NFL Week 18 Bet Now, Bet Later: Pats' Spread Will Grow Thanks to Floundering Fins

The Miami Dolphins saw their epic winning streak end in Week 17 and they're losing ground in the early odds against the New England Patriots in Week 18. That gap will widen, so grabbing the Pats now is paramount in Jason Logan's Bet Now, Bet Later picks.

Jason Logan: Senior Betting Analyst at Covers
Jason Logan • Senior Betting Analyst
Jan 2, 2022 • 21:26 ET • 4 min read

Week 18 closes the book on the NFL regular season but before that story ends, there are plenty of twists and turns to come in these finales.

The last week of the schedule is always a tough one to navigate, especially when you’re planning which NFL Week 18 odds to bet now and which ones to bet later. 

We know which teams are playing for playoff positions but what about the motivations of those teams not qualifying for the tournament? And as of this writing, the Week 18 schedule isn’t even set in stone with two Saturday slots to fill and a Sunday nighter. Oh yeah, and COVID.

It’s a bit of a crapshoot in Week 18, but we do our best with the spreads and totals to bet now and the NFL lines you might want to wait on.

Week 18 bet now, bet later picks

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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The Patriots hung a 50 burger in Week 17 and while it may have come at the expense of the lowly Jaguars, that offensive outpouring is going to win over early bettors and take this spread to Pats -6 or higher.

The Dolphins’ winning streak finally came to an end in Tennessee with this defense finally facing a capable quarterback for the first time in more than a month. Miami managed just three points in that one-sided loss to the Titans and that offense won’t be able to keep pace with New England – even if the Patriots bring half that firepower to the Week 18 finale.

Sure, South Beach has been a tough place for the Pats in recent years, with Bill Belichick going just 8-12-1 ATS (9-12 SU) during his New England tenure. But Bill’s boys are playing for the AFC East crown and firing a big middle finger to everyone who said the franchise was dead when Tom Brady skipped town. Bet the Battling Belichicks now.

As of this writing, the Eagles have yet to clinch a postseason ticket via the Wild Card. Philadelphia opened as low as +2 hosting the Cowboys and jumped to +2.5 less than an hour after hitting the board.

The Cowboys have the division wrapped up but come off an ugly loss to Arizona at home, with this offense once again falling flat. That said, Dallas is still pushing for an improved spot in the NFC pecking order (currently fourth) and has a loyal following that will likely pump this spread to a field goal at some point this week.

The Cowboys throttled the Eagles 41-21 in September but that was a long time ago. The Linc will be rocking, and Philly will either be fighting for its playoff life or jostling to jump ahead in the Wild Card order. If you’re soaring with the Eagles in Week 18, wait and see if you can get a field goal at home.

New Orleans won an ugly outing over Carolina to keep the playoff dream alive in the Big Easy and finishes the 2021-22 regular season campaign in Atlanta this weekend. The Saints continue to lean heavily on their defense in order to stay competitive, giving up just 39 total points over the past four games.

The Falcons are done like dinner and can thank their offensive ineptitude for missing the tournament. Atlanta managed just 15 points in the Week 17 loss at Buffalo and has posted 20 or fewer points in six of its last eight outings. 

This Over/Under opened at 40.5 points and books are already slimming this number like a New Year’s resolution to hit the gym. New Orleans has stayed below the total in six straight outings while Atlanta has gone 1-7 Over/Under in its last eight contests. If you love boring-ass football, bet the Under on this NFC South “showdown” now.

This NFC West Week 18 finale hit the board with the total as high as 48.5. Some shops opted for 48 and others went as low as 47.5. It’s an interesting reaction considering Seattle just hung 51 points on the board this Sunday, albeit against the lowly Lions.

The Cardinals are chasing the Rams in the division race while at least trying to stay in the No. 5 spot – tops among Wild Card teams. A big win at Dallas helped in Week 17, with the defense checking a potent Cowboys passing game to just 226 yards. Arizona has allowed a total of 22 points in each of its past two games, which could be anchoring this Over/Under.

There’s ample firepower on the field in Arizona – especially with Seattle ranked fifth in EPA per play since Week 13 (+0.126) - and the Seahawks won’t roll over for the Cardinals, even with no shot at making the playoffs. If you like the Over in this one, see if those early openers turn into downward ticks on the total and buy back a higher-scoring finish later in the week.

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