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2023 NFL Week 18 Betting Picks Guide—High Winds Create High Conviction Spot for the UNDER

NFL Betting Picks: Steelers @ Ravens u36.5, Eagles @ NY Giants u41 & NY Jets @ Patriots u30.5


Whippy winds, expected in week 18 divisional NFL action at Baltimore, the New York Giants and New England, favor the UNDER

Of the of the 16 games on the week 18 NFL docket, NFLWeather.com forecasts winds of ten miles per hour or more for 13. Not coincidentally, the UNDER is 227-181-7 (56%) over more than the last two decades in NFL action played in double-digit winds. We have been detailing since week 6 the linkage between the windiest conditions and lower than expected aggregate NFL scores. The excerpt below indicates our rationale for this connection.


[H]igh winds tend to inhibit scoring, perhaps as teams dial down their aerial attack, given an increased potential for the ball to sail, and instead focus on ground games. Running plays produce fewer yards per and result in a reduced number of scoring opportunities (to wit, so far this season, NFL teams are averaging between 5.3 and 10 yards per passing play, versus 3 to 6.9 yards per rush attempt).

Going a step further, history suggests intra-division NFL action played in high winds is especially disposed toward UNDERs. The angle indicated in the graphic has demonstrated 21% long-term return on investment (this level of profitability proved statistically significant at the 95% confidence level...which suggests a very low likelihood that this relationship is merely due to chance).


NFL games played in the windiest conditions tend toward the UNDER, especially in divisional action

The aforementioned write-up from earlier in the season included the following explanation for why we think divisional action, in particular, tends toward the UNDER.


As the NFL schedule necessitates teams face squads in their division twice per year, there is increased familiarity with division rivals. We suspect this more intimate knowledge results in lower scores, as squads become more aware of each other's tendencies and proficiencies (and, by extension, are better prepared to mount credible defenses).

In the final week of regular season NFL action, three games meet the criteria for the system described above:


AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens (36.5)

NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants (41)

AFC East: New York Jets @ New England Patriots (30.5)


We note that the Ravens' commanding win over the Dolphins this past Sunday clinched the division title and the top seed in the post-season, so there is uncertainty regarding whether Lamar Jackson will play in Baltimore's meaningless regular season finale. Head coach, John Harbaugh, has indicated that personnel decisions will be announced by Wednesday.


For bettors that expect Tyler Huntley to start in Jackson's stead (we fall into this camp), jumping on the UNDER sooner than later makes sense, as the line is likely to drop on definitive news that the MVP frontrunner will sit the last game out.


Also worth mentioning, the Jets / Patriots total of 30.5 ranks among the lowest in the Sports Insights database. Since 2003-04, there have only been 14 games with a closing O/U south of 32. The UNDER is 10-3-1 in this spot. So while astute gamblers might intuitively be compelled to side with the OVER in situations like this, there has tended to be a reason for such extreme observations.


As a final note, we remind our readers that the triggers for these wagers are based on forecasted wind conditions, which are, of course, subject to change. If actual gametime conditions turn out to be more benign than today's expectations suggest, these signals could be voided. Nonetheless, per current inputs and the angle laid out herein, our week 18 NFL betting picks include plays on the UNDER at Baltimore, the New York Giants and the New England Patriots to close out the regular season.


Happy betting!!


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