but with the 1-week expansion of the NFL season that distinction has now fallen to Week 18. Why is it so hard? The answer is motivation and as a result a lot of uncertainty regarding who will and who will not be playing in these games. However, that also creates opportunity as information comes out about teams sitting starters and vice versa during the week — so it is important to stay on top of the breaking news as it becomes available.

Best Bet: Dolphins +7

The team I feel best about in Week 18 is Miami getting 7 points from New England at home. While the Dolphins might be a little deflated based upon their loss last week to the Titans, which ended their 7-game winning streak and eliminated them from playoff contention. I still think they will be plenty motivated. For one, Tua Tagovailoa knows that he is still playing for his job next year at this point and is anxious to bounce back from last week’s poor performance. Also, head coach Brian Flores came from New England so you know he’d like nothing more than to beat Bill Belichick and secure a winning season.

Plus, the Patriots clinched a playoff berth themselves last week and know it is unlikely that the Bills lose to the Jets. So the Pats may not have the same motivation in this one.

Seven points is a lot for a solid team in Miami that seemingly always plays the Patriots tough at home. Give me the Phins.

Additional Bet #1: Steelers +5

Additional Bet #2: Browns +3

Prop Bet Guy

Best Bet: Raiders +3

With this matchup most likely serving as a de facto play-in game, I’ll take the home team with the points. The Raiders have been in win-or-go-home mode for 3 weeks now, notching some impressive victories against the Browns, Broncos, and Colts. Derek Carr’s leadership and strong play has helped this team exceed expectations in what has been a tumultuous season off the field. Plus, the Raiders should be getting superstar tight end Darren Waller back.

It’s a tall task for a young Chargers team to come into a hostile home environment in an elimination game. Justin Herbert has had some moments recently that remind us he’s still raw, and it wouldn’t shock me to see a multi-turnover game from the sophomore QB.

Additional Bet #1: Rams -4.5

With the Rams looking to lock up the division, I’ll take them with the points. Although it looks like Jimmy Garoppolo will play, it’s fair to question how effective he will be with his thumb injury. Meanwhile, the Rams have hit their stride by winning their last five games.

Additional Bet #2: Vikings -4

Neither team has much to play for, but with Kirk Cousins coming back the Vikings are the superior team. There is no indication that starters will be rested. Give me the better team, at home, with the points.

Read PropBetGuy’s best prop picks here

Jared Smith

Best Bet: Raiders +3

Vegas has impressed me in the second half of the season despite dealing with a multitude of off-field issues. On the field, Josh Jacobs is shouldering the load, averaging almost 20 carries over the last three games — which were all Raider victories. That’s bad news for the Chargers’ defense, which is dead last in the NFL in rush success rate this season. Since Henry Ruggs was dismissed from the team in Week 9, Derek Carr is 3rd in completion percentage and 9th in passing success rate — numbers that may surprise some. He will also get TE Darren Waller back from the COVID list this week, which is a massive boost for the Raiders offense. On defense, I think Vegas will be able to stop the run this time around — something it couldn’t do in Week 4 (a 28-14 Chargers win). Austin Ekeler ran for 117 yards in that game and LAC averaged 4.9 yards per carry. I just don’t see that happening in this game, considering the Vegas rush defense is 5th in success rate since Week 10. It’s not easy fading Justin Herbert in this spot, as he leads the NFL in passing success rate this season. However, the Chargers have shown inconsistency in important spots this year, and according to the weighted DVOA rankings — which take into account recent form (Raiders 19th, Chargers 26th) — we are getting the better defense at home catching at least a full field goal.

Additional Bet #1: Seahawks +7

Despite Arizona’s win last week, its advanced metrics still showed some sluggishness on offense. Explosive plays against the aggressive Cowboys’ defense carried the Cardinals through. Meanwhile, Seattle’s offense has come on very strong of late and I expect the ‘Hawks to play hard to the final whistle.

Additional Bet #2: Falcons +4.5

Atlanta has nothing to play for and its offense has regressed down the stretch under first-year head coach Arthur Smith. Still, the Falcons have already beaten the Saints earlier this season and I don’t trust the New Orleans offense to cover any number on the road right now.

Read Jared Smith’s best Week 18 contract incentive player props

Drew Knows

Best Bet: Seahawks vs Cardinals under 48

One last chance to fade Russell Wilson this season? Count me in. I’m just not a believer in the current iteration of this Seahawks offense, and even in their explosion against the Lions last week Wilson still had only 236 yards. The Cardinals beat the Cowboys last week and it was mostly due to their defense. They held Dak Prescott to 5.9 yards per attempt in that one, and Arizona’s offense hasn’t exactly been humming since Kyler Murray returned from his ankle injury.

Additional Bet #1: Vikings -4

One last chance for Kirk Cousins to let me down? Sure; why not? The Bears are going on the road for a meaningless Week 18 and will be without Justin Fields, the only thing that gives them much juice. They only beat up on the Giants last week because Mike Glennon kept spotting them points. With Akiem Hicks also out, I don’t see the Bears hanging around with a much more talented (if frustrating) Vikings team.

Additional Bet #2: Texans +10.5

I’m fading the narrative that the Titans are going to roll just because they need this game to clinch the top seed in the AFC. The Texans always play hard, and I’m sure they’d love to play spoiler here at home. Houston already beat the Titans in Tennessee earlier this year! And that was with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, who did nothing in that game. Davis Mills has looked much better than Taylor of late.

Read Andrew Ortenberg’s Week 18 mega parlay

Jamaal Charles

Best Bet: Saints -4.5

The Saints are still not out of playoff contention. Their defense continues to look great and will want this game more than the Falcons. Alvin Kamara will have a big day on the group and I think they win by at least a touchdown.

Additional Bet #1: 49ers +4.5

This will be a tight game between two teams that need to win. The 49ers probably have to win to make the playoffs (unless the Saints lose to the Falcons) and the Rams want to win to avoid losing the NFC West to the Cardinals. San Francisco always plays the Rams tough and 4.5 points is just too many. Give me the points!

Additional Bet #2: Colts -15

After the Jaguars gave up 50 points to the Patriots last week, it is hard to see the Colts not doing the same thing to the Jags in what is a win-and-get-in game for Indy. Jonathan Taylor probably has a chance to break the single-game rushing record in this one.

John Hyslop

The goal is simple this week: get as many wins as possible so I can at least say I didn’t have the fewest wins in the contest. Obviously I want to hit the best bet, but that really doesn’t matter at this point. Raw wins, people; that’s all that matters for the bottom-feeders. Here are the ‘dogs that will get it done.

Best Bet: Lions +3.5  

Additional Bet #1: Falcons +4.5

Additional Bet #2: Eagles +7

Pickswise is the home of free NFL Predictions  and NFL Odds. Check out the latest NFL Prop Bets and NFL Parlays as well as expert NFL Underdog Picks and NFL Computer Picks

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