NFL betting, odds: Low scores could be the way in regular-season finale

Houston Texans offensive huddle including Brandin Cooks (13) Chris Moore (15) Laremy Tunsil (78) and others during an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, January 1, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson)
A loss would benefit the Texans in the NFL draft. (AP Photo/Matt Patterson) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

NFL totals have been solid the last few weeks. Week 18 should be no different. With some teams potentially resting players for the playoffs, and with half the league having nothing to play for, the final week of the regular season can be tricky to navigate. Here are two totals to consider for Week 18 in the NFL.

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts under 38

It’s difficult to measure motivation in any sport. However, the Texans should be motivated to not win. A loss will lock up the No. 1 overall draft pick, while the Colts have been eliminated from playoff contention. Houston has averaged 11 points in its last two games, while Indianapolis has been a train wreck, losing its last six games and swapping through numerous quarterbacks. Both the Colts and Texans are bottom four in the league in total offense, with both averaging just four total points in the fourth quarter. Nick Foles is out this week because of a rib injury, which means Sam Ehlinger is next man up. Ehlinger has just one touchdown and one interception with a QBR of 34.1 in three games. The Colts' offense will still be lackluster.

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins under 38.5

The Jets are eliminated from playoff contention while the Dolphins still have a shot at the postseason with a win plus a Patriots loss. The Jets are top 10 in sack percentage, while the Dolphins are top 20. This could be the key factor for keeping the score under the game total. I had my reservations about Mike White returning as quarterback for the Jets and it came to fruition in a 23-6 loss to the Seahawks, with White tossing two interceptions without a TD pass.

Although the Miami secondary is vulnerable (27th-ranked passing defense), at least the defense is able to still apply pressure to opposing passers, especially when playing at home (7% at home against 5.7% when traveling). Miami's QB situation is a mess, and the Dolphins struggled against a New England defense that is worse than the Jets'. The Jets' defense remains a top-five unit and with the Dolphins' QB situation murky, New York could have success keeping the score low.