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NFL Week 18 DraftKings Sportsbook Pool Predictions

Matt LaMarca breaks down his picks in the DraftKings Sportsbook Pool for Week 18 of the NFL season.

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There is a free $5K Sportsbook Pool for NFL Week 18. You have to pick each of the games that are scheduled for Sunday, and the higher you finish on the leaderboard, the more money you earn.

Let’s take a look at all the contests slated for Sunday, including my five personal favorites.

Indianapolis Colts (-14.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars

The Pick: Jaguars +14.5

One of my favorite betting trends comes in the final week of the regular season. We see it every year: A team like the Colts that needs a win to get into the playoffs will face a team like the Jaguars with nothing to play for. The public flocks to the team that is still fighting for their playoff lives – the Colts have received 67% of the bets and 98% of the dollars in this matchup – which causes the spread to become inflated.

Teams like the Jaguars have historically been a license to print money. Per the Action Network, teams that need a win to qualify for the playoffs have gone 16-26 against the spread (38.1%) during the final week of the regular season. Teams in that spot laying at least 10 points are just 10-22 against the spread (31.25%).

It doesn’t feel good to bet on bad teams like the Jaguars, but it has historically been the correct decision. The Colts have all the pressure in this contest, while the Jaguars can play free and easy and look to play spoiler against their division rivals.

The fact that the majority of the people in this pool will be on the Colts is just an added reason to support the Jaguars.

Washington Football Team (-6.5) @ New York Giants

The Pick: Football Team -6.5

If you’re curious what it looks like when a team waives the white flag on their season, just pull up the Giants’ game tape from last week. Their performance against the Bears can only be described as an abomination. Mike Glennon only attempted 11 passes all game, and he completed only four of them. He completed nearly as many passes to the opposing team – he finished with two interceptions – and he also took four sacks and fumbled four times.

Unsurprisingly, the team will be making a change at quarterback this week. Jake Fromm will get the nod instead of Glennon, but that shouldn’t make Giants backers feel warm and bubbly. Fromm was dreadful in his only other start this season, averaging -1.18 adjusted yards per attempt in Week 16 vs. the Eagles.

Add in the fact that head coach Joe Judge went on an 11-minute rant following last week’s loss, and this team is ready to throw in the towel. It’s not entirely their fault – the team has suffered countless injuries at virtually every position – but I’m content to fade the Giants getting less than a field goal.

New Orleans Saints (-4.5) @ Atlanta Falcons

The Pick: Falcons +4.5

The Saints are the other team that needs a win to have a shot at the postseason, so the Falcons fit the same trend as the Jaguars. We’re not getting nearly as many points in this contest, but the Falcons are definitely better than the Jags. They gave a valiant effort last week in Buffalo, and they actually held a one-point lead heading into halftime.

Even though the Saints have a shot at the postseason, they are far from a juggernaut. They’ve played well this season defensively, but they rank just 24th in Football Outsiders offensive DVOA. They’ve managed 18 points or fewer in five of their past six games, so the Falcons don’t have to score a ton to potentially cover.

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)

The Pick: Vikings -3.5

Both of these squads have nothing to play for, but I am still convinced the Vikings are a good team. They’ve been very unlucky this season, and they could still be in playoff contention if not for Kirk Cousins testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

Cousins is back this week, and there has been no indication that the Vikings will rest any of their regulars. They do have some players still on the reserve/COVID-19 list – including Eric Kendricks and Christian Darrisaw – but I still think they have more than enough firepower to take care of business vs. the Bears.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns (-2.5)

The Pick: Browns -2.5

This is our one “freebie” this week. There are a ton of games that have featured plenty of spread movement, but most of the lines in this pool are accurate portrayals of the lines on DraftKings Sportsbook. This game stands out as the clear exception.

That has caused this line to jump to Browns -6.0 on DraftKings Sportsbook. That means we’re getting more than a field goal worth of spread value, which is too tempting to pass up.

Remaining Games

Here’s who I’m targeting for the rest of the Sunday games. Remember, we’re looking to beat the competition and climb up the leaderboard, so I’ll be looking to gain leverage on the field and fade the public in situations where I don’t see a huge edge on the spread.

New England Patriots (-6.5) @ Miami Dolphins

Pick: Dolphins +6.5

New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills (-16.5)

Pick: Jets +16.5

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-9.5)

Pick: Buccaneers -9.5

Tennessee Titans (-10.5) @ Houston Texans

Pick: Texans +10.5

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens (-4.5)

Pick: Ravens -4.5

Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals (-6.5)

Pick: Cardinals -6.5

San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams (-4.5)

Pick: 49ers +4.5

Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) @ Las Vegas Raiders

Pick: Raiders +2.5

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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