NFL Week 18 Betting Line Moves: Sharp Action Comes Early On Chargers Vs. Raiders is an independent sports news and information service. has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

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Chargers QB Justin Herbert (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)

Mandalay Bay had better be preparing for a potential New Year’s Eve II, in case the Las Vegas Raiders defeat the Los Angeles Chargers in the NFL’s marquee matchup Sunday night inside Allegiant Stadium.

That would clinch a first playoff berth for the Raiders since they moved to Vegas two years ago, and BetMGM Director of Trading Jeff Stoneback will not be surprised if celebrations were to carry into the wee hours Monday morning.

“If the Raiders win that game, that book will be hopping when they come back over,” says Stoneback. “At nine o’clock on Sunday nights, that book is pretty dead. But if the Raiders win, it will be rocking and rolling.”

Last season was a coronavirus wash, with no fans attending games. So this season, Stoneback was caught by surprise, a bit, when Raiders fans turned the Mandalay Bay sportsbook into their pre-game HQ for home games.

That property is BetMGM’s headquarters.

From there, it’s a short walk over I-15 on Hacienda Avenue—which caters to foot traffic only on game days—to the stadium. The Raiders have split their eight home games so far this season, with foes having outscored them by an average of 25-21.

“We usually get a large influx of visiting fans, but the Chargers won’t have any because there doesn’t even seem to be any home fans for them,” Stoneback says with a laugh. “It’ll be all Raiders fans. We’ll definitely need the Chargers.”

The game will be televised nationally on NBC.

BetMGM opened it Chargers -2.5, and sharp money quickly moved that to 3. Even though Stoneback expects waves of recreational cash to back the Raiders this weekend, right up until kickoff, he does not expect that line to budge.

The house will not give sharps another chance at Chargers -2.5, and it will not go to 3.5 to give the hometown fans a shot at a cover with a three-point loss to the visitors. As of Thursday afternoon, L.A. was a consensus -3 across the industry.

“We want to stay on the side of the sharp money because, in the long run, it does us well when we stay on the side of the sharp money,” says Stoneback. “We don’t take any game, individually, any differently, and that will be the situation here.

“We’ll just let the sharp money dictate what it is.”

(Each team’s records, overall and ATS, are in parenthesis.)

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7, 8-8) at Las Vegas Raiders (9-7, 7-9)

NFL – Sun (1/9) @ 8:20 p.m. ET

Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV

DraftKings Line: Chargers -3, Total 49.5

These two play in a stand-alone game on national television for a third consecutive time. On a Thursday last season, the Chargers won, 30-27, at Allegiant. In October, on a Monday night, the Chargers were also victorious, 28-14.

The past five Chargers games have finished ‘over’ the total.

Kansas City Chiefs (11-5, 8-8) at Denver Broncos (7-9, 7-9)

NFL – Sat (1/8) @ 4:30 p.m. ET

Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, CO

Line: Chiefs -10.5, Total 45

A Chiefs victory and a Tennessee tie or defeat at Houston gives Kansas City the top seed, and home-field playoff advantage, in the AFC. Over their past three games, the Chiefs have averaged an NFL-best 33.7 points.

By mid-week, double the amount of money, and five times the tickets, had been placed on the Chiefs at BetMGM.

“It’s an isolated game, by itself, on Saturday, so we’ll take a lot of money on the Chiefs,” says Stoneback. “It’ll be a big game for us, because everyone will be on the Chiefs.”

Dallas Cowboys (11-5, 12-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-7, 8-7-1)

NFL – Sat (1/8) @ 8:15 p.m. ET

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA

FanDuel Line: Cowboys -5, Total 43.5

I spoke with a professional bettor Monday after he had wagered thousands of dollars on Dallas, giving only three points. Within an hour, the Cowboys had become favorites by a touchdown.

My punter pal reasoned that Philly has nothing to play for, that it is in the postseason and nothing would alter the fact that it will open on the road. So why not rest key players for what figures to be a difficult playoff game away from home?

“That’s an example where the professionals are ahead of the bookmakers,” says Stoneback. “A number gets put up, then there are all those other intangibles in a game like that.”

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4, 8-7) at Baltimore Ravens (8-7, 7-8)

NFL – Sun (1/9) @ 1 p.m. ET

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD

Line: Ravens -6, Total 41.5

There are some slivers of playoff hope for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his troops, but they must beat Baltimore, first and foremost, to trigger a couple of other dominoes to fall their way. Same goes for the Ravens.

The Steelers have won their previous three meetings with the Ravens, and seven of the past 10. In that stretch, Pittsburgh is 3-1 in Baltimore.

New England Patriots (10-6, 10-6) at Miami Dolphins (8-8, 8-7-1)

NFL – Sun (1/9) @ 4:25 p.m. ET

Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL

PointsBet Line: Patriots -6.5, Total 40

New England basically wins the AFC East with a triumph in Florida and a Buffalo tie or loss at home to the Jets. There are other combinations, but they’re too funky to comprehend.

The Patriots have lost six of their past eight games in Miami.

New Orleans Saints (8-8, 8-8) at Atlanta Falcons (7-9, 6-9-1)

NFL – Sun (1/9) @ 4:25 p.m. ET

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

Line: Saints -4.5, Total 40.5

The Saints go marching into the playoffs if they win and San Francisco loses. New Orleans has averaged only 10 points a game in its past three, tied for the second-worst output (with Carolina) over that span.

However, the Saints have also allowed an NFL-low average of only 10 points in that stretch. Atlanta tallies only 14.3 points at home, lowest in the league (with Jacksonville). The past six Saints games have finished Under, the previous three for Atlanta.

Does all that point to an ‘under’ here?

Seattle Seahawks (6-10, 8-8) at Arizona Cardinals (11-5, 10-6)

NFL – Sun (1/9) @ 4:25 p.m. ET

State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ

Caesars Sportsbook Line: Cardinals -6.5, Total 48

Should the Cards win and the Rams lose, Arizona clinches the NFC West. Seattle has saved some face late in their moribund season, averaging 0.480 points per play in its past three games, fifth-best in the league. The Seahawks have tallied at least 24 points in four of their past five games.

San Francisco 49ers (9-7, 8-8) at Los Angeles Rams (12-4, 8-8)

NFL – Sun (1/9) @ 4:25 p.m. ET

SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA

Line: Rams -4.5, Total 44.5

If they win, the Niners are in the postseason. There are other scenarios, but that’s the basic gist of this game for San Francisco. The Rams clinch the NFC West with a victory.

“A must-win for them,” Stoneback says of the Rams, “because they don’t know what will happen in the Cardinals-Seahawks game, which is at the same time. The Rams-Niners will be one of our key games.”

Also read: Chiefs Vs. Broncos Odds: Lay The Big Chalk With K.C.DraftKings 2022 NFL MVP Odds | DraftKings Super Bowl Odds: Packers Favored But Priced Nicely

About the Author
Rob Miech

Rob Miech

Rob Miech is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today who covers soccer and specializes in features content. He has written about college hoops for the Las Vegas Sun, CBS SportsLine and the Pasadena Star-News. Miech is the author of four books, including Sports Betting for Winners.

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