NFL Week 18 Bet Now, Bet Later: America's Team Goes For All the NFC Marbles

The Dallas Cowboys have a legitimate shot at the top seed in the NFC, but they'll have to beat the Commanders first and foremost. As such, don't expect Dallas to rest its starters. America's Team headlines Bet Now, Bet Later for Week 18.

Last Updated: Jan 1, 2023 9:44 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
CeeDee Lamb Tony Pollard Dallas Cowboys NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Ah, Week 18 of the NFL season: “Where people throw ducks at balloons and nothing's the way it seems.”

The final slate of regular season games is a mixed bag of motivations, with plenty of playoff pressure twisting the betting markets. Then you have teams already in the tournament potentially protecting their stars and resting players. And, of course, many teams have nothing on the line in the finale, so you want to find out who’s going down swinging and who's already got flights booked to Cabo. 

We try to get ahead of one of the wildest weeks in NFL wagering with my “Bet Now, Bet Later” lines for Week 18, telling you which lines could hold more value if you take them early and which ones still need to ripen. 

Week 18 bet now, bet later picks

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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With the Eagles’ loss to New Orleans and the Cowboys' win over the Titans on Thursday, the door is open for Dallas to win the NFC East and make a run at the top seed in the NFC. The Cowboys will need some help from the Giants, who face Philadelphia in Week 17, but kicking the snot out of the Commanders is Step 1.

Dallas is coming off a mini-bye after playing the mid-week matchup versus Tennessee and opened below the touchdown spread between -6 and -6.5. That spread is swelling with early play on America’s Team and a legion of Cowboys faithful to follow in the coming days.

Washington is out of the tournament and has some quarterback quandaries to figure out before the finale. The Commanders ditched Tyler Heinicke to go back to Carson Wentz, who struggled to the tune of three interceptions in the loss to Cleveland. He now faces a dangerous Dallas defense known for creating chaos and grabbing plenty of takeaways.

Get down on Dallas now and avoid the touchdown spread.

The Panthers are ripe for a letdown after watching their postseason hopes get used for cannon fodder in Week 17’s collapse to Tampa Bay. Carolina played well against the Buccaneers and gave itself a shot at winning in the closing minutes, but three terribly-defended deep balls to Mike Evans ultimately sunk the ship.

Interim coach Steve Wilks isn’t the kind of guy who goes quietly into the night and he’s very much coaching for a full-time gig in 2023 and beyond. 

“The one thing I stated to those guys, the last element, that’s what we’re gonna do this week. We’re gonna finish. That’s what men do. That’s what good football teams do regardless of the record, regardless of the circumstances,” Wilks told reporters about Week 18. “We’re gonna come in tomorrow, put this game to bed, and have a great week of practice.”

The Panthers have been putting forth some of the best football over the past month and a half, with improved QB play from Sam Darnold, yet the early market move is away from Carolina. The Panthers’ loss and New Orleans’ win over a Hurts-less Eagles team this past Sunday is skewing what should be a close, hard-fought divisional battle. 

But don’t bite on the underdog just yet. Let that market move tack on an extra cushion before coming back on Carolina.

It’s a Week 18 matchup so bad only Under bettors could love it.

The worst teams in football’s worst division play in the Toilet Bowl and this turd of a finale has a total that’s definitely a sinker, dropping from 39.5 points to as low as 38.5 in the opening hour of action Sunday night.

Just to be clear: this is a Week 18 matchup between the bottom two teams in EPA per play — and bottom two by a mile. Even Denver’s offense looks dangerous compared to this gruesome twosome from the AFC South.

The Colts have an ugly QB situation with Nick Foles likely finished with busted ribs, leaving Indianapolis no choice but to start the ineffective Sam Ehlinger under center. As for the Texans, their Week 17 highlight was a 56-yard field goal in a 31-3 blasting at the hands of the Jaguars.

What’s more, closing the 2022-23 campaign with a loss to the Colts would cement the No. 1 overall pick in the draft for Houston. 

Don’t overthink this one. Hell, you probably don’t even want to watch this one. Just grab the tallest total you can with this shitshow now and go Under.

Detroit games have pretty much been an automatic Over play for many bettors this season. And after watching the Lions hang 41 points on Chicago and the Packers stack 41 of their own against Minnesota, early Over play has pumped this total up to 49 points at some respected online shops.

I’m taking my hand off the trigger when it comes to this total and seeing if things get a little nuts in Week 18 before buying back the Under. 

Detroit’s offense is a different beast away from the conditioned confines of Ford Field, with its points per play sinking like a stone from No. 2 at home to No. 23 as a visitor. The extended forecast isn’t calling for any crazy winter weather in Lambeau, but it will still be cold and uncomfortable for an offense that scores almost 13 fewer points per road game.

Green Bay’s offense hasn’t looked this good since, well… last season, so the total could get an unwarranted bump up. But the Cheeseheads' defense is really starting to shine in the home stretch. The Packers own the No. 9 EPA allowed per play since Week 13 and the last time these NFC North foes faced off, Detroit won 15-9 in a dud of a game, which played well below a closing total of 49 points in Ford Field. 

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