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NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 3, 2010



NFL Picks (Preseason 2010): 9-6-1 (+$680)
NFL Picks (Week 1, 2010): 8-7-1 (-$15)
NFL Picks (Week 2, 2010): 7-8-1 (-$170)

NFL Picks (2010): 24-21-2 (+$495)
NFL Picks (2009): 151-124-9 (+$3,370)
NFL Picks (2008): 136-125-6 (+$4,330)
If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.


Vegas betting action updated Sept. 27, 4:30 p.m. ET. PARLAY HEDGE IN LATE GAMES PAGE!


Go to Week 3 NFL Picks - Late Games



San Francisco 49ers (0-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
Line: 49ers by 3. Total: 37.

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): 49ers -3.
Sunday, Sept. 26, 1:00 ET
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The Game. Edge: 49ers.

Week 2 Recap: For the second week in a row, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I nailed my September NFL Pick of the Month with Miami winning outright over Minnesota. I had my eye on the Dolphins in that game since July, and I was happy to see them win straight up. The bad news though is that I went 7-8-1 overall. However, thanks to an e-mailer, I managed to pick up on a n00b mistake I was making, so hopefully fixing that will translate into winning weeks going forward.

SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: As I wrote in my highly controversial 2010 NFL Power Rankings (Buccaneers and Chiefs fans were pissed on the forums), I'm a believer in Alex Smith. Smith had a solid game overall, but really shined in San Francisco's final drive, going 5-of-6 for 63 yards with 24 rushing yards on the final possession.

Now, the question remains, can Smith repeat what he did against the Saints? I think so. The Chiefs have a solid pass rush, but their secondary currently has some issues. Eric Berry particularly has been unimpressive; he missed tackles in the opener and blew a coverage that resulted in a touchdown last week. I'm not saying that Berry's going to be a bust or anything, but I expected much more right away from the consensus top-three prospect from the 2010 NFL Draft.

One advantage Kansas City has here is in the running game. Frank Gore trampled the Saints on Monday night, but will have a much more difficult time against a Chiefs defense that has allowed just 3.6 yards per carry in the first two weeks.

KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: There are two reasons why I still have the Chiefs in my bottom 10. The first is Matt Cassel, who has completed just 52 percent of his passes in two weeks. Cassel is atrocious and isn't nearly good enough to keep defenses somewhat honest. The 49ers will concentrate on stopping Kansas City's ground attack, forcing Cassel to beat them.

And that brings me to the second reason why Kansas City's 2-0 start is a farce. Todd Haley is a reh-TARD who doesn't understand the concept of giving the ball to his best player. I've written about this ad nauseum for the past year and a half, and it really amazes me how he still has a job.

Last week, Thomas Jones had 23 touches to Jamaal Charles' 12. Jones turned those touches into 88 yards (83 rushing, 5 receiving), while Charles was able to compile 76 yards (49 rushing, 27 receiving). That's correct - Charles nearly had as many yards as Jones despite getting half as many touches.

Regardless of who's carrying the ball, it'll be tough sledding for Kansas City, as the 49ers surrender just 2.8 yards per rush.

RECAP: The 49ers are the better team and would be able to win under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, I'm torn. Here's what I'm looking at:

There's a very lucrative trend going against the Chiefs. The winless 49ers are favored over them, which fits a 15-2 system dating back to 1980. Winless teams giving points over a team coming off a win have covered 15 out of 17 times. Granted, that's not a huge sample size, but I think it's big enough. It also makes sense. A winless team has to be favored over a team coming off a victory for a reason, right?

However, the 49ers are in a very tough spot. They put everything into that Monday night battle and fell just a bit short. I'm not sure how they'll muster enough energy to win this game.

This is actually a very similar situation to what Miami endured last year. The Dolphins lost in Week 1, suffered a tough defeat against the Colts at home on Monday night in Week 2, and then went on to get blown out at San Diego the following Sunday. The 49ers are also going: loss; last-second Monday night defeat; on the road versus an AFC West foe. The scenarios are eerily similar.

Betting football is all about finding spots, so despite the 15-2 trend, I think San Francisco's unfortunate situation trumps the system going against Kansas City. This is a half-unit bet though because it took me a while to make up my mind.

By the way, the rest of my Week 3 NFL Picks will be posted sporadically throughout Tuesday. Check back, or follow me on Twitter @walterfootball for update notices.


The Psychology. Edge: Chiefs.
The 49ers just put everything into that Monday night game. Falling just a bit short, they may not have any energy left over for the Chiefs game.


The Vegas. Edge: Chiefs.
After how well the 49ers played on Monday night, it's no surprise that bettors are pounding them.
  • Percentage of money on San Francisco: 79% (81,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: 49ers.
  • Winless Vs. Winner: Winless teams favored over an opponent coming off a win are 15-2 ATS since 1980 (excluding Week 2).
  • Chiefs are 7-17 ATS at home since 2007.
  • Opening Line: 49ers -1.
  • Opening Total: 36.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 52 degrees. Light wind.


    Week 3 NFL Pick: Chiefs 17, 49ers 16
    Chiefs +3 (0.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
    Under 37 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Chiefs 31, 49ers 10



    Detroit Lions (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
    Line: Vikings by 11. Total: 43.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Vikings -13.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Vikings -12.5.
    Sunday, Sept. 26, 1:00 ET
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    The Game. Edge: Vikings.

    Vegas Recap: Vegas ordinarily loses early in the year to give bettors a larger bankroll, but that hasn't been the case this season. For the second week in a row, the books won a ton of money. The public lost as the Dolphins, Bears. Lions, Steelers, Buccaneers and Jets all covered. The only heavily bet games Vegas lost were when the Falcons, Packers, Colts and 49ers beat the number. Going 6-4 with the vig in your favor is a big payday. Hopefully Vegas will be more merciful going forward; otherwise, casual bettors won't have any money left to gamble with.

    MINNESOTA OFFENSE: Excluding Adrian Peterson, things are just not looking good for Minnesota's offense. Brett Favre is finally playing as his age would indicate; Sidney Rice is out; Percy Harvin is playing hurt; and the offensive line stinks. Fortunately, the Lions are coming to town.

    Despite the addition of Ndamukong Suh, the Lions are having issues against the run; they surrendered six yards per carry to the Eagles, which excludes QB Dog Killer's scampers.

    Peterson will easily have a huge game, which will set up play-action and short-yardage opportunities for Brett Favre. As if he'll need them. Detroit's secondary is an abomination, as they are currently ranked 31st in that department, allowing 9.5 yards per pass attempt. It seems as though Harvin will be able to play, which is great news for the 0-2 Vikings.

    DETROIT OFFENSE: Jahvid Best is unbelievable. It's a shame that QB Dog Killer's unfortunate return had to take away from Best's performance against the Eagles. Seriously, ESPN barely mentioned what Best did, instead focusing on the guy who drowned dogs and took bets to see how long they'd stay alive. Great job, ESPN.

    Best ripped right through Philadelphia's defense, but the Eagles' already-pedestrian stop unit was shorthanded with the absence of Stewart Bradley. The Vikings are much better defensively, so while Best will still be a factor in the passing game, he won't have much running room this Sunday.

    Shaun Hill went 25-of-45 for 335 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions last week, but you can't buy into that, as most of that yardage came in junk time. Hill is a solid backup, but I don't like his chances against an angry Minnesota defense. It won't help that Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus have to go up against Jared Allen and Ray Edwards.

    RECAP: I really like the Vikings for three reasons.

    First, I feel like we're getting some line value. Prior to last week's loss to Miami, Minnesota would have been favored in this game by -12.5 or -13.

    Second, the Vikings fit under the Hello, Goodbye trend. Favorites of -6.5 or more going into their bye are a sterling 34-8 against the spread since 2002.

    And third, Minnesota is simply desperate for a win. If they lose this game, they're guaranteed to be three back of either Green Bay or Chicago. This is a must-win for them. Keep in mind that 0-2 teams that made the playoffs the year before are 6-3 against the spread as favorites in Week 3 dating back to 2003.

    UNIT CHANGE: I did some research on Saturday afternoon, and I found that double-digit favorites coming off a loss are just 32-57 against the spread since 2002. I'm going to decrease the amount of units on this game in the wake of this discovery.


    The Psychology. Edge: Vikings.
    This is a must-win for the Vikings.


    The Vegas. Edge: Vikings.
    Is everyone off the Brett Favre bandwagon? The Lions are a publicly backed underdog.
  • Percentage of money on Detroit: 60% (93,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
  • History: Vikings have won 20 of the last 21 meetings.
  • Hello, Goodbye: Favorites of -6.5 or more are 34-8 ATS going into their bye since 2002 (Brad Childress 1-0).
  • Third Time's a Charm: 0-2 Teams that made the playoffs the previous year are 11-7 ATS in Week 3 since 2003 (6-3 as favorites).
  • Lions are 13-8 ATS as a double-digit underdog since 2006 (3-7 in 2009).
  • Lions are 4-13 ATS against losing teams the previous 17 instances.
  • Jim Schwartz is 0-4 ATS as a divisional dog of 7+.
  • Opening Line: Vikings -10.
  • Opening Total: 41.5.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Week 3 NFL Pick: Vikings 34, Lions 17
    Vikings -11 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
    Over 43 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Vikings 24, Lions 10





    Buffalo Bills (0-2) at New England Patriots (1-1)
    Line: Patriots by 14.5. Total: 43.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Patriots -13.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Patriots -13.
    Sunday, Sept. 26, 1:00 ET
    Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Patriots.

    Some random NFL notes I can't put anywhere else:

    1. On Sunday NFL Countdown Tom Jackson said the following: "No one's a bigger fan of Peyton Manning than me."

    Really, Tom? So when you go home, you paint your face white and blue, put on a Manning jersey and pleasure yourself while watching Manning game tape? Not that there's anything wrong with that...

    2. If you missed the Monday night game, or simply chose to mute it, Jon Gruden gave us this gem: "The 49ers must gore the Saints with Frank Gore."

    Hey, I'm just pointing this out; I'm not making fun of him. Gruden said he worked on that one all day, so let's pat him on the head and tell him that he did a great job!

    3. There were about a billion quarterback benchings this week. The only one that didn't make sense was Buffalo's decision to sit Trent Edwards in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Great strategy of replacing Crappy Quarterback A with Crappy Quarterback B!

    Seriously, why not just give Brian Brohm a shot? What do the Bills have to lose? At least they'd be able to find out what they have in Brohm. Instead, Chan Gailey probably reasoned: "We saw some good tangs with Fitzpatrick and some bad tangs with Brohm, so we gonna go with Fitzpatrick!"

    BUFFALO OFFENSE: This Bills team is a disaster area. They have the worst quarterback situation in the NFL (aside from perhaps the Chiefs, simply because Matt Cassel is so overpaid); their offensive line is garbage; they have only one downfield weapon in Lee Evans; and they aren't using their No. 9 overall pick whatsoever. Seriously, Gailey, you took C.J. Spiller in the top 10. It was a stupid selection, but you could at least use him.

    As we all saw on Sunday, New England's defense isn't very good. They were being pushed around by the Jets' offensive line, as LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene ripped off solid gains at will. The difference here though is that Buffalo's front won't be able to duplicate what New York's did. Thus, Fitzpatrick will be stuck in third-and-long situations all afternoon, which is never a good thing.

    NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: The Patriots were moving the chains at will against the Jets in the first half, but failed to score a single point after intermission. Two things happened. First, Wes Welker took a shot to the head in the second quarter and consequently played just 39 snaps. And second, reliable third-down back Kevin Faulk left the game with a knee injury.

    Welker will be fine, but the loss of Faulk to a torn ACL is the concern. However, I have faith in Bill Belichick to figure something out during the week. It was much tougher to do so during the game, but Belichick will find a viable replacement by Sunday.

    The strength of Buffalo's team is its secondary, which is currently 17th against the pass. That ranking is a bit misleading because the Bills played Aaron Rodgers last week. However, it doesn't get any easier with Tom Brady on deck.

    RECAP: There are three things that Tom Brady hates: barbers, women who aren't supermodels and the feeling of losing a football game. Since 2003, Brady is 13-6 against the spread following a loss. He's 6-3 versus the number after a defeat since 2006.

    Of those six wins since 2006 - I doubt he's losing to Buffalo - check out his margin of victory: 25, 35, 33, 16, 59 and 10 (multiple screw-ups in the red zone). Poor Bills.

    UNIT CHANGE: I liked the Patriots at two units when the line was -13.5 and -14. I refuse to lay any more than a unit on -14.5. It's just too much.

    UNIT CHANGE (Again): I did some research on Saturday afternoon, and I found that double-digit favorites coming off a loss are just 32-57 against the spread since 2002. I'm going to decrease the amount of units on this game (again) in the wake of this discovery.


    The Psychology. Edge: Patriots.
    The Patriots will naturally be focused off a loss.


    The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
    Anyone want to bet on the Bills? Anyone?
  • Percentage of money on New England: 88% (133,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
  • History: Patriots have won 18 of the last 19 meetings.
  • Patriots are 29-18 ATS vs. AFC East opponents since 2001.
  • Patriots are 47-36 ATS at home under Bill Belichick.
  • Tom Brady is 109-37 as a starter (85-58 ATS).
  • Tom Brady is 21-10 ATS off a loss.
  • Tom Brady is 13-6 ATS off a loss since 2003.
  • Bill Belichick is 13-5 ATS after losing as a favorite.
  • Opening Line: Patriots -13.5.
  • Opening Total: 43.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 67 degrees. Light wind.


    Week 3 NFL Pick: Patriots 38, Bills 17
    Patriots -14.5 (0.5 Units) -- Incorrect; -$55
    Over 43 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Patriots 38, Bills 30







    Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (2-0)
    Line: Saints by 3.5. Total: 49.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Saints -7.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Saints -7.
    Sunday, Sept. 26, 1:00 ET
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    The Game. Edge: Saints.

    More random NFL notes:

    4. I was listening to 610 WIP (Philadelphia sports-talk radio) on Sunday night, and one guy from Hawaii called up. He said that because the 1 p.m. Eastern games start at 7 a.m. over there, he and all of his friends watch the games from 7 to 1 p.m., and then head down to the beach for the rest of the day.

    I was insanely jealous, but then I thought about it - if I lived in Hawaii, I'd be too busy watching football and laying on the beach to work on this site. There would be no WalterFootball.com; just a lot of sunburn, sand in my shorts and alcohol in my system.

    Still though, if you're living in Hawaii, congratulations.

    5. Interesting message from forum member Strems:

    I'm a football fan from Toronto, Canada and there is a beef I wanted to point out about the various U.S. television networks coverage of the NFL.

    On Canadian sports channels, when a football analyst predicts a winner, he does so by incorporating the spread.

    I find it incredibly frustrating and annoying how on Sunday morning I need to waste part of my life hearing four to six different football analysts predict the winner between the Lions and the Vikings or the Chiefs and the Chargers. Of course they would all pick the Vikings and the Chargers in this case and go on with their deep analysis for 15 minutes. This is not rocket science; my 3-year-old nephew could pick the winners of these games.

    I want to see the commentators on Sunday Morning have to make these picks with a 14.5 point spread and THEN give their reason of why a team is going to cover or not (like you do every week). My guess is because the U.S. television networks don't want to associate with gambling.


    I couldn't agree more with Strems. Aside from fantasy football, the reason why the NFL is so popular is because of gambling. I'd like to see which team Keyshawn Johnson thinks will cover this Falcons-Saints game. Then again, Keyshawn could easily go 25 percent against the spread and be responsible for millions of people losing money, so maybe it's good that these former players don't analyze the spread.

    6. Funny e-mail from Will R. prior to the 49ers-Saints Monday night game:

    Hey Walt, any chance of setting up a support group for us poor 49er fans? I think I need a meeting after getting raped by the Seahawks.

    Sure thing! If you're a 49ers fan, and you wake up in the middle of the night thinking that your team has to play the Seahawks the next day, this support group is for you. If you're walking outside at night, and you think Pete Carroll is going to sneak up on you and Tweet cool songs, come on down. And if you're thinking that your team will continuously screw itself over in a big game on Monday night against the defending Super Bowl champions, and ultimately lose by three? Well, let's just hope you haven't slit your wrists yet.

    NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: Was there any doubt that Drew Brees would be able to engineer a last-minute comeback and break the hearts of all 49er fans Monday night? Brees was incredible, but that drive was overshadowed by Reggie Bush's earlier injury. When Bush was helped off the field, there was some concern that he would be done for the year. The good news though is that Bush could be back by Halloween.

    Bush will be missed, but the Saints should still be able to put up a healthy amount of points each week - especially considering that they don't have to go up against the Vikings or 49ers defense this Sunday.

    Atlanta's secondary is currently ranked 19th versus the pass (7.0 YPA), but that's a bit misleading because they've played Dennis Dixon and Derek Anderson. Brees obviously offers a far more difficult challenge. The Falcons should be able to contain the run - aside from two long gains by Rashard Mendenhall and Tim Hightower, they've been stiff against it - but Brees could easily lead his offense into the 30s for the first time all year.

    ATLANTA OFFENSE: Like the Saints, I expect the Falcons to put up a ton of points. Matt Ryan ordinarily is pretty pedestrian on the road, but has understandably been pretty comfortable in New Orleans' dome. In two games at the Superdome, Ryan is 43-of-75 for 604 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions (one pick was tipped). Those stats pretty much rival what he's done at home in his young career.

    The Saints haven't been very good against the pass this year - they rank 26th in that department despite playing a 40-year-old Brett Favre and Alex Smith - so keeping Atlanta out of the end zone will prove to be difficult, especially with Michael Turner as a threat out of the backfield. New Orleans struggled against Frank Gore, and should have similar problems versus Turner.

    RECAP: I really don't understand this point spread. Subtract three points the Saints for being the host, and this line says that they are just one point better than the Falcons. Umm... what? I like Atlanta this year, but that's just crazy. I was ready to pound the Falcons at +6.5 or +7, but +4 offers no value at all.

    I still like Atlanta though. This is a much more important game for them than it is for New Orleans. The Falcons always play the Saints close, and the Statfox Trend (see below) is in their favor.


    The Psychology. Edge: Falcons.
    This game obviously means much more to the Falcons; they went to prove that they can contend with the Saints, while New Orleans is coming off a tough Monday night road win.


    The Vegas. Edge: Falcons.
    I'm surprised there's only a lean on New Orleans considering how low the spread is.
  • Percentage of money on New Orleans: 73% (80,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
  • History: Saints have won 6 of the last 7 meetings.
  • Statfox Trend: Home favorites coming off road wins of 1-3 points are 21-46 ATS in Weeks 2-10 since 2000 (Sean Payton 0-1).
  • Saints are 28-44 ATS at home since 2001 (11-8 since 2008).
  • Saints are 21-33 ATS as a home favorite since 2001.
  • Drew Brees is 23-14 ATS off back-to-back wins.
  • Opening Line: Saints -4.5.
  • Opening Total: 50.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Week 3 NFL Pick: Saints 24, Falcons 23
    Falcons +3.5 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
    Under 49 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Falcons 27, Saints 24





    Tennessee Titans (1-1) at New York Giants (1-1)
    Line: Giants by 3. Total: 43.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Giants -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Giants -3.
    Sunday, Sept. 26, 1:00 ET
    Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Titans.

    Even more random NFL notes:

    7. I jokingly discussed the possibility of Brett Favre retiring in the middle of the season in my Week 1 Saints-Vikings recap. Well, I'm beginning to think this has legs. If the Vikings continue to struggle and are something like 4-7 after Week 12, I could see Favre just disappearing. No one would know where he went, causing Peter King to spontaneously combust.

    Favre would then re-surface by Christmas, claiming he went on a 5-week hunting trip, or something. In the meantime, ESPN would discuss how awesome he is and lead off every single SportsCenter with a "Brett Favre: Will he reappear or is he gone for good?" feature.

    Tell me this can't happen. In fact, I can't see this not happening.

    8. Great quote from forum member ...: "Jay Cutler is a two-face. When he takes his helmet off, he looks like a pudgy fat kid. When he puts it on, he looks like a total bada**."

    I like it. Cutler looks pissed off this year after going through an entire offseason hearing about how crappy he and Mike Martz are. Martz's adjustments in the Dallas game were brilliant, and Cutler executed against the Cowboys' blitz to perfection. Not bad for a "pudgy fat kid" and a coordinator who enjoys stealing his injured quarterbacks' organs and selling them on the black market.

    9. You may have noticed that I haven't posted any Rebecca Grant Cleavage updates this year. That's because Rebecca Grant isn't on FOX anymore. They hired some average-looking blonde instead. On the bright side, the Vehix.com Girl is back! As Tom Jackson would say, "No one's a bigger fan of the Vehix.com Girl than me."

    TENNESSEE OFFENSE: The Titans played like crap against the Steelers. Vince Young threw sloppy interceptions and fumbled, Chris Johnson coughed up the football as well, Eugene Amano held a defender, which wiped out an 85-yard Johnson touchdown, and the special teams surrendered a score to open up the game. Anyone who bet on the Titans deserves to feel cheated because Tennessee outplayed Pittsburgh.

    The good news for the Titans is that this was only one loss, and they can easily rebound at New York. The Giants just surrendered 163 rushing yards on 40 carries to the Colts, which definitely does not bode well for this game. Johnson almost certainly will have a monstrous performance, making things easier for Young.

    I think we have to give Young a mulligan. Dick LeBeau's insane schemes really confused him, but he'll have an easier time solving New York's defense - especially considering that Johnson will have much more running room this time.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: I have no idea what the Giants were thinking Sunday night. After watching Arian Foster trample Indianapolis' defense, you'd think they'd want to establish Ahmad Bradshaw early and often. Instead, Kevin Gilbride gave his backs only three carries out of the first 10 plays.

    Gilbride won't have the luxury of battling a soft run defense this week. The Titans just put the clamps on Rashard Mendenhall, limiting the Steelers to just 78 yards on 29 carries.

    Eli Manning will have to convert quite a few third-and-long situations, which will prove to be very taxing; the Titans bring a great deal of pressure (8 sacks), and as witnessed Sunday night, Manning doesn't have the best pass protection in the world. I also like the matchup of Cortland Finnegan on Hakeem Nicks.

    RECAP: I really like the Titans this week. They're getting points despite being the better team and owning the superior defense.

    Moreover, the Giants could be really flat after losing to the Colts. That game was really hyped up, so I doubt their energy level will be anywhere close to 100 percent against a seemingly inferior Tennessee squad.


    The Psychology. Edge: Titans.
    The Titans had a sloppy loss and should be more focused this Sunday. The Giants, meanwhile, put a good amount of stock in the Colts game and are bound to suffer some sort of a letdown; this contest just doesn't mean that much to them.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Tennessee: 56% (92,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Titans.
  • Titans are 20-12 ATS as underdogs in the post-Steve McNair era.
  • Vince Young is 27-13 as a starter (25-15 ATS).
  • Vince Young is 9-4 ATS as a road dog.
  • Jeff Fisher is 19-6 ATS vs. the NFC since 2003.
  • Jeff Fisher is 6-11 ATS after losing as a favorite.
  • Giants are 16-10 ATS after a loss since 2005.
  • Giants are 7-4 ATS after a double-digit loss since 2007.
  • Opening Line: Giants -3.
  • Opening Total: 43.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 66 degrees. Light wind.


    Week 3 NFL Pick: Titans 24, Giants 17
    Titans +3 (4 Units) -- Correct; +$400
    Under 43.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Titans 29, Giants 10





    Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
    Line: Ravens by 11.5. Total: 37.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Ravens -13.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Ravens -13.
    Sunday, Sept. 26, 1:00 ET
    Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Ravens.

    Some college football notes I can't put anywhere else:

    1. I've made it known that I hate college football. The lack of a playoff system sucks, and 99 percent of the games don't mean anything because teams with one or more loss have no chance at the title. However, I have a new reason to watch college football - to solely root against scumbag coaches. Every Saturday from now on, I'll be cheering against Lane Kiffin, Rich Rodriguez and Bobby Petrino. I don't care whom they're playing, I'll be rooting for the other team. The only possible exception could be if they go up against Osama bin Laden's alma mater, Afghanistan State. In that case, I'll hope for a tie.

    2. Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it. Many quarterbacks in the past, including Matt Leinart, Brian Brohm and Brady Quinn were projected to be drafted highly, but went back to school for another year to see their stock plummet. Jake Locker looks like the latest victim. Locker potentially left $50 million on the table last April to return to Washington for another season.

    Locker went 4-of-20 for 71 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against Nebraska. He really looked awful, as he held on to the ball too long, stared down his receivers too often, and was wildly inaccurate all afternoon. Adam Schefter reported that an NFL general manager told him that Locker is still a top 10 pick, but it's highly unlikely that he'll be taken No. 1, given his weak supporting cast.

    The lesson, as always, if you're projected to go in the top half of the NFL Draft, you have to declare - unless you don't care about losing anywhere between $10 and $50 million, of course.

    3. I was watching the Clemson-Auburn game for some reason, and I heard the announcers refer to the Clemson running backs as "Thunder and Lightning."

    Can we quit it with this "Thunder and Lightning" crap? It's played out. Can't we think of something new? Luckily, I have an idea, and anyone who has played Mega Man 2 will appreciate this:

    Flash Man and Crash Man.

    Tell me that's not awesome. What's great about it is that if there's a third running back who's a super scat-type player (like Darren Sproles), he can be called Quick Man. And if one of their teammates pulls a Visanthe Shiancoe and posts a video of their wang on the Internet? Wood Man!

    BALTIMORE OFFENSE: Joe Flacco had a miserable afternoon against the Bengals. He had pressure in his face the entire game, and consequently tossed four interceptions. Flacco, in my opinion, is a top 10 quarterback in the NFL, so I expect him to bounce back against a team he has beaten up on in the past.

    The Browns have solid corners, but their safety play isn't very good. They're currently ranked ninth against the pass, but that's an anomaly because they've battled Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman coming off a broken thumb thus far.

    Baltimore simply has too many weapons for Cleveland's defense, including Ray Rice. The Browns made Thomas Jones look half-decent last week, so Rice could finally have the big game his fantasy owners have been waiting for.

    CLEVELAND OFFENSE: Jake Delhomme is walking around with a boot on his ankle, so it's unlikely that he'll play in this game. Does it really matter though? Both he and Seneca "The Backdoor Bandit" Wallace have proven that they're irresponsible with the football. Wallace's pick-six against the Chiefs was horrifying.

    The Ravens have to be licking their chops. They dropped two Carson Palmer interceptions, and they're not going to let that happen again. Their solid run defense will force the Backdoor Bandit into third-and-long situations, which should prove to be disastrous.

    RECAP: This is weird - this is the third consecutive year that the Browns are traveling to Baltimore for a Week 3 matchup. The Ravens slaughtered Cleveland in the previous two instances, 28-10 and 34-3.

    But that's not why I like the Ravens. Quite simply, they're a tough, disciplined football team that takes care of business. Under John Harbaugh, they're 9-1 against the spread against teams with losing records, and 5-1 versus the number when favorited by double digits.

    I also like the value we're getting with Baltimore. A week ago, this line would have been -12.5 or -13.

    SURVIVOR PICK: I'm taking Baltimore as my survivor pick. It was a tough choice between the Ravens and Vikings, but the latter hosts Buffalo in December. By then, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and all of the corners should be healthy.

    In case you're wondering, if you have the Patriots available (I don't), I'd choose them over both Baltimore and Minnesota.

    UNIT CHANGE: I did some research on Saturday afternoon, and I found that double-digit favorites coming off a loss are just 32-57 against the spread since 2002. I'm going to decrease the amount of units on this game in the wake of this discovery.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No psychological edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    No surprise where the money is going here.
  • Percentage of money on Baltimore: 90% (116,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
  • History: Home Team has won 8 of the last 12 meetings (Ravens have won the last 4 meetings).
  • Jake Delhomme is 26-12 ATS as an underdog in his career. ???
  • Ravens are 9-1 ATS vs. teams with losing records under John Harbaugh.
  • Ravens are 5-1 ATS as double-digit favorites under John Harbaugh.
  • Opening Line: Ravens -11.
  • Opening Total: 37.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 69 degrees. Light wind.


    Week 3 NFL Pick: Ravens 27, Browns 6
    Ravens -11.5 (0.5 Units) -- Incorrect; -$55
    Under 37 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Survivor Pick (2-0)
    Ravens 24, Browns 17



    Dallas Cowboys (0-2) at Houston Texans (2-0)
    Line: Texans by 3. Total: 47.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Texans -3.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Texans -4.5.
    Sunday, Sept. 26, 1:00 ET
    Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Cowboys.

    My e-mail address is published on this site, so I tend to get more spam and junk mail than the average person. Each week, I'm going to find a hilarious e-mail and post it for your entertainment. Here is this week's edition:

    t Hi boss, it's been quite some time now. Since times are hard as hell we need to rely on the internet to save us... I found a solution and I wanted to tell you about it. This page changed my life... I quit my job because I make more money online now. Sounds silly but check out this 2 article about it here goes, View the news paper s9n5

    What is that up in the sky? It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the Internet, and it has come to save us all!

    DALLAS OFFENSE: Aside from the Chiefs and Buccaneers hate, perhaps the most controversial thing about my 2010 NFL Power Rankings was that I still had the Cowboys in the top 10.

    My reasoning is that they have the most talent in the NFL. Their offensive linemen are back. They could have easily won both of their games, and they'll eventually get their act together. Perhaps this week.

    The Cowboys won't be able to run the ball against the Texans - or anyone - but they'll definitely have success moving the chains aerially. Houston's secondary hasn't been able to stop anyone, ranking 30th versus the pass (9.0 YPA). Their cornerbacks are really struggling, and I expect Tony Romo to have a big day.

    HOUSTON OFFENSE: Now armed with a stud running back, Houston's offense has been unstoppable this season. However, there are two areas of concern here. The lesser issue is Andre Johnson's ankle sprain. He's day-to-day, and is expected to be in the lineup, so that's not a big deal. The greater issue is Duante Brown's four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on PEDs.

    With Brown out, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the Texans will have issues in pass protection, particularly against DeMarcus Ware.

    Foster won't find much running room against Dallas' eighth-ranked ground defense (3.1 YPC), so Schaub will have to move the chains on his own. That'll be problematic with a second-string left tackle protecting his blind side, especially if Johnson is playing at less than 100 percent.

    RECAP: As if Houston's injury issues weren't enough, this is a terrific spot for the Cowboys. They're my favorite side this week for a variety of reasons:

    1. This is a must-win game for them. If they're 0-3 going into their bye, they risk falling two games behind everyone in the NFC East (the Eagles, Redskins and Giants are all favored this week). And you have to believe that Jerry Jones will make some changes in the week off.

    2. In a related point, 0-2 teams that made the playoffs the year before are 11-7 against the spread in Week 3 since 2003.

    3. The Statfox Trend applies again. The Texans are coming off a road win of 1-3 points and are now favored as hosts.

    4. There's a great trend that applies to the Cowboys: Underdogs coming off a loss as -7 or more, playing a team coming off a straight-up win are 69-37 against the spread.

    5. The Texans flat-out embarrassed the Cowboys in a nationally televised preseason contest. I have to believe that Dallas will be out for revenge. Also, this is the first time Houston is favored in this rivalry. I don't like them in this situation.

    6. This is an odd point spread that seems to be baiting the public into betting Houston. Despite the fact that everyone's high on the Texans and down on the Cowboys, the line only -3. If Vegas really wanted equal action, they would have made Houston -4.5 or -5.


    The Psychology. Edge: Cowboys.
    This is desperation mode for the Cowboys. Not only that; they'd like to get revenge on the Texans for embarrassing them on national TV in the preseason.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Late action on Dallas has brought this back to equal money.
  • Percentage of money on Houston: 58% (107,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Cowboys.
  • Big Al Trend II: Underdogs coming off a loss as -7 or more, playing a team coming off a SU win are 69-37 ATS.
  • Statfox Trend: Home favorites coming off road wins of 1-3 points are 21-46 ATS since 2000 (Gary Kubiak 0-2).
  • Third Time's a Charm: 0-2 Teams that made the playoffs the previous year are 11-7 ATS in Week 3 since 2003.
  • Tony Romo is 24-15 ATS as a starter before Dec. 1.
  • Tony Romo is 8-4 ATS as a starter in September.
  • Texans are 16-26 ATS after a win (10-10 since 2007).
  • Opening Line: Texans -3.
  • Opening Total: 46.5.
  • Weather: Retractable roof.


    Week 3 NFL Pick: Cowboys 23, Texans 20
    Cowboys +3 (5 Units) -- Correct; +$500
    Under 47 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Cowboys 27, Texans 13



    Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
    Line: Steelers by 3. Total: 33.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Steelers -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Steelers -1.5.
    Sunday, Sept. 26, 1:00 ET
    Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: None.

    In addition to an E-mail of the Week, I'm also going to post a Video of the Week. I made an awesome Mega Man 2 reference earlier. To go along with that, check out this insane Mega Man 2 Boss Battle featuring all eight bosses, or a fight between 30 copies of Metal Man. Try not to suffer a seizure watching these videos.

    PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: What offense? The Steelers relied on a kickoff return for a touchdown and seven Titans turnovers to score last Sunday. They haven't been able to run the ball at all in two games aside from Rashard Mendenhall's game-winning score in overtime.

    Thanks to Gerald McCoy, who has played well thus far, the Buccaneers have improved against the run. They're currently ranked 20th in that department after allowing fewer than four yards per carry to the Panthers last week. Sure, they stacked the line of scrimmage and forced Matt Moore to beat them, but they'll employ the same strategy against Charlie Batch.

    Batch is a safe veteran quarterback who won't make mistakes, but he's not going to lead the Steelers on too many scoring drives, especially behind his anemic offensive line. The Buccaneers recorded three sacks last week, so they should be able to at least match that number quite easily.

    TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: Neither offense is going to have an easy time scoring in this game. I love the way Josh Freeman is progressing, but like Vince Young last week, he could be prone to making mistakes against Dick LeBeau's chaotic blitz schemes.

    If Chris Johnson couldn't run on the Steelers, Cadillac Williams definitely won't be able to. Freeman will be responsible for moving the chains on his own. To give his team a chance to go 3-0, he'll have to refrain from committing turnovers. Having Kellen Winslow Jr. and the emerging Mike Williams helps, but Freeman's inexperience could really hurt him.

    RECAP: This is one of three games this week in which a team coming off a win as an underdog finds itself favored. Mike Tomlin is 2-2 in this situation, but doesn't have Ben Roethlisberger this time.

    The Steelers already salvaged two wins without Big Ben, which had to be their goal. Thus, I don't think they'll have much urgency in Tampa. They certainly won't have the same fire they played with against the Falcons or Titans, given that they're favored for the first time.

    This is more of a statement game for the Buccaneers. This is their chance to prove that they're for real. They're 2-0, but haven't beaten a team that has a win yet. Defeating the undefeated Steelers would show everyone that they are a team that needs to be taken seriously.


    The Psychology. Edge: Buccaneers.
    I can't think this game means much to the Steelers. They're coming off a big road win, and they've already salvaged two wins without Ben Roethlisberger. This is also the first time they're favored without Big Ben.


    The Vegas. Edge: Buccaneers.
    One of many no-brainers for the public this week. How can the Steelers not beat the Buccaneers by at least a field goal?
  • Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 84% (100,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Steelers.
  • Buccaneers are 14-10 ATS as a home underdog since 1996 (1-4 in 2009).
  • Buccaneers are 6-14 ATS off back-to-back wins since 2003.
  • Buccaneers are 1-7 ATS at home under Raheem Morris.
  • Opening Line: Steelers -3.
  • Opening Total: 34.
  • Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 85 degrees. Light wind.


    Week 3 NFL Pick: Buccaneers 13, Steelers 10
    Buccaneers +3 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
    Under 33 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Steelers 38, Buccaneers 13



    Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (0-2)
    Line: Bengals by 3.5. Total: 37.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 2): Panthers -1.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 2): Bengals -2.
    Sunday, Sept. 26, 1:00 ET
    Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Bengals.

    As mentioned last week, I'm now in the same fantasy football league as Bo-Bo. If you don't know who Bo-Bo is, he's quite possibly the worst fantasy player in the history of the universe. Here was the team he drafted last year:

    QB: Trent Edwards (6th-round pick); RB1: Michael Turner; RB2: Frank Gore; WR1: Terrell Owens; WR2: Kevin Curtis; WR3: Joey Galloway; TE: Chris Cooley; DEF: Minnesota; K: David Akers (12th-round pick).

    In our league this year, I improved to 2-0 with a 120-94 win (thank you, Jahvid Best). Unfortunately, Bo-Bo has dropped to 0-2, as he lost his matchup by the score of 89-47. Bo-Bo had nice games from Mikes Sims-Walker and Pierre Thomas, but saw five players on his team score three or fewer points: Brett Favre, Maurice Jones-Drew, Tony Gonzalez, Stephen Gostkowski and the 49ers Defense.

    Could this be the year that Bo-Bo finally goes 0-13? Stay tuned.

    CAROLINA OFFENSE: The big news concerning this game is that Jimmy Clausen has been given the nod over Matt Moore. It's about time. Moore was abysmal in his first two starts this year; he tossed three interceptions in the end zone against the Giants, and then committed more inexcusable turnovers against the Buccaneers. Moore was billed as a safe quarterback who could move the chains on occasion. He certainly didn't live up to that in his first two starts.

    I loved Clausen as a prospect, but he faces a ridiculously tough first opponent in the Bengals. Cincinnati put the heat on Joe Flacco last week and forced him into four interceptions. The Panthers are tied for second with seven sacks allowed this season, so that doesn't bode well for Clausen.

    The Panthers must establish the run to give Clausen a chance. Unfortunately, they haven't been able to do that this year because Jeff Otah has been out with a knee injury. Otah probably won't be able to suit up this Sunday.

    CINCINNATI OFFENSE: While the Bengals' defense played out of its mind against the Ravens, the offense left much to be desired.

    Carson Palmer, in particular, was woeful. He was 16-of-35 for 167 yards last week, and that doesn't tell the whole story. He missed a wide-open Chad Ochocinco in the end zone and had two routine interceptions dropped by Baltimore defenders. Sure, Carolina's defense offers less of a challenge, but Palmer stinks right now and cannot move the chains consistently.

    Unfortunately for Cincinnati, it won't be able to establish a decent ground attack. The Panthers are currently sixth versus the run (2.8 YPA) and did a good job limiting Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs in the opener.

    RECAP: As you can see below, everyone is pounding the Bengals. The thought process: "Cincy just beat the Ravens! They'll cream Carolina!"

    First of all, the Bengals won't be creaming anyone this year. Palmer stinks, so their offense simply isn't good enough to blow anyone out.

    And second, Cincinnati is in a really tough spot. I mentioned this dynamic in the previous game - the Bengals find themselves favored after winning a game as an underdog. It's really difficult to be successful in this sort of a situation, as Marvin Lewis is just 2-7 against the spread in games like this.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No psychological edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: Panthers.
    The Bengals just destroyed Joe Flacco. Bettors naturally think they'll do the same to Jimmy Clausen.
  • Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 88% (117,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Panthers.
  • Bengals are 5-16 ATS as a favorite since 2007.
  • Marvin Lewis is 2-7 ATS as a favorite coming off a SU win as an underdog.
  • Panthers are 34-24 ATS as an underdog the previous 58 instances.
  • Panthers are 23-32 ATS at home since 2003.
  • John Fox is 14-7 ATS after losing as a favorite.
  • Opening Line: Bengals -3.
  • Opening Total: 40.
  • Weather: Showers, 69 degrees. Light wind.


    Week 3 NFL Pick: Bengals 13, Panthers 12
    Panthers +3.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 37.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Bengals 20, Panthers 7



    Week 3 NFL Picks - Late Games
    Eagles at Jaguars, Redskins at Rams, Colts at Broncos, Raiders at Cardinals, Chargers at Seahawks, Jets at Dolphins, Packers at Bears


    Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks
    A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week
    (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted whenver winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.


  • Prop/teaser/parlay picks posted in Week 3 NFL Picks - Late Games



    NFL Picks - Oct. 23


    2015 NFL Mock Draft - Oct. 22


    Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 5


    2016 NFL Mock Draft - July 24


    2015 NBA Mock Draft - July 1


    NFL Free Agents




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    Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 7, 2014): 10-4-1 (+$330)
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    My Team-by-Team ATS Record
    This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.

    Cowboys: 2-5
    Bears: 3-4
    Bucs: 4-2
    49ers: 3-3
    Eagles: 3-3
    Lions: 2-4
    Falcons: 3-4
    Cardinals: 2-4
    Giants: 2-5
    Packers: 4-2
    Panthers: 2-5
    Rams: 3-3
    Redskins: 4-3
    Vikings: 5-2
    Saints: 2-3
    Seahawks: 3-3
    Bills: 3-4
    Bengals: 2-4
    Colts: 4-3
    Broncos: 4-2
    Dolphins: 5-0
    Browns: 3-1
    Jaguars: 3-4
    Chargers: 2-5
    Jets: 4-3
    Ravens: 2-4
    Texans: 5-2
    Chiefs: 4-1
    Patriots: 4-3
    Steelers: 3-4
    Titans: 4-2
    Raiders: 3-3
    Divisional: 12-14 (2011-13: 141-137)
    2x Game Edge: 7-6 (2011-13: 55-62)
    2x Psych Edge: 6-12 (2011-13: 92-80)
    2x Vegas Edge: 14-14 (2011-13: 129-142)
    2x Trend Edge: 12-8 (2011-13: 72-78)
    Double Edge: 3-5 (2011-13: 27-33)
    Triple Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 2-1)
    Quad Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 0-0)

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