NFL Week 18 betting tips: Five props that pop

The Lions and the Giants crushed so hard that Jared Goff and Saquon Barkley were both spelled before hitting their respective overs in Week 17. On the other hand, Chris Godwin and Parris Campbell went above and beyond, securing two winning tickets. Kirk Cousins produced an L for his team, but his three INTs were gold for sports bettors.

Ultimately, three of my six picks hit. This is the last week of the regular season, and Vegas has been slow to post props, given so many questions surrounding potential starters. That doesn’t mean we can’t finish strong, though!

Utilizing ESPN’s metrics database and some assistance from stats ace Kyle Soppe, I’m here to help you secure the bag in fantasy and at the books.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-5, 49)
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, U.S. Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Pick: Jared Goff OVER 0.5 INTs (-109)

Goff has emerged as a fantasy savior down the stretch, going over 20 fantasy points in four of his last five outings. He’ll remain a top-10 play at Green Bay, but that doesn’t mean he’s not good for at least one pick. To his credit, the former Rams QB has played clean as of late, avoiding a turnover for eight consecutive games. In fact, the last time Goff threw a pick was Week 9 — versus Green Bay.

The Packers defense has excelled at generating turnovers, recording 17 INTs on the season while owning the highest interception rate in the league (3.8%). Green Bay is gaining pressure at the second-highest rate (32%) when not blitzing. That doesn’t bode well for Goff, who has been off target on 30% of pressured attempts this season. The fact that this game is being played at Lambeau doesn’t figure to work in Goff’s favor either. The Lions QB has an INT rate of 1.7% while playing on the road (0.9% INT rate at home).

Goff, like many QBs, tends to press when trailing. His INT rate jumps from 0.9% when leading to 2.2% when working from behind. As 5-point underdogs in what’s projected to be a high-scoring game (49 O/U) with huge playoff implications, Goff will have ample opportunities to make mistakes. Just one, however, will win this bet.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5, 40)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh

Pick: Najee Harris UNDER 70.5 yards (-137)

Coming off of his first 100-yard rushing effort of the season and facing a weak Browns run defense (4.8 YPC allowed), Harris is undoubtedly a top-10 fantasy option. The second-year back figures to flirt with upwards of 90 scrimmage yards. That’s largely due to a change in Harris’ role in the passing game, as his aDOT is up from -0.32 (29th among RB) in 2021 to 1.83 (highest among RB) over 2022. However, with Jaylen Warren back from injury and managing double-digit totes in two of his last three contests, Harris could struggle to clear 70 rushing yards.

A physical back with elite hands, Harris is a wonderfully creative and powerful talent. He is not, however, terribly explosive. The Steelers’ subpar offensive line in combination with a rookie QB haven’t helped to boost Harris’ efficiency. Averaging 3.9 YPC with Kenny Pickett under center, Najee hasn’t managed a 20-yard run since Week 10 versus the Saints. In fact, just four of Harris’ 74 carries over the last month have gone over 10 yards (5.4%). In comparison, 6.3% of Warren’s totes have gone over 10 yards over the same stretch.

With limited per-carry upside and in what is projected to be a close game, Harris’ rushing opportunities and output figure to dip after last week’s stellar showing. One long run could, of course, pad his stats, but with only seven breakaway runs on the season, the odds aren’t likely.

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-6, 41.5)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Lumen Field, Seattle

Pick: DK Metcalf OVER 68.5 receiving yards (-135)

Coming off a brutal (and anomalistic) 1-3-0 showing in Week 17, Metcalf is primed for a top-10 bounce-back this weekend. With the Seahawks still in the playoff hunt and facing a Rams squad that has been eliminated from postseason contention, Metcalf figures to be in top form. He’s also the team’s healthiest offensive playmaker with Tyler Lockett (shin) and Kenneth Walker (ankle/illness) battling various maladies.

In addition to a healthy number of targets, Metcalf’s big-play appeal should help push him towards 70 receiving yards. In fact, DK has recorded an aDOT above 12 yards in 12 of 16 games. Noting an average of 97 air yards per contest (WR8), his production figures to remain robust against an Aaron Donald-less Rams squad that has given up the fourth-most receiving yards to opposing wideouts over the last four weeks. In fact, Metcalf managed nearly double the above line (127 receiving yards) when he battled the Rams back in Week 13.

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-9, 39.5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati

Pick: J.K. Dobbins OVER 59.5 rushing yards (+104)

After a six-game absence, Dobbins continues to return to form and has recaptured the top spot in Baltimore’s backfield. Clearing 90 rushing yards in three of his last four efforts, he’s a safe bet for 10+ fantasy points and deserves flex consideration heading into Week 18.

Dobbins has led the league in rushing yards since Week 14, accumulating 397 rushing yards (which, for context, is three more than CMC) over his last four outings. In those games, the Ohio State product has averaged 6.7 yards per carry while managing 10+ yards on 13 of 57 carries (22.8%). Dobbins’ efficiency isn’t the only part of his game to improve, however. His yards per carry after contact has also been bolstered, as he averaged 2.94 yards per carry after contact in Week 17, posting the third-most productive game of his career.

With Lamar Jackson sidelined, Dobbins’ explosiveness has provided the Ravens with a much needed offensive boost. This “lift” has been reflected in the team’s recommitment to the ground game. Baltimore has recorded the second-highest run rate since Dobbins’ aforementioned return. That’s a trend that figures to continue, as the Ravens attempt to play keep-away in a game with major postseason implications at Cincinnati.

Pick: Joe Mixon OVER 53.5 rushing yards (-106)

Despite a slow start to the season, Joe Mixon is currently fantasy’s RB12 overall, averaging 17.1 fantasy points per outing. His production has been frustratingly up and down over the course of 2022, but given his projected volume (14.4 carries per game, RB15) in combination with the offense he’s attached to, Mixon figures to post top-10 fantasy numbers on Sunday.

Mixon’s receiving numbers (400 receiving yards, RB6) have buoyed his overall production. His output on the ground hasn’t been as stellar, but with a per-game average of 57.1 rushing yards, the above line appears well within reach. To that point, Mixon managed 78 rushing yards (on 14 carries) the last time he faced the Ravens back in Week 5. Additionally, he has gone over 54 rushing yards in five straight games against Baltimore.

Furthermore, he holds four career wins over his division rival while hitting the over in each of those contests. That sets up nicely for his Week 18 output given that the Bengals are 9-point favorites. With Bengals passing attack opening running lanes and Calais Campbell questionable, Mixon should flirt with upwards of 60 rushing yards.

Follow Liz on Twitter @LizLoza_FF

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