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Vegas betting action updated Dec. 16, 5:45 p.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball
Go to Week 15 NFL Picks - Late Games
San Diego Chargers (6-7) at Denver Broncos (11-2)
Line: Broncos by 10. Total: 56.5.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread:
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 14):
Thursday, Dec. 12, 8:25 ET
Discuss Week 15 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Broncos.
WEEK 14 RECAP:
My week once again hinges on what happens Monday night. I have the Bears for three units. If they cover, I'm 7-9 (+$430). If they don't, I'll be 6-10 (-$200). My one big loss yesterday was the Giants +4 over the Chargers. It's obvious that I had the wrong side in that game, but I can't really explain what happened. New York was just so flat in that game for no apparent reason.
I've vowed to avoid the following poisonous teams that were responsible for many of my two- and three-unit losses:
Canceling out the Texans and Jaguars, who played each other, these teams went 4-2. I'm beginning to think that I need to be much more fluid with this chart. For example, the Buccaneers, Vikings, Jaguars and Falcons all used to be poisonous, but they've been playing well lately. I don't think they can be characterised as poisonous teams any longer.
Conversely, new teams have begun playing terribly, like the Bills, Titans and Jets (despite Sunday's victory). Here's a new poisonous team list:
The Titans have seemed like the right side for several weeks, but they've continuously screwed up and failed to cover. That's the definition of a poisonous team. The Giants, meanwhile, was so dreadful and lethargic at San Diego that it seems like they could be in for an awful finish.
My Las Vegas Hilton Supercontest partner Matvei and I also talked about some situations that almost always win:
Seahawks at home
Saints at home
Packers at home (needs Aaron Rodgers)
Jim Harbaugh anywhere (unless he's playing another top team, i.e. Colts or Seahawks)
Tom Brady off a loss as long as he's not favored by a lot
Those situations have gone 11-2 against the spread since Week 8, with the Saints hitting Sunday night. People actually thought the Panthers had a chance in the Superdome?
Matvei and I also discussed something called the Bermuda Triangle. This originated with the Cardinals, who inexplicably cover at home against all non-elite teams. Very weird things happen in these games that can't be explained. Thus, Bermuda Triangle. Here are Bermuda Triangle situations:
Bet the Cardinals at home as a dog or small favorite unless they're playing an elite team.
Fade the Ravens as a road favorite.
Fade the Steelers as a big home favorite or road favorite.
Fade the Eagles at home.
Fade the Cowboys as a very large home favorite.
Bet the Bills at home
This went 2-0 in Week 13, but 0-1 this past Sunday. I think I'm going to strike the Eagles off this list, as they've suddenly built some momentum at home for the first time in a couple of years.
This is something e-mailer Daniel C. brought to my attention. The following chart shows how I am when betting one-plus units compared to my psychology selections. Perhaps I should be leaning on that more:
My psychological picks were 7-1 in Weeks 12-13, but just 2-3 this past week. To be fair, the 49ers probably should have covered, so it would have been 3-2.
Week 15 NFL Picks will be posted all day Wednesday. Follow me @walterfootball
Wes Welker has officially been ruled out for this game after suffering his second concussion in four weeks this past Sunday. Some may see Welker's absence as a potential hindrance to the Denver scoring attack, but that is hardly going to be the case for two reasons:
First, the Broncos did just fine without Welker last week. They still scored quite easily against the Titans when Jacob Tamme manned the slot position instead of Welker. I'm not saying Denver would be better off going forward without Welker, but Peyton Manning simply has too many weapons for non-elite defenses to handle, even when one of his targets isn't available.
The second reason is that San Diego's defense is a joke. The Chargers rank near the bottom in almost every category. They're 30th against both the run and the pass, and they've accumulated only five sacks in their previous three games. With a lacking pass rush, how are they going to stop Manning, considering that they have very little talent in their secondary?
SAN DIEGO OFFENSE:
The Chargers struggled offensively in two of three games leading up to their battle against the Giants, but something was different about that Week 14 tilt. King Dunlap, who had been out for a few games with a neck injury, was back in the lineup. Dunlap had been doing a terrific job of protecting Philip Rivers' blind side, but his absence forced D.J. Fluker and the inept Jeromey Clary to play left and right tackle, respectively. DUnlap's return was a huge boost, as the Giants barely put any heat on Rivers.
However, even though Dunlap will start again, the Chargers probably won't protect Rivers as well this week because of Von Miller. Fluker had major problems dealing with Miller in the first matchup, as Rivers went 19-of-29 for just 218 yards and a touchdown. It's worth noting that Rivers' supporting cast let him down with a few drops. He'll have the same players to throw to though, including Keenan Allen, who's expected to play after getting dinged last week.
The one thing that might change in the rematch could be San Diego's ability to run the ball. Ryan Mathews struggled to find running lanes in the Week 10 battle, but the Broncos have regressed against the run lately, thanks to Kevin Vickerson's injury and personnel problems in the linebacking corps. The Broncos have allowed 3.66 YPC on the season, but 4.59 YPC in the previous four weeks.
This spread is right where it should be, so we're not getting any line value with either side. However, I like the Broncos for two units because of Manning's ability to shine in nationally televised games. Manning is always at his best in prime time; he's 8-1 against the spread on Thursdays alone. Meanwhile, the Chargers seemed a bit too focused for last week's New York tilt. It didn't seem like they were preparing for this contest at all, which could spell trouble.
Again, Week 15 NFL Picks will be posted all day. I'll announce via Twitter @walterfootball
when each selection is posted.
There's slight public action on the Broncos and a bit of sharp money on the Chargers (they mostly grabbed +11, probably on principle). There's nothing that is going to make me come off my two-unit Denver wager.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Chargers.
A good amount of action on the Broncos.
Percentage of money on Denver: 69% (47,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Broncos.
History: Broncos have won the last 4 meetings.
Philip Rivers is 26-16 ATS as a starter after Nov. 30 (10-5 ATS as an underdog).
Peyton Manning is 8-1 ATS on Thursday.
Opening Line: Broncos -10.5.
Opening Total: 53.
Weather: Clear, 35 degrees.
Week 15 NFL Pick: Broncos 38, Chargers 24
Broncos -10 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
Over 56.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Chargers 27, Broncos 20
Washington Redskins (3-10) at Atlanta Falcons (3-10)
Line: Falcons by 5.5. Total: 50.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Falcons -2.5.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 14): Falcons -6.
Sunday, Dec. 15, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 15 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Falcons.
VEGAS RECAP: Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping is over, so Vegas went back to bending the public over and inserting their kielbasas into average bettors' backsides and riding them all night long like young stallions. GRowhrghg oewgoern orebo4r nblekb ner nbte.
Sorry, that was Matt Millen, and I had to kick him off my laptop. But he's right - the sportsbooks won four of the seven highly bet games (Vikings, Browns, Jets, Bears), while the public only won three (Chiefs, Broncos, Saints).
I'll be updating the Vegas betting action all week, as usual. I'll notify you of any updates @walterfootball.
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: The Redskins are an absolute mess. One week, Robert Griffin is blaming his teammates for losses. The next week, Griffin's dad is in the locker room, putting a Band-Aid on his son's knee. After that, Mike Shanahan leaks a story to someone at ESPN about wanting to clean out his office because Daniel Snyder wants to be BFFs with Griffin. Washington is a joke.
Shanahan has officially benched Griffin, which is a good move because the second-year quarterback isn't 100 percent. It's a shame for Griffin because this is a pretty easy matchup for him. Atlanta's defense has been decimated with injuries this season, and has made every quarterback it has battled look like a Pro Bowler, including Matt Flynn last week. Kirk Cousins, who was named the starter Wednesday morning, should be able to exploit the Falcons' defense.
Alfred Morris also has a nice matchup on paper because the only team that's worse at stopping the run is Chicago. However, the Redskins simply can't be trusted. They're having way too many issues right now.
ATLANTA OFFENSE: Washington's defense is in better shape than the scoring attack, but only because this side of the ball doesn't have any crazy drama. The players just suck.
The Redskins have the worst pass defense in the NFL, surrendering an 8.5 YPA to the opposition. They've been even worse in the past four weeks (9.23 YPA) even though they've battled no elite quarterbacks in that span (Nick Foles, Colin Kaepernick, Eli Manning, Alex Smith). Matt Ryan, who is heating up because Roddy White is looking healthy for the first time all year, should be able to dissect this defense with ease.
Washington is better versus the run, but only by default. The Chiefs just rushed for 189 yards against them this past week. The Falcons won't have that type of success, but like White, Steven Jackson is coming on because he's finally over his injury. Jackson should be able to have a decent outing, setting up manageable situations for Ryan.
RECAP: This spread opened at Falcons -3.5. The public pounded the host into oblivion, and the line is now -6.5. There's no value with Atlanta anymore. I'm still taking them for a non-bet despite the fact that this is a good spot for Washington. There are several scheduling- and result-based dynamics that favor the Redskins, and if they weren't so incompetent, I'd wager several units on them. Unfortunately, Washington is unbettable.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps bet this up early because they knew Kirk Cousins was going to start. However, they've started taking the Redskins late in the week. I think this is a stay-away game. I'd take the Redskins if I knew that they weren't going to quit on Mike Shanahan.
SUNDAY NOTES: Chad Millman said the sharps are on the Redskins. I don't have a strong opinion on this game, so maybe that's the right side. I just can't bet on this crap team that might continue to quit.
The Psychology. Edge: Falcons.
It appears as though the Redskins have checked out.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Atlanta: 55% (30,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
Matt Ryan is 27-17 ATS at home.
Opening Line: Falcons -3.5.
Opening Total: 51.
Week 15 NFL Pick: Falcons 27, Redskins 17
Falcons -5.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Under 50 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Falcons 27, Redskins 26
San Francisco 49ers (9-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
Line: 49ers by 4. Total: 40.5.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: 49ers -6.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 14): 49ers -4.5.
Sunday, Dec. 15, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 15 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: 49ers.
HATE MAIL: Another week, another stack of hate mails (though not so many this week). These are from the comment boards:
"Kansas City has nothing to play for. The team is locked into the No. 5 seed." Your an idiot. The Chiefs still mathematically have a chance to get home field advantage, meaning they will fight tooth and nail to get the highest seed possible. That's how it works in the NFL. Maybe if you watched football you would know that. And maybe you'd be a bit better at picking games.
If you want to call someone an idiot, perhaps you shouldn't say "your an idiot." Let me try: You're an idiot for thinking the Chiefs have a shot at homefield advantage.
Looks like the sharps you went against all week were right as usual Walt. Good call going against them...idiot.
Thanks! It sucks I lost so much money on those zero-unit plays. How will I ever pay my bookie?
The following posts were made about everyone in the comment board:
- You idiots talking about jacksonville are going to regret betting them...Houston will spank jags tonight....everyone is falling under the facade that jags are a winning team now? Dummies, Houston is the better team even though they lost to jags already that means nothing in football land...does everyone really think Houston does not want to win another game? Do you really think they will lose 11 straight? Jags will lose at home tonight like they always do...take it to the bank.
I hope no one listened to this clown. Nice spanking by the Texans there.
Everyone on this board are fagg*ts, including old pick new pick, chuckster, Madturk, bigredtic, guruball...fing homos, little b*tches especially chuckster, what kind of fag name is that little b*tch, and old pick go jerk off 24/7 cause we all know you get no p*ssy, little fag
I've found that homophobes who constantly call other people things like "fagg*ts" and "homos" are actually gay themselves. Not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, it's cool to be gay now. So, hate-mailer, if you're reading this, it's OK to come out of the closet.
Surrreeee real nice "insider play" bet u didn't know the game would be postponed you homo b*tch....I got "insider" play for tomorrow, bet the Texans and win some money, don't bet stupid like everyone else and bet the Jaguars...fing losers
Wow, I'm glad this guy is posting comments on my site. He provides some great material with his completely idiotic responses. Unfortunately, once he comes out of the closet, he'll be too busy getting wangs up his buttocks to make angry posts.
SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: Colin Kaepernick had maintained a YPA of 9.8 in two consecutive games leading up to the Seattle contest, but he regressed on Sunday. He was down to 6.0 versus the Seahawks, as he completed just 15-of-29 passes for 175 yards. Kaepernick had some nice moments, but seemed off for most of the game. Of course, he was battling a stout defense, but that's exactly what he'll be doing in this matchup.
The Buccaneers' numbers for the entire season don't look great, but they've been performing much better ever since they've had Darrelle Revis play man-to-man defense. As a result, they've maintained a top-15 YPA figure over the past month. Revis will be able to put the clamps on one of Kaepernick's receivers - probably Michael Crabtree - which will force the second-year starter to look elsewhere. Kaepernick will target Vernon Davis heavily, but the Buccaneers tend to handle tight ends pretty well.
The 49ers won't have much success establishing Frank Gore. Tampa limited the two talented Buffalo backs to just 38 yards on 17 carries. Besides, Gore hasn't been very effectively lately. Prior to last week's 110-yard output, which was aided by a fluky run in which he was easily chased down, Gore has been limited to 3.7 yards per carry or worse in four of his previous five games.
TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: Bobby Rainey has been the hotter running back, as he opened up last week's contest with an 80-yard touchdown run against Buffalo. He won't have nearly as much success this Sunday, however. Whereas the Bills are 25th against the rush, the 49ers are a solid 12th in terms of YPC (3.96). If they could limit Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks to 84 rushing yards, I'm sure they'll have plenty of success against Rainey.
With Rainey mostly stymied, it'll be up to Mike Glennon to lead the Buccaneers to victory. Glennon completed just nine passes last week (out of 25 attempts) for only 90 yards. The 49ers have a top-10 aerial defense (in terms of YPA) and an improved pass rush with Aldon Smith back in the lineup. It's going to be very difficult for Glennon to consistently move the chains, especially with only one consistent option, Vincent Jackson, who hasn't even been that good for the majority of this season when he's had to battle teams not named the Falcons.
There will be some pass-protection issues for Glennon. The rookie signal-caller was sacked just once last week, but only because his team led throughout. He was brought down on nine occasions in the previous two contests.
RECAP: This is a bad spot for the 49ers. Not only are they coming off an emotional victory over arch-rival Seattle; they also are playing an early game on the East Coast. Having said that, Jim Harbaugh is a perfect 5-0 against the spread in such contests. Plus, the Buccaneers aren't in great position either, as non-divisional underdogs that have collected five or more turnovers the prior week are great fades. This is a non-bet for me, but I'm siding with San Francisco.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Three things to note. First, the public is on the 49ers, while the sharps are on the Buccaneers. However, San Francisco has covered a bunch of games like this during the year. Second, Tampa is one of Bill Simmons' five picks in the Las Vegas Hilton Supercontest. Simmons has an awful record (23-46-1), which is so bad that fading his selections all year would have you in first place. Thus, the 49ers seem like the right side. However, the third item is that home underdogs in the final three weeks of the season are 160-102 against the spread dating back to 1989.
SUNDAY NOTES: The sharps are not taking a side here, according to Chad Millman. I'm not either.
The Psychology. Edge: Buccaneers.
The 49ers are coming off an emotional victory.
The Vegas. Edge: Buccaneers.
Everyone is pounding the 49ers.
Percentage of money on San Francisco: 84% (33,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: 49ers.
Buccaneers are 11-25 ATS at home in the previous 36 instances.
Buccaneers are 5-13 ATS as a home underdog since 2009.
Opening Line: 49ers -5.
Opening Total: 41.5.
Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 74 degrees. Mild wind, 12 mph.
Week 15 NFL Pick: 49ers 26, Buccaneers 17
49ers -4 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Over 40.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
49ers 33, Buccaneers 14
Seattle Seahawks (11-2) at New York Giants (5-8)
Line: Seahawks by 9. Total: 42.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Seahawks -5.5.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 14): Seahawks -4.
Sunday, Dec. 15, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 15 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Seahawks.
The most illiterate sports bettor in the world is a man named the Real John Moss. He loves to e-mail me and talk to me on G-chat. I've posted all of the messages he's sent me over the years, including those in 2012. I heard from him back in September - click here for some of the newer Real John Moss content - but I haven't heard from him since. I hoped posting this would convince him to contact me again, but it didn't work. However, I checked my G-mail and saw that he sent me a message I didn't see before. Click the link to read it.
SEATTLE OFFENSE: The Giants had an incredibly pathetic showing against the Chargers last week, especially on the defensive side of the ball. When they weren't lining up offsides, they were getting pushed around in the trenches so easily. It was ridiculous. There was no reason San Diego should've been able to blast open huge holes against New York, but that's exactly what happened. As a result, Ryan Mathews was ripping off gains of five to 10 yards on nearly every run.
If Mathews was able to look that great against the Giants, imagine what Marshawn Lynch will be able to do. New York has the talent to be better than that, but the team seems to have mailed it in. Even if it puts more effort into this contest, the defensive front will have to worry about Russell Wilson taking off, so it won't be able to fully concentrate on Lynch.
Speaking of Wilson, he figures to have a huge outing against a pathetic New York secondary that has surrendered a YPA (7.92) that's better than only seven others over the past month. A big part of the problem is the lacking pass rush; Justin Tuck has been hot lately, but no one else has stepped up. Aside from the Jaguars, New York has the fewest sacks in the NFL this season.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: There was a stretch in which Eli Manning stopped turning the ball over. He was on pace to set the single-season record for interceptions, yet he gave the ball away just twice over a five-game span. However, Manning is back to being reckless. He has three picks in his previous two starts, both of which were against horrible defenses (Redskins, Chargers).
Manning, who once again has more interceptions than Geno Smith, will find life much more difficult against the Seahawks' dominant secondary, which has surrendering a ridiculous YPA of 4.98 over the past month. No team is even close, as Cincinnati is next at 5.52. It's tough to see Manning rebound against such a fearsome defensive backfield when he had so much trouble against San Diego last week.
The Giants will need to get something on the ground to keep Manning from heaving picks. Andre Brown might have a chance, as Seattle's rush defense is extremely unpredictable. The Seahaws limit one opponent to 50 rushing yards, and then they allow 130-plus to the next. To illustrate this phenomenon, here are the rushing yards they've permitted over the entire season to opposing running backs: 132, 45, 132, 49, 178, 173, 25, 33, 93, 146, 46, 13, 96. See what I mean? Establishing Brown would be a boost, but keep in mind that he ran well last week, and Manning still gave the ball away twice.
RECAP: I don't like this spot at all for the Seahawks, who are playing an early game on the East Coast. This contest is meaningless as well, as they've pretty much locked up the No. 1 seed. The sharps, recognizing this, are pounding New York.
I'm on the Giants as well. I know I've listed them as a poisonous team above, but they're a different type. Think of the Texans and Falcons - veteran teams with no hope of reaching the playoffs. We've seen them mail it in against inferior competition, but they've actually tried hard against great opponents. Houston let the Raiders and Jaguars beat them at home, but then they got up for the Patriots and nearly knocked them off. The same could be said for Atlanta; the Buccaneers crushed them, but the Falcons battled the Saints to the very end after that.
We could see this type of phenomenon here with the Giants. Their lack of effort at San Diego was appalling, but this is the biggest game remaining on their schedule. I feel like there's a good chance they'll bring 110 percent against the NFL's top team, which, once again, has nothing to play for.
I'm taking the Giants for two units. I'm not going any higher than that because I could be wrong about their effort level, but I think we'll see their "A" game this Sunday.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There's sharp action on the Giants. Bill Simmons' second selection is Seattle. Also, the home underdog trend applies again, favoring New York. I'm sticking with two units on the Giants.
SUNDAY NOTES: I'm not a fan of seeing this line move up to -9, but I still like the Giants.
The Psychology. Edge: Giants.
This game means nothing for Seattle.
The Vegas. Edge: Giants.
Lots of money on the road favorite.
Percentage of money on Seattle: 77% (50,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Russell Wilson is 4-1 ATS after a loss as long as he's not favored by -10 or more.
Eli Manning is 29-17 ATS as an underdog since 2007.
Opening Line: Seahawks -7.
Opening Total: 41.5.
Weather: Sunny, 37 degrees. Mild wind, 13 mph.
Week 15 NFL Pick: Seahawks 20, Giants 17
Giants +9 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
Under 42 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Seahawks 23, Giants 0
Chicago Bears (7-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-9)
Line: Bears by 1.5. Total: 44.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: No Line (Cutler).
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 14): Browns -1.
Sunday, Dec. 15, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 15 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Browns.
If you haven't seen this yet, we have a new NFL Pick Em Contest on this Web site. It's free entry, and there are monthly and seasonal prizes: $350 for the year, and $100 for each month. There's no reason not to enter. Click the link to register! (By the way, the link does not work at the moment, but it will sometime tonight).
By the way, you can check out the Pick Em Leaderboard here.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: There's no line on this game as of this writing, which is very frustrating because there's no reason for Vegas to be so scared about posting one. There is zero difference between Josh McCown and Jay Cutler. I just don't see how the latter is worth any more points than the former. In fact, if I were betting Chicago - and I very well might be - I'd be more comfortable with McCown under center because Cutler is very erratic sometimes and goes a little crazy with turnovers.
Regardless of which quarterback gets the nod, Chicago should be able to sustain consistent drives. The Patriots, after all, were able to go nuts versus Cleveland at the very end, and they were a man down after Rob Gronkowski tore his ACL and MCL in the third quarter. Joe Haden should be able to lock down one of the Chicago wideouts, but the other will be a huge threat. The Browns will also have to worry about Matt Forte leaking out of the backfield as a pass-catcher, all while McCown/Cutler is protected extremely well by an offensive line that has surrendered fewer sacks than all but two teams this year (Broncos, Lions).
Speaking of Forte, the talented back will have success ripping off some big gains on the ground. The Browns are fourth in YPC this year (3.51), but they've been worse lately ever since losing stud defensive end Desmond Bryant to an injury. The New England backs gained 86 yards on just 19 carries against Cleveland this past Sunday.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: The Bears have the worst rush defense in the NFL, and it's not even close. They allow 5.25 yards per carry to opposing backs, and the 31st-ranked team, Atlanta, permits 4.87. Chicago has been even worse recently; over the past month, its horrific figure has soared to 6.11. As ProFootballFocus' Pete Damilatis joked on Twitter, "Bears-Eagles to SNF? Well, now the whole country can see LeSean McCoy set the single-game rushing record."
Having said that, the Bears won't have to worry about anyone even coming close to the record this week. The Browns' backfield is garbage. Willis McGahee is the starting back, and he may not even be available. Cleveland is one of the few teams in the NFL that can't possibly take advantage of Chicago's glaring liability.
Jason Campbell should have some success throwing the ball, however. Josh Gordon, who has set the NFL all-time record for receiving yardage over a four-game span, will continue to produce big numbers, as no one on Chicago will be able to contain him. The one hope the Bears have is to pressure Campbell heavily. Their pass rush has been better lately, accumulating 17 sacks in the six games following the bye, as opposed to the 10 sacks in the seven contest prior to the week off.
RECAP: I'll have a definitive pick for you once a spread is posted, but I'll almost certainly be on the Bears. This could be a multi-unit bet if McCown is the starter, so stay tuned.
PICK POSTED: Twelve years ago, Bill Belichick had a difficult decision to make. His franchise quarterback suffered an injury, yet this unknown commodity, a sixth-round pick, had been leading the team to victory. This quarterback wasn't posting monstrous numbers or anything, but his teammates believed in him, as he reeled off win after win. The franchise quarterback was finally healthy, but Belichick opted to go with the sixth-rounder. The Patriots won the Super Bowl that year.
In this scenario, Jay Cutler is Drew Bledsoe, while Josh McCown is Tom Brady. Now, please don't think that I'm comparing McCown to Brady because the latter is a future Hall-of-Famer. But given that the Brady back then isn't the Brady we know now, the situation is exactly the same. Both Cutler and Bledsoe are/were impressively talented, but were often guilty of committing crushing mistakes. McCown, like Brady, came out of nowhere. He's much older than Brady was in that magical season, but he's doing exactly what the "Golden Boy" did back then.
Marc Trestman's approach is the complete opposite of what Bill Belichick opted to do. He's making a huge mistake. First of all, Cutler commits way too many turnovers. If he starts doing stupid stuff, can Trestman really bench him in favor of McCown? Trestman already bungled this once when he kept Cutler in too long against the Lions. Second, there could be a let-down factor for Chicago. The Bear players were performing at a peak efficiency with McCown on the field because they felt like they had to. With Cutler back, they could be more relaxed because they know the "superior" quarterback is under center again. It's actually quite common for teams to have a let-down when the starting quarterback returns.
This is one of three reasons I'm wagering multiple units on the Browns. The second is that the Bears could be more focused on matchups against the Eagles and Packers after this. The third is that the sharps are pounding Cleveland. Public bettors saw the Bears dominate on Monday night and have consequently fallen in love with them. The sharps are well aware of A) there being no difference between Cutler and McCown, and B) how bad Chicago's defense is. Remember, these Bears lost at Minnesota a couple of weeks ago. Why is it such a given that they'll win at Cleveland, given how well the Browns played against the Patriots?
FINAL THOUGHTS: This is much like Seattle-New York. Bill Simmons is taking the Bears, and the home underdog trend favors Cleveland. The sharps are on the Browns as well.
SUNDAY NOTES: The sharps are all over the Browns. I still think it's a huge mistake to use Cutler over McCown, but we'll see.
The Psychology. Edge: Browns.
The Bears have the Eagles and Packers after this game against the lowly Browns. The players won't perform very hard with their starting quarterback under center again, as there will be a "relax" factor.
The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
No surprise the public is backing the Bears.
Percentage of money on Chicago: 73% (25,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Browns.
Bears are 12-31 ATS in December road games the previous 43 instances.
Jay Cutler is 30-55 ATS if you exclude Monday Night Football.
Opening Line: Pick.
Opening Total: 44.
Weather: Snow, 27 degrees. HEAVY WINDS..
Week 15 NFL Pick: Browns 24, Bears 17
Browns +1.5 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
Under 44 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Bears 38, Browns 31
Houston Texans (2-11) at Indianapolis Colts (8-5)
Line: Colts by 4.5. Total: 47.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Colts -6.5.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 14): Colts -4.5.
Sunday, Dec. 15, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 15 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Colts.
I wouldn't say my weekly random NFL notes cluttered these picks pages, so I'll keep them here. What I'm also going to do is store all of them in a Random NFL Notes section so that you can go back and read previous entries in the future.
Some random NFL notes I can't put anywhere else:
1. I'm kind of sad that these Thursday night games are coming to an end this week. Two reasons: First, I'll miss the hot chick singer's a**. Second, I've greatly enjoyed making fun of Brad Nessler. Here's a running log of all of his mistakes this year:
NFL Network play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler doesn't know about any of the football players. I'm serious. He's said some weird stuff this year, this week called Greg Little "Mr. Dependable." I thought I was hearing things, but couldn't rewind the game because my DVR wasn't functioning at the time. However, multiple forum members confirmed this.
How the hell is Little worth the title of "Mr. Dependable?" He's been benched several times because of drops and fumbles. He's the opposite of dependable. Why in the world would Nessler call him that then? Is he just completely clueless, or is he trolling us?
Also, Nessler said, "We lost a valuable employee to breast cancer last summer, Natalie Parker." That's nice of him to say that, but her name flashed on the screen as "Natalie Packer." Nessler obviously never even said a single word to her if he screwed up her name like that, so why would he say she's a "valuable employee?" How would he know she's valuable? Does he even know what she did? I'm just shocked he didn't just refer to her as "Ms. Dependable."
Nessler called Rashad Johnson "Rashard Johnson." That one wasn't as bad as referring to Jay Feely as "Jim Feely." It's clear by now that Nessler mails in these Thursday night games. You could almost say that Palmer puts forth a better effort.
This Thursday, Nessler joked about the Buccaneers firing their trademark cannon too early prior to their touchdown. If Nessler weren't mailing in these games, he would've known that Tampa fires the cannon once each time it reaches the red zone.
This week, Koa Misi suddenly became "Koa Misa."
This Thursday, Nessler commented that one of the punters kicked it "high into the Minneapolis sky." Yeah, I'm sure the ball looked beautiful in the Minneapolis night sky - considering that the Vikings play in a dome.
As for this week, I'll let e-mailer Joe B. handle it:
I know you love pointing out Brad Nessler's idiotic statements. Here's this week's edition in case you missed it: "These two teams played two weeks ago, so you know they'll remember each other's names." Maybe Nessler needs to announce a game between the same two teams that he announced two weeks ago, since he has all kinds of problems knowing the players' names. I wonder who this "Marcellus Lewis" fellow is...
Indeed. He referred to Marcedes Lewis as "Marcellus Lewis" when the tight end caught his first-quarter touchdown. It's amazing how much money Nessler is stealing from the NFL Network, because he's absolutely mailing it in.
2. Speaking of inept NFL announcers, Don Tollefson is someone I've also made fun of. For those of you who don't know who he is, he's a former Eagles' play-by-play announcer who said the following when Nnamdi Asomugha came to Philly:
I'm sure many young women in the Delaware Valley would love to cook and clean for Nnamdi.
I've taken off with it, but Tollefson has provided me with another way to poke fun at him. Don Tollefson has been running a charity scam, which you can read about by clicking the link. This is the greatest news I've heard all day. Do you know how much new material this has given me?
3. I mentioned last week that Geno Smith might be the worst quarterback ever. I was obviously mistaken, but not because of what Smith did on the field this past Sunday. Someone posted the following as a reminder in the comment board below:
Ha ha ya tink Geno Smith is the worst starting QB ever? How about me ha ha ya tink so? Where my Skittles and purple drink at ya tink so?
Major derpage on my part to forget the one and only JaMarcus "Captain Skittles" Russell.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: Gary Kubiak was fired hours after announcing that Matt Schaub would be the starting quarterback for the Texans. I guess that means owner Bob McNair wanted Case Keenum to be his guy for the final three games of the season. And can you blame him? Schaub looked like the second coming of Johnny Unitas in the second half against the Jaguars before throwing a predictable interception. Nevertheless, Schaub gave Houston its best chance of winning, which wasn't going to cut it with McNair. Schaub was going to ruin the future of the Texans' franchise.
Keenum will get the nod again, which might actually hurt Houston's chances of losing because he was 20-of-34 for 350 yards and three touchdowns in a prior matchup against the Colts. Granted, that was at home, but Indianapolis still hasn't solved its major defensive woes. The secondary is bad, but the pass rush is even worse; the Colts have a whopping two sacks in their previous three games, and only the Giants and Jaguars have fewer sacks during the entire season. Keenum won't have any pressure in his face, so he'll have all afternoon to pick apart Indianapolis' defensive backfield.
The Colts also happen to be inept when it comes to stopping the run, surrendering at least 96 rushing yards to every single opponent since their Week 8 bye. Ben Tate was held in check last week, but he could have a similar performance to his Week 12 outing against the Patriots in which he gained 102 yards on 22 carries.
INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: The Colts' offense has been putrid ever since losing Reggie Wayne for the season, but it could have a boost going forward, thanks to the emergence of undrafted rookie Da'Rick Rogers. Coming out of Tennessee Tech, Rogers was one of the most talented offensive play-makers to enter the league this season, but every single team passed on him in the 2013 NFL Draft because of off-the-field issues. The Bills signed him in initially, but let him go. However, he's been a model citizen since, and he finally got his chance last week. Playing on two-thirds of the snaps, he caught six passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns at Cincinnati. Granted, a lot of this production came in garbage time, but Rogers offers an enormous upgrade over the drop-prone Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Luck should play better as a result, but the same problems still persist. The offensive line is garbage, and it couldn't protect Luck the first time he battled Houston. He was sacked four times - a number that would have been higher if it weren't for his mobility. Luck was just sacked on five occasions in a Week 13 tilt, so nothing has changed.
The lack of a running game hurts too. Trent Richardson offers no play-making ability as a rusher. The Colts previously announced that they'd be going with Donald Brown more often, but they've apparently reneged on that because Richardson had the bulk of the workload last week, and predictably failed miserably.
RECAP: Luck is undefeated against the spread coming off a loss. That's one of my two hang-ups here in terms of taking Houston. The other is that Kubiak was fired after wanting to go with his best chance of achieving victory. The players now know that McNair has no interest in winning this year, so you have to question what sort of motivation they'll have.
I would love to take the Texans under normal circumstances. They have talent, and they've shown that they'll muster energy against teams they want to beat. They showed as much two weeks ago when they nearly took down the Patriots. They'd love to beat the Colts, but I'm not sure what sort of mental state they'll be in.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There's some sharp action on the Texans, but not too much because of the Kubiak firing. I'm staying off this game.
SUNDAY NOTES: Chad Millman said the sharps are on the Texans, but I can't stomach betting on a team that just saw its coach fired.
The Psychology. Edge: Colts.
The Texans could be in disarray after the Gary Kubiak firing.
The Vegas. Edge: Texans.
I wouldn't expect many to bet on the Colts.
Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 77% (49,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Colts.
History: Colts have won 19 of the 23 meetings.
Texans are 36-21 ATS after two or more consecutive losses.
Andrew Luck is 8-0 ATS off a loss.
Andrew Luck is 10-4 ATS at home.
Opening Line: Colts -6.
Opening Total: 46.
Week 15 NFL Pick: Colts 24, Texans 16
Colts -4.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Under 47 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Colts 25, Texans 3
Buffalo Bills (4-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)
Line: Bills by 2. Total: 42.5.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Bills -2.5.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 14): Pick.
Sunday, Dec. 15, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 15 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: None.
As with the random NFL notes, I'm going to have all of my Random College Football Notes on one page as well.
Random College Football Notes:
I wrote last week that if I were a voter, I wouldn't have Ohio State in my top four. I compared the Buckeyes, who were clearly overrated, to the Kansas City Chiefs, whom I've never had higher than No. 7 in my NFL Power Rankings, even when they were 9-0.
Of course, I received some negative feedback for this, but that was to be expected. Here were two of the comments I found below:
- Not only would you have a 1-loss team ahead of undefeated Ohio State you would have an SEC team that didn't even play in it's conference championship over the conference champion? Wow. I am so glad you aren't picking who goes to the national championship game
- I'm glad you're not voting in the polls Walter. Under your "amazing" logic about the current voters being idiots who vote purely by win-loss record, then that would mean Northern Illinois would be No.3 in the country, NOT Auburn. Yes, I know the Buckeyes have not been the best looking team in the sport. And I know people don't like to view this as such, but the Big Ten is still one of the major conferences. How can you justify putting a blemished SEC team ahead of a major conference squad that hasn't lost in two years? That pretty much spits in the face of the idea that "every game matters". They likely won't beat the Seminoles, but I've watched Braxton Miller a lot this season. The guy's got a lot of talent & Boston College has shown that scoring on the Seminoles IS possible. I see a high-scoring affair between two squads 60 minutes away from a perfect season to bid farewell to the BCS after countless lopsided-over-by-halftime affairs. Now tell me THAT wouldn't be exciting. Of course, if the Spartans win on Saturday, then everything I just said is moot & everything will be right with the universe as the SEC battles for an 8th straight national championship.
The first person is someone who subscribes to a typical, dumb ESPN mindset. "How can an undefeated team be ranked lower than a one-loss team when they're both from BCS conferences, derp dee derp?" Ugh, so stupid. Anyone who ranked Ohio State ahead of Auburn, Missouri and Alabama last week either A) didn't watch the games, or B) is a moron.
Just because a team hasn't lost doesn't mean they should be higher than a team that has lost. The Chiefs are a perfect example. They were 9-0 after Week 10, so if the same idiots who were voting in the college football polls determined the Super Bowl, they would've slotted Kansas City in the Big Game. But even though the Chiefs were 9-0, they were eight-point underdogs at one-loss Denver. Kansas City hadn't lost, so why were they such huge underdogs against a team that had already suffered a defeat? The same exact dynamic applied to Ohio State versus those three aforementioned SEC schools.
The second person made slightly more sense, but he didn't seem to realize that the Big Ten is nowhere near the SEC. It's really not even close, and keep in mind that I'm saying this as a Penn State fan and alumnus. The Big Ten isn't complete garbage, but the SEC just has WAY more talent. You can't compare the top team in the SEC to the best school in the Big Ten. Alabama would have been a 10-point favorite over Ohio State on a neutral field prior to last weekend's games. That is a fact.
How do I know this? Well, Bob Scucci, a bookmaker, told Chad Millman that Florida State would be favored by the following amount over the other top-five teams:
-11 vs. Ohio State
-8 vs. Auburn
-7 vs. Missouri
-1 vs. Alabama
Again, this was BEFORE last weekend. Ohio State received zero respect for a reason. The bookmakers, who know more about these teams than anyone, including the inept voters, because it's their job to set a great line and win tons of money from the public. If they say Alabama is 10 points better than Ohio State, that is certainly the case.
The Buckeyes ultimately lost, which is great news for any college football fan outside of Columbus because a Florida State-Ohio State matchup would have been a disaster. The Seminoles would have won by 20-plus.
The "national championship" will now be Florida State versus Auburn. I don't have a huge issue with this because the Tigers did whatever they needed to do, but if the voters really wanted the two best teams in the title game, they would have slotted Alabama over Auburn.
The Tide is the second-best team in the country. They lost to Auburn, but again, thinking the Tigers are better than Alabama because of that one game is typical dumb ESPN-type thinking. Auburn barely beat Alabama on its home turf, but only with the help of multiple fluky plays. And this wouldn't have been an issue if Auburn hadn't converted that insane Hail Mary at the end of the Georgia game. Alabama would've beaten Auburn at home or on a neutral field.
Also, again, the bookmakers believe that Alabama is a touchdown favorite over Auburn. The Tigers are simply hot and lucky; they don't provide the best matchup against Florida State. And believe me, the Seminoles would be much more fearful of the Tide than Auburn. Florida State should win by two touchdowns or more. I'll have a definitive selection on my College Football Picks page in a few weeks.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: The Jaguars are on fire. They've scored 23 points per game since their Week 9 bye, compared to just 10.8 prior to it. Unfortunately, they may have trouble hitting the former figure in this contest because their best player could be sidelined.
Maurice Jones-Drew is considered "very questionable" after tweaking his hamstring last Thursday. Jones-Drew ran sluggishly at the beginning of the season, but he has looked more explosive of late. He'll be limited if he starts, and if he can't go, it'll be up to Jordan Todman, who isn't anything special.
Having said that, the Bills couldn't bring down Tampa's Bobby Rainey, who was shot out of a cannon for an 80-yard touchdown on his initial run of last week's game. Perhaps Todman can act as a viable substitute considering the competition. If so, it'll make things easier for Chad Henne, who has to deal with a fierce Buffalo pass rush that is tied for the league lead in sacks with the Chiefs and Saints.
BUFFALO OFFENSE: E.J. Manuel played like crap last week, but he was battling a much-improved Tampa Bay defense. As for his matchup this Sunday, Matvei said it best: "Matt Schaub looked like freaking Dan Marino against the Jags." Jacksonville's defense has improved with some of its rookie defensive backs stepping up, but as we saw on Thursday, Schaub ripped through its secondary with ease.
Despite this, the Bills may not have much success sustaining consistent drives because running the ball will prove to be an issue. The Jaguars have improved tremendously against the rush since their bye, surrendering just 2.87 YPC over the past month, which ties them for second in that regard, trailing only St. Louis. Both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson were stymied last week, so that could carry over into this Sunday's contest.
RECAP: Bill Simmons, who has a dreadful record in the SuperContest, nearly had a seizure when he heard this spread. He couldn't believe the Bills were favored. All public bettors must feel the same way because they are pounding the Jaguars. The sharps, meanwhile, are taking Buffalo, perhaps understanding that Jones-Drew's absence will have a big impact on this game.
I'm siding with the sharps and placing a couple of units on the Bills. They should be able to handle the Jaguars, who just looked like they won the Super Bowl when they "reversed the curse" and beat the Texans at home.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The home underdog trend applies to the Jaguars, but it should be noted that the sharps like the Bills. I'm staying with two units on Buffalo.
SUNDAY NOTES: This spread has risen to -4, which is obviously great news if you bet the Bills at -2. The movement is because Maurice Jones-Drew and Cecil Shorts are both out.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
Believe it or not, people are betting on the Jaguars.
Percentage of money on Jacksonville: 65% (18,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bills.
Bills are 9-3 ATS off consecutive losses in non-divisional road underdog games since 2002.
Jaguars are 18-41 ATS against non-divisional opponents since 2008.
Jaguars are 5-12 ATS as home favorites since 2008.
Opening Line: Bills -2.
Opening Total: 43.5.
Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 63 degrees. Mild wind, 10 mph.
Week 15 NFL Pick: Bills 27, Jaguars 20
Bills -2 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
Over 42.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Bills 27, Jaguars 20
New England Patriots (10-3) at Miami Dolphins (7-6)
Line: Patriots by 1.5. Total: 46.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Patriots -4.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 14): Dolphins -3.
Sunday, Dec. 15, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 15 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: None.
If you've followed this site for a while, you might remember that I like to respond to my spam mails. Three years ago, a man named Jon Wire from the "United Bank of Africoan" promised me an ATM card of some sort, so I responded as a man named Mister Compassion Chuck Norris, who was raised by wolves. The following season, I received e-mails from Richard Held and Loon Bruce, who told me I won a Facebook Award, which comes with a "lump sum pay out of (750,000.00 GBP)." Pretending to be Matthew Millen Kim, I sent out my application and fake money.
As for 2012, I messed around with a spammer pretending to be a black woman named Mulyana. I assumed Steve Urkel's identity and had many exchanges with Mulyana. Click the link to see all of that.
A man named Mark Pepe e-mailed me. I eventually convinced him to call someone in the Eagles' organization to ask for Riley Cooper. I also did the same thing to another spammer by pretending to be Aaron Hernandez. Check out the Spam Mails page to see it.
NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: The Patriots are done. THEY ARE DONE. Rob Gronkowski is out for the year, so they'll never be able to score a single point ever again, they'll lose every game, and they won't even make the playoffs. Hell, they'll probably be so bad that they'll land the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. They might as well start printing Teddy Bridgewater jerseys because Tom Brady won't be able to complete a single pass with Gronkowski out of the lineup.
OK, if you couldn't tell, I was essentially imitating every single talking head on TV. Everyone on ESPN basically said New England doesn't have a chance without its stud tight end. Well, they apparently didn't watch the Patriots-Browns game, because Brady actually moved the ball more efficiently when Gronkowski was out of the lineup. As the Boston Globe's Ben Volin pointed out, "With Gronk, [the] Patriots went Punt, INT, Punt, Punt, Punt, Knee, Punt, Fumble. Without him they went FG, TD, FG, TD TD." Granted, the last one was aided by a phantom pass interference, but the facts are right there. The Browns have a solid defense, yet New England moved the ball quite easily on them without Gronkowski.
The Dolphins also have a great defense. They can put immense pressure on the quarterback; they're only four behind the league lead in sacks, and they're climbing rapidly up that chart because Cameron Wake missed some time at the beginning of the season. In fact, Wake was only a part-time player when these teams collided back in Week 8. It's no secret that the Patriots have problems protecting Brady, so if New England's offense is limited in this contest, it won't be because of Gronkowski's absence. It'll be the heat Miami puts on Brady, though the Patriots should be able to counter with an effective rushing attack.
MIAMI OFFENSE: Speaking of strong running games, Daniel Thomas came out of nowhere to bulldoze the Steelers for 105 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries after Lamar Miller sustained a concussion. It was literally out of nowhere - the Dolphins had no idea he'd even be active for that matchup.
With Miller's concussion deemed not very serious, the Dolphins will have both backs at their disposal against a defense that can't come anywhere close to stopping the rush ever since losing Vince Wilfork. The Patriots are three weeks removed from surrendering 224 rushing yards to Knowshon Moreno. The week after that, Ben Tate gained 102 yards on 22 carries. Even going back to Week 8, the Miami runners tallied 135 yards on 28 attempts.
The Browns couldn't expose this liability last week, yet they were still able to move the chains easily on the Patriots through the air - despite the fact that Jason Campbell was their quarterback. Everyone in the back seven had trouble covering, including Aqib Talib, who had a truly awful game. Perhaps Talib can rebound, but he doesn't do as well against speedier receivers.
RECAP: As of Monday night, the Dolphins were going to be my December NFL Pick of the Month for the following reasons:
1. This spread makes no sense. How are the Patriots -2.5 on the road against Miami when they can barely beat the Texans and Browns? If the Dolphins were a sub-par team, I could understand it, but they've played extremely well lately. They've won four of six, with one of the losses being a last-second defeat to the Panthers in which Miami controlled the entire game.
2. The Patriots secretly suck on the road this year. They're 1-5 against the spread outside of Foxboro. Check out their away slate:
at Bills: Won, 23-21. Needed a last-second field goal.
at Falcons: Won, 30-23. Impressive at the time, but Atlanta turned out to be garbage.
at Bengals: Lost, 13-6. Offense couldn't move the ball at all.
at Jets: Lost, 30-27. Geno Smith beat them!
at Panthers: Lost, 24-20. Thanks, Clete Blakeman.
at Texans: Win, 34-31. Trailed 17-7 at the half.
3. The sharps are pounding the Dolphins. This spread opened up at -3, and it went down to -2 or -2.5 despite the fact that the public is all over New England.
4. New England is coming off a last-second, emotional victory, so getting up for a team it has already beaten could be pretty tough. The Dolphins, meanwhile, will bring the kitchen sink against their most hated rival.
5. There are some great trends that favor the Dolphins. I won't get into all of them, but here's one: Home dogs with winning records coming off victories as road dogs are 33-5 against the spread since 1989 if their opponent is coming off a home victory as a favorite.
Having said that...
I hate the media. I HATE THE MEDIA. Why did all of these bozos on TV have to drone on and on about the Patriots sucking without Gronkowski? You have to bet Brady was watching this and growing more and more furious by the second. Betting against Brady in F-U mode is extremely dangerous. And for those wondering, I've chronicled all of the times I've mentioned this dynamic, and Tom Brady is 4-1 against the spread in F-U mode games this season.
I'm still going with three units on the Dolphins because this is such a great spot for them with such an awfully set spread. I'm pissed that the idiot media people ruined my December NFL Pick of the Month, but I took a peek at next week's slate, and I already LOVE two sides. One of those will be my seven-unit bet.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Here's yet another game in which the sharp action and the home-underdog trend apply to the host. The Dolphins are probably the right side, but once again, I'm too scared of Brady being in "F-U mode" to take Miami as my December NFL Pick of the Month.
SUNDAY NOTES: As I've stated before, I HATE it when favorites become underdogs and vice versa. Tom Brady is an underdog now, and it seems like some of the TV analysts think Miami can win. I'm dropping this to two units.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
The Patriots are coming off an emotional, come-from-behind victory. However, Tom Brady could be in F-U mode after hearing from everyone that his team is done in the wake of Rob Gronkowski's injury.
The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
Money on the Patriots, as you might expect.
Percentage of money on New England: 70% (49,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
History: Patriots have won 11 of the last 13 meetings.
Patriots are 41-27 ATS vs. AFC East opponents since 2001.
Tom Brady is 157-52 as a starter (119-85 ATS).
Tom Brady is 8-2 ATS as a favorite of fewer than 3 points.
Tom Brady is 5-5 ATS at Miami.
Underdog is 49-21 ATS in the Dolphins' last 70 games.
Opening Line: Patriots -2.5.
Opening Total: 45.5.
Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 85 degrees. Mild wind, 12 mph.
Week 15 NFL Pick: Dolphins 27, Patriots 24
Dolphins +1.5 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
Over 46 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Dolphins 24, Patriots 20
Philadelphia Eagles (8-5) at Minnesota Vikings (3-9-1)
Line: Eagles by 6. Total: 53.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Eagles -3.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 14): Eagles -3.
Sunday, Dec. 15, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 15 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Eagles.
Video of the Week: Jared P. sent this to me on Facebook. It's entitled A Very Angry Browns Fan Christmas where an angry Browns' fan sings Christmas carols about his team. I LOLed a few times.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: There's some big injury news in this game, and it's that Adrian Peterson is unlikely to play with a foot sprain that he sustained against the Ravens. Not only that; Toby Gerhart is also iffy to take the field because he tweaked his hamstring at the end of that contest. If he can't go, Minnesota will have to start someone named Matt Asiata, who has three career carries for nine yards.
If Peterson can't go, and Gerhart is limited or out, I fail to see how the Vikings are going to score points, even against Philadelphia's defense. With the running game not being a factor at all, Philadelphia can focus on stopping Matt Cassel and his inconsistent receivers. This will be a huge relief for the Eagles, who couldn't contain Joique Bell (save for the fumbles) last week.
The Eagles used to be terrible in nearly every regard on this side of the ball, but they've made some improvements throughout the air. They're getting a decent pass rush, and they've been 16th in terms of YPA over the past month (7.03). I think that should be enough to handle Cassel, who won't be aided by the threat of Peterson coming out of the backfield for the first time all year.
PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: LeSean McCoy is coming off setting a franchise single-game rushing record. He'll have a chance to eclipse the all-time single-game mark next week against the Bears. He probably won't come close to reaching 200 yards this week because the Vikings are a decent 11th versus the rush in terms of YPC (3.96), but he won't need to.
The red-hot Nick Foles will torch Minnesota's secondary. The Vikings, who already had major issues in their defensive backfield, just lost corner Xavier Rhodes to an injury. Rhodes was the best healthy player in their pass defense, so Minnesota no longer has the personnel to stop any of Foles' wideouts. The Vikings are also inconsistent in terms of rushing the quarterback - they're in the bottom half of that category - so Foles shouldn't feel too much pressure in this matchup.
RECAP: I would actually take Minnesota for a couple of units if Peterson were healthy, but that's not the case. The Vikings have been dreadful without their All-Pro back in the post-Brett Favre era, owning a 1-4 spread record when Peterson has been out of the lineup. He's just such a difference-maker.
With that in mind, I'm taking the Eagles. They're in a horrible scheduling dynamic, and they'll be flat coming off that crazy snow game against the Lions, but they've lucked out because they don't have to deal with one of the top players in the NFL.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Another situation affected by the home-underdog trend. It's interesting, however, that the Eagles were bumped up from -5 to -6.5 on Saturday afternoon. The sharp bettors may know something about Adrian Peterson's status. Thus, if you like the Eagles, I'd take them now.
SUNDAY NOTES: Chad Millman said the sharps were on the Vikings early, but backed off when it was announced that Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were out. I don't know what sort of "sharps" were betting on Minnesota when it was expected that both backs would be out. Given how much money is on Philadelphia, I don't want anything to do with this game.
The Psychology. Edge: Vikings.
The Eagles could be flat after beating Detroit in that crazy snow game.
The Vegas. Edge: Vikings.
No surprise where the money's going.
Percentage of money on Philadelphia: 88% (39,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Eagles.
Vikings are 1-4 ATS without Adrian Peterson since 2008. ???
Opening Line: Eagles -4.
Opening Total: 51.5.
Week 15 NFL Pick: Eagles 27, Vikings 16
Eagles -6.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Under 53 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Vikings 48, Eagles 30
Week 15 NFL Picks - Late Games
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 15 NFL Picks - Late Games
Fantasy Football Rankings - July 5
2016 NBA Mock Draft - June 29
2016 NFL Mock Draft - June 16
2016 NBA Mock Draft - May 7
2015 NFL Mock Draft - April 30
NFL Picks - Feb. 1
NFL Free Agents
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.
Divisional: 36-39 (2011-13: 141-137)
2x Game Edge: 14-19 (2011-13: 55-62)
2x Psych Edge: 29-25 (2011-13: 92-80)
2x Vegas Edge: 47-41 (2011-13: 129-142)
2x Trend Edge: 35-21 (2011-13: 72-78)
Double Edge: 16-13 (2011-13: 27-33)
Triple Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 2-1)
Quad Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 0-0)