I am sorry that the Gritty Gambler’s Guide has been on hiatus for the last two weeks. First, the Holidays were insane then I caught Covid, which knocked me out for another week. However, I am back and ready to kick off the new year with a Week 18 Slate, the first dive into the Prop Box, and we’ll have some “Celebrity” Guest Shots from my friend Austin Vuick.
NFL Week 18 Plays
Here we are at the beginning of the new year, where strangely, many things are ending. Most fantasy leagues are over, and for the unfortunate 18 NFL teams who haven’t played well enough to get into the playoffs, their 2022 season is over. However, we degenerates can keep on gambling.
Minnesota got smashed this past Sunday by Rodgers and the Packers, and they are licking their primetime wounds with a matchup against the Bears, who also got crushed by their NFC North division mate. Justin Jefferson feels insulted and may go ballistic in this match where Chicago has nothing to play for, and the entire Vikings team feels like they got spit in their soup.
Justin Fields was sacked seven times even though he had over 100 rushing yards in the first quarter. Chicago will not even be able to rely on Fields legs since Nathan Peterman is playing. The team has no weapons and a putrid offensive line. Vikes bounce back and win this one 31-10.
TEN @ JAX o40
This feels like an ugly play, but this number is playable. Tennessee was able to move the ball against a much more impactful Dallas defense. They should be able to do so against the Jags. This is a must-win game for Vrabel’s team Derrick Henry is back and has a history of incredible offensive performances against Jacksonville.
Trevor Lawrence is steaming hot and finally looks like the stud that was drafted number one overall. The Jags can put up at least 30 on this middle-of-the-pack Titans defense. The cold isn’t a factor since the game is in Jacksonville; I think Evan Engram goes off, and the Jags go to the playoff in the first real season for Lawrence. 30-14
The Jets are a better team than the one that played the Seahawks. That team’s young talent (I.E., Sauce, Garrett Wilson) likely feels disrespected. They want to knock its division rival down a peg and finish above them in the standings. The Jets have more division wins and will have swept the Fins in this scenario. Miami is a hurting unit, down to a Q.B. in Skyler Thompson, who can barely run the offense even with two elite playmakers to feed the ball to.
The Jet’s strength is in their defense, and they will have a complete secondary to try and accomplish what the banged-up Patriots’ defense did. The Jets get some swagger back and end the Dolphins’ season 21-10, even with Joe Flacco starting.
This might seem like the wrong side to play, but the Raiders are 5-2 against the spread at home, and the Chiefs are 3-6 on the road and 5-11 overall; they haven’t been blowing teams out, but they have been doing enough to win late in games. Jarrett Stidham just tore up the league’s best defense and went toe to toe with one of the hottest offenses.
Kansas City has a much more forgiving defense, and if the Raiders are playing the rest of their starters, this should be a good game. Mahomes and company will win this game because that’s what they do, but it will be closer than anyone thinks, 28-23.
The Gritty Parlay Of The Week
Every bet will be recorded straight, but this is where we can really make find some value.
Browns ML +130
Deshaun Watson finally started to look like the layer that was worth the massive contract the Browns signed him to. When he plays like himself, he is an elite option at the position and has a clear advantage over the surging rookie Kenny Pickett. The Browns have been waiting for this moment and want to finish the season on a high note. The Steelers have the best defense in the league.
When T.J. Watt is healthy, opponents haven’t scored more than 20 points against them since his return. I think that trend barely breaks here as Watson & company finish a game-winning drive 21-17.
The Broncos are a mess. They have a great defense but can’t score 20 points consistently. However, the Chargers are looking like they may have figured out how to handle simple situational football. Justin Herbert, with his weapons, is just as dangerous as any of the top options, and with a win, they can face the winner of Tennessee @ Jacksonville instead of K.C., Cincy, or Buffalo.
The Bronco’s season is beyond lost, and the Chargers have the offensive weapons to match up with an elite defense. The Chargers win this one off another big Mike Williams week 24-12.
If the Commanders start Carson Wentz, this game line should move another point and a half to a total touchdown. Heinicke gives that team the best chance to win, but even with him on the field, the Boys have the advantage on both sides of the ball. Parson continues his path to defensive player of the year and causes havoc for Washington run first mindset.
Dak doesn’t need to be perfect for this offense to put up points; the Boys also are 10-6 this year against the spread. Washington doesn’t have exceptional value ATS. The first half will be close, but Dallas pulls away 27-16
Bucs ML +180
This line is set as if Tom Brady isn’t going to play in the game, but Tom had a much different idea during his Let’s Go podcast that it would “bother” him not to play in the game against the Falcons. Atlanta barely won a game against a skeleton crew Cardinals team with nothing to play for.
Even if Brady doesn’t play the whole game, this should be a win for the Bucs, who need to feel confident before a road playoff game. Sitting some banged-up players could be brilliant, but the Bucs have been making the most out of a banged-up team all year. If Brady does play, this is a massive value. The Bucs win 24-10
This parlay odds come out to +1460 and a ten-dollar wager would net you 146 dollars.
“Celebrity” Gambler Guest Shots
The guide that’s so nice we had to give you twice the amount of plays to wager. Here is some other ideas from another seasoned gambler.
Featuring Plays By Austin Vuick
I don’t love the card this week. It took me quite a while to get a few bets I value this week. However, I have assembled a few games that the bookies will regret.
I usually hate taking such high spreads because it is so many points for a professional team. However, Jalen Hurts will return, and the Giants will have nothing to play for. Win or lose, they will keep the same spot in the playoffs. I expect the Giants to roll out all of the backups.
Commander’s Total Points Band 11-20 (+125)
When I start getting into total points bands, that’s when you know I don’t love the board. Vegas hit the Commanders team total of 16.5 right on the nose. Given that information, I have decided to take the total points band at 11-20. I don’t think the Commanders can hit over 20, but I think the possibility of going over 10 is there.
Packers -3.5 First Half
I would have loved this to be -3 with the game line at -4.5. But, we didn’t get that; I still love it at 3.5. We can cover with four, six, seven, or even higher. It’s primetime Rodgers and primetime Rodgers fighting for a playoff spot. Those two combinations are deadly for the Lions. I’ll take a first-half -3.5 to avoid a late-game cover by the Lions.
First Edition Of The Prop Box
Let’s attack this Saturday’s doubleheader before we give out a whole article full of player props for the last full Sunday slate of the season.
Darren Waller o33 Receiving Yards & o2.5 Receptions, Both -110
Since his return, Waller has gone over these in all three matchups and has increased his yardage in each game: three for 48, four for 58, and three for 72. The Chiefs have the third easiest match-up for tight ends in the league and have been showing weakness on defense for the last quarter of the season.
Jarrett Stidham had more yards than Carr had all season, matched his total passing touchdowns in one game, and had a better QBR than Carr had all season against the best defense in the NFL. Waller could go over these numbers in the first half.
Jerick McKinnon Anytime TD Scorer +129
Since Kansas City returned from the bye, McKinnon has had six or more targets in six out of nine games and averaged almost five carries. That’s an average of 11 opportunities in a KC offense that’s constantly in the red zone. Jerick always had a nose for the endzone before his injury.
However, he finally looks fully healthy and is being utilized correctly by Andy Reid. Since Week 13, McKinnon has received seven TDs because he is often used at the top of the scoring area on RB wheel routes or delayed dump-off screens.
Patrick Mahomes o324.5 Passing Yards -110
Mahomes has to be gunning for Mannings passing record, especially after finding out they won’t be able to host a potential AFC Championship rematch or a match-up against the Bills, so he may take his frustrations out on one of the worst passing defenses in the league. Nowadays, he knows precisely what he needs to break the record, and their run game is almost nonexistent.
It took nearly 60 pass attempts to beat the Broncos last week. He moves the ball up and down the field in this game and breaks the record with over 430 yards passing. If I can find it on my book, I’ll bet it, but DraftKings has him to break the record at +650
Treylon Burks o31.5 Receiving Yards -110
As much as it pains me to say Joshua Dobbs is better for the passing offense of the Titans than Malik Willis at this point, he did exactly what I thought he could do against a better Dallas defense.
He moved the ball, and they scored twice. One of those was because of a deep ball to Burks that would’ve covered this line by itself. This is a win-or-go-home situation for Mike Vrabel. He will get his best playmaker the ball even though it won’t be enough Burks will go well over this number.
Christian Kirk o58.5 Receiving Yards -115
This one is centered around the contract incentive, even though this is a must-win game for the rejuvenated Jags. Kirk needs 91 yards to reach the $500,000 dollar bonus in his contract and two catches for another $500,000. He has been a difference-maker for the team and a leader in the room.
Doug Pederson is a player’s coach. He will scheme up his guy to get his bonuses. Also, the Titans are vulnerable in the slot where Kirk does most of his work.
I will follow up this edition of the Gritty Gamblers Guide with the Sunday Special of the Prop Box. The whole article will be props to throw in some really valuable parlays to try and make a nice bankroll to attack the playoffs.