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Bettors Fading Colts, Browns Ahead of Regular-Season Finales

NFL Week 18 Betting Lines: Indy, KC Go From Favorites to 'Dogs

The NFL playoffs are upon us. It’s Week 18 of the regular season, and several postseason spots are still up for grabs.

Of course, that also means several contenders plan to rest starters with an eye on staying healthy for their Super Bowl chase. Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Christian McCaffrey are just a few of the stars who expect to sit out. In that sense, this weekend’s games could be volatile for some bettors.

As we inch closer to kickoff, let’s zero in on a few games that have seen the most movement on NFL Week 18 betting lines.

Texans logo Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Colts logo

Day/Time:
Opening Line Texans +2
Current Line Texans -1.5

Indianapolis opened as a 2-point favorite, but that line quickly flipped in Houston’s direction. The Texans took over at -1 on New Year’s Day and have inched up to -1.5 ahead of their primetime showdown in Week 18. Both teams remain in contention for a playoff spot and take the AFC South title with a win and a Jacksonville loss to Tennessee.

CJ Stroud returned from a concussion to throw for 213 yards and a touchdown last week in Houston’s 26-3 victory over the Titans. Stroud now has 21 touchdown passes compared to only five interceptions and is the runaway favorite to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year at -1000.

Meanwhile, veteran Gardner Minshew continues to be a pleasant surprise (3,164 passing yards, 15 TDs) for the Colts.

Indianapolis is 9-7 ATS and has gone Over the total an NFL-high 11 times this NFL season, good for a 68.8% cover rate.

Browns logo Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals Bengals logo

Day/Time:
Opening Line Browns +3.5
Current Line Browns +7

The Cleveland Browns (11-5) clinched an AFC playoff berth, their first since 2020, with a Week 17 victory over the Jets. With little to gain this week, Kevin Stefanski is planning to sit several starters, including quarterback Joe Flacco. Journeyman backup Jeff Driskel, signed off Arizona’s practice squad last week, is slated to start in Flacco’s place. Driskel last played in 2022 when he appeared in seven games with Houston and completed 14 of 20 passes for 108 yards and one touchdown.

Cleveland is the eighth team since 1950 to win with four different quarterbacks (Deshaun Watson, PJ Walker, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Flacco) in the same season. Given all the adversity Cleveland has faced, Stefanski, a -950 favorite for NFL Coach of the Year, clearly doesn’t want to take any more chances before the wild card round. The Browns are locked into the AFC’s No. 5 seed, making Sunday relatively meaningless.

Flacco has been far better than expected since signing with Cleveland on Nov. 20. The former Super Bowl MVP is 4-1 as a starter and has thrown for 1,616 yards and 13 touchdowns, according to NFL QB stats. Driskel, meanwhile, is just 1-9 as a starter during his NFL career.

Accordingly, oddsmakers are backing Cincinnati. The Bengals opened as 3.5-point favorites and have climbed to -7 on the NFL Week 18 betting line, with a majority of bettors clearly skeptical about Cleveland’s level of motivation.

Broncos logo Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders Raiders logo

Day/Time:
Opening Line Raiders -0.5
Current Line Raiders -2.5

There’s little to nothing at stake for Denver and Las Vegas, as both teams have already been eliminated from playoff contention.

The Raiders (7-9) opened as half-point home favorites and have quickly climbed to -2.5 on the NFL Week 18 betting line, as bettors are showing confidence in Antonio Pierce’s ability to motivate his players in a meaningless regular-season finale. Pierce is 4-4 since taking over for Josh McDaniels, and he has the backing of several prominent Raiders, including receiver Davante Adams and defensive end Maxx Crosby, to become the full-time head coach.

Las Vegas has covered in three straight games and is 9-6-1 ATS.

Things haven’t gotten as swimmingly of late for Denver’s Sean Payton, who’s drawn criticism for benching quarterback Russell Wilson. Backup Jarrett Stidham is expected to get the starting nod again after throwing for 224 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 16-9 win over the Chargers.

Eagles logo Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants Giants logo

Day/Time:
Opening Line Eagles -7
Current Line Eagles -5.5

The defending NFC champions, the Eagles (11-5), are in a free fall, having dropped four of their last five games to lose their grip on the NFC East. They’re 0-5 ATS during that span, including a Week 17 loss to Arizona in which the Eagles were favored by 12.5 points.

Despite still holding a slim chance at the division, Nick Sirianni suggested he may rest some starters to begin preparing for next week’s wild-card round. Oddsmakers have reacted accordingly, dropping the Eagles from 7-point favorites to -5.5 on the live NFL line.

Philadelphia owns five straight wins over its divisional rival. However, Brian Daboll has his team playing tough down the stretch. The Giants have covered in five of their last six games, including a 33-25 loss to Philadelphia on Christmas. That trend, combined with the possibility of inclement weather in the tri-state area on Sunday, could make this a tough spot for Philadelphia.

Chiefs logo Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers Chargers logo

Day/Time:
Opening Line Chargers +3.5
Current Line Chargers -1.5

The Kansas City Chiefs opened as 3.5-point favorites, but that line flipped once Andy Reid announced plans to sit multiple starters, including star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City (10-6) has little to play for this week after clinching the AFC West title in its 25-17 victory over Cincinnati.

Backup Blaine Gabbert is expected to start in place of the reigning MVP. Gabbert’s appeared in one game this season, passing for 31 yards with two interceptions. This will be the 49th NFL start for Gabbert, but the first since 2018 when he was with Tennessee.

Los Angeles (5-11) has dropped four straight and is 1-7 over its last eight games.

For NFL scores and odds, betting analysis and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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