Baltimore Ravens (13-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) Line: Steelers by 3. Total: 37. Walt's Projected Line: Steelers -3.
Saturday, 4:30 ET
The Game. Edge: None.
Week 18 Recap: I can only hope that Week 19's just as good as Week 18. I went 3-1 with my picks, winning $1,200. The only game I lost was Colts-Jets, and that was zero units because I really didn't know what to make of that matchup. It would have pushed if Jim "Need To Give 'Em More Snaps" Caldwell hadn't called an unnecessary timeout.
No real hate mail this week, aside from a very confusing, GameCenter-like post by Kingkhon in the comment board below:
Im band from Sports bets in Vegas and all casino floors in US. Im on the blackbook. I fart 13k. I hate to relocate and recieving death threats. I really wanna bring down vegas but these kind of website kicks me out or band me, so if u dont hear from me then that mean i cant log on this site anymore. My ip adress is locked out then ill get a call, this always happen. No more free plays from me, go ahead and follow Walter Vegas cause thats there job. Lure you in like a catholic priest, get you to trust him but you dont know he molest kids. Thats what walter does. And people bet on high units regardless. i dont have to explain my pick bc doubters lose on the oppertunty to win that the believers prosper from.
Kingkhon, you really need to put down the crack pipe, man. This is a football Web site; not a football and molest kids Web site. I just hope no one trusts some random person who is "band" from sports bets and "farts" 13k. Whatever the hell that means.
At any rate, here are some random NFL notes I can't put anywhere else:
1. Check out this quote from Matt Leinart:
"I want to be a starter in the league, and I feel like I've paid my dues. I sat for 3-and-a-half years now and played behind a Hall of Fame quarterback (Kurt Warner), which a lot of people don't remember."
You sat behind Kurt Warner? Wow, I like totally didn't remember!
This quote is exactly why Leinart has sucked in the NFL. Leinart doesn't care about being an NFL quarterback; he just wants to be a celebrity. He has a sense of entitlement, and wants everything handed to him on a silver platter.
Facebook friend Andrew J. pointed this quote out to me and asked me where I thought Leinart would be next year. My response: "Nick Lachey's hot tub."
2. Mike McCarthy out-coached Andy Reid in Sunday's playoff win, but each guy made some blunders, particularly at the end of the first half. Check out these exchanges in the live in-games thread:
El Guapo: Why did the Eagles run a play before the 2-minute warning?
Me: Reid's trying to speed the game up to get to dinner quicker.
A couple of minutes later...
El Guapo: Why didn't Green Bay call a timeout?
Me: McCarthy's trying to speed the game up to get to dinner quicker.
CallmetheBrees, meanwhile, chimed in with some basic Andy Reid math:
1 chicken wing + 2 chicken wings x 7 chicken wings = not enough
Hey, you may laugh, but this is how Big Red learned math in grade school.
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.
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: We saw this matchup back in Week 13. Joe Flacco had success throwing the ball, going 17-of-33 for 266 yards and a touchdown. Steelers corner Bryant McFadden was torched throughout the Sunday night affair.
Six weeks later, I don't really expect anything to change. Pittsburgh has some liabilities in its secondary, but makes up for it with a ferocious pass rush. Flacco has been sacked 27 times in the past eight games, which includes Troy Polamalu's strip-sack, resulting in Pittsburgh's game-winning touchdown (and five units for me).
Like last time, Ray Rice won't have any luck running the football; he had 32 yards on nine carries against the Steelers' No. 1 rush defense. Willis McGahee (7 carries, 7 yards) was even worse. It's nearly impossible to run the ball on Pittsburgh, especially on first down, so the Ravens will need to set up the run with the pass like they did last week against the Chiefs.
If the Ravens want to win this game, Rice needs to be featured early and often. He had only 11 touches in the Week 13 meeting, which is unacceptable. Oh, and if you have the lead with a few minutes remaining, Ravens, please just run the football.
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: Similar numbers for the Steelers in that matchup. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 253 yards (22-of-38 passing), and Rashard Mendenhall struggled on the ground (19-45).
The Ravens are eighth against the run and first versus the pass, so it's safe to say that the Steelers will once again struggle to move the chains.
The key on this side of the ball is whether or not Roethlisberger will be able to avoid taking sacks. The Ravens will put immense pressure on Big Ben, thanks to his anemic offensive line; Baltimore had three sacks in Week 13. So with that in mind, the Ravens need to make sure they wrap up Roethlisberger so he doesn't hit a big play after breaking a tackle.
RECAP: One of the reasons I loved the Steelers back in Week 13 was because these games are always close. The past eight Baltimore-Pittsburgh battles have been decided by: 3, 3, 3, 3, 9, 4, 3 and 6.
I'm taking the Ravens for two units. I'd feel much more comfortable getting Pittsburgh +3 if the Steelers were at Baltimore because Flacco has never beaten Roethlisberger. But I figure that this will be a push at the very worst.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
Rubber match between two AFC North rivals.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Baltimore: 53% (115,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
History: Home Team has won 14 of the last 18 meetings (Flacco 0-5 vs. Roethlisberger).
Worst Bye: Playoff teams coming off byes are 10-18 ATS since 2003 (7-13 since 2005).
Road Warriors: Playoff teams coming off a road win in Round 1 are 7-2 ATS in Round 2 since 2005.
Steelers are 22-9 ATS in December home games since 2000.
Ben Roethlisberger is 24-13 ATS vs. the AFC North.
Ben Roethlisberger is 7-3 ATS in the playoffs (4-2 as a favorite).
Opening Line: Steelers -3.5.
Opening Total: 36.5.
Weather: Possible snow showers, 28 degrees. Mild wind, 13 mph.
Green Bay Packers (11-6) at Atlanta Falcons (13-3) Line: Falcons by 1.5. Total: 43.5. Walt's Projected Line: Falcons -2.5.
Saturday, 8:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Packers.
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.
I've been posting an exchange I've had with a United Bank of Afriocan representative named Junior Dipolmat John Wire for about five weeks now. Unfortunately, I haven't heard back from him. If the fact that I said my name was Mister Compassion Chuck Norris and I was raised by wolves didn't clue him in that I was messing around with him, maybe it was the fact that I threatened to torture him with my friends, Jack Bauer, Carl Winslow and Matt Millen.
So, onto the next spam e-mailer. Check out this e-mail I received on Saturday and my response to it:
On Behalf of the Screening Committee of British Tobacco Lottery, I wish to formally inform you that you have successfully passed the Email Screening and Verification Matching Test conducted for all online winners in your winning in accordance with the British Tobacco Lottery Terms and Conditions. Hence you are therefore cleared for payment by the verifications and fund release department at the British Tobacco Lottery and your winnings has been duly signed and approved for release to you by the legal attorney to the United Kingdom National Lottery.
As you already know, all winners for the online version of the British Tobacco Lottery Online promotions were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from an exclusive list of 21,000 e-mail addresses of individual and corporate bodies listed online as part of our international promotion to promote international co-operation between the United Kingdom and other countries worldwide and I must say that you should count yourself extremely lucky to have emerged as one of our winners and we do sincerely hope you will put part of your winnings into good use for community, educational and business development and also to render selfless services to the less privileged in your community.
The process for claiming your winnings has been made very simple so that by the end of one week at most, you are assured of having received your cash prize and all the legal documents backing your winnings. In the light of the above mentioned, you are to contact the the bank that will be handling the transfer of your winning to you with the contact informations below:
1) Winner's Full Names:
2) Present Full Address:
3) Telephone Number:
4) Raffle Draw Winning Email:
5) Amount Won:1,000,000GBP
Note that you are to provide the Lottery Winners Agency that will be handling the transfer of your winning with the required details below to officially identify you:
CITI BANK LONDON
LONDON 332 OXFORD STREET,
LONDON W1C 1JF.
Tel:+ 44 703 198 1791
Mr. Kevin Kessinger
Consider me formally informed. Before contacting "the the" bank, I decided to e-mail Mr. Kevin Kessinger. I didn't want to go with Mister Compassion Chuck Norris again. Instead, I chose to be one of his wolf army friends...
Dear Mr. Kevin Kessinger,
I am your winner of the Tobacco Lottery. I was promised one billion pounds and I want to say that I am pleased I won this lottery. I didn't even know I entered.
A little about myself. My name is Carl Winslow. With this new money, I plan to buy the house next door, so my annoying neighbor can finally be banished from my street. Mr. Kevin Kessinger, this annoying neighbor has broken 10 of my refrigerators in the past year. He also also ruined five TVs and 20 tables, but refrigerators happen to be near and dear to my heart.
I do have a request, if it isn't too much. Instead of one billion pounds, can you send me one billion cupcakes instead? I am in the mood for cupcakes. Cupcakes are very delicious, Mr. Kevin Kessinger. I am not sure if your native land of England has invented cupcakes yet. If not, I weep for your third-world country.
Another request, if you can't fulfill my first - instead of one billion pounds, can you send me five hundred million tacos and five hundred million chicken nuggets? I require barbecue sauce with both, thank you. Five hundred gallons should be enough.
Before I conclude my e-mail, Matt Millen would like to say something. He has been in my house all day, but no matter what I do, I cannot get rid of this fiend. I will put him on the computer right now:
"I'm very happy that Carl Winslow won the lottery. And here's what I mean by lottery. A lottery is when some people enter a contest. Sometimes a little bit of people. Sometimes a lot of people. Sometimes in between. And now, here's the key - the person running the lottery came up with a winner somehow. I'm not sure how they came up with the winner, and they did. Now, the person whose name they drew won some money or prizes. That's what I mean by winning the lottery."
Hello, Kevin Kessinger, tis I, Carl Winslow again. If you'll excuse me, I have to go to Red Lobster before it closes. Yes, it's only 3:05 and they close at 10, but my daily Red Lobster feast takes me at least six hours and 30 minutes. I love Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits. I have a poster of them above my bed.
Thank You and Merry Cupcakes,
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: The Falcons won their Week 12 matchup against the Packers, 20-17. But they didn't necessarily "win" it. Green Bay outgained Atlanta, 418-294. The Packers simply beat themselves with eight penalties and a costly fumble at the Falcons' 1-yard line.
The Packers were very undisciplined early in the year. In addition to those eight penalties at Atlanta, you may remember an 18-penalty debaclation at Chicago. But Green Bay has really cleaned up its act recently; the team has been whistled for just 11 penalties in its previous three games.
Green Bay is focused and just has too much firepower for the Falcons to handle. Atlanta is 18th against the run, so look for another solid performance by James Starks. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers figures to have another tremendous game. Back in Week 12, he went 26-of-35 for 344 yards and a touchdown, and also rushed for 51 yards and another score.
To disrupt Rodgers, the Falcons will need to pressure him. They did a poor job of this in Week 12, registering only one sack. That was the last time Atlanta recorded fewer than two sacks in any game, by the way, so there is some hope.
ATLANTA OFFENSE: The Packers couldn't stop the Falcons either. They really had to sell out to stop the run - Michael Turner rushed for 110 yards on 23 carries - which set up easy passes for Matt Ryan. Ryan completed 24-of-28 attempts for 197 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles were stupid and didn't run the ball against Green Bay - shocker - but we can just go back to the preceding week to identify the Packers' struggle against ground attacks. Chicago compiled 102 rushing yards on just 18 carries.
Again, nothing has changed in a short time span, so we should see similar results. Turner figures to run the ball effectively, opening up play-action and short-yardage opportunities for Ryan. Ryan will need those to avoid Green Bay's tremendous pass rush.
RECAP: The Packers are one of the two teams I love this weekend. Here are my reasons:
1. You have to bet on a Super Six quarterback (Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Brees, Rivers) whenever they're underdogs. Collectively, these elite signal-callers are 91-43 against the spread when getting points since 2003.
2. Speaking of Rodgers, he hasn't lost a game by more than three points all year. This probably would be my Pick of the Month if the Falcons were favored by three. If you can buy the extra half point, do it.
3. The Road Warriors trend I listed below: Playoff teams coming off a road win in Round 1 are 7-2 against the spread in Round 2 since 2005. This is no fluke; hot, battle-tested road teams understandably fare very well against flat opponents coming off a bye. This system also applies to the Baltimore-Pittsburgh game.
4. Speaking of cold bye teams, playoff squads with a week off are 10-18 against the spread since 2003 (7-13 since 2005).
5. There are high expectations in Atlanta. The Falcons are the No. 1 seed, and if they lose right away, their season will be considered a colossal failure. However, this regime has not won a playoff game before, and in all my years of handicapping the NFL, I've noticed that high expectations in the playoffs combined with no successful experience usually proves to be disastrous.
6. Something I posted back in Week 12: Atlanta's pristine home record isn't exactly legitimate. Most of Matt Ryan's home wins involve beating terrible teams.
In his first two years, he played only one team that would go on to the postseason (2008 Panthers - a fraud team led by Jake Delhomme). He lost to the Saints a few weeks ago (which shattered the Georgia Dome's invincibility), and beat the Packers and Ravens this year, but Baltimore had to travel on a short week and Green Bay outgained Atlanta by 124 yards in a game it should have won.
The Psychology. Edge: Packers.
With no success in the playoffs, this Falcons regime faces high expectations.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Green Bay: 53% (98,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Packers.
Worst Bye: Playoff teams coming off byes are 10-18 ATS since 2003 (7-13 since 2005).
Road Warriors: Playoff teams coming off a road win in Round 1 are 7-2 ATS in Round 2 since 2005.
Packers are 27-14 ATS on the road under Mike McCarthy.
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, 2015): 1-0 (+$200)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2015): 1-0 (+$200)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2015): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2015): 1-0 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21, 2015): -$580
2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
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) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360)
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) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820)
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) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120)
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) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0)
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 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
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) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,291-2,116-129, 52.0% (+$8,150) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 741-668-34 (52.6%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 305-267-13 (53.3%) Career Over-Under: 1,823-1,765-51 (50.8%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 33-22 (60.0%)
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.