Betting News & Analysis

Best NFL Week 18 Sunday Night Football single-game & player props bets

Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Denver Broncos n the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Island games are the highlight of any NFL week for betting enthusiasts. And as the industry continues to grow, some of the most discussed moments belong to these single-game opportunities.


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Leverage PFF's predictive betting models and player props tool to identify the best betting opportunities in the Los Angeles ChargersLas Vegas Raiders Week 18 Sunday Night Football contest.

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PLAYER PROPS

RB Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers: under 31.5 Receiving Yards (-115)

Ekeler’s usage has dropped off lately as nagging injuries and COVID have led to him missing a game and seeing a dip in snaps played over the past four weeks. He is coming off a game where he received the second-lowest number of targets compared to routes run this season. After consistently recording over a 20% target rate per route run, he has fallen below that threshold in his past four games. 

Las Vegas has a league-average coverage unit, which is the weak point of a defense that ranks 14th in PFF’s opponent-adjusted grades. The issue from Ekeler's perspective is that the Raiders are sound in stopping pass-catching running backs. They have an incredibly high pressure rate, especially for a team that blitzes at the league's lowest rate, which allows them to drop more players into coverage and key off of running backs coming out of the backfield. Their coverage grade moves from 16th to eighth when focused solely on targets to running backs. 

With Las Vegas' defense keying on Ekeler, better opportunities should exist for the Chargers' wide receiver unit. Justin Herbert’s ability to take advantage of this situation will be the key to their success on Sunday night. For this reason, Ekeler will be an afterthought in the passing game and should fall short of his receiving yardage prop. 

WR Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders: over 6.5 receptions (+111)

PFF’s player props tool gives Renfrow a 57% chance to catch seven or more passes, and for good reason — his 123 targets are practically double that of the next most targeted Raiders wide receiver, and his 83.7 receiving grade ranks 11th among all NFL wide receivers with at least 100 snaps this season.

It’s a great matchup for Renfrow, too, as the former Clemson Tiger should have an advantage over the Chargers corners.

PFF’s WR/CB Matchup Chart is a fantasy football tool you can use to help set the best lineups. You can toggle between showing the Matchup Advantage column against all projected coverage, or the individual defenders.

Not only has Renfrow covered his receptions prop in 12 of 16 games this season, but he’s covered this number in seven of his last 10 games – and given that Raiders star TE Darren Waller is set to be a gametime decision on Sunday, he’ll likely not be 100% even if he does suit up, which will only increase Renfrow's volume while decreasing the amount of defensive attention he’ll face from the Chargers secondary.

QB Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers  under 0.5 interceptions -111

Herbert has had a spectacular sophomore season for the Chargers, and perhaps the most impressive part has been his ability to avoid turnovers this season.

Herbert ranks first among quarterbacks with at least 100 snaps in turnover-worthy play percentage this season, which is more predictive of future turnovers than raw interception totals.

Facing a Raiders defense that ranks 16th in coverage grade and last in interceptions forced, PFF’s player props tool gives Herbert a 55.8% chance of throwing zero interceptions in primetime, which is a positive expected value bet.

PFF's new Best Bets Tool allows you to take advantage of the best prop and game betting opportunities for each NFL slate during the 2021 season.

GAME LINES

There has been very little line movement for this game, as the spread has consistently hovered around Chargers -3 while the total has hovered around 48.5 or 49.

PFF Greenline doesn’t see any positive expected value game line bets on the board in this one, although it does prefer the Chargers to cover and the Raiders moneyline. That being said, the best play in this game is the over 49-point total.

PFF Greenline uses exclusive game and player data to make projections on NFL game spreads, moneyline, and over/under.

The top two reasons why this should be a high-scoring game come down to the two quarterbacks who will be dueling on Sunday Night.

Both Herbert and Derek Carr rank among the NFL’s best in a litany of passer categories, as seen in the table below (min. 100 attempts):

  OFF GRADE PASS GRADE BTT% TWP%
Herbert 89.4 (third) 84.8 (sixth) 3.4 (24th) 1.5 (first)
Carr 79.0 (14th) 79.2 (ninth) 6.1 (seventh) 3.2 (22nd)

Don’t get it twisted– this isn’t a matchup of MVP candidates. However, both of these quarterbacks are certainly upper tier — and in Herbert's case, potentially a future MVP — and therefore should be able to carry their offenses over their individual team point totals in this game (26.5 for the Chargers and 23.5 for the Raiders).

Additionally, both teams’ defenses rank outside the top-20 in defensive grade and EPA per play allowed, meaning they are susceptible to explosive plays while also struggling holistically on defense — the perfect recipe for a high point total.

Greenline gives these two teams a 50.1% chance of combining for 50 or more points.

PICK: Over 49


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Best last-minute NFL bets ahead of Week 18 via Ben Brown


SAME-GAME PARLAY AND DERIVATIVE BETS

The Raiders moneyline bounced between showing value and no edge throughout the week. At +144, it is a breakeven proposition, and there are a few sites offering that price as we head toward kickoff. Folding in some approaches that are correlated with their moneyline is a great approach to finding value on a same-game parlay. 

PFF’s betting model also likes the over on the 49-point total, and a shootout should favor the home team in this matchup. As the game line section states, both quarterbacks have been well-above average in 2021 and appear to be right below the top tier in the NFL.  If points are coming in bunches, this game should come down to the final possession, which makes the plus price on the Raiders and the over an enticing payout. 

The only way that happens is if the Raiders' passing offense flows through Renfrow. Waller’s return will alleviate some of that, but Renfrow is Las Vegas' best option at wide receiver. Renfrow finishing over 6.5 receptions has a plus price, which maximizes our payout on this three-leg parlay.

Given the correlation of the three events, the +850 payout seems to be set too high based on the conditional probability of these three events all playing out. 

PARLAY PICK
  • Over 49 
  • Raiders +140 ML
  • Hunter Renfrow Over 6.5 Receptions

Odds: +850 Caesars

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