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Vegas betting action updated Oct. 15, 5:25 p.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball
Go to Week 6 NFL Picks - Late Games
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) at Tennessee Titans (1-4)
Line: Steelers by 6. Total: 43.5.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread:
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5):
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5):
Steelers -3 (Locker) or Steelers -6 (Hasselbeck).
Thursday, Oct. 11, 8:20 ET
Discuss Week 6 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Steelers.
WEEK 5 RECAP:
This past weekend was extremely frustrating. Even though I was in the red (7-7, -$340), I felt as though I had a very good week in terms of handicapping. No, really. When I'm wrong about a game, I'll admit it and try to figure out what I did incorrectly. I feel like I screwed up only one Week 5 selection. The other losses were the result of terrible luck. I'll explain:
Browns +8 over Giants (4 units):
This one hurt. You all know what happened by now. The Browns were up 14-0 at one point. They held a 17-10 advantage a few minutes prior to halftime deep in New York territory. Instead of running the ball on a 3rd-and-1, Brandon Weeden tossed an ugly interception. The Giants scored a touchdown. Cleveland fumbled the ensuing kick return. The Giants found the end zone again. The Browns went three-and-out. Thanks to a bogus pass interference on an uncatchable ball, New York moved into field goal range and added three points just prior to intermission. Boom. Just like that, the Giants led 27-17 when the Browns could have been up at least 20-10 at the break.
A major part of the reason Cleveland had trouble stopping the Giants was an injury D'Qwell Jackson suffered during that miserable stretch. Jackson was the best Browns' defender with Joe Haden out, and not having him on the field was devastating. The Giants scored at will when he was gone. If you would have told me Cleveland would lose Jackson toward the end of the second quarter, I wouldn't have bet as much on the underdog in this matchup.
Why'd Jackson have to get hurt, and why did the Browns have to blow a colossal lead? WHY!?
Steelers -3.5 over Eagles (4 units):
One of the reasons the Steelers were one of my three favorite plays of the week? Troy Polamalu and James Harrison were returning to the lineup. So, what happened? Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley (another rush linebacker) left the game with injuries in the first half. The Eagles, who could barely move the chains with those two Pittsburgh defenders on the field, suddenly found major success after intermission. Ugh.
Why do key players always seem to get injured when I pick their team to cover? WHY!?
Packers -6.5 over Colts (2 units):
Green Bay held a 21-3 lead at halftime despite playing poorly prior to the break. Was Indianapolis' comeback divine intervention? Perhaps. Or maybe it was because B.J. Raji, Jermichael Finley and Cedric Benson all left the game with injuries.
Be warned, key players on teams I pick - you're probably getting injured.
Broncos +6 over Patriots (2 units):
Demaryius Thomas fumbled in the red zone. Willis McGahee fumbled in the red zone. Eliminating the former would have given Denver an early lead. Taking away the latter would have allowed the Broncos to cover the spread. Ugh. All I wanted was for Denver to beat the number. Was that too much to ask?
Titans +5.5 over Vikings (2 units):
This was the one game I got wrong. I was an idiot. I have something in my notes called a "Negative Absolute," which states, "Never bet on a very crappy team starting a crappy backup quarterback, no matter how good of a spot you think they're in."
I guess I just forgot because of name recognition, but I knew that Matt Hasselbeck was a crappy reserve signal-caller, and I was aware that the Titans were, in fact, a crappy squad. As soon as I saw Hasselbeck throw an unnecessary interception on a 3rd-and-19 when the game was just 7-0, I slapped my forehead in disgust. I screwed up, and I apologize.
Saints -3.5 over Chargers (3 units):
I suppose I should discuss this as well because Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal whined about how the Chargers should have won because San Diego pick-sixed Drew Brees when it was 24-14 in the third quarter. I'd say the Chargers were lucky New Orleans had only 14 because Jimmy Graham suffered an in-game injury and was hobbling around. The Saints definitely would've had more than 14 points at that stage if Graham could actually, you know, move.
At any rate, fading the media did not work as well this week because of two aforementioned bad beats. This week, the media is overreacting to:
1. "The Cardinals are done." - Tony Kornheiser (though this is kind of nullified by Buffalo's ineptness).
2. The Cowboys are terrible (from two weeks ago).
3. The Lions are the Lions again (from two weeks ago).
4. "The 49ers are the best team in football." Almost every NFL analyst on TV said this Monday even though San Francisco has no wins over a team with a winning record.
5. "There's something wrong with the Packers." Green Bay should have won in Seattle and blew a 21-3 lead in the Colts for the reasons mentioned above. The team should be 4-1.
Let's see how these teams do. I'm thinking they go 3-2 at the very least. Oh, and I should note that I received some hate mail. I'll list those later.
I'll be posting these NFL Picks throughout the day. Follow me at @walterfootball
I mentioned the Polamalu and Woodley injuries above. Well, they've both been ruled out. Harrison is also questionable, but I'd expect him to play. Pittsburgh's defense is completely different when Polamalu is on the field, as the Eagles discovered Sunday. The Steelers will be weaker versus the run, while their pass rush will suffer without Woodley and perhaps Harrison.
Having said that, it's difficult to imagine the Titans scoring very much. Jake Locker is out again, meaning Hasselbeck will draw another start. Hasselbeck is terrible; he's lost all semblance of arm strength, and he's transformed a turnover machine. You'd expect a veteran signal-caller like him to make good decisions, but I have no idea what he was thinking trying to force a ball on 3rd-and-19 when last week's game was still just 7-0. Kenny Britt will be back, and that'll help, but Hasselbeck is just too limited to consistently engineer scoring drives in this contest.
It would help Hasselbeck's cause if he had a solid rushing attack by his side, but that's not the case. Chris Johnson proved that his Week 4 performance at Houston was a mirage, as he averaged 1.6 yards per carry against the Vikings. His offensive line isn't opening up any holes, and Johnson is doing a poor job of recognizing them when they do appear.
The Steelers' offensive line has quietly done a good job since its disastrous performance in Week 1. The front has surrendered only one sack in the past two games. The Eagles seldom pressured Ben Roethlisberger, so I don't know how the Titans figure to do so. Kamerion Wimbley is a good pass-rusher, but Derrick Morgan has been invisible recently.
Considering the level of blocking Big Ben received Sunday, the Steelers should have scored way more than 16 points. The problem was that his supporting cast couldn't get out of its own way. Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace dropped a combined four passes, one of which was in the end zone. If they actually hang on to the football, they'll have success against a Tennessee secondary that is giving up an average of 286 passing yards per contest.
Brown and Wallace should consider themselves lucky that Rashard Mendenhall bailed them out. Mendenhall looked great, and there's no reason to think he can't pick up where he left off. The Vikings just rushed for 144 yards against Tennessee, so Mendenhall will pile up the yardage again.
There are a few things going against the Steelers in this matchup. They're not very good as road favorites, and traveling on a short week can be pretty taxing. Teams seldom get blown out three times in a row, so that favors the host. There's also line value with Tennessee, as this spread has moved 1.5 points based on the Week 5 results.
However, I can't take Tennessee because of the Negative Absolute rule. The Negative Absolute doesn't mean I bet on the other team; it just says not to place money on a crappy squad starting a crappy backup quarterback. If anything, I like the under again.
No change. I think the Titans are the right side, but they're unbettable because of Hasselbeck.
The Psychology. Edge: Titans.
The Steelers are coming off an emotional, last-second victory and could be flat.
The Vegas. Edge: Titans.
No one wants any part of the Titans.
Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 79% (62,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Titans.
Steelers are 30-17 ATS in October since 2000.
Steelers are 6-16 ATS as road favorites coming off a win under Mike Tomlin.
Opening Line: Steelers -6.
Opening Total: 44.
Week 6 NFL Pick: Steelers 19, Titans 16
Titans +6 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Under 43.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Titans 26, Steelers 23
Recap of this game
Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (0-5)
Line: Bengals by 2.5. Total: 42.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Bengals -2.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Bengals -2.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Bengals -1.5.
Sunday, Oct. 14, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 6 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Bengals.
VEGAS RECAP: The sportsbooks have now taken money from the public in four of the five weeks this season. They won four of the seven highly bet games this past weekend, cashing in with the Colts, Dolphins, Chiefs and Jets covering. Casual bettors won with the Falcons, Bears and 49ers. With Black Friday coming up in six weeks, Vegas will need to give some money back to the public - or there will be many more crying babies come Christmas. I'll be updating the Vegas betting action all week, as usual. I'll notify you of any updates @walterfootball.
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: The big news in this game is that Joe Haden will be back for the Browns. Haden is one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL. He'll cover A.J. Green very effectively, which will limit Cincinnati's offense because Andy Dalton has only one dependable downfield receiver, right?
Well, I wouldn't be so sure about that. D'Qwell Jackson, who suffered a possible concussion, may not play. Defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, the team's best pass-rusher, also could sit out, given that he left last week's contest in a walking boot. Jackson's absence will mean that the Browns will be soft in the middle of their defense, both in terms of stopping the run and putting the clamps on Jermaine Gresham, who figured to see tons of targets anyway with Haden draped all over Green. We all saw what Ahmad Bradshaw did to this Cleveland ground defense last week, so BenJarvus Green-Ellis figures to have a rebound performance.
If Rubin is out, the Browns won't have anyone to pressure Dalton, who could just sit back in the pocket all afternoon and pick apart Cleveland's secondary. The Browns still have liabilities in their defensive backfield even in the wake of Haden's return.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: Coming off a dreadful four-interception performance against the Eagles, Brandon Weeden proved that he was functional at Cincinnati, going 26-of-37 for 322 yards and two touchdowns. However, I don't see Weeden having a repeat performance because the Bengals have a couple of players back from injury, most notably Nate Clements, who hobbled through that Week 2 affair with a calf injury. He's back and currently playing safety. Dre Kirkpatrick should also return this week and start over Terence Newman. Considering the lack of talent Cleveland has at receiver, this news has to be troubling for Weeden.
Carlos Dunlap is another Bengal who wasn't on the field back in Week 2. Dunlap is an extraordinary pass-rusher who figures to have his way against rookie right tackle Mitchell Schwartz.
The Bengals should also do a decent job containing Trent Richardson. They were ranked dead last against the rush two weeks ago but have improved tremendously in that department because everyone has returned from injury. They've limited their previous two opponents, the Jaguars (Maurice Jones-Drew) and Dolphins (Reggie Bush) to 2.7 yards per carry, which is a very impressive feat.
RECAP: The public is all over the Bengals. While I normally go the other way, I actually agree with them. The Browns, currently at an injury disadvantage, are a terrible team that could be reeling from two brutal losses to the Ravens and Giants. There is also solid line value here, as the spread has moved 1.5 points in Cleveland's favor because the Bengals lost to an underrated Miami squad.
Speaking of that Dolphins' defeat, is it possible that Cincinnati was overlooking Miami and instead focusing on playing two consecutive divisional matchups? Teams coming off a loss as a favorite in a non-divisional tilt are 53-30 against the spread in road divisional battles the following week (excluding Weeks 1 and 17 for obvious reasons).
FINAL THOUGHTS: Nothing has changed for me. I still like the Bengals for a couple of units.
The Psychology. Edge: Browns.
The Bengals might look past the Browns because they have the Steelers in Week 7, but this is a divisional game.
The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
No surprise here.
Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 70% (53,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Browns.
History: Bengals have won 13 of the last 16 meetings.
Bengals are 8-24 ATS as a favorite since 2007.
Browns are 16-7 ATS after allowing 30 or more points since 2005.
Opening Line: Bengals -3.
Opening Total: 45.
Week 6 NFL Pick: Bengals 24, Browns 17
Bengals -2 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
Under 42 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Browns 34, Bengals 24
NFL Picks - Feb. 6
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Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 20, 2015): 1-1 (-$115)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 20, 2015): 1-1 (-$115)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 20, 2015): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 20, 2015): 2-0 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 20, 2015): $0
2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 133-138-12, 49.1% (-$2,455)
2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 46-44-1, 51.1% (-$1,020)
2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120)
2015 Season Over-Under: 142-119-5, 54.4% ($0)
2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$515
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)
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)
2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,290-2,116-129, 52.0% (+$7,950)
Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 740-668-34 (52.6%)
Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 305-267-13 (53.3%)
Career Over-Under: 1,822-1,765-51 (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.
Cowboys: 7-8 (2014: 7-11)
Bears: 6-9 (2014: 8-8)
Bucs: 9-7 (2014: 9-7)
49ers: 13-3 (2014: 8-7)
Eagles: 7-9 (2014: 9-7)
Lions: 11-5 (2014: 8-8)
Falcons: 9-7 (2014: 8-8)
Cardinals: 6-12 (2014: 8-9)
Giants: 9-6 (2014: 5-11)
Packers: 7-11 (2014: 13-4)
Panthers: 6-12 (2014: 8-10)
Rams: 8-7 (2014: 8-8)
Redskins: 12-5 (2014: 8-8)
Vikings: 8-9 (2014: 12-4)
Saints: 7-8 (2014: 6-9)
Seahawks: 6-10 (2014: 10-9)
Bills: 7-6 (2014: 7-9)
Bengals: 7-8 (2014: 6-11)
Colts: 6-8 (2014: 8-10)
Broncos: 9-4 (2014: 8-9)
Dolphins: 8-8 (2014: 10-5)
Browns: 7-8 (2014: 9-5)
Jaguars: 2-13 (2014: 10-6)
Chargers: 10-6 (2014: 7-9)
Jets: 9-6 (2014: 8-8)
Ravens: 7-7 (2014: 10-8)
Texans: 4-13 (2014: 8-7)
Chiefs: 9-9 (2014: 9-6)
Patriots: 12-5 (2014: 10-9)
Steelers: 9-6 (2014: 9-8)
Titans: 5-9 (2014: 8-6)
Raiders: 7-9 (2014: 7-9)
Divisional: 45-47 (2011-14: 177-178)
2x Game Edge: 17-16 (2011-14: 69-81)
2x Psych Edge: 29-28 (2011-14: 121-105)
2x Vegas Edge: 41-40 (2011-14: 176-183)
2x Trend Edge: 32-29 (2011-14: 107-99)
Double Edge: 15-15 (2011-14: 43-46)
Triple Edge: 1-2 (2011-14: 2-1)
Quad Edge: 0-0 (2011-14: 0-0)
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 6 NFL Picks - Late Games
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) at Baltimore Ravens (4-1)
Line: Ravens by 3. Total: 44.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Ravens -4.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Ravens -5.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Ravens -5.
Sunday, Oct. 14, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 6 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Cowboys.
Some college football notes I can't put anywhere else:
1. I'll never understand how some people can become head coaches at high-profile programs despite being so stupid. Anyone who watched the end of the Boise State-BYU game a couple of weeks ago knows exactly what I'm talking about. If not, BYU had issues moving the chains all evening. It was 7-0 for most of the contest until the Cougars finally got on the scoreboard with three minutes remaining. Instead of kicking the extra point, BYU went for it and failed, and ultimately lost, 7-6.
This was one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. I can get behind a team going for two at the very end of the contest, but BYU wasn't assuring itself of a victory even if it took an 8-7 lead. There were three minutes remaining for Boise State to score. And what's worse, BYU had no timeouts, so it wouldn't have much time to do anything even if it got the ball back - which it didn't.
This made me wonder, why do men who have horse names always do the stupidest things? BYU's coach is Bronco Mendenhall. Recall Colt Brennan, who was arrested a billion times. And then there's Colt McCoy, who thinks he can play in the NFL despite losing his job to a 40-year-old quarterback.
So, to sum this up, if you're a prospective mother reading this, please don't name your son after a horse.
2. Speaking of stupid coaching, I always thought it was silly that coaches hold clipboards up to their mouth so spies can't figure out what they're calling. It just seems kind of childish to me, but in the wake of Bill Belichick's Spygate, I suppose it's necessary.
Something that's not necessary is something that Florida State does. I saw it on TV and took a picture:
These two idiots are holding up towels in front of the coach so no one can read his lips. I guess hiding himself behind the clipboard was too difficult; he had to assign two pathetic losers to do the job for him. What a joke.
This got me thinking - what if one of those two a**holes was a spy for the other team? Seriously, they're poor college kids, so all it would take is $50 and a six-pack of beer. If I were a college football head coach playing Florida State, I'd bribe both of these guys so I could gain access to Florida State's entire playbook - and then victory would be fine! Muhahahahaha!
3. Some notes on the baseball playoffs:
- I have no idea who's going to win and why because I don't pay much attention to the sport outside of the Phillies, but I loved this new one-and-done wild-card rule. It's great. If this were a best-of-three or best-of-five series, I wouldn't have watched it, but one-and-dones are always fun. In fact, I haven't watched a baseball playoff game since. I just wanted to see one take-all game. This is why the NCAA Tournament is so immensely popular. I think there should be more of this. Why can't the NBA and NHL have the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds battle each other in one game?
- The call in the Braves-Cardinals game was a disgrace. Everyone knows that. Sam Holbrook, the umpire who made that call, should be fired - but not because of what he did at that instant. Everyone makes mistakes, and every official/referee/umpire will make a terrible call on occasion. But not admitting the mistake and failing to correct it is a billion times worse. The umpires all huddled afterward, and Holbrook should've said, "Look guys, I screwed up. Let's give the Braves the bases loaded with one out. Let's make this right." Instead, Holbrook stubbornly and homoclitcally did nothing to correct his error, which is why he should be axed.
- Speaking of that blown call, the people on Twitter (follow me @walterfootball) who said pretentious things like, "OMG I CANT BELIEVE THOSE BRAVES FANS ARE THROWING SUTFF ON THE FIELD LIKE OMG STAY CLASSY ATLANTA LOL!!!" are major a**holes. I'd like to praise the Atlanta fans for throwing stuff on the field, but I don't think they did enough damage. They should have completely covered the field with beer bottles and other junk. The umpires screwed up, and the fans had to take action.
And by the way, this is nothing compared to what happens in European soccer games. The lunatics in the stands at those games throw flares on the field. Flares! So, what are some beer bottles going to do?
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: A matchup against the Cowboys? That's easy. Their stop unit, after all, is in the bottom half in sacks and pass defense. The Ravens should be able to score easily, right?
Well, that's how it looks on paper. The reality is that stud nose tackle Jay Ratliff will be on the field for the first time. Anthony Spencer will also be returning from injury. Those are two key defenders who will bolster those two aforementioned weak areas. Dallas will suddenly excel at getting to the quarterback with Ratliff, Spencer and DeMarcus Ware storming the opposing backfield. This is trouble for the Ravens, who've had issues pass protecting the past couple of games.
The Cowboys were already good at containing the run (11th; 3.8 YPC), so Ratliff's return will boost that even further. Ray Rice won't find much running room in this contest, though it may not even matter because offensive coordinator Cam Cameron often forgets to give carries to his All-Pro back. Rice, instead, will act as a safety valve for Flacco, who will have to avoid pressure all while seeing his receivers covered excellently by a couple of talented cornerbacks in Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne.
DALLAS OFFENSE: The Cowboys will have a third key member of their team back from injury. Center Phil Costa will return to the lineup for the first time since the opening quarter of Week 1. Costa isn't the greatest blocker in the world, but he'll definitely help a line that has struggled to protect Tony Romo.
It's safe to say that Romo won't have any pass-protection issues in this contest, and not just because of Costa's health. The Ravens can't pressure the quarterback without Terrell Suggs. They have one sack in the past two games. As a consequence, they've surrendered at least 320 passing yards to three of their five opponents this year. One of those foes was Brandon Weeden. Think Romo and his receivers are licking their chops?
The Cowboys could also have success running the ball. Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs just rushed for 200 yards against the Ravens. The main culprit? None other than Ray Lewis. I've mentioned this a couple of times this week, but Lewis was dreadful in that contest. He looked done - and I've had a couple of Baltimore fans e-mail me and tell me that they agree with me. Now, could Lewis rebound and have a dominant performance against the underachieving DeMarco Murray? Absolutely. But it also wouldn't surprise me if Murray simply picked up where Charles left off.
RECAP: I like the Cowboys a good deal. They've been at home, stewing about that Monday night loss to the Bears and hearing how bad they are for two weeks. This is a statement game for them. They'll want to prove everyone wrong. Meanwhile, the Ravens have really struggled recently. They nearly lost to the Browns, and they would have suffered a double-digit defeat at Kansas City if the Chiefs hadn't killed themselves with unforced turnovers. They're not as good as the public makes them out to be, so they're due for a "surprising" loss.
There's also a trend that says to fade Baltimore: Bet against any home favorite in the first half of the season (Weeks 2-10) coming off a road victory of 1-3 points. Teams in that situation are just 25-44 against the spread since 2000.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This spread has dropped to three, eliminating any sort of line value we had with the Cowboys. I'm dropping this to two units.
The Psychology. Edge: Cowboys.
Major statement game for the Cowboys. They've been told how bad they are for two weeks. They're pissed.
The Vegas. Edge: Cowboys.
A slight lean on the host.
Percentage of money on Baltimore: 62% (77,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Opening Line: Ravens -4.
Opening Total: 44.
Week 6 NFL Pick: Cowboys 27, Ravens 24
Cowboys +3 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
Over 44 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Ravens 31, Cowboys 29
Detroit Lions (1-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)
Line: Eagles by 3.5. Total: 47.5.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Eagles -6.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Eagles -5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Eagles -6.
Sunday, Oct. 14, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 6 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: None.
If you've followed this site for a while, you may know that I like to respond to my spam mails. I'm continuing last week's, which was from a woman named Mulyana:
Yes, I'm Steve Urkel. The biggest nerd in television history. If you're not familiar with him, just watch this.
Sure enough, the person pretending to be this Mulyana chick e-mailed me back, as he's a dumb spammer from somewhere in Asia and has no clue who Urkel is. Her message to me said that she loves me but she needs someone to transfer her funds to an American bank. She also sent a picture:
Here was my reply:
By the way, that address that I listed is the actual Winslow residence from Family Matters. It's currently preserved as a historical property. I really hope they get some sort of mail from "Mulyana."
Her next e-mail gave me her bank e-mail and that the depositor was a Dr Dreamad tuazama. I replied:
After this, Mulyana gave me a sample e-mail to send to the bank. I did so here:
The phone number's legit, by the way. I looked it up on WhitePages.com, and there's a Steve Urkel who lives in Houston. I wish I could hear that phone call. Sorry, I'm evil.
Here's Waldo Geraldo Faldo's e-mail to Mr. Anthony Makati (from my other e-mail address):
*** OK, so that's what happened up until last week. Here was Mulyana's latest response: ***
The bank contacted only Steve Urkel - they apparently didn't like Waldo Geraldo Faldo's offer - and told me they needed some stuff, including Dr. Dreamad Tuazama's death certificate, so I e-mailed the lovely Mulyana:
As soon as I receive Dr. Tuazama's death certificate, I will post it and send it over to the bank.
PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: QB Dog Killer's hubris is awesome. It makes it so fun to bet against him. I love how he told the media that he doesn't have a fumbling problem, yet he leads all active players in fumbles. It's like he doesn't realize how mediocre of a quarterback he's become. He's a turnover machine, and he's bound to commit several give-aways in this contest.
At least QBDK has a good matchup aerially, right? I mean, the Lions' secondary is notorious for giving up big plays. However, that's not really the case here because stud safety Louis Delmas will finally return to the lineup. He'll make a big impact, so throwing the ball will be much more difficult for QBDK, who will have Ndamukong Suh breathing down his neck the entire afternoon. Suh has an easy mismatch against Dallas Reynolds, the Eagles' inept backup center.
Running the ball should work against Detroit, as the Lions have surrendered at least 122 rushing yards in two of their four games this season. LeSean McCoy is a great player who will undoubtedly take advantage of that. However, will Andy Reid remember to give McCoy enough carries? Reid is favored to win this game, and as we've seen over the years, Reid's play-calling becomes infinitely dumber with each point his team is laying.
DETROIT OFFENSE: Remember how everyone was excited about Philadelphia's super-awesome secondary following the Nnamdi Asomugha signing? Well, that's been a bust. The safeties have been pretty mediocre, at best, while Asomugha himself has struggled. In fact, quarterbacks have been targeting Asomugha exclusively. He's been torched quite often through five weeks.
Matthew Stafford simply has too much firepower for Philadelphia's defensive backfield to handle, so the Eagles need to pressure him early and often. While they have the names up front like Trent Cole and Jason Babin, they have just two sacks in the past three weeks. Teams have seemed to figure out Philadelphia's wide-nine formation. The Lions run the scheme themselves, so they should have no problem diagnosing it.
The Eagles couldn't stop Rashard Mendenhall on Sunday, but I don't expect the Lions to run the ball nearly as well. They just don't open up the same lanes that Pittsburgh does, though Mikel Leshoure's presence will at least make Philadelphia stay honest against the rush.
RECAP: I'd take the Lions if I had to. This is a must-win for them because dropping to 1-4 would be disastrous. The Eagles, meanwhile, haven't been very good going into the bye under Reid. However, I hate the value we're getting with Philadelphia. This spread was -6 a week ago.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Lions are healthy and I think they may win this game, but I wanted a better number.
The Psychology. Edge: Lions.
This is almost a must-win for Detroit.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Slight lean on the Lions.
Percentage of money on Detroit: 55% (52,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Eagles are 75-56 ATS vs. NFC opponents since 2001.
Eagles are 5-8 ATS going into a bye under Andy Reid.
Opening Line: Eagles -6.5.
Opening Total: 48.
Week 6 NFL Pick: Eagles 22, Lions 21
Lions +3.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Under 47.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Lions 26, Eagles 23
St. Louis Rams (3-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-3)
Line: Dolphins by 5. Total: 37.5.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Dolphins -3.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Dolphins -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Dolphins -3.5.
Sunday, Oct. 14, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 6 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Dolphins.
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM BRADY'S HAIRCUTS
Remember when Tom Brady used to be the most clutch quarterback in the NFL? He had that epic drive against the Rams in the Super Bowl. He then engineered numerous other fourth-quarter comebacks, including one to defeat the Panthers two years later to claim his second Lombardi trophy. After he earned his third, there was a wide-spread belief that he would pass both Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw and eventually earn five or more total rings.
Well, Brady's been stuck on three. He's no longer clutch; in fact, he often melts down in the fourth quarters of big matchups. He seems to really care about some games - especially those involving Tim Tebow - but then he's so lackadaisical in others.
So, what happened? The obvious answer is his wife. But more specifically, it's the haircuts that his wife forces him into getting. It's unknown to the media, but Brady's haircuts are much more than just silly fashion statements; each haircut gives Brady a new persona.
For instance, the following phone conversation took place yesterday, just as Tom Brady got off the plane in Seattle.
Gisele Bundchen: Hello, eez plane drop een Seattle?
Tom Brady: Hey sweetie pie! Yes, I've arrived safely in Seattle. I'm so glad you tied my hair in a pony tail and gave me this ear piece so I can talk to you at all times.
Gisele Bundchen: Yes, eez ponee tails eez very chic!
Tom Brady: I know, all of my guy friends on the team are jealous.
Gisele Bundchen: And vis eear piece oont your eear eez good becooz vee can talking!
Tom Brady: Yes, I love talking to you, sweetie pie. Talking is what holds our marriage together. That, and the awesome haircuts you give me. But yes, talking. We have so much in common.
Gisele Bundchen: Yes vee like chic hair style. Vis your hair, vee make very chic hair style every veek!
Tom Brady: Oh my God, so many people are so jealous of my pony tail. Like, hey, Aaron Hernandez, you love my pony tail, don't you?
Aaron Hernandez: Get the f*** away from me, creep!
Tom Brady: See? Everyone loves it. And I'm going to keep my ear piece in so we can talk all day and all night. We have so many great conversations. Let's have one right now.
Gisele Bundchen: OK, eez good.
Tom Brady: Yeah.
Gisele Bundchen: ...
Tom Brady: ...
Gisele Bundchen: ...
Tom Brady: You're hot.
Gisele Bundchen: You eez tres chic.
Tom Brady: Oh, what great conversations we're going to have all week, all while people fawn over my beautiful pony tail!
ST. LOUIS OFFENSE: The Rams' scoring attack is in shambles. If it wasn't bad enough that three of their offensive linemen were injured, Sam Bradford's favorite target, Danny Amendola, is out for about six weeks. We all saw what happened to Bradford last year when Amendola wasn't in the lineup. I mean, we all saw it on Thursday night. Bradford completed just two passes after Amendola got hurt in the second quarter.
Bradford at least was able to lean on Steven Jackson on Thursday night. Jackson had success against the Cardinals, whose defense was downgraded because stud defensive end Darnell Dockett was laboring through an injury. The Dolphins won't have any of that; they rank first against the run, giving up just 2.6 yards per carry this season. They've shut down the likes of Arian Foster and Darren McFadden, so they won't have a problem with Jackson.
With no semblance of a ground attack, St. Louis will find it extremely taxing to move the chains. Bradford will have to convert a plethora of long-yardage situations, which will be difficult considering that Cameron Wake and Randy Starks are on the opposite side of the ball. Those two put immense pressure on the quarterback, and they won't have any issues getting by the scrubs that the Rams have blocking up front.
MIAMI OFFENSE: St. Louis has a couple of dynamic pass-rushers of its own. Robert Quinn and Chris Long created havoc for Kevin Kolb last Thursday night, so they'll aim to rattle another young quarterback who happens to be turnover-prone. I'll be surprised if Quinn does anything against Jake Long, but Chris Long should have a field day against rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin.
Unlike Bradford, however, Tannehill will have some support from his ground attack. The Rams don't stop the run very well. They clamped down on Ryan Williams this past Thursday, but anyone can contain Arizona's running backs. Overall, St. Louis surrenders 4.3 yards per carry to the opposition.
Tannehill also has the advantage of having his No. 1 receiver at his disposal. Brian Hartline has been a pleasant surprise for Miami this season. However, he faces a tough challenge against Cortland Finnegan, who has a knack for frustrating opposing wideouts. Tannehill may have to look elsewhere this afternoon, perhaps to Davone Bess or Anthony Fasano.
RECAP: I'm going to take the Dolphins for a couple of units. I don't think this line has adjusted enough for Amendola's injury. Plus, St. Louis doesn't play well outdoors, and it's supposed to be 85 degrees and sunny, which means the Rams will melt in the Miami sun in their navy-blue jerseys.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Remember how I said this spread hasn't adjusted for Amendola? Well, it has now. I like the Dolphins for a couple of units at -3.5, but only for one at -4.5.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on St. Louis: 59% (56,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Rams.
Rams are 20-35 ATS on grass since 2001.
Dolphins are 6-11 ATS vs. NFC teams since Tony Sparano.
Dolphins are 0-9 ATS as favorites of 3.5 or more since 2008.
Dolphins are 1-7 ATS as a favorite coming off a SU win as an underdog since 2007.
Opening Line: Dolphins -3.
Opening Total: 38.
Week 6 NFL Pick: Dolphins 20, Rams 9
Dolphins -5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
Under 38 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Dolphins 17, Rams 14
Week 6 NFL Picks - Late Games
Bills at Cardinals,
Patriots at Seahawks,
Vikings at Redskins,
Giants at 49ers,
Packers at Texans,
Broncos at Chargers