Week 18 Incentives: 5 Player Props to wager on this weekend in the NFL
Week 18 is one of the NFL’s weirder weekends of the season with several teams fighting for their playoff lives while others are mentally checked out, picturing themselves on the beach in Cancun. In the sports gambling world, Week 18 brings a variety of props for players looking to hit their end of year incentive marks.
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Written into their contracts, months and sometimes years before this week’s games, certain players can make some serious extra cash if they reach certain statistical milestones. Regardless of a team’s postseason outlook, money talks, and most of the time, coaches and teammates listen.
My favorite example of this was last season when Rob Gronkowski needed seven catches and over 85 yards in the Buccaneers’ final game. Those numbers would put him at 55 receptions and over 800 yards to meet his $1 million incentive. With less than six minutes left in the game, Gronk explained his financial situation to Tom Brady, “I need one more!” Brady responded with an “I got you” fist bump, knowing exactly what that meant and planning to force-feed his favorite target until he caught that 55th ball.
On the next drive, Brady took the field up 34-17, blatantly defying Bruce Arians’ request for him to remain on the bench. The first play, Gronk ran a simple flat route and hit his $1 million prize. He finished that game with seven catches on ten targets for a season-high 137 yards.
Week 18 Incentives and Player Props
Jaguars wide receivers seek AFC South Title and $500,000 each
The Jaguars and Titans clash for the AFC South crown on Saturday night after Tennessee dropped six consecutive games to give Dougie P a fighting chance at a playoff berth. While contract bonuses will not be the main priority, wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones stand to make a small fortune if things go their way.
Zay Jones made $500,000 in Week 15 after a six-catch, 109-yard outing against Dallas hit his mark of 70 receptions for the season. The sixth-year wideout is enjoying the best statistical year of his career, totaling 78 catches for 802 yards. Jones can earn $250,000 more if he gets to 80 receptions and another $250,000 if he can get to 90.
That’s a tricky disparity to bet on, but his yardage bonus is much more appealing. With 900 receiving yards, Zay can reach another $500,000 reward against a Titans team that he torched in Week 14 with 77 yards on eight grabs and a score.
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Jacksonville’s other leading receiver finds himself in a similar position regarding his incentives. Tied with Zay Jones for the team-high, Christian Kirk has 78 catches on the season and contract payouts occurring at 80 and 90 receptions. Another difficult two or twelve reception split for betting purposes.
However, the former Arizona Cardinal already hit the 1,000-yard mark in his first year with the Jaguars, banking half of a million dollars, and can make another half million if he hits 1,100 yards. Kirk currently sits at 1,008 on the year and he would need a 90+ yard performance, just like his teammate Zay Jones. Again, the problem with betting on this game’s props is the AFC South title means much more than getting those guys their money.
- Zay Jones OVER 54.5 yds (-125)
- Christian Kirk OVER 59.5 yds (-115)
DUUVAL SGP +475
- Zay Jones 75+ rec yds
- Christian Kirk 65+ rec yds
California Player Prop Gold Rush
Since taking over as the Rams’ QB1, Baker Mayfield has thrown three touchdowns to his new favorite target, tight end Tyler Higbee. Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, Baker is fighting for a potential starting quarterback position in what should be a wild carousel for signal callers this offseason. At 587 receiving yards, Higbee, aka Mr. December, already earned $375,000, but that can become a clean $500,000 if he gets to 600 yards in an otherwise meaningless game for the Rams at Seattle.
- Tyler Higbee OVER 32.5 (-115)
- Tyler Higbee Anytime TD (+290)
Mr. December SGP +360
- Tyler Higbee 25+ rec yds
- Tyler Higbee Anytime TD
Sticking with the Los Angeles teams, the Chargers clinched an AFC wildcard berth and now travel to Denver, where Russell Wilson tries for his fifth win as the Broncos’ new starting quarterback. Former Eagles’ preseason specialist, DeAndre Carter, needs 55 more receiving yards to hit 550 on the year and make an extra $100,000 during his mini-breakout campaign.
Another Chargers’ pass catcher slated for a contract bonus, Gerald Everett can make some extra dough against a Denver defense that struggles covering tight ends. The Broncos allow almost six receptions (3rd worst in NFL) and 63 yards per game (4th worst in NFL) to opposing tight ends. Everett has a $250,000 bonus coming his way if he totals five catches to get 60 for the season.
However, if (when) the Ravens lose to the Bengals in the early slate of games on Sunday, keep an eye out for Gerald Everett’s status and possibly DeAndre Carter’s. The Bolts lock up the fifth seed in the AFC with a Baltimore loss and might not risk playing any of their starters, even special teams guys like Carter. In that scenario, replace Everett’s player props with Tre’ McKitty, the second-year backup out of Georgia. McKitty primarily is used as a blocker but caught ten passes on fourteen targets and is due for his first career NFL touchdown.
- DeAndre Carter OVER rec yds – not released yet
- Gerald Everett OVER receptions – not released yet
- Gerland Everett Anytime TD (+295)
- EMERGENCY SWAP: Tre McKitty TD (+500)
- DeAndre Carter Anytime TD (+340) – if available & Keenan Allen/Mike Williams sit
LA Gold Rush SGP +2375
Tyler Higbee 30+ rec yds
Tyler Higbee Anytime TD
Gerald Everett Anytime TD
LA Gold Rush SGP with DeAndre Carter TD +2825
Bengals player props for the AFC North Title
Finally, to make up for the uncertainty of those Chargers picks, let’s go to the game that will determine who suits up for Los Angeles. After the frightening scene on Monday Night Football involving Damar Hamlin, the Bengals will rebound and focus on clinching the AFC North division title for the second straight season.
Cincinnati’s lone questionable tag for the game is cornerback Eli Apple while Baltimore has six players uncertain to play in the season finale. That list includes current starting quarterback Tyler Huntley, who’s dealing with injuries to his shoulder and right wrist. After limited practices all week, he and coach John Harbaugh believe that Huntley has a “good chance to start.” If he cannot go, the Ravens turn to undrafted rookie Anthony Brown who went 3-for-5 for 16 yards in relief action during Week 14.
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Defensive starters Calais Campbell (knee) and Marcus Peters (calf) have been out since Week 15, although Peters got in a limited practice on Friday. It gets worse for the Ravens as a bug appears to be going around the locker room. Eagles’ legend DeSean Jackson and backup cornerbacks Brandon Stephens and Kevon Seymour all did not practice Friday due to illness.
The Bengals are currently the third biggest favorite to win in Week 18 according to Vegas at -9.0. In their low-scoring first matchup with Baltimore in Week Five, Ja’Marr led the team with ten targets and finished with seven catches for only 50 yards. Chase has seen double-digit targets from Burrow in six of his last seven games played.
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With the Ravens’ bed-ridden secondary and the second-year LSU product only 40 yards away from another 1,000-yard season, I expect him to eat early and often. Ja’Marr has not gone back-to-back games without a touchdown since Weeks Four and Five, coincidentally against Baltimore. Meanwhile, Tee Higgins has scored in four straight games, so Chase is due to get one back on Sunday.
Our last player prop is a long shot based on a sixth-year veteran running back’s Week 18 incentives. Samaje Perine found a solid role as Joe Mixon’s backup and needs 123 more rushing yards to trigger a $100,000 bonus for getting to 500 on the season. I prefaced this by saying it was a long shot, but if the Bengals get out to a commanding lead early on, they will rest their starters for the playoffs. Enter Samaje Perine, a total locker room guy who everyone wants to see get paid, adds extra motivation to get one of your unsung hero teammates a nice payday and should keep the Bengals rolling through the second half.
- Ja’Marr Chase Anytime TD (+110)
- Hayden Hurst OVER 29.5 rec yds (-110)
- Samaje Perine Anytime TD (+350)
- Samaje Perine OVER rush yds (N/A)
Joey Brrrr’s Boys SGP (+425)
- Hayden Hurst 25+ rec yds
- Tyler Boyd 35+ rec yds
- Ja’Marr Chase 70+ rec yds
Joey Brrrr’s Boys + Chase Anytime TD SGP (+800)
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