Through Geoff schwartz
FOX Sports NFL Analyst
We reached the last weekend of the NFL season, and while there aren’t many games that “matter”, there are still plenty of opportunities to find value in betting.
The best way to find value at the end of a season is to make bad teams go away, and that’s exactly what my first two bets do. Let’s move on to my best bets for week 18, with odds via FOX Bet.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles (8:15 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN)
Both teams are stuck in the playoffs, with the Cowboys most likely the fourth seed and the Eagles in seventh. But, depending on how Sunday unfolds, the playoff standings could come into play when this game is said and over.
I like the Eagles in this contest because they will try to win this game, while the Cowboys are less likely to do the same. Dallas is also struggling with COVID-19 issues, with two key pieces in Micah Parsons and Tyron Smith on the roster and unlikely to play.
Look for the Cowboys to put Dak to work, then take him out of the game to rest for the playoffs. If Dallas is to win the Super Bowl, Prescott has to rest his calf more than the Cowboys need to win this game.
On the flip side, the Eagles are struggling with COVID-19, but their coach has indicated these players will be playing and expects his team to play hard this weekend. It would make sense for a playoff-first coach and team to maintain that confidence by winning a Week 18 game against a division opponent you struggled to beat.
That’s why I love that the Eagles cover, and I would also sprinkle some cash on them to win straight.
TAKE: Eagles (+4.5 at FOX Bet) will lose less than 4.5 points (or win outright)
Washington football team @ New York Giants (1 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX)
It’s no wonder the Giants have struggled lately. Their head coach has been busy answering emails, having meetings with on-hold free agents, and answering calls from former players begging to come back. Clearly and simply, the results on the pitch have shown that New York is not well coached.
Yes, the Giants have injuries, but they’re not the only team affected. Nonetheless, the NYG have lost five straight games with an average margin of 18 points. And with each passing week, they played worse and worse.
This week’s opponent WFT is unrelated to the playoffs so they have nothing to play. But, the past few weeks have shown that Washington hasn’t quit and continues to fight every week. Ron Rivera’s side may not have achieved the results they wanted over the past month or so, but it’s hard to argue that they put in less than their best effort.
Add Giants coach Joe Judge, who talks about Ron Rivera’s squad into the mix, and I see Washington is on the hunt for blood.
TAKE: The football team (-7 on FOX Bet) wins by more than 7 points
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS)
The Bucs are coming home after a narrow victory over the Jets where they didn’t play very well. This game is a tune-up for Tampa Bay, and I expect them to play with the energy and precision needed for the playoffs.
The Buccaneers have also covered five of their last six home games, the only non-coverage being this bizarre loss to the Saints.
On the other side is Carolina, who enters this game in shock. The Panthers have lost six straight games without covering a single one. The Panthers haven’t covered in 11 of their last 13 games either, and the reason is simple. They are terrible on watch.
The team either started Cam Newton or Sam Darnold or spun them. But no matter who started at quarterback, the team’s offense can’t score. The Panthers are averaging 13.6 points per game in their last six games, with no game exceeding 21 points.
Finally, Tampa Bay has beaten the Panthers by at least 14 points in their last three meetings. Look for the Bucs to destroy the hapless Panthers this weekend.
TAKE: Buccaneers (-8 at FOX Bet) wins by more than 8 points
Two-team 6-point teaser on FOX Bet
And, if the above bets are too high for you, I suggest a teaser option. Getting the Buccaneers and the Washington football team through the key numbers of 7 and 3 helps turn the bet into a more manageable bet.
I made both direct bets and a teaser on Tampa Bay and Washington because I really like those two teams this weekend.
Football team -1
Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started out as a straight tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was an All-Pac-12 second-team selection in his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.
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