NFL Hot and Cold – 1/5/22


There’s just one week remaining in the NFL regular season, and it’s an important one. A number of teams are vying for a spot in the postseason while others are hoping to improve their standing in the playoff race.

The AFC still has four teams with a shot at the No. 1 seed, as Tennessee, Kansas City, Cincinnati, and New England are all separated by a single game. The top spot in the NFC is already locked up, but there are three teams in the NFC West with crucial contests heading into this Week 18 slate.

San Francisco gets into the playoffs with a win while the Rams and Cardinals are fighting for the division crown and homefield advantage.

On the outside looking in are the Steelers and Ravens, who face off Sunday afternoon. The Chargers and Raiders all square up with the winner securing a wildcard spot.

It should be a fun weekend of football, but before placing your NFL wagers, it’s important to look at who’s been playing well and who’s fading down the stretch. Check out BetMaker’s Week 18 edition of Hot and Cold.


Who’s Hot?

Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati offense have been on a tear of late. The second-year quarterback has posted back-to-back 400-yard, four-touchdown performances against the Ravens and Chiefs, two teams in playoff contention. The Bengals have ripped off three straight wins on their way to clinching their first AFC North title in six seasons.

Now, they have their eyes set on the No. 1 seed. They’ll need some help but there’s still a shot if they can land a win this weekend.

Cincinnati has been a bettor’s best friend over these last three weeks, posting a perfect 3-0 record against the spread. That includes two outright wins as three-point underdogs. Next up is a matchup with a Baker Mayfield-less Cleveland team. The Bengals are listed as 3.5-point favorites at SugarHouse online sportsbook.


Las Vegas Raiders

Just a few short weeks ago, the Raiders appeared to be headed for another early offseason as they sat at 6-7 following a 39-point beatdown at the hands of the Chiefs. Fast forward three weeks and Las Vegas in 9-7 with a shot at the playoffs. If they can pick up a win over division rival Los Angeles on Sunday, they’ll lock up a wildcard spot.

Bettors who’ve backed the Raiders are feeling good about themselves, too. Las Vegas has won each of their last two games outright as underdogs, dishing out $400 in profits to $100 money line bettors. They’ll be ‘dogs again for the season finale. The money line currently sits at +138 at SugarHouse.


Los Angeles Rams

The Rams have been red hot, winning five consecutive contests. They’ve also been an NFL best bet over that time, posting a 4-1 record against the spread. In that span, they’ve beaten NFC West rivals Seattle and Arizona to take a one-game lead in the division race.

A win over San Francisco this week secures the crown and homefield advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Rams enter four-point favorites at SugarHouse in the season finale.


Who’s Cold?

Denver Broncos

The Broncos had a chance to make a playoff run as they sat at 7-6 a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, three straight losses to the Bengals, Raiders, and Chargers will cut their season short. Denver’s offense has been horrid over these last three weeks, failing to top 13 points in any of those losses.

They’ve also posted an 0-3 mark against the spread despite entering two of those outright defeats as favorites. The Broncos get a season ending matchup versus the Chiefs. They may not have much motivation when facing their division rivals.


Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens just can’t catch a break. They’ve dropped five consecutive contests, with four of those coming by two-points or less. The team’s been decimated by injuries but, somehow, their slim playoff hopes are still alive.

Despite the 0-5 mark over that time, they’ve actually been decent against the spread, posting a 3-2 record. Unfortunately, they take on the Steelers in Week 18, a team they failed to cover a four-point line against earlier in the year. Baltimore enters as 5.5-point home favorites at SugarHouse. We’ll see if they can end this skid and land a crucial division win.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville has been a mess all season. First was an 0-5 start. Next was the firing of head coach Urban Meyer. Now, the Jaguars find themselves in the midst of an eight-game losing streak. Jacksonville is fresh off a 40-point defeat to New England where they entered as three-score underdogs.

A loss this weekend will lock up the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft for a second straight year. That loss is likely as they take on a Colts team with playoff motivation. The Jags will see another double-digit line, with Indy listed as a 15.5-point favorite in the season finale.