Betting: Who will pull an upset in NFL Week 18?
Minty Bets, Pamela Maldonado and Mark Drumheller give their top picks for an upset special in the final week of the NFL regular season.
MINTY BETS: It's week 18 of the NFL season. I'm Minty Bets, joined by Mark Drumheller and Pam Maldonado. And usually, the last week of the NFL is full of surprises and upsets. So we're looking into the future for you and giving you guys our upset picks. That's right, underdogs only. So I'm going to kick things off to Mark first. Mark, who is your underdog pick this weekend?
MARK DRUMHELLER: I like Cleveland, you know, the Steelers success this year. And what Mike Tomlin has been able to accomplish with this roster is remarkable, but I'm not convinced they're the better team here. The Browns closed this 4 and 1/2-point favorites back in week three with Jacoby Brissett and won that game by 12 points. Granted. It's different quarterbacks this time around.
But I think the big deal here is the Browns bullied them in the trenches. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt both chewed them up for 160 yards combined on the ground, while Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren were held to just 86. I think Cleveland's the better team up front, and they should be able to hit explosive plays against a Steelers secondary that ranks 25th in EPA per drop back. I'm betting the Browns are the better team and they play spoiler here. Give me the Cleveland moneyline plus 120.
MINTY BETS: All right, I'm going to go next. And I'm going to a game that, probably, no one's going to watch, the Texans at Colts. Now, both of these teams are already eliminated from any chances of the playoffs. So as they say this time of year, they've got nothing to play for. But someone has to win, right? Although, the last time both of these teams faced off it ended in a tie, and Houston has lost 8 of their last 11 meetings against the Colts. But I'm riding at a small dog here in the Houston Texans at plus-120.
On paper, the Texans are bottom-five in, essentially, all categories, offensively and defensively. But let's look at the last four games that the Colts have played. This defense has allowed an average of 38 points per game. And since Jeff Saturday enter the chat, they've looked so ugly. On the other side, we've got the Texans.
And in that same timespan, this defense is only allowed about 25 points per game to opposing offenses, and they've either won straight up or lost really close games to some good opponents like the Chiefs and the Cowboys. So I'd like the Texans to end the season with a win. Pam, who've you got?
PAMELA MALDONADO: I'll round it out for us taking the Panthers plus 3 and 1/2, plus 145 on the moneyline at the Saints. Both of these teams, just like yours, are eliminated from the postseason. But it's about who's going to finish the season strong. So with Sam Darnold behind center, the Panthers in the last five games, excluding the Steelers, which is a top-seven rushing defense, are averaging in 200 rushing yards per game, 29 points per game, scoring six rushing touchdowns in that span.
Now, the ground game has had success because running backs, Chuba Hubbard and D'Onta Foreman, combined the three games of at least 100-plus rushing yards in the last five, can absolutely do some damage to the Saints' rushing defense. New Orleans, recently, they just gave up 231 rushing yards in a 3-point win over the Falcons. A top three rushing unit. But before that, they gave up 217 rushing yards to the Steelers, a top 20 rushing offense. Not to mention that Darnold has looked pretty good. He leads the NFL in yards per pass attempt, if you can believe that.
The Panthers' offense has definitely found something. We're not sure what it is, but they have found something with Steve Wilks since he took over as interim head coach. So I do expect this to be a competitive match-up. I love the Panthers on the moneyline.
MINTY BETS: To recap our upset picks, Mark's going with the Browns, I'm going with the Texans, and Pam has the Panthers.
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