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NFL Week 18 Picks, Predictions & Best Bets To Back Today: Farewell DirecTV Sunday Ticket

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 29 mins

NFL Week 18 Picks, Predictions & Best Bets To Back Today: Farewell DirecTV Sunday Ticket

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The NFL betting Week 18 schedule carries with it scores of playoff possibilities, all of which play a part in how you should wager in the final week of the regular season.  

Before we get to all that, let’s offer a farewell to the NFL Sunday Ticket on DirecTV. Week 18 will be the final Sunday of the Ticket being beamed into your home via 1970s satellite technology. The service began in 1994 and became a staple on DirecTV three seasons later. 

In addition to the Sunday Ticket jumping to Google-owned YouTube, this weekend marks the final broadcast of the Red Zone Channel, hosted by the affable Andrew Siciliano. The Red Zone Channel is different from NFL RedZone hosted by Scott Hanson

The version hosted by Hanson will carry over to the new version of the Sunday Ticket when it moves to the YouTube streaming service next season.

NFL Sunday Ticket and the Red Zone Channel have been a friend to bettors and fantasy players since their initial launch. Viewers were able to get and see real-time information from across the league. Something that was once considered a fantasy – much like live and legal Ohio betting apps, which launched on Jan. 1. 


RELATED: All NFL Head Coaches Ranked Against the Spread


The YouTube/Google version of the Sunday Ticket is expected to cost typical home viewers about $300 per season, a bit lower than most pay now for it on DirecTV. The question will be how many viewers will drop DirecTV now that the Sunday Ticket is available elsewhere?

So here’s a hearty “Thank You” to all at DirecTV who brought the entire NFL Sunday Ticket (minus those local broadcasts) into our homes for the past three-plus decades.

It has become an indispensable service for fans, bettors, and fantasy players. 

Week 18 begins on Saturday with an AFC doubleheader on ESPN. The Chiefs play for the top spot in the AFC in the Saturday opener at Las Vegas. In the nightcap, the Titans visit Jacksonville with the AFC South title going to the winner. The loser is out. The loser is out.

NFL Week 18 Picks – Final Week

Oddsmakers on betting apps have now set betting lines for Week 18 matchups. Here are our NFL Week 18 picks and best bets: 

DateMatchupWeek 18 Pick
Saturday, January 7Chiefs @ Raiders Under Points Total
Saturday, January 7Titans @ Jaguars Over Points Total
Sunday, January 8Buccaneers @ Falcons Over Points Total
Sunday, January 8Patriots @ Bills Patriots ATS
Sunday, January 8Vikings @ Bears Under Points Total
Sunday, January 8Ravens @ Bengals Bengals ATS
Sunday, January 8Lions @ Packers Under Points Total
Sunday, January 8Texans @ Colts Texans ML
Sunday, January 8Jets @ Dolphins Under Points Total
Sunday, January 8Panthers @ Saints Saints ATS
Sunday, January 8Giants @ Eagles Giants ATS
Sunday, January 8Browns @ Steelers Steelers ML
Sunday, January 8Cowboys @ Commanders Cowboys ATS
Sunday, January 8Chargers @ Broncos Chargers ATS
Sunday, January 8Rams @ Seahawks Seahawks ATS
Sunday, January 8Cardinals @ 49ers Over Points Total

All NFL Week 18 best bets are accurate as of publication. Our picks are subject to change. Use the BetMGM promo code BOOKIESPICKS to get a $1,000 risk-free bet for your NFL picks.

Saturday, January 7

Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN/ABC)

The Chiefs will be ready for whatever Jarrett Stidham and Josh McDaniels have in their Microsoft Tablet. KC could tie Tampa Bay for the worst record against the spread in the NFL this season if they do not cover here. We’ll stick with the under. 

Best Bet: Under 50 Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

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Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN/ABC)

Winner takes the AFC South. The Jaguars have a 72% chance to win this one. They’ve covered in 4 straight games, including in a 36-22 win over the Titans four weeks ago. This line seems a bit husky.

But both teams can generate offense when necessary. Games at TIAA Bank Field have averaged 43.2 points. (The Jaguars can still get a wild-card berth with a loss if the Steelers, Patriots and Dolphins also lose. A defeat finishes the season for Tennessee).

Best Bet: Over 38.5 Points (-110) at FanDuel Sportsbook

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Sunday, January 8

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m. (FOX)

The regular season is over for both teams. Tampa Bay has won the NFC South and is locked into the No. 4 spot in the NFC. The Falcons are locked into a Monday tee time. 

The Buccaneers will finish with at least a tie for the worst record against the spread this season no matter what happens in Week 18. The best they can do is 5-11-1. Tom Brady and Mike Evans found their mojo in Week 17. They're going to get some work in during the first half Sunday. 

Best Bet: Over 38.5 Points (-110) at DraftKings

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New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. (CBS)

This game was taken off the board following the suspension of Monday night's game between the Bills and Bengals in Cincinnati. The Patriots can clinch the final playoff berth in the AFC with a win. They can still get in with a loss, but it gets wicked complicated. They would need a Dolphins loss to Jets, a Steelers loss to Browns and a Titans loss to Jaguars. 

Depending on what happens elsewhere, there’s a real chance these two teams could meet again in the wild-card round. The Patriots need this. The Bills, not so much. We liked the Patriots on the original line of +8.5. It moved to +3.5 before the game was taken down. 

Best Bet: Patriots +8.5 (-110) at DraftKings

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Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. (FOX)

The Vikings are locked into the No. 3 seed as NFC North champions. The Bears clinch the No. 1 pick of the 2023 NFL Draft with a loss here and a Houston win over the Colts. Bear down! Anything is possible.

Best Bet: Under 46 Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

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Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals, TBD

This game was taken off the board following the suspension of Monday night's game between the Bills and Bengals in Cincinnati. The Bengals could be in the hunt for the top spot in the AFC. The Ravens are reeling without Lamar Jackson. Cincinnati is eyeing another Super Bowl run. Lamar remains questionable this week. This game will be played at either 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. and air on CBS. 

Best Bet: Bengals -6.5 (-110)  at DraftKings

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RELATED: Best NFL Parlay Bets To Back Today


Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. (CBS)

The Texans clinch the No. 1 pick in the 2023 Draft with a loss. Jeff Saturday may be unemployed come Monday.

Best Bet: Texans ML (+135) at FanDuel Sportsbook

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New York Jets at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. (FOX)

For the 54th consecutive season, the Jets will not win a championship. The Dolphins will need help to get into the playoffs – notably a win here and a loss by the Patriots. But their starting QB could be a game-time decision. Tua Tagovailoa remains in concussion protocol until further notice. Teddy Bridgewater was hurt against New England. And Skylar Thompson is Skylar Thompson. This total is generous.

Best Bet: Under 42 Points (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook

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Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Two teams playing for draft seeding. The Panthers were declawed by Tom Brady and Mike Evans in Week 17. The Saints pulled off an upset of the Jalen Hurts-less Eagles Sunday but were also eliminated from the playoffs when Green Bay beat Minnesota. 

The Saints are coming off a win and are at home. They hold the edge here. 

Best Bet: Saints -4.5 Points (-110) at FanDuel Sportsbook

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Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Neither team is in the playoff chase. Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski will be among the “Black Monday” casualties, unless he gets the boot Sunday night. Mike Tomlin is Coach for Life in Pittsburgh. And his team is still in this thing mathematically.  

They need the following: a win over Browns, a Patriots loss to Bills and a Dolphins loss to Jets. All three games have 1 p.m. kickoffs. Grab the latest Ohio sportsbook promo codes before wagering if you're in Ohio and planning to bet this one.

Best Bet: Steelers ML (-150) at DraftKings Sportsbook

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New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, 4:25 p.m. (CBS)

Jalen Hurts will play since the Eagles have yet to wrap up the NFC East, the best record in the conference, and a first-round bye. Philly could end anywhere between the No. 1 and No. 5 seed in the playoffs (but not 4th) depending on how things shake out in Week 18. Here is a look Philly's possible postseason scenarios:  

 Eagles: No. 1 seed (bye + home-field advantage)

  • Win/tie vs. Giants
  • Cowboys loss/tie at Commanders
  • 49ers loss/tie vs. Cardinals

Eagles: NFC East title

  • Win vs. Giants OR Cowboys loss at Commanders

Rookie coach Brian Daboll got Big Blue into the playoffs and has them locked into the 6th seed. Hence the monster line. But Philly is 1-3 ATS this season when facing lines of 7 points or more. 

Best Bet: Giants +13.5 Points (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook  

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Dallas Cowboys at Washington Commanders, 4:25 p.m. (FOX)

Ron Rivera, who did not know his team could be eliminated in Week 17, could be a surprise casualty on “Black Monday.” The Cowboys need a win here and a loss by the Eagles (playing at the same time on CBS) to win the NFC East. 

Otherwise, Dallas will be playing at Tampa Bay in the wild-card round as the No. 5 seed. The Commanders were eliminated Sunday. They've imploded and haven’t won a game since November 27. 

Best Bet: Cowboys -6.5 Points (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook

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Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos, TBD

Russell Wilson already cost Nathaniel Hackett his job as head coach. He can’t do much more damage this season. Justin Herbert and Brandon Staley got the Chargers over the hump and into the playoffs this season. 

LA is currently the No. 6 overall seed in the AFC. But the Bolts move up to the No. 5 spot with a victory here. That would mean a wild-card round game at the winner of the Jaguars/Titans game on Saturday night.

Best Bet: Chargers -3 (-120) at Caesars Sportsbook

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Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks, TBD

Pete Carroll has never missed the playoffs in consecutive NFL seasons. In order for the Seahawks to avoid just that, they’ll need a win over the hapless Rams and some help from the Lions against Green Bay. 

The Rams will complete one of the most spectacular single-season post-Super-Bowl-Championship collapses in NFL history. They could finish 15th in the NFC with a loss and a Cardinals win over the 49ers. This line has moved from the Seahawks by 3 to 6.5-points since it opened a week ago. 

Here's a look at the playoff scenarios for the Seahawks: 

No. 7 Playoff Seed

  • Seahawks: Win vs. Rams AND Packers loss/tie vs. Lions; OR tie vs. Rams AND Lions-Packers tie AND Commanders loss/tie vs. Cowboys

Got all that? 

Best Bet: Seahawks -6.5 (-110) at DraftKings

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Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers, TBD

The first in-season version of “Hard Knocks” will likely conclude with Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury being among the departed on “Black Monday.” The Niners have won 9 straight, including 4 games with Brock Purdy as their starter. 

The 49ers can clinch the NFC's top seed, home field, and a first-round bye with a win here and an Eagles loss to the Giants. 

They are a truck. We have a 13-point spread but the total is just 40 points. Something's gotta give. 

Best Bet: Over 40 Points (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook

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Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)

Aaron Rodgers with the season on the line? We saw what Tom Brady did in Week 17. This game was given the coveted prime-time spot because Rodgers and the Packers will be in the playoffs with a win. Green Bay’s defense should make sure this one doesn’t become a points-fest. The Lions, too, could be facing a win-and-in situation depending on the outcome of three other games. Here's a look:

No. 7 seed wild card

  • Packers: Clinch with win vs. Lions
  • Lions: Clinch with win at Packers AND Seahawks loss/tie vs. Rams; OR tie vs. Packers AND Seahawks loss vs. Rams; OR tie vs. Packers AND Rams-Seahawks tie AND Commanders win vs. Cowboys

Try saying that three times fast. 

Best Bet: Under 48.5 Points (-110) at DraftKings

About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.