Positive regression is yet to hit my NFL totals. We looked to be on the verge of banging out a perfect 3-0 slate last week, but the football gods saw it differently. The under looked great in New England up until 4+ minutes remained in the fourth when each team scored tuddies to just push the combined score past the number. I’m still disgusted by the performance Justin Fields and the Bears offense put forth in Motown and continue to have nightmares about the game not going over 52 with 34 on the board at the break – gross! The lone winner proved to be the under in the Cleveland/Washington game with the move to Carson Wentz not paying off as expected.
As bad my NFL total calls have been over the last month, I wouldn’t blame anyone for implementing an all-out fade of my Week 18 positions placed over at BetRivers Sportsbook. Just know that I’m well overdue for a big showing!
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TAMPA BAY/ATLANTA OVER 40.5
Though the Buccaneers are locked into the NFC’s No. 4 seed regardless of how Week 18’s tilt with the division rival Falcons plays out, Todd Bowles has gone on record as stating his starters will be playing on Sunday. How long Tom Brady and co. take to the playing field remains to be seen. Even so, I expect it to be enough to hang a crooked number on the board before the coaching staff feels the starters got enough burn to get them ready for next week’s playoff showdown.
That scenario would set up an excellent opportunity to hit the second half over with Desmond Ridder and the Dirty Birds in comeback mode should the Bucs go HAM over the first 30 in hopes of putting the game away. And who’s to say Tampa’s backups don’t continue to succeed against a piss poor Atlanta defense that allowed David Blough and the Cardinals to run competent offense last week before falling 20-19 in the closing seconds? Should this play out as I suspect, there’s no way the combined final tally falls short of this 40-point impost.
These NFC West rivals played to a high scoring 27-23 decision when crossed paths in Week 13. Geno Smith torched Jalen Ramsey for 367 passing yards and 3 TD. The game marked the beginning of Cam Akers getting back in the good graces of the coaching staff after rushing for 60 yards and a pair of touchdowns. I expect the Seahawks aerial attack to flourish once again in the rematch with the Rams pass defense serving up two passing touchdowns in three of the last four games. Seattle’s run D still rates out as one of the worst in the NFL (No. 30). That should allow for Akers to continue his tear that’s seen him rush for 100+ yards each of the last two weeks.
All the pressure in the world is upon the shoulders of the home team who must win in order to guarantee itself a trip to the postseason. On the flipside, LA enters this tilt playing with house money. It already knows its season was an unmitigated disaster that will go down in history books as one of the worst put forth by a defending Super Bowl champion. As such, I expect Baker Mayfield and co. to play loosey-goosey and give the Seahawks all they could ask for in the season finale leading to a second straight high scorer to play out between these rivals.
DETROIT/GREEN BAY UNDER 49
Points were exceptionally hard to come by when the NFC North rival Lions and Packers squared off in Motown back in Week 9. Detroit would ultimately go on to come out on top by a 15-9 final in a game that saw both teams combine for 643 yards of total offense. The ultimate decider proved to be red zone efficiency with the Lions cashing two of their three appearances into touchdowns and the Packers failing to put six on the board in all four of theirs.
While it proved to be a major anomaly with Detroit owners of the sixth worst red zone defense in the league and the Packers raking out in the middle of the pack (No. 15), the added pressure of both teams needing to win this game at all costs will make it that much tougher for both offenses to succeed. For one reason or another, total bettors have been hitting the over of this matchup with reckless abandon. So much so that the opener of 47 is up two full points since first hitting the board.
Though Aaron Rodgers threw for a season-high 291 yards against the Lions in the first meeting, he also tossed a trio of interceptions. I also don’t trust Jared Goff outdoors under the lights which means Dan Campbell will hit the ground running looking to take advantage of the weak link of Green Bay’s stop unit which comes with stopping the run (No. 26). The clock will be a moving because of it which keeps this one lower scoring than the betting market expects!
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