Baltimore Ravens (6-2) at Atlanta Falcons (6-2) Line: Falcons by 1. Total: 43.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9): Falcons -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9): Falcons -3.
Thursday, Nov. 11, 8:20 ET
The Game. Edge: None.
If you're not aware, this is the first Thursday night game of the year since the season opener.
I always feel like they begin these Thursday night games a week too early. I really value my Thursday nights. I mean, I have lots of important things to do, like eat hamburgers, gamble on random things online and game STD-ridden whores at the local bar. How dare the NFL ruin my Thursday night!
Anyway, it's the usual - my NFL Picks will be posted periodically throughout Tuesday afternoon and evening. You can follow me on Twitter @walterfootball to receive updates for when I post each selection.
ATLANTA OFFENSE: Every time the Falcons play at the Georgia Dome, I make it a point to mention Matt Ryan's home-road dichotomy. As a host, he has 25 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, a 64.3 completion percentage and an 7.8 YPA, compared to 26, 18, 57.5 and 6.5 respectively on the road.
The Ravens are 14th against the pass. They limited Chad Henne to 231 yards on 34 attempts last week, but struggled to defend aerial attacks prior to their bye, most notably allowing 374 yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 7.
Baltimore has surprisingly struggled against the run recently. Ronnie Brown didn't have many opportunities last week because the Dolphins were behind, but was able to do some damage when given the rock. Michael Turner should pose enough of a threat in this game to open things up even more for Ryan.
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: Atlanta's struggles against the pass are well-documented. Josh Freeman threw for just 189 yards last week, but that was because he attempted only 22 passes. In its two games prior to the bye, Atlanta surrendered 738 yards through the air.
Joe Flacco was nearly flawless last week, going 20-of-27 for 266 yards and two touchdowns. He'll definitely pick up where he left off against the Falcons' 31st-ranked secondary.
Flacco, however, won't have a consistent running game by his side. The Falcons are very good against ground attacks; no opponent has rushed for more than four yards per carry against them since Week 2.
Baltimore's main concern will be converting in the red zone. The Ravens had a whopping seven trips into the red zone against the Dolphins, and managed just one touchdown (19 points overall). The team was guilty of multiple sacks, penalties and botched field goals. If this continues, Baltimore will not win this contest.
RECAP: Playing a road game on a Thursday night is really difficult. The Ravens are traveling on short rest, and the Georgia Dome will be more raucous than ever.
I really like the Falcons in this spot. They're so dominant at home, and this is their chance to prove that they're legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
The Psychology. Edge: Falcons.
The Falcons aren't on a national stage often, so this is their chance to showcase themselves against the Ravens, who are on a short travel week.
The Vegas. Edge: Falcons.
Slight action on the visitor.
Percentage of money on Baltimore: 63% (90,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
Ravens are 26-16 ATS in November.
Ravens are 14-10 ATS on the road under John Harbaugh.
Matt Ryan is 12-4 ATS at home.
Falcons are 3-18 ATS at home immediately following a home win the previous 21 instances.
Detroit Lions (2-6) at Buffalo Bills (0-8) Line: Bills by 2. Total: 45. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9): Bills -1.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9): Bills -3 (Stafford out).
Sunday, Nov. 14, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: None.
Week 9 Recap: A great weekend. I went 6-5-2, but made $1,050 because I hit four of my top five picks. The cherry on top was the Vikings somehow coming back from down 14 to keep me alive in my survivor pools.
No hate mail this week. Well, not if you count some trash talking that occurred on my forum before the Sunday games. One forum member had the following to say:
Dallas +8 (over Green Bay) should have been Walt's November pick of the month but again he is clueless... Just like how he took Indy +3 and was baited into it just like the rest of the public... Philly gonna cover in that one too.
Well, at least he didn't call me a coward or a "draft killer."
DETROIT OFFENSE: Poor Lions. Matthew Stafford has re-injured his shoulder and could be done for the year. Even if he's out 4-5 weeks or so, there's no point in bringing him back to risk further injury. Detroit absolutely has to fix its offensive line this offseason.
With Stafford out, Jim Schwartz is hoping that Shaun Hill will play. However, Hill was only able to hand the ball off to his running backs on Sunday, which is definitely not a good sign for the Lions. If Hill can't go, it'll be Drew Stanton, who pretty much plays like a drunken sailor.
Stanton sucks, but something has to give because Buffalo's pass defense is just as disgraceful. The Bills can't get to the quarterback consistently, and even Jay Cutler played near-mistake-free football on Sunday.
Buffalo can't generate turnovers - kind of makes you wonder why they canned Perry Fewell - so the Lions could move the chains considering all the weapons Stanton has to work with. One of those weapons, Jahvid Best, should have a field day against the Bills' 30th-ranked rush defense.
BUFFALO OFFENSE: Like Tyler Thigpen in 2008, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a very limited quarterback playing well in Chan Gailey's offense. Fitzpatrick has posted great numbers as a starter, which is great unless it deters the Bills from picking Andrew Luck in the 2011 NFL Draft. That would just set the franchise back yet another few years. No biggie.
The Lions have a very good pass rush, which makes their ranking against the pass (25th) pretty alarming. The Bills can't pass protect very well though, so I wouldn't expect the Bills to sustain consistent scoring drives.
A running game would help Buffalo's cause. The Lions are ranked 27th versus the rush, but the Bills don't run the ball very well and inexplicably refuse to utilize No. 9 overall pick C.J. Spiller.
RECAP: I wouldn't recommend betting this game. On one hand, the Lions are in a very tough spot coming off an emotional loss to the Jets. On the other hand, you can't lay points with an 0-8 team.
I actually went back through the archives, and discovered that only one team that was 0-8 or worse had been favored since 2002. That was the 2007 Cam Cameron-coached Miami Dolphins, who were -2 at home against the Jets. They lost, 40-13.
I know all of my star edges below say that I should pick the Bills, but I just can't stomach laying points with a team that can't even win a game. Plus, the Lions have to feel pretty disrespected as underdogs to a winless squad, so maybe that's the motivation they need.
The Psychology. Edge: Bills.
Matthew Stafford is hurt again, and the Lions are coming off a tough emotional loss to the Jets. I can't see Detroit getting up for this game.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Slight action on the visitor.
Percentage of money on Detroit: 58% (115,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bills.
Zero Heroes Teams 0-8 or worse are 16-8 ATS since 2000.
Lions are 12-19 ATS vs. AFC opponents since 2001.
Lions are 4-14 ATS against losing teams the previous 18 instances.
Bills are 23-12 ATS in November home games the previous 35 contests.
Bills are 16-9 ATS against losing teams since 2006.
Bills are 16-10 ATS at home after Oct. 1 when favored by fewer than 6 points since 2002.
Minnesota Vikings (3-5) at Chicago Bears (5-3) Line: Vikings by 1. Total: 40.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9): Pick.
Sunday, Nov. 14, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Vikings.
Vegas Recap: The sportsbooks have been killing the public all year. That changed last weekend. Of the six highly bet teams, four covered (Saints, Giants, Colts, Steelers). Vegas walked away with money when the Browns and Lions beat the spread, but overall, the books finally had a losing weekend.
Vegas is still way up on the year, so they won't need to fix anything anytime soon. And yes, that stuff does happen - especially in MAC college football games. Stay tuned to read about the worst cover in college football history.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: In the irony of all ironies, Brett Favre saved Brad Childress' job last week. I still can't believe Favre had never thrown for 446 yards in a single game. How has that not happened?
But that was against Arizona's awful secondary. The Bears happen to rank first against the pass, and I don't like Minnesota's chances of protecting Favre against Julius Peppers and the rest of Chicago's front.
The Vikings should be able to run the ball, however. Not counting last week's win over the Bills - for obvious reasons - the Bears have allowed four consecutive opponents to gain more than four yards per carry. Adrian Peterson needs to keep that streak alive to allow Favre to throw out of manageable passing situations.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: It finally happened. Jay Cutler played mistake-free football at Toronto. Well, almost. He had a strip-sack fumble, but that was the only turnover he was guilty of. It was a Canadian miracle.
Now that the Bears are back on American soil, I don't expect Cutler's sound play to continue. I don't know what happened in the fourth quarter of the Arizona-Minnesota game on Sunday, but Jared Allen and Ray Edwards finally came to life after being dormant for most of the year.
The Bears have a putrid offensive line, so if Allen and Edwards pick up where they left off, Cutler doesn't stand a chance, especially considering that Chicago doesn't run the ball at all.
RECAP: I'm taking the Vikings. I think the Bears are one of the worst teams in the NFL, and it doesn't seem like the public has caught on to that yet, so we're getting some line value with Minnesota. Plus, betting against Cutler is always a lucrative proposition (see trend below).
There are no strong situational edges in this game, however, so this will be a single-unit pick.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
Big game in the NFC Norris.
The Vegas. Edge: Bears.
The Vikings are back. Or so the public thinks.
Percentage of money on Minnesota: 77% (126,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
History: Home Team has won 13 of the last 15 meetings (Vikings won 4 of the last 6).
New York Jets (6-2) at Cleveland Browns (3-5) Line: Jets by 3. Total: 37.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9): Jets -4.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9): Jets -3.5.
Sunday, Nov. 14, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Jets.
Some random NFL notes I can't put anywhere else:
1. In my Week 9 recaps, I pointed out an error in the NFL.com GameCenter of the Oakland-Kansas City game:
(:07) S.Janikowski 96 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-J.Condo, Holder-S.Lechler.
Well, it wasn't just Gamecenter. Look at the following three pictures I received from Jay F., Ashraf Z. and anonymous.
How could every site/service have the same error? I'm beginning to think it wasn't a mistake. I believe Sebastian Janikowski actually kicked a 96-yard field goal.
How would I explain it? That's easy. Al Davis obviously sacrificed 97 virgins - 96 for each yard, and one for good luck.
2. Speaking of crazy football people, Brad Childress drew a ton of criticism for mocking Brett Favre after the Arizona game. Childress, however, had a much more noteworthy quote that he made earlier in the week.
When asked if he lost his football team in the wake of the Randy Moss fiasco, Childress had the following to say:
I don't know what that means. They're in the locker room right there.
Umm... Chilly, I don't think you understood the question.
3. Last week, I posted the following GameCenter quote:
BUT WE GOT A TACKEL AND A COUPLE OF LB.. AND BRIAN MOSE TO THE MIDDLE LETS SEE HOW IT WORKS
I wrote that I had no idea who Brian Mose was, and then thought nothing of it. However, e-mailer Cory M. sent me a link to Brian Mose's Facebook page. If you don't have Facebook, here's a picture of Brian Mose:
As Cory wrote, "Whether he is the on the left or right is still up for debate. Though, I'd have to say the beauty on the left coming up the middle would probably be a force to reckoned with. I hope Teddy Thompson gives him/her a call for the Packers running back position."
NEW YORK OFFENSE: It seems like everyone is picking the Jets because the Browns won't be able to run the football in this contest. I'll get to that later, but what about New York running the football against Cleveland? Why is that such a given?
It shouldn't be. The Browns have a very stout front that has limited their previous three opponents to fewer than four yards per carry. That includes the Steelers.
If the Jets fail to run the ball effectively again - they didn't excel in that department at Detroit - Mark Sanchez will continue to struggle. Sanchez was great toward the end of the Lions game, but pretty pedestrian otherwise. I'd say he could rebound against a poor Browns secondary, but Detroit is worse against the pass.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: OK, so Peyton Hillis won't be able to run the football against the Jets. Yadda, yadda, yadda, Browns lose with a rookie quarterback. Game over, right?
Absolutely not. Hillis is a monster and the Browns offensive line is good that I think they can run the ball on anyone. Prior to last week's blowout loss, the Patriots had been incredible against ground attacks after their bye. They shut down Ray Rice, and despite completely focusing on Randy Moss, they limited Adrian Peterson to 92 yards on 25 carries - a 3.7 average that was Peterson's low for the year. Yet, the following week, New England looked completely helpless against Hillis.
Hillis also provides a pass-catching option out of the backfield for Colt McCoy. McCoy has been amazing in his first three starts. This is why scouting is a 50-50 proposition and the NFL Draft is the ultimate crapshoot. From Mel Kiper, to Todd McShay, to Mike Mayock, down to every blogger on the Internet, everyone whiffed on McCoy, who eerily looks like he could be a right-handed version of Steve Young. I can't believe I just wrote that. Someone shoot me, please.
McCoy has performed admirably against Dick LeBeau, Gregg Williams and Bill Belichick - three of the NFL's top defensive play-callers. Why can't he have success against Rex Ryan when another young quarterback, Matthew Stafford, played really well last week?
RECAP: This Browns team is legit, and continues to be undervalued by the oddsmakers and the public. They're playing with a ton of confidence and seem to believe in their young quarterback.
I wouldn't bet on it or anything, but I think Cleveland is going to upset yet another AFC East powerhouse.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
Still no believers in the Browns?
Percentage of money on New York: 80% (118,000 bets)
Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) at Indianapolis Colts (5-3) Line: Colts by 7. Total: 47.5. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9): Colts -10.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9): Colts -10.
Sunday, Nov. 14, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Colts.
Some random college football notes:
1. It's a good thing I decided to never bet on college football ever again because I may have jumped off my roof after the Western Michigan-Central Michigan game on Friday night. One of my picks was Western Michigan +3.5. Central Michigan won by four in what was the most horrifying cover I've ever seen.
OK, first of all, Western outgained Central, 430-373. The disparity would have been larger, but Western was whistled for three or four late-hit penalties (10 penalties overall). There were nine fumbles in this game, and Central recovered seven of them, which set them up with some easy first-half scores.
At the end of the third quarter, Western led Central, 22-13. It would have been 23-13, but Western opted to go for two very early in the game for some reason.
Central, who couldn't move the ball at all in the first three quarters, finally pieced together a scoring drive in the fourth quarter. Western responded and drove down to the red zone. However, a sack and a penalty forced the kicker to try a 46-yard field goal, which sailed wide right.
After that, Central drove down the field yet again for another touchdown, giving them a 26-22 lead.
But all hope wasn't lost. With six minutes left, Western put together a great drive, giving them a 1st-and-goal at Central's 6-yard line. On 2nd-and-goal at the 3, Western's running back fumbled, allowing Central to pounce on its seventh recovered fumble of the game. Central then proceeded to run the clock out.
The MAC - fixing college football games since 1946!
2. I was not in the mood to watch college football the following day, but I had the end of the Indiana-Iowa game on as I was getting ready to go to the gym. I don't know who the announcers were (it was on the Big Ten Network), but the play-by-play guy was the complete opposite of Gus Johnson.
Seriously, I've never heard anyone less excited about anything. It was like his mom was forcing him to go to the dentist. Here are some examples:
When Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell dropped back to pass on the final drive of the game: "Uhh... Chaaapppeeelllll... uhh..."
When Indiana converted a big first down: "Pass complete. Gotcha."
If this guy ever gets fired, let's hope he doesn't take a job at a suicide hotline call center. "You're going to slit your wrists? Gotcha." People would begin killing themselves at alarming rates.
3. College football sucks, but horse racing is worse. I'll never understand this stupid ESPN Zenyatta hype. So, this horse is allegedly the best horse ever because it never lost, yet it has never participated in any of the big races because its owners think it'll lose? Huh!?
How does this work? It's like ESPN hyping up some dude at a local gym who's 19-0 in pick-up basketball games. Using this silly Zenyatta hype as a blueprint, ESPN would then declare that he's the best basketball player of all time despite the fact that anyone in the NBA would kick his a** in a one-on-one game.
INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: Everyone is saying how lucky the Colts were to cover the spread at Philadelphia. A counter: What if Austin Collie never had gotten hurt? After Collie's injury, Indianapolis really struggled to move the chains. Pierre Garcon couldn't get open against Asante Samuel, so the only trustworthy targets Peyton Manning had at his disposal were Reggie Wayne and Jacob Tamme, and Tamme (TAM-MEH!!!) couldn't stop dropping passes.
Unfortunately for the Colts, it doesn't seem like Collie will play coming off a concussion. With fewer top-notch targets to deal with, Cincinnati's eighth-ranked pass defense could limit Indianapolis' offense to the mid-20s again.
The Bengals' defensive weakness is stopping the run, as the team ranks 24th against it. The Colts, however, can't take advantage of that liability; Joseph Addai isn't due back until Week 11.
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: I've watched Carson Palmer all year, and it hasn't been pretty. He has displayed zero arm strength, while the opposition has dropped about 15 possible interceptions of his.
However, that Monday night loss against the Steelers was probably Palmer's best performance of this season. He displayed sound deep accuracy for a change, so there is some hope for Cincinnati here.
Of course, the Bengals need to run the ball as much as possible. Cedric Benson has a great matchup against the NFL's 31st-ranked ground defense. The Colts have permitted their previous five opponents to rush for at least 100 yards. In the past two weeks, the Texans and Eagles have combined for 208 yards on just 35 carries - a 5.9 YPC average.
RECAP: The Bengals are one of my top plays of the week. There are four reasons why I like them:
1. The Colts will not be focused for this game. After this "easy" matchup against the Bengals, they take on the Patriots and Chargers (double playoff revenge). This is a classic Breather Alert.
2. Peyton Manning tends to struggle against the spread when heavily favored after a loss. Since 2002, Manning has been favored by a touchdown or more following a defeat seven times. He's 2-5 versus the number in those seven contests.
3. Teams with three or more consecutive losses tend to cover on the road. Teams are 3-1 against the spread in this dynamic in 2010.
4. The Bengals may be 2-6, but they keep things interesting. Since the opener, all of their losses have been decided by eight points or fewer. Carson Palmer has developed into the master of the garbage-time touchdown, so if the Bengals fall behind early, there could easily be a backdoor cover.
The Psychology. Edge: Bengals.
A Breather Alert for the Colts. After this "easy" game, they have to battle the Patriots and Chargers. The Bengals, meanwhile, are in a do-or-die situation.
The Vegas. Edge: Bengals.
Guess whom the public is betting on.
Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 70% (115,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bengals.
Bengals are 8-4 ATS as underdogs since 2009.
Colts are 2-5 ATS when favored by -7 or more after a loss since 2002.
Tennessee Titans (5-3) at Miami Dolphins (4-4) Line: Pick. Total: 43. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9): Dolphins -1.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9): Dolphins -1.
Sunday, Nov. 14, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Titans.
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:
How are you today, Hope all is well with you and your family? My name is Miss Kindness However it really pleases me to write you for a lovely and sincere friendship even if we haven�t met or seen each other before. I will be so much appreciate to see your reply soon so that we can share pictures and know more about ourselves.
I shall appreciate an urgent response from you.
With lots of love from your new friend Kindness.
I actually responded to this one. Here's my reply:
HELLO Miss Kindness. My family is doing exceptionally well, I hope you can say the same about you and yours.
I am glad you wrote to me, Miss Kindness. My name is Mister Compassion. I wish to see your pictures so I may download them and look through them multiple times per day, "enjoying" myself in the process if you know what I mean.
Like you said, we have not seen or met each other before, but I feel that you, Miss Kindness, are the woman I have been searching for since I was born. I must admit, however, that I was raised by a pack of wolverines in a dark, snowy forest, so I do not have much experience with human women.
I look forward to your urgent response. Compassion.
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: I loved the fact that Vegas didn't post a line on this game until Monday night because the books weren't sure if Randy Moss was going to play. Yeah, the Titans just claimed him and agreed to pay the rest of his salary so they could stash him on the bench and just have him around for locker-room morale.
Moss will play, which will really open things up for Chris Johnson. The last time the Dolphins battled Moss, the Patriots, who can't run the ball at all, rushed for 115 yards on 26 carries. Think Johnson's going to have a big game?
Vince Young looked great before getting hurt at San Diego just prior to the bye. Young connected on five passes of 24 yards or longer in that contest, including a 71-yard bomb to Nate Washington. He'll definitely take some deep shots to Moss and Washington, though it should be noted that Vontae Davis has played well against Moss in the past.
MIAMI OFFENSE: Chad Henne is really struggling with inconsistency. He's just so unreliable because he'll have an awful, back-breaking throw at least once per quarter.
The Titans are pretty mediocre in most defensive statistical categories - they rank 13th and 15th against the run and the pass, respectively - but one thing they do incredibly well is get to the quarterback. Tennessee has 26 sacks on the year, good for most in the NFL for any team that hasn't had a bye yet. Something has to give here, as Henne has been sacked only three times in the past four weeks.
The Dolphins should be able to move the chains on Tennessee, but if they continue to struggle in the red zone, it'll be tough for them to win this game.
RECAP: First of all, let me just say that I'm sick and tired of this "Dolphins suck at home" crap. They don't suck at home. As hosts, they've played three teams (Steelers, Jets, Patriots) with a combined record of 18-6, and two of those games were decided by one score.
The problem here is that the Titans are just as good - if not better - than New York and New England. So, the Dolphins could easily be 0-4 at home by Sunday evening.
I like Tennessee here. Jeff Fisher is 6-1-1 against the spread coming off a regular-season bye since 2002.
QUARTERBACK CHANGE: Chad Pennington will start in place of Chad Henne. This will not change my pick. The "good teams playing with a backup quarterback" system doesn't apply because Henne's not hurt. The Dolphins made the move thinking Pennington will give them the better chance to win. Because of this, the players have no reason to give 110 percent.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
Randy Moss is on the Titans, so they must be awesome now.
Percentage of money on Tennessee: 77% (51,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Titans.
Vince Young is 30-14 as a starter (28-16 ATS). ???
Jeff Fisher is 6-1 ATS off a bye in the regular season since 2002.
CAROLINA OFFENSE: I loved a tag line from Pro Football Talk on Monday afternoon: "The Carolina Panthers season somehow got more depressing." This was referring to Matt Moore's season-ending injury.
Really? How is losing the crappy Matt Moore depressing? If anything, this is the best thing that could have possibly happened to the Panthers. Now they'll finally know for sure whether or not they have to draft a quarterback this upcoming offseason.
Jimmy Clausen has been Clawful in his three starts, but the teams he battled are second, third and eighth against the pass. The Buccaneers are 22nd, and have really struggled after losing stud safety Tanard Jackson to suspension, so this game will offer a strong indication as to how Clawful or Clawesome Clausen really is. Try saying that 10 times fast.
Unfortunately for Clausen, it appears as though he won't have DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart at his disposal. Carolina compiled 117 rushing yards in a Week 2 meeting against the Buccaneers' 32nd-ranked ground defense, so it'll be up to Mike Goodson and Tyrell Sutton to open things up for Clausen/Clawful/Clawesome.
TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: The real bad news for the Panthers was the season-ending injury of Dan Connor, who was having a breakout year. Carolina is ninth against the run, but with Connor out, LeGarrette Blount could have a big game. That is, of course, if he actually plays the entire contest. What was up with him having just one carry in the first half last week?
If Blount finds success on the ground, it'll open things up for Josh Freeman, who is developing into one hell of a quarterback. Freeman still makes a poor decision on occasion - he was nearly picked four times against the Rams, and threw an awful interception last week - but overall, he's progressing really well.
Freeman will have all the time in the world to find stud rookie wideout Mike Williams downfield. The Panthers have just 11 sacks on the year.
RECAP: The Panthers are my second of four big plays this week. Here are four reasons why I like them:
1. This is a really tough spot for the Buccaneers. They had a big game at Atlanta last week, but fell one yard short at the very end. I don't know how they're going to rebound against this seemingly dreadful 1-7 Carolina squad.
2. The Panthers just lost the spread by 25 points. Teams are 75-38 against the number the week after that type of a loss. John Fox is personally 3-1 against the spread in this dynamic.
3. Speaking of Fox, he's great at getting his team up for same-season revenge games; he's 8-3 against the spread versus an NFC South rival after losing to them earlier in the year. Fox is also 5-1 versus the number as a divisional dog of seven, but the line has dropped to 6.5.
4. The Buccaneers aren't experienced enough to be laying tons of points. They're still a young team trying to figure things out. Their wins have been by margins of 3, 1, 3, 13 and 3. The one outlier was against Carolina, but the Panthers botched multiple red-zone opportunities in that game.
The Psychology. Edge: Panthers.
This is a tough spot for the Buccaneers, who are coming off yet another emotional loss at Atlanta.
The Vegas. Edge: Panthers.
No one is touching the Panthers.
Percentage of money on Tampa Bay: 89% (98,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Panthers.
History: Panthers have won 3 of the last 4 meetings.
John Fox is 5-1 ATS as a divisional underdog of 7+. ???
Panthers are 36-28 ATS as an underdog the previous 64 instances.
John Fox is 8-3 ATS in same-season divisional revenge games.
Buccaneers are 1-10 ATS at home under Raheem Morris.
Houston Texans (4-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) Line: Jaguars by 1.5. Total: 48. Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 9): Texans -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 9): Texans -3.
Sunday, Nov. 14, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Texans.
Once again, 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).
Bo-Bo, at 0-8, was heavily criticized last week for not setting his lineup for the first time all season. Here was his response on our message board:
Guys since starting this season off in the terrible manner that I did, I decided to give up and try to recoup some of my losses. During the last few weeks I received a number of lucrative offers from some of you looking for "assistance" in making the playoffs. To make a long story short, let's just say that I've recouped my entry fee and some of the very rats squeeking on this message board provided the cheese. Starting this week, week 9, I will once again start my line up and hopefully f*** some of ya'll up. Have a great remaining season.
Did Bo-Bo f*** anyone up? You be the judge:
Let's recap how truly pathetic this was:
Bo-Bo lost by more than 100 points.
Bo-Bo continues to start John Kuhn every single week.
Bo-Bo had four players score one or fewer fantasy points.
Arian Foster nearly outscored Bo-Bo's entire team.
Just Win could have started a whopping 10 combinations of only two players and still beat Bo-Bo.
Bo-Bo, now 0-9, is just four losses away from a perfect 0-13 season.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: I love when the public incorrectly overreacts to things. For example, the Texans have dropped two in a row and are now just a mediocre team, according to most people. After all, they're underdogs at Jacksonville.
However, can we really blame the Texans for losing to a pair of very good opponents in the Colts and Chargers - especially when the latter loss was the result of an Andre Johnson dropped reception that turned into an interception in the red zone? Johnson played hurt in the San Diego game, by the way.
Houston still has an elite offense. The team ran the ball really well last week and should continue to do so against Jacksonville's 23rd-ranked ground defense. Matt Schaub, meanwhile, will torch the Jaguars, who are dead last against the pass.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: The Texans are a good team, but they're not as good as they were at the beginning of the year because DeMeco Ryans is out for the year. They've consequently struggled against the run lately, so Maurice Jones-Drew should have a solid game on the ground.
Houston's greatest defensive liability, however, is still against the pass. Every team they've battled this year has thrown for more than 200 yards against them.
The Texans' secondary obviously deserves a ton of the blame, but it would help if they had any sort of pass rush from the front line; Houston has just 12 sacks on the year, and just three in its previous four games. David Garrard will have all the time in the world to find Mike Sims-Walker, Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis downfield.
RECAP: This is my third big play this week (the fourth will be my November NFL Pick of the Month.) As usual, here are a bunch of reasons:
1. This spread is ridiculous because it's telling us that Houston is just 1.5 points better than the Jaguars. I completely disagree with that. I feel like the Texans should have been -3 here. We're getting a ton of line value because Houston lost a pair of games to two really tough opponents.
2. The Jaguars are coming off a bye. That's not a good thing. Jack Del Rio is 2-5 against the spread with two weeks to prepare for his next opponent. That's probably because he spends his entire week off at the beach.
3. The Texans have dropped four in a row against the spread. Teams that fail to cover in four or more consecutive games are 13-4 against the spread as road underdogs of 1-7 points since 2002. Teams will eventually cover sometime, right?
4. Throughout the franchise's history, Houston is 28-13 against the spread off two straight losses. Gary Kubiak is 11-6 ATS in this situation, but 10-3 ATS as an underdog.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
Both teams are hurting for a win here.
The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
Three-quarters action on the Texans.
Percentage of money on Houston: 85% (93,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Texans.
History: Jaguars have won the last 2 meetings.
Texans are 28-13 ATS after two or more consecutive losses.
Jack Del Rio is 2-5 ATS coming off a bye.
Jaguars are 1-10 ATS as home favorites since 2008.
Week 10 NFL Picks - Late Games Chiefs at Broncos, Cowboys at Giants, Seahawks at Cardinals, Rams at 49ers, Patriots at Steelers, Eagles at Redskins
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.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 21, 2014): 0-1 (-$770)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2014): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2014): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2014): 0-1 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21, 2014): -$65
2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350)
2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2014 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 50-41, 55.0% (+$1,500) 2014 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 12-17-1, 41.4% (-$1,990) 2014 Season Over-Under: 144-119-2, 54.8% ($0) 2014 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$630
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,157-1,978-117, 52.2% (+$10,530) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 694-624-31 (52.7%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 288-251-11 (53.4%) Career Over-Under: 1,685-1,655-48 (50.5%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 30-19 (61.2%)
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.