Miami Dolphins (0-0) at Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) Line: Chargers by 3.5. Total: 45.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Chargers -4.
Walt's Calculated Line: Chargers -2.5.
Sunday, Sept 17, 4:05 PM
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The Game. Edge: None.
Last year, on the Adventures of Tom Brady's Haircuts, Tom Brady was elected as the President of the United States, as it was revealed that he was the only candidate running because both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were figments of his imagination. In doing so, Tom Brady saved his organization, the Two-Handed Gang, from the Latin Kings. Everything was going swimmingly for Brady while in the White House, until he received a telegram from Bill Belichick, requiring his presence in Foxboro...
LOS ANGELES OFFENSE: The Chargers had some major problems moving the ball against the Broncos. Some of that can be attributed to Denver's defense, but a major reason for their struggles happened to be the offensive line. Left tackle Russell Okung struggled, which couldn't have surprised anyone, but right tackle Joseph Barksdale failed to rebound from his down 2016 campaign after playing so well in 2015. Meanwhile, guard Matt Slauson's woeful performance was a huge shock.
Unless things improve for the Chargers six days later, they're going to have trouble against Miami's defensive front. Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake won't be able to be blocked. Rookie Davon Godchaux should also have success next to Suh. Okung could rebound against the disappointing Charles Harris, but that's about it. Philip Rivers won't have much time in the pocket to find his receivers downfield once again.
The weakness of Miami's defense happens to be the linebacking corps, which took a big hit when rookie Raekwon McMillan was lost for the year. Kiko Alonso is solid, but that's about it. The Chargers should have some success throwing shorter passes to Melvin Gordon and the two tight ends, who weren't involved nearly enough Monday night.
MIAMI OFFENSE: Speaking of teams with offensive line issues, we haven't seen the Dolphins' blocking problems yet. They have several liabilities, particularly at guard. Corey Liuget and Brandon Mebane figure to dominate those matchups. I also like Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram against the two tackles. Laremy Tunsil didn't look very comfortable on the blind side during the preseason, while right tackle Ja'Wuan James just isn't good enough to keep Ingram out of the backfield.
However, like the Dolphins, the Chargers have issues elsewhere for the opposing offense to exploit. San Diego's (yes, yes, I know) safety play in the opener was very poor, while cornerback Jason Verrett was awful. The Dolphins have two dynamic receivers who are ready to expose a Charger secondary that even featured some disappointing coverage from Casey Hayward on Monday night, despite Hayward usually being a lock-down corner.
While Jay Ajayi could have trouble finding running lanes, I expect the Dolphins to use him as a receiving threat out of the backfield versus a Charger linebacking corps that looked just mediocre versus Denver. Denzel Perryman is missed, so San Diego (yes, yes, I know) has one big liability in the group that opposing teams will take advantage of.
RECAP: The Chargers have absolutely no home-field advantage. Giving them a point just to be nice, this line is saying that they are 3.5 points better than the Dolphins. I don't believe that to be true for one second. These teams are very similar, as they have aging quarterbacks with great deep threats but no pass protection, while maintaining defenses with a ferocious pass rush with sketchy defensive back and linebacker play.
I'd take the Dolphins +4.5 in normal circumstances, and I'd even consider a medium-sized wager on them. However, as I've mentioned multiple times already, I don't want any part of the Hurricane Irma teams. The Miami players have to be thinking about their home and family right now, making preparation for this game quite difficult. Thus, I'm taking the Chargers here, but I'm not very happy about it. I will say that I like the under more than anything.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: On this week's podcast, both Kenny and I disagreed on this game, yet neither of us is betting it. Check out this week's episode if you haven't heard it. I don't want to bet the Chargers at this line because their blocking sucks. The Dolphins, however, could be distracted by Hurricane Irma.
SATURDAY NOTES: As with the Buccaneers-Bears game, I don't want to touch this contest because of the Hurricane Irma implications. Without that, I'd like the Dolphins to cover against the Chargers, who won't have Jason Verrett.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: I was thinking about betting a unit on the Chargers, and I may do that at 3:30 when I post my final thoughts on the 4 p.m. games, so check back for that. Lawrence Timmons is missing; he's completely MIA, and I think that could impact the Dolphins' defensive game plan without enough time to change things.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I was thinking about a small bet on the Chargers in the wake of Lawrence Timmons' disappearance. However, Timmons isn't that good, so I don't feel too strongly about it. Plus, the Buccaneers showed that they weren't affected by Hurricane Irma at all, so perhaps the Dolphins won't be either.
The Psychology. Edge: Chargers.
Will the Dolphins be distracted by Hurricane Irma?
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Miami: 59% (14,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Dolphins.
Underdog is 75-44 ATS in the Dolphins' last 119 games.
Dolphins are 21-8 ATS as a road underdog of less than 5 since 2008.
New York Jets (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (1-0) Line: Raiders by 13.5. Total: 43.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Raiders -15.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Raiders -17.
Sunday, Sept 17, 4:05 PM
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The Game. Edge: Raiders.
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OAKLAND OFFENSE: The Jets couldn't defend the Bills, as Tyrod Taylor went up and down the field with ease against them. With that in mind, how in the world are they going to stop the Raiders?
New York doesn't really have anything going for it on defense. A few players stood out in the opener, as Leonard Williams thrived, as usual. Jordan Jenkins, a former third-round pick, looked decent. Rookie Jamal Adams was juked badly by LeSean McCoy, but was mediocre overall. And that's about it. The Jets have so many liabilities on this side of the ball that Derek Carr could probably throw for four touchdowns blindfolded.
Carr is great, but a big reason for his success is the offensive line. I had some concern about Donald Penn last week, as a source close to Penn told me he was fat and out of shape. Penn didn't have the greatest debut, but he was still solid. He and the rest of the front figure to block the Jets effectively, giving Carr all the time in the world. The Raiders will also be able to chew up clock in the second half via Marshawn Lynch runs. Lynch still was able to churn out some punishing carries last week.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: As bad as the Jets are defensively, they're even worse on this side of the ball. They have one talented player on offense, Bilal Powell, and yet head coach Todd Bowles refuses to give him the majority of the workload, wasting touches on Matt Forte instead. I don't understand what the hell Bowles is thinking, but perhaps he has mailed it in. That seemed to be the case when he punted the ball in the fourth quarter against the Jets, despite being at midfield, down nine points with a few minutes remaining. I think Bowles is one step away from telling the media that his team got his a** kicked by the 49ers.
The Jets have a train wreck of an offensive line. Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin are going to dominate the tackles, while third-round rookie Eddie Vanderdoes, who had a very impressive debut last week, will also cause some disruption. The Jets, as a consequence, will have no running room. Poor Josh McCown will have to settle for checkdowns that won't work whatsoever.
RECAP: Despite this line being at -14 now, it's still way too low. As I've said multiple times, the Jets are the worst team I've ever graded while running this site, and WalterFootball.com will celebrate its 20-year anniversary in 2019. Prior to seeing the lines, I had this spread set at -17, and I even thought that was too low. If the Jets couldn't be competitive against the Bills - Buffalo won by just nine, but doubled them up in yardage - how will they keep pace with arguably the best team in football?
I hate betting high spreads like this because if one thing goes wrong, it could ruin the entire bet. If the Jets return a kickoff or punt for a touchdown, they could cover. If the Raiders have multiple long drives end with field goals, the Jets could cover. If Oakland fumbles a bunch of times, the Jets could cover. However, this is more likely to be a 38-0 victory for the Raiders.
I'm putting one unit on Oakland. I don't want to go big with this, but I'll be disappointed in myself if I don't take advantage of betting against what might go down as the worst team in NFL history.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I can't believe there's sharp action on the Jets. I cannot believe it. Why the hell is anyone betting on this garbage team? The sharps were on the Jets last week and lost, and they're probably going to lose on the Jets again.
SATURDAY NOTES: Nothing is going to change here. I like the Raiders, but such a high spread is scary.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: There has been a bit of sharp money on the Jets, but not nearly enough to counteract all the public action on the Raiders. Everyone assumes Oakland will just walk all over the Jets, and they're probably right.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This line has crept up to -14 in some places, but you can still get -13.5 on Oakland at CRIS. It's the Raiders or nothing for me.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Jets.
Everyone is betting the Raiders, except the sharps, who have taken the Jets.
Percentage of money on Oakland: 81% (20,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Jets.
Jets are 11-7 ATS as underdogs of 7+ since 2010.
Raiders are 9-34 ATS at home vs. teams with losing records.
Raiders are 17-31 ATS after a win since 2009.
Raiders are 8-25 ATS as home favorites since November 2005.
Washington Redskins (0-1) at Los Angeles Rams (1-0) Line: Rams by 3. Total: 45.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Pick.
Walt's Calculated Line: Rams -2.5.
Sunday, Sept 17, 4:25 PM
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LOS ANGELES OFFENSE: It was nice to see Jared Goff thrive last week. Not only did he win a game for the first time, but he eclipsed 300 yards. It's a testament to the great amount of work he put in this offseason. Unlike lazy quarterbacks like Blake Bortles, Goff put full effort into improving, and thanks to the great tutelage of Sean McVay and Greg Olson, it has paid off.
Of course, a major boost on the offensive line has helped tremendously. The Rams made multiple upgrades up front to a horrendous blocking unit, and it has improved markedly. Andrew Whitworth has been a huge boon for the offense, and he and Rob Havenstein have formed a tremendous tackle duo. They should be able to do a good job of keeping Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith at bay. The interior will have to deal with Jonathan Allen, but he's not a major threat just yet.
With plenty of time in the pocket, Goff should once again have success finding his receivers for significant gains. Sammy Watkins figures to be locked up by Josh Norman, but Goff prefers throwing to rookie Cooper Kupp anyway. The Redskins have some major issues in their secondary outside of Norman, and I think Goff, with the help of some great coaching, will be able to exploit those holes.
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: While the Rams' blocking unit has improved, the Redskins' offensive line has inexplicably worsened. Trent Williams is still terrific, but I don't know what's going on with everyone else. Brandon Scherff is horrible all of a sudden, while Morgan Moses has also taken a step backward.
It's safe to say that this is not good news for the Redskins, as the Rams are welcoming back Aaron Donald from his holdout. It's unclear if Donald is in great shape or not, but he can't possibly be ineffective, given how talented he is. At the very worst, he'll command lots of attention, opening up for more pass-rushing opportunities for Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn. The latter has a tough matchup with Williams, but Brockers figures to dominate, just like he did versus the Colts.
Cousins won't have much time in the pocket once again, which could lead to more turnovers. The Rams collected several give-aways last week, and I think they'll be able to add some more this Sunday. Cousins seems like he's getting off to a slow start once again, especially considering the status of his weapons. Both Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder are banged up, so neither happens to be completely effective. Meanwhile, Cousins and Terrelle Pryor just aren't on the same page yet.
RECAP: The Rams are in much better shape right now than the Redskins, and they should be able to win this game. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this were another blowout. It also helps the Rams' cause that Sean McVay used to coach the Redskins, so he knows their personnel extremely well.
The one concern I have with the Rams is focus, as they have to play Thursday. However, they're a young, hungry team, and I have to imagine that McVay really wants to beat his former squad. I think the Rams will win this game, and I'm willing to bet a couple of units on them once again.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I haven't heard anyone making a strong case for the Rams yet. Despite this, I think the Rams could blow out the Redskins. I wish they didn't have a Thursday game coming up, but I have to think Sean McVay has been planning for this contest for a long time.
SATURDAY NOTES: I'm hoping for better juice on this. The cheapest I can find the Redskins is -2.5 -115 at CRIS. That's not terrible, but I don't want to go up to -3 +100 (at Bovada). I still like the Rams a lot, and if I can find a good number, I'm going to move to three units.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: Wow, look at all that sharp money on the Rams! This line has risen to -3 in all books, and the juice is even -115 at BetUS, 5Dimes and CRIS. I'm definitely not going to three units now, but I still like the Rams for two units.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The -2.5s are long gone, and so are the -3 -110s. It's -3 -115 everywhere, which is a bummer that we lost all value.
The Psychology. Edge: Redskins.
The Rams just had a blowout victory, and now they have to play a game with another one coming up in four days. However, Sean McVay could be especially focused for his former team.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
This is sharp money on the Redskins.
Percentage of money on Los Angeles: 53% (19,000 bets)
Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Denver Broncos (1-0) Line: Cowboys by 3. Total: 44. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Cowboys -1.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Broncos -2.5.
Sunday, Sept 17, 4:25 PM
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The Game. Edge: Broncos.
Emmitt on the Brink is back for Season 10 (I can't believe this is the 10th year I've been doing this!) In Episode 1, Evil Emmitt has been living among us for a year. What has he been doing this entire time?
DENVER OFFENSE: The Broncos are another team that has improved their offensive line. They spent a first-round pick on Garett Bolles, who had a strong debut considering that he was pass protecting against Joey Bosa. They also signed Ronald Leary away from the Cowboys. Leary did not disappoint, and he should do well in what happens to be an easy matchup. In fact, the only area of concern I have for the Broncos' protection is right tackle Menelik Watson battling DeMarcus Lawrence. Watson sucks, as we saw during Melvin Ingram's dominant performance, but Lawrence is at least a step down from Ingram.
With improved protection, Siemian was pretty solid in the win over the Chargers. He really made only one mistake, which was a dropped pick-six by Casey Hayward in the opening quarter. I don't see why Siemian would regress at all, especially considering that Dallas' top cornerback, Orlando Scandrick, is likely to miss this game with a broken hand. Emmanuel Sanders should have a strong performance as a result.
I also like C.J. Anderson's chances. The Giants couldn't open up holes for Paul Perkins last week, but the Broncos should be able to do so for Anderson. I suppose Jamaal Charles will see some work as well, but that would be a mistake, as Charles struggled in his debut.
DALLAS OFFENSE: Talking heads on TV like to cite that the Cowboys have the best offensive line in pro football, but that's a mistake. That used to be the case, but Dallas lost Leary this offseason. As a result, the Cowboys now have two holes up front (left guard, right tackle). The player at the latter position, La'el Collins, will be tasked with blocking Von Miller in this contest, so it could be a very long day for him.
As a result of Dallas' worsened offensive line, Ezekiel Elliott doesn't seem as though he'll be as productive as he was as a rookie. Elliott is still an incredibly punishing runner, and he really wore out the Giants on Sunday night, but I can't say that the Cowboys' running game will be as dominant as it was in 2016. The Broncos struggled to stop the rush last year, but did a better job against Melvin Gordon in the opener, save for one long burst. Second-rounder Adam Gotsis showed remarkable improvement, and Shelby Harris also played well.
Dak Prescott will have more on his plate as a result this season. Prescott had a fine performance Sunday night, but could've been much better, as he missed some throws, particularly in the red zone. Sure, he was going up against a tough secondary, but it's not like the "No Fly Zone" is going to make things easier for him. Dez Bryant will be locked down like he was in Week 1, so Prescott will need to target Jason Witten frequently once again. The Broncos struggled versus tight ends in 2016, but they managed to clamp down on Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry on Monday night, thanks to Justin Simmons strong coverage.
RECAP: This spread doesn't seem right to me. Given that Denver has improved its offensive line, these teams appear to be close to even. I made the Broncos -2.5 (I considered -3), and yet they're two-point underdogs.
Of course, this is not surprising. Everyone watched the Cowboys beat the Giants on national TV. Dallas is a public team, so everyone is betting on them, ignoring the fact that these teams have gotten much closer based on what happened in the offseason. No one seems to be paying attention to Scandrick's injury at all. The public just assumes the Cowboys are going to beat Trevor Siemian.
In case you couldn't tell, I like the Broncos in this spot quite a bit. I wish we were getting +3. If that were the case, this would be a huge wager. As it stands now, however, I'm going to bet three units on Denver.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There was some concern with Ronald Leary being concussed, but he returned to practice today, so that's a good sign. Darian Stewart is the other injury concern that needs to be considered. I'm still holding out for +3. I should note that I want the Broncos in a tease, as their defense is too good to lose by nine or more points. I'm going to match them with Patriots PK.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Broncos had two important injuries heading into this weekend, which is why I left them off my Supercontest picks. The first was Ronald Leary (concussion), but he has cleared protocol. The second is to Darian Stewart. If Stewart is out, that's a big deal, as the Broncos will need all the help they can get to defend Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant. The good news is that +3 -115 has appeared at Bovada. I'm going to drop this to two units for now, but I'll have an update Sunday afternoon around 3:30.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: It sounds like Ronald Leary and Darian Stewart will play, but we'll know for sure at 3:30. The Broncos are still available at +3 -115 at Bovada.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Both Leary and Stewart are active, which is the good news. The bad news is that the best line we're getting is +3 -115. I'm staying with two units on Denver.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Broncos.
Everyone is betting all they have on the Cowboys.
Percentage of money on Dallas: 73% (21,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Broncos.
Cowboys are 12-23 ATS when favored after a win since 2010.
The underdog is 71-42 ATS in Cowboys games since 2010.
Broncos are 19-9 ATS as home underdogs since 1991.
San Francisco 49ers (0-1) at Seattle Seahawks (1-0) Line: Seahawks by 13.5. Total: 41.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Seahawks -11.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Seahawks -13.5.
Sunday, Sept 17, 4:25 PM
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The Game. Edge: .
A reminder that Jerks of the Week for this week is up, so just click the link. This week's jerks entry is Jerks of Ocean City, Maryland, Part 1.
SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: I was officially wrong on two big picks last week. I dropped five units on the Saints, but I don't consider that a horrendous selection. Zach Strief got hurt in the second quarter, and I didn't know that Minnesota's offensive line was going to be much better this season. Call it an educational lesson, albeit a very expensive one. My other loss was the 49ers +6, which was absolutely horrible on my part. I knew San Francisco's offensive line was trash, yet I ignored it for some reason. Reuben Foster's injury didn't help, but it was a wager I should've never made.
I think the 49ers, much like the Rams and Browns of last year (Cleveland in the second half of the season) are a broken team that shouldn't be wagered on. Their blocking is a major problem. Joe Staley is good, but that's about it. I can't believe Zane Beadles is starting for them. Beadles is so horrible he shouldn't even be in the NFL anymore. I think the 49ers could go into a local McDonald's, find a fat guy, and have him play, and he'd be an upgrade over Beadles. The 49ers stand no chance at blocking a Seattle pass rush that hounded Aaron Rodgers despite Rodgers playing behind an offensive line that is much better than San Francisco's.
Brian Hoyer will once again have zero time to throw, making it difficult to keep drives alive. It won't help that Pierre Garcon, his one and only viable receiving option, will be blanketed by one of Seattle's talented corners.
SEATTLE OFFENSE: Speaking of teams with poor offensive lines, the Seahawks couldn't pass protect against the Packers. Russell Wilson was constantly running for his life, which is why Seattle was limited to single-digit points. I expect that to change Sunday.
The problem for the 49ers here is that they don't have a pass rush. Solomon Thomas got off to a poor start last year despite having an easy matchup versus Carolina. Elvis Dumervil is done. Aaron Lynch is questionable with a back injury. I expect Wilson to be pressured on occasion, but he'll have much more time this week. Chris Carson will also have more running room.
The 49ers have some major injuries that Wilson and his downfield weapons will be able to take advantage of. Safety Jimmie Ward missed last week's contest, and backup Jaquiski Tartt proved to be a major liability, aside from his pretty interception. Meanwhile, Foster's status for this contest is very questionable. Even if he suits up, he may not be 100 percent. That has to be music to Jimmy Graham's ears, especially after he had such a poor performance in Green Bay.
RECAP: As I said in the Raiders-Jets capsule, wagering on huge favorites like this is very risky. If one or two fluky plays happen, the underdog can cover. However, I'm not going to be taking the 49ers very often this year, and I have to believe the Seahawks will go all out to avoid a dreaded 0-2 start. They should be able to win big. I also like the under, as both teams' offensive lines are horrible.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: It sounds like Jimmie Ward is going to play. However, the 49ers will likely be missing Reuben Foster, who is more important. Either way, the 49ers won't be scoring much. The Seahawks should win this in a blowout, but like I said, I don't want to wager on huge favorites.
SATURDAY NOTES: This spread has risen to -14, and Richard Sherman is banged up. I'm still not taking the 49ers, but I won't be betting Seattle either.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: The public moved this spread to -14, and the sharps took the 49ers at +14 (but not at +13.5). If you're crazy enough to like the
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.
Everyone is pounding the Seahawks.
Percentage of money on Seattle: 77% (15,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Seahawks.
History: Home Team has won 13 of the last 17 meetings (Seahawks won last 7).
Seahawks are 24-5 ATS in September home games since 2000.
Seahawks are 41-20 ATS as home favorites since 2007.
Green Bay Packers (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-1) Line: Falcons by 3. Total: 54. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Falcons -3.
Walt's Calculated Line: Falcons -2.5.
Sunday, Sept 17, 8:30 PM
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The Game. Edge: Packers.
It's time for a Ross Avila update! If you somehow missed it, Ross Avila, some stupid kid who is desperate for attention on my Facebook wall, challenged me this summer:
If you think this is dumb, don't tell that to Ross. This means the world to him:
Ross will be posting his picks every Saturday on my Facebook wall, so I'll relay them here when he gets around to his selections. Mine will be the five I pick for the SuperContest, which I'll analyze here each Saturday. I'll also post the picks of the top entrants, so check that link out Saturday evening.
Ross went 1-3-1 last week, as he took the Steelers, Packers, 49ers, Saints and Chargers. There's been some controversy about that, however, as Ross is claiming that he selected the Eagles instead of the 49ers. However, I can't verify this because his post magically disappeared off my wall. I decided to let it go, and what does Ross do? He tries to claim that he had the Chargers +3.5 when it was established that we'd use the Supercontest lines. That's right - Ross has tried to cheat twice already! Then again, no one should be surprised, as Ross sells women's shoes and pretends like he has great connections at Google that will make him president of the company one day.
Update: Ross has picked the Texans (win), Seahawks, Saints, Steelers and Rams this week.
ATLANTA OFFENSE: The Falcons got off to a sluggish start last year, so it wasn't too surprising that they were a dropped touchdown away from losing to the Bears. I think they'll improve as the weeks progress, but it's fair to question how they'll perform before they catch fire again.
Part of the reason the Falcons couldn't maintain consistent drives last week was because their offensive line couldn't open up holes for the overpaid Devonta Freeman. Running the ball figures to be problematic once more in this contest. Mike Daniels dominated the season opener, and I think he'll have another great game against Andy Levitre. The other guard, Wes Schweitzer, will also a liability, but not because of this matchup. He just sucks right now.
Matt Ryan will have to operate in long-yardage situations quite often, so it'll be crucial for him to have good pass protection. Daniels should get to him on occasion, but it'll be interesting to see who wins the Nick Perry-Jake Matthews matchup. Perry was terrific last week, but battled the worst left tackle in the NFL. Matthews isn't great, but he's a major step up. Meanwhile, Ryan Schraeder should be able to take care of Clay Matthews, who once again doesn't appear to be completely healthy. If Ryan has time to throw, he should be able to torch a Packer secondary that has numerous weaknesses.
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: The Packers struggled to block in the opening half of the Seattle game, which wasn't a surprise because Bryan Bulaga was missing. Bulaga's replacement, Kyle Murphy, wasn't even all that bad. The blame could be placed on guard Lane Taylor and center Corey Linsley, who were battling a ferocious interior. The Falcons aren't nearly as stacked on the inside of their defensive line. Dontari Poe is a good player, he pales in comparison to what Seattle has.
As a result, I'm expecting Rodgers' protection to continue to hold up, especially considering the status of the Atlanta pass rush. Vic Beasley was a non-factor against the Bears despite battling pedestrian tackles, while Takk McKinley inexplicably barely played. I have no idea what the Falcons are thinking on that score. McKinley looked good when he was on the field, and he was dominant in his preseason action. He needs to see way more playing time, and perhaps his presence will help Beasley round into shape. As it stands now, I consider Atlanta unlikely to rattle Rodgers very much.
Rodgers torched the Seahawks following halftime, and I expect that continue in this contest. The Falcons don't have a bad back seven, but Seattle's is better, and yet Rodgers was able to slice through the Seahawks with ease once the Packers made their adjustments at intermission.
RECAP: If the Packers were getting three points with normal juice, I think I'd consider wagering on them. However, Green Bay +2.5 is a different story. The Falcons could easily snap out of their early-season funk right away and beat the Packers, and not having a field goal for back-door purposes would hurt. However, I think Green Bay could prevail as well if the Falcons' swoon continues.
This one is extremely difficult to call. The one thing I will say is that the Falcons could be distracted by their new stadium opening. Favorites in this situation have struggled in the past, though that happens to be a small sample size of data, and I wouldn't even bet on it. But it is something I've had in the back of my head concerning this affair. Regardless, I like the over more than anything else.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I'm not a fan of buying points, unless you get to +3. If you bet the Packers, you absolutely have to get +3. You can do that at BetUS, which is currently offering -7 -115. I'm fine with paying five extra cents to get to +3 rather than +2.5.
SATURDAY NOTES: I still find this game very hard to call, as this spread seems just about right. I've seen people comment about Atlanta nearly losing to Chicago, but the Falcons dropped a game to Tampa Bay at home last year and then went on to upset the Raiders on the road the following week. I expect Atlanta to play much better this week, and I could see the Falcons winning exactly by three.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: I considered the Packers on a small bet at +3, but Mike Daniels is hurt. He'll likely play, but he may not be as dominant as he was last week. Thus, I'm going to keep avoiding this game, but check back Sunday night for one final update.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Mike Daniels is going to play, but David Bakhtiari is out. Where the hell did that come from? He wasn't even on the radar as potentially missing this game. At any rate, both Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga are out, meaning the Packers have to start their third- and fourth-string tackles. As a result, I'm switching my pick to the Falcons. I'd love Atlanta if it were still -2.5, but -3 and juice doesn't seem great.
The Psychology. Edge: Packers.
The Falcons are opening up their new stadium, so there could be distractions. The Packers, meanwhile, will want playoff revenge.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Green Bay: 52% (52,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Packers.
Aaron Rodgers is 80-49 ATS since 2009.
Aaron Rodgers is 35-26 ATS on the road as long as he's not favored by 6.5 or more points.
Aaron Rodgers is 17-12 ATS as an underdog.
Favorites opening up a new stadium are 4-9 ATS since 1997.
Detroit Lions (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1) Line: Giants by 3. Total: 42. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Giants -6.
Walt's Calculated Line: Giants -3 (Beckham) or Pick (no Beckham).
Monday, Sept 18, 8:30 PM
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The Game. Edge: Lions.
This week on ESPN, we're going to have some bald dude and Jon Gruden calling the shots instead the great preseason homers like Kevin Reilly, Ron Wolfley and Don Tollefson, inept ESPN guys Emmitt, Herman Edwards and Matt Millen, and aloof people like Dan Fouts. Here's what it would sound like if these seven dudes (and some special guests) were calling this game:
Reilly: Welcome to the city of New York, which has always confused me because New York is a state, too. So, which is it? Idiots! No wonder New York sucks. Anyway, the Detroit Tigers and playing the New York Giants tonight. We have a special guest in the booth, and it's Jay Cutler, quarterback of the Bears. The producers told me that Jay is here because FOX is making him practice so that he can be just as good as Tony Romo next year. How are you doing, Jay?
Jay Cutler: I dunno, I don't really care.
Emmitt: Jake Cutler, why do you ponder that Jake Cutler here today? Aren't he suppose to play football game against the Los Vegas Charger? Or do the Dolphin have another week of vacation because of the tornado?
Reilly: Emmitt, did you just refer to me as "Jake Cutler" and ask me about "Jake Cutler?" I love you, Emmitt, but I think you hit a new low.
Herm: MAYBE HE JUST MADE AN ERROR! MAYBE HE JUST MADE A BLUNDER! MAYBE HE JUST MADE A MISTAKE! MAYBE HE JUST MADE AN OOPSIE! MAYBE HE JUST MADE A BOO-BOO! AND I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT A BOO-BOO WHERE YOU GET HURT! NOT ONE WHERE YOU GET BLACK AND BLUE! BLACK AND BLUE! BLUE AND BLACK! COLOR OF THE CAROLINA PANTHERS! BUT THE PANTHERS AREN'T PLAYING THIS GAME! WHY IS HERM TALKING ABOUT THE CAROLINA PANTHERS IF THEY'RE NOT PLAYING THIS GAME!? THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE! THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY LOGIC! THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE! HERM CAN'T THINK OF ANOTHER WORD FOR SENSE! SENSE... uhh... umm...
Tollefson: So, Jay, your wife is kind of hot. How often do you make her cook and clean naked for you?
Jay Cutler: What'd you say? Sorry, I wasn't paying attention.
Wolfley: I SOMETIMES DON'T PAY ATTENTION. BUT WHEN I DO, ATTENTION COMES TO MY DOOR AND KNOCKS ANGRILY, AND THEN WHEN I ANSWER IT, ATTENTION ASKS ME FOR PAYMENT. I ONCE DIDN'T PAY ATTENTION, AND ATTENTION HAD HIS GOONS TAKE ME OUT BACK AND PUNCH ME AROUND UNTIL I FELT LIKE A FIRE HYDRANT CELEBRATING MEMORIAL DAY ON A CROWDED BEACH.
Reilly: What the hell does that even mean? Jay, my producers are asking me to ask you a question. So, what do you think about my Philadelphia Eagles?
Jay Cutler: Maybe they'll be good, maybe they'll be bad, I dunno.
Millen: Kevin, will you stop asking Jay irrelevant questions? Jay, you know you're 100-percent USDA Man. I know you're 100-percent USDA Man. I'll be frank, I want to see more of you. How about we go back to my hotel room, and I'll take these ballpark franks and stick them in your backside. Get it? I said I'll be frank, and I have ballpark franks to stick in your backside?
Fouts: And here's what he means by Franks. The Franks were a member of a Germanic people who conquered Gaul in the 6th century and controlled much of western Europe for several centuries afterward. And here's what I mean by Germanic. Germanic is the adjective of German. And here's what I mean by adjective. An adjective is a word or phrase naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it. And here's what I mean by describe. To describe is to give an account in words, including all the relevant characteristics, qualities, or events. And here's what I mean by events...
Reilly: Guys, looks like the Dan Fouts machine has broken. Jay Cutler, someone just texted me! I'm super popular. Let's see which one of my friends would text me. Oh, it's mother! Mother asks, "Jay, can you make sure that Kevin doesn't talk to any girls because they will just take him away from me. He's not ready for a girlfriend yet. He's only 66. Please, Jay, keep him out of trouble. Also, Jay, if you would ever want to stop by and rub my feet after bingo, it would be welcome." You hear that, Jay? You could marry mother and be my step-father!
Jay Cutler: Step where? I wasn't paying attention to what you were saying.
Charles Davis: Let's talk about steps, Kevin. Are you ready to talk about steps, Kevin? Let's begin...
Reilly: SHUT THE F*** UP, A**HOLE, YOU'RE GOING TO RUIN MY CHANCE TO GET JAY CUTLER TO BE MY STEP-FATHER!!!
Jay Cutler: Wait, I'm your step-father? I don't know how I feel about that. Meh, I don't care.
Reilly: YOU HEAR THAT GUYS!? JAY HAS AGREED TO BE MY STEP-FATHER! WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN THROWING THE BALL AROUND! YAY! We'll be back after this!
NEW YORK OFFENSE: Lines for this game aren't posted everywhere, as Odell Beckham Jr.'s availability is still questionable. It's worth noting that even if he plays, he may not be 100 percent. Perhaps that's what some bettors have in mind, as this spread has shrunk in the books that have posted this line. It started at -5, yet it has fallen to -3.5.
Even if Giants -3.5 reflects Beckham being out, that spread still seems way too high. It doesn't appear as though the public has learned how overrated the Giants are. Their offensive line is atrocious, and Eli Manning didn't even have quality pass protection against the Cowboys, who were missing their top defensive lineman. Adding injury to insult, right tackle Bobby Hart could be out with a sprained ankle. D.J. Fluker could be Hart's direct backup, and he was a train wreck in San Diego. Either way, I don't see the Giants blocking Detroit's edge rushers. Ziggy Ansah will get healthier each week, while 2016 sixth-rounder Anthony Zettel had a terrific performance against the Cardinals in Week 1.
Like last week, the Giants won't pass protect or open up running lanes, so it'll be up to a regressing Manning to do everything himself. That's why it's so imperative for Beckham to suit up. Without him, Manning has to throw to the pedestrian Sterling Shepard, the utterly awful Brandon Marshall and inexperienced Evan Engram. I actually think Engram could do OK here, as Detroit has some sketchy linebacker play.
DETROIT OFFENSE: I had some questions about Greg Robinson's ability to pass protect against Chandler Jones heading into Week 1. Robinson wasn't very good, but I don't think he embarrassed himself either. The Lions would obviously be in better hands with Taylor Decker, but Robinson isn't terrible now that he's been coached up. However, he'll face another huge test in this game, battling Olivier Vernon. The good news for the Lions is that newly acquired Ricky Wagner will be able to shield Jason Pierre-Paul very well, while T.J. Lang can handle Dalvin Tomlinson, who was very impressive in the opener. Blocking Vernon and also Snacks Harrison will be problematic, however.
The Lions had the same sort of setup last week against the Cardinals, yet after a sloppy start, the offense was able to go off. Matthew Stafford, save for a stretch late last year when he was playing with a broken finger, has been exceptional ever since Jim Bob Cooter was named offensive coordinator, yet no one really seems to fully recognize it. Stafford will be facing a tough test against the Giants' secondary, but I think he'll be able to engineer enough scoring drives to put his team in position to win, just as he did versus Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and the rest of the Cardinals.
One area I expect Stafford to exploit is the linebacking corps. B.J. Goodson looked good last week, but he's the only viable linebacker the Giants have. The Lions should be able to trip up the Giants, using Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick effectively as receivers out of the backfield.
RECAP: I like the Lions. They're an underrated team, while the Giants are overrated. As I said, barely anyone understands how incredibly lucky the Giants were last year. Their great fortune is running out, and we can take advantage by betting against their bloated point spreads.
Unfortunately, I can't give you a concrete pick just yet. It's unclear if Beckham will play, and that'll obviously affect the spread. I'm going to pencil in the Lions as a three-unit selection right now, but depending on what the line is, this could be a larger or smaller wager. Either way though, I'll be on Detroit.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: It's unclear what's going on with Odell Beckham. He practiced Thursday, but he said he was dealing with a 6-8 week injury, and it's only been four weeks. I think he could play Monday night, but he may not be 100 percent. Unfortunately, we lost all great line value when this line was bet down from +5 earlier in the week.
SATURDAY NOTES: It sounds like Odell Beckham Jr. will play, but will he be 100 percent? Also, B.J. Goodson is suddenly questionable, though he's expected to be on the field as well. Still, I like the Lions, but with +3.5 non longer available, I'm going to drop this to two units.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: Janoris Jenkins has been downgraded to questionable, which is a huge deal. That might get me to place a third unit on the Lions.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Everyone is making a big deal about Odell Beckham Jr. playing, but what if he's not 100 percent? Also, what about Janoris Jenkins and B.J. Goodson being out? The Giants' usually dominant defense will have some holes, which I imagine Matthew Stafford will exploit. I like the Lions here even though we missed out on a much better number (+5 was the opener). As I said in the Week 3 NFL Picks page, I want to avoid a losing week. I'm -$210 heading into Monday night, so I'm going to increase this wager to 2.5 units. I'd go to three, but don't want to risk falling behind five units either. The best number is Lions +3 +100 at BetUS and 5Dimes. There's been a bit of late action on the Lions, bringing the spread down, after the public briefly bet up the Giants to -3.5.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Detroit: 51% (60,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Giants.
Lions are 3-14 ATS after a double-digit win since 2011.
Lions are 21-35 ATS against losing teams the previous 54 instances.
Week 2 NFL Picks - Early Games
Houston at Cincinnati,
Chicago at Tampa Bay,
Philadelphia at Kansas City,
Arizona at Indianapolis,
Tennessee at Jacksonville,
Buffalo at Carolina,
Cleveland at Baltimore,
New England at New Orleans,
Minnesota at Pittsburgh
Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenever winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 11, 2017): 3-10-1 (-$1,595)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 11, 2017): 1-4 (-$885)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 11, 2017): 0-1 (-$600)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 11, 2017): 8-6 (-$65)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 11, 2017): -$220
2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-1, 75.0% (+$1,120)
2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 77-96-5, 44.5% (-$4,900) 2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 19-29-1, 39.6% (-$3,355) 2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 10-12-1, 45.5% (-$1,580) 2017 Season Over-Under: 81-78-1, 50.3% (+$280) 2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$590
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360) 2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$1,055)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855 2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100) 2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,516-2,339-148, 51.8% (+$4,015) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 804-732-39 (52.3%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 339-304-19 (52.7%) Career Over-Under: 2,026-1,981-55 (50.4%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 38-23 (62.3%)
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.