NFL Week 18 Player Incentives: Five bets to lock in today with contract incentives, bonuses on the line

Everyone who is playing in NFL Week 18 has some kind of motivation. For some, it’s making the playoffs or spoiling a rival team’s chances to do so. For others, it’s finishing strong in a contract year or trying to avoid getting cut in the offseason. The biggest motivation for many, though, is money. Today we will highlight five players in line for big bonuses via player incentives, and recommend the player props you should lock in ahead of the Sunday slate.

Most sports fans and bettors have heard of player incentives. They’re basically performance-based contract bonuses that benefit both the player and the franchise. They also benefit the savvy bettor, as we know the dudes gunning for a certain stat line will do everything they can to achieve that targeted goal. 

Our betting goals are similar to the players’ goals: Win and make a ton of cash in the process. Our Week 18 best bets and top props have already started off with a bang — let’s keep the gravy train rolling and unveil our five favorite prop wagers associated with player incentives we expect to hit this week. Good luck, have fun, and enjoy the final week of the regular season!

NFL Week 18 Player Incentives: Five bets to lock in today

All odds courtesy of Sports Interaction, Canada’s most trusted sportsbook. Bet on this weekend’s NFL games now!

Jordan Love, QB, Packers: $500,000 bonus if Green Bay makes playoffs

Love has low-key been one of the more dependable QBs in the NFC this season, and the Packers control their own destiny. A win and they’re in — a loss and they drop to a 16 percent probability of making it. What a lot of fans don’t realize going into the final day of the regular season, however, is that Love also gets a half-million dollar bonus if Green Bay clinches a postseason berth. 

Look for Aaron Rodgers’ Lambeau successor to take full advantage of a beatable Bears defense, one that he put piled up three TDs against en route to a 38-20 victory in Week 1. Everyone has overlooked how special Love has been in his first full year as a starter, but we’ve been paying attention. The dude has a 16-to-1 TD:INT ratio over the Pack’s past six games!

The last above-average pocket passer Chicago has faced, Joe Flacco, put 374 yards and two TDs on the Bears. Matt Eberflus’s defense has looked vastly improved since the trade deadline — mostly thanks to its sudden ability to rush the passer with Montez Sweat — but Love has actually fared well under pressure over the past two months.

We believe in Love! Over Green Bay’s past eight games, the third-year QB has thrown for 265.4 passing yards per game. And he finally has a running game again, with Aaron Jones healthy and coming off two straight games with 130-plus scrimmage yards. Dating back to Dec. 2018, the Packers have gone 21-1 when Jones gets 20-plus touches in a game. Justin Fields makes for a worthy Week 18 adversary, but our confidence couldn’t be higher in a motivated Love with his eyes on the prize.

RECOMMENDED BET: Packers -2.5 (-125) — that way you get the field-goal cover and avoid the heavy juice on Green Bay’s moneyline (-150). 

MORE WEEK 18 BETTING: Against the spread | Moneyline | Top props

Baker Mayfield, QB, Buccaneers: $2 million in incentives likely coming

Mayfield found a home in Tampa Bay in his sixth season, and he might pull down some Comeback Player of the Year votes. The 28-year-old has the 8-8 positioned for a playoff berth with a Week 18 win over the lowly Panthers. Tampa can also clinch a spot with a tie or if the Saints lose to the Falcons at home today. We like Mayfield to control his own destiny, get the Bucs into the postseason, and maximize his incentivized bonuses.

And boy, oh boy, are these some whopper bonuses. Mayfield will receive a $1 million boost for playing over 85 percent of Tampa’s offensive snaps this season (he has played over 99 percent of the Bucs’ snaps so far). He will also receive an extra $1 million if he leads Todd Bowles’ squad to the playoffs. Those are two of the easiest checkmarks we can imagine, considering Carolina has won two games out of 16, and ranks bottom-three in the NFL in points, yards, and scoring defense. Go cook, Baker!

RECOMMENDED BETS: Buccaneers -3 (-145) seems like the best play. We would also have no reservations betting Mayfield at plus odds to throw two TDs (OVER 1.5, +115). A two-TD, zero-interception day would give the veteran a 30-TD, 10-INT season and force his name into the Comeback Player of the Year conversation. 

MORE: Damar Hamlin no longer a shoo-in for Comeback Player of the Year

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Titans: $1.25 million in bonuses on the line

The veteran Hopkins stands to total a cool million-dollar bonus if he reaches 1,050 receiving yards, a target he would hit with just 39 yards against the Jaguars today. He also needs seven more catches to reach 75 on the season, which would help him rake in a total receptions bonus of $500,000 on the season. 

The Titans gave their prized offseason acquisition a tiered incentive system prior to this season, with each tier increasing his bonus by $25K. Take a look at the tier-leveled incentives below:

Catches (currently at 68)

65: $250,000
75: $500,000
85: $750,000
95: $1 million

Receiving Yards (currently at 1,011)

750: $250,000
850: $500,000
950: $750,000
1,050: $1 million

Touchdowns (currently at six)

4: $250,000
6: $500,000
8: $750,000
10: $1 million

So, basically, he needs 39 yards to max out his receiving-yards bonus and seven catches to level up to a half a million bucks in that market. He’s already secured $1 million in bonuses, but can add a cool $500K to that total today. And we have no reason to believe Mike Vrabel will suddenly rest his star wideout in the final game of the season — Tennessee has been out of the playoff picture for a while, and yet Nuk caught 7-of-7 targets for 72 yards last week. 

The 5-11 Titans had a tough year with injuries and inconsistent defensive play, but at least they have a stud receiver in Hopkins. They’ll want to keep him happy going into the offseason in order to avoid him potentially retiring or asking for a trade ahead of the second half of his two-year contract. We fully expect DHop to show up and show out in Week 18 against a Jaguars secondary that has been a turnstile all season, allowing the sixth-most passing yards per game (245.3). Back a very motivated Nuk to bring home the juice.

RECOMMENDED BETS: Bet Hopkins OVER 63.5 receiving yards (-125) — and maybe even his longest reception prop OVER 22.5 yards (-115). The three-time All-Pro will be all over the field today against a feeble Jacksonville defense.  

Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings: $650K with a big day

The Vikings running back currently has 676 rushing yards, 125 away from 800 and the $650,000 bonus that would come with that threshold. Minnesota has an outside shot at making the playoffs with a win, but the Vikings play the run-stuffing Lions this weekend so we don’t see a ground-and-pound approach with Mattison working in the favor of Kevin O’Connell’s team. 

Mattison has failed to record a 100-yard rushing day all season, and things have only become more ugly during the home stretch. He finished with just 17 ground yards last week against an underwhelming Packers defense and had -2 yards two weeks ago against the same Lions Minnesota will face this afternoon. We don’t really care what Mattison’s over/under falls to before game time — we wouldn’t bet his OVER with your money. 

RECOMMENDED BET: Fade Mattison and bet his rushing yards UNDER wherever you can find it posted. He’s not currently listed on SIA because they probably don’t want to take on liability with a player so volatile, but check back closer to 1:00 p.m. to see if they add anything Mattison-related.

 

Chris Jones, DT, Chiefs: $1.25 million bump with one sack

Jones started the season holding out for a contract extension, which Kansas City quickly realized it would need to resolve for the Chiefs to have any chance at defending their championship. He finishes the season on a quest for his 10th sack and the $1.25 million bonus that would come with that number. He has 9.5 going into this afternoon’s game against Easton Stick and the Chargers, so even a half-sack would put Jones in the money.

Stick has started three games and been sacked 11 times since Justin Herbert broke a finger on his throwing hand, so we would bet on Jones to record at least one sack wherever we could find such action (sack props aren’t currently on Sports Interaction but you could probably find some on other books between now and the Chiefs’ 4:25 p.m. kickoff). 

RECOMMENDED BET: Bet Jones to record 1-plus sack at up to -190. SIA doesn’t have any sack props as of yet, but that could change closer to game time in the 4:00 p.m. window. 

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