NFL Week 18 Picks Against the Spread, Betting Lines, and Predictions

Betting lines and picks for week 18 in the NFL powered by Circa Sports.

While these blogs are typically a blend of attempted humor and famous movies, there are times when life is just bigger than the movies. We confirmed this mantra in the events that developed  Monday Night with the Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin. His story unfolded with drama, emotion, a united community, and a fighting spirit. When Damar began communicating, the true warrior asked his doctors about the game’s outcome. Their answer was simple, “Damar, you won the game of life.” Enough said. The greater football community, including the Sporting Tribune, unites behind Damar’s continued improvement. Betting lines seem so inconsequential, but with the positive direction Damar is going in, the game…and the show…must go on. 

This is week #18, the last week of the NFL season, and these are the current trends for key matchups. The Cincinnati Bengals have covered the past three meetings against the Ravens and are riding a 20-3 against-the-spread (ATS) run. The Buffalo Bills have won and covered the past three meetings against the New England Patriots, including the playoffs while outsourcing the Patriots by a 104-48 stretch. 

All of the teams are incentivized to make the playoffs. According to the Action Network, all of the teams that needed to get into the playoffs with a win during the final week of the regular season have gone 16-26 ATS. 

While monitoring how these trends continue, it will be presumed that all of the teams will give it their all out there for Damar Hamlin. We will be doing five picks this week because of last week’s game situation. 

All betting lines are courtesy of Circa Sports. (Reserve a seat at the Circa Sportsbook or Stadium Swim.)

Patriots vs Bills (-7)  Over/Under: 43.5

We will ride with the Bills, the team that went through a lot this week and pulled at the sporting world’s heartstrings. With Hamlin now talking to his teammates over Facetime, we feel this will motivate the Bills to go out and dominate their opponent. The Bills are in the position to clinch at least the #2 seed with a win on Sunday, and no better team to do that against than their arch-rival, the New England Patriots. Bills are one of the top five rated offenses in the league, and while the Patriots have a good defense, they always get shredded against the Bills’ offense, and we expect this to be no different this game. This is our lock of the week.

Our Pick: Bills-7

Panthers vs Saints (-3.5) Over/Under: 41.5

This might seem meaningless as both teams are out of playoff contention, but we like the Panthers to at least cover against their divisional rival, New Orleans Saints. The Saints’ offense is atrocious, as they have committed the second most turnovers in the league. They have also been a total mess equally on defense as they struggle against the run, standing as the 22nd-ranked team. The Carolina Panthers’ success comes from when they run the ball efficiently, evidenced by their 6-2 record for rushing 100+ yards this season. Carolina also beat the Saints 22-14 in week #3 and wants to claim some bragging rights in the division. We expect Carolina to come out swinging and to at least cover this spread. 

Our Pick: Panthers +3.5

Lions vs. Packers (-4.5) Over/Under: 49

We already have our lock of the week, but if there is a second pick we are very confident in, it would be to pick Aaron Rodgers with a post-season berth on the line at home. The Green Bay Packers are currently one of the hottest teams in the league and are riding a four-game winning streak. With a win Sunday, they are in it for the postseason. Detroit has also been a very hot team, and we expect them to make this a close ball game the entire way through. However, we expect Green Bay to inch out ahead because of their ability to run the ball (with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon) as well as capitalizing on their much improved receiving game with Christian Watson becoming Aaron Rodgers’s best target. This is the Lions’ first nationally televised game under the bright lights on the big stage, and they aren’t used to this pressure yet. It is Green Bay’s time to shine and ultimately clinch their spot in the playoffs. 

Our Pick: Packers -4.5

Ravens vs Bengals (-10) Over/Under: 39.5

 Lamar Jackson was playing, we might be taking the Ravens to cover here. But, the fact that he isn’t playing and that they are going up against one of if not the hottest team in the league, the Cincinnati Bengals, shows we are confident in our pick with the home team in this one. Without Lamar Jackson, the Ravens’ offense is very limited–beyond tight end Mark Andrews and the running game. The Bengals’ DJ Reader is one of the best run-stoppers in the league, and pairing him up with Hendrickson makes this Bengals defense a very stout unit in the AFC. The Bengals secondary is also very good, and we see the Ravens having a hard time making big plays down the field in this matchup. Joe Burrow has been on a heater with multiple touchdowns thrown in four straight games and is one of the league leaders in touchdown passes with 34 for the season. Bengals have the bigger playmakers with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins and the ability to run the ball with Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine; this is a recipe for sweet success for the Bengals.

Our Pick: Bengals-10

Titans vs Jaguars (-6) Over/Under: 40

The AFC South title is on the line Saturday night. For this one, we are rocking with the boy wonder, Trevor Lawrence (and co.), to cover and take the cake for the AFC South title. The last time these teams played was back in week 14, and Trevor Lawrence threw for four touchdowns that game. “T Law” is top 10 in passing yards, completion percentage, touchdowns, and passer rating. The Titans’ defense has been banged up and very below average lately. They are last in the league in passing yards allowed, and that does not bode well against a hot up-and-coming Jaguars home team. This is the biggest offensive game of Josh Dobbs’ young career and we aren’t confident he can handle the bright lights on the road for the AFC South title against a hot, upstart Jaguars team. We like the home team. 

Our Pick: Jaguars-6

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