Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at Los Angeles Rams (3-1) Line: Rams by 2. Total: 47.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Seahawks -3.
Walt's Calculated Line: Rams -1.
Sunday, Oct 8, 4:05 PM
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The Game. Edge: Seahawks.
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Make sure you get your pick in for the WalterFootball.com 2017 NFL Survivor Pool. The Falcons and Patriots killed 300 or so people last week. I had the Falcons, of course, and when Julio Jones left the game, I knew I was f***ed. Of the 1,630 we had to start the year, we're down to 431.
LOS ANGELES OFFENSE: I've picked the Rams to cover every single week this year, so I'm not exactly surprised by how Jared Goff has performed. I heard that he was working extremely hard this offseason, and he was paired with quarterback gurus Sean McVay and Greg Olson, so there was bound to be substantial growth. The improvement of the offensive line has also been a huge factor. It's unbelievable that the Bengals allowed Andrew Whitworth to get away because he's been a huge boon for the Rams.
The Rams don't have the best line in the NFL, or anything, but they're solid and they should do a decent job against the Seahawks. They'll certainly have more success than the Colts did. This should open up holes for Todd Gurley, who will be going up against a defense that has allowed some long runs this year. I don't like Gurley's chances as much as a receiver out of the backfield, given how good Seattle's linebacking corps is, but Gurley could have a long burst or two, just like Carlos Hyde and DeMarco Murray did in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively.
Goff, however, will have his toughest matchup yet. Three of the defenses he has faced thus far have been the Colts, 49ers and Cowboys, all of whom are cream puffs. The Redskins were better, but they're nothing compared to this Seattle unit. Though Richard Sherman isn't playing well because of an injury, the Seahawks still have two outstanding safeties and a pair of Pro Bowl linebackers to cause problems. Goff, who still makes some mistakes - he holds on to the ball too long at times and has a habit of back-peddling - could be exposed in this matchup.
SEATTLE OFFENSE: The Seahawks have blocking issues of their own, of course, and that will be a problem versus the Rams. Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers are two Pro Bowl talents in the interior, and even though Seattle has a solid center in Justin Britt, it's difficult to imagine them having any sort of success keeping the Rams' interior linemen out of the backfield. Meanwhile, Robert Quinn will have the easiest matchup of his life when he takes on Rees Odhiambo. Quinn hasn't played well this year, but he could wake up against the worst left tackle in the NFL.
All that said, the Seahawks struggled to block Sunday night as well, and yet Russell Wilson exploded in the second half. Wilson was on fire, and I have to wonder if he's going to begin one of his godly stretches that he frequently enjoys in the middle of the season.
It'll help Wilson if Lamarcus Joyner is out of the lineup again. Joyner has missed the past game-and-a-half, and both Brian Hoyer and Dak Prescott had success attacking the Rams deep downfield with Joyner out. It seemed like Joyner was close to returning last week, so he should be in the lineup. Assuming he's healthy, he'll help slow down Wilson.
RECAP: I was very mad quite often this past weekend. Nothing will top Redskins-Chiefs, but this spread also had me enraged. The Seahawks were -3 on the advance line, so I was looking forward to betting the Rams.
Well, thanks to the Rams' upset victory over the Cowboys, they are now favored by 1.5. Everyone is singing their praises, but as someone who has bet on them every single week, I think people need to take a step back. The Rams a decent team, but that's it. They're not better than the Seahawks, and they haven't accomplished anything to be favored in such a matchup yet. This is a big step for them. Whether they'll take it or not remains to be seen, but many are expecting them to beat the perennial NFC West winner, and I think that's too much to ask right now.
That said, I wish we were getting a better number. I made this line Rams -1, and that's pretty much what it is. I'm going to take Seattle, but for just a small wager.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: No new thoughts concerning the spread, which has moved to Seahawks +1. However, as I said on the podcast, I like Seattle on a teaser, as the team seldom gets blown out.
SATURDAY NOTES: This line moved around quite a bit on Friday, going from pick to -2, then back down to -1.5. I still don't have a strong feel for this game, though I suspect the Seahawks, like the Patriots on Thursday night, will beat a young upstart at home.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: There's no indication if the sharps are planning to bet either side, as the line keeps shifting back and forth. I'm still on the Seahawks for a unit, but that's all. I love Seattle in a teaser more than anything.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Lamarcus Joyner is out for the Rams, so Russell Wilson has an easier matchup than anticipated. I still like the Seahawks for a unit, but I needed +3 to make this a larger wager.
By the way, here's the video for our Week 5 NFL Picks podcast:
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Seattle: 56% (33,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Seahawks.
History: Rams have won 4 of the last 6 meetings.
Russell Wilson is 12-6 ATS as an underdog.
Seahawks are 32-47 ATS on the road since 2006 if they're not coming off an away loss.
Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Oakland Raiders (3-1) Line: Raiders by 3. Total: 40.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Raiders -5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Raiders -9 (Carr) or Raiders -3 (Manuel).
Sunday, Oct 8, 4:05 PM
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The Game. Edge: Raiders.
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 4, after an encounter with the debaclation wisps, Emmitt meets with the Single Ranger, who wants to help him defeat his nemesis.
OAKLAND OFFENSE: Unlike the Titans-Dolphins game, we won't have to wait a while for the primary quarterback's status. Derek Carr has already been ruled out, so E.J. Manuel will make his first start as a Raider.
Manuel had some bright moments last week, and he may have had a chance to beat Denver had Jared Cook not dropped the ball in the end zone on the penultimate drive of the game. Drops have been a concern for the Raiders, especially when discussing Amari Cooper. The former first-round pick leads the NFL with seven drops, and he had an ugly one on the same possession. On the bright side, Michael Crabtree could be back this week, so he'll be a reliable target for Manuel, if that happens to be the case.
That said, the Raiders still stand a good chance of moving the ball because of their elite offensive line. The blockers couldn't get any sort of push versus the Broncos, but that'll change this Sunday. The Ravens will be missing stud nose tackle Brandon Williams, who has no timetable for a return. Oakland has the personnel to block everyone else, including Terrell Suggs, who will be going up against Donald Penn. Marshawn Lynch should have a strong rebound performance, opening up some opportunities for Manuel.
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: The Ravens are certainly missing Williams, but the most prominent member of their team who happens to be out of the lineup is guard Marshal Yanda. Arguably the top player at his position in the NFL, Yanda's absence has been enormous, as the Ravens have scored eight points per game in the two contests he has missed.
With Yanda out of the lineup, I like the Raiders' defensive interior to harass Joe Flacco and limit the running lanes Alex Collins will see. Mario Edwards has been especially potent, though no one in this game is better than Khalil Mack, who will win his matchup versus former teammate Austin Howard.
Flacco will be stuck in plenty of long-yardage situations, which will once again make it impossible for the Ravens to move the chains consistently (or at all). Flacco is banged up and cannot consistently connect with Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin. That said, I do like Ben Watson's matchup versus Oakland's poor linebackers.
RECAP: This is another spread "that got away." I saw Raiders -5 on the advance number and couldn't believe me eyes. Clearly, the public hadn't realized how bad the Ravens are without Brandon Williams and Yanda (especially the latter.) Unfortunately, Carr suffered an injury, thus ruining a tremendous betting opportunity.
I still think the Raiders are the right side at -3 or less, as the Ravens stink. They're a horrible team without Williams and Yanda. Meanwhile, Manuel seemed OK versus Denver. I don't trust him, but he looked like he could maybe be competent. There's also the factor of a good team stepping up for a backup quarterback, but that generally applies to underdogs. The Raiders are still expected to win despite starting Manuel!
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There's sharp money pushing this spread up to -3 +100, though you can still get -2.5 -120. I'd actually prefer the former. Nevertheless, the Ravens are a mess, and the Raiders do seem somewhat appealing. I just wish Derek Carr were playing so we could bet them confidently!
SATURDAY NOTES: This line has finally hit three, which is where I had this spread with Derek Carr out. So, I'm even less excited to pick Oakland. I do think the Raiders are the right side though. The Ravens suck, and Michael Crabtree is expected to play.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: Once again, this spread is exactly where it should be, so I don't really want to bet this game.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Raiders are missing lots of players beyond Derek Carr. Two of the top three cornerbacks, David Amerson and Gareon Conley, are out. The same goes for starting guard Gabe Jackson. This almost makes me want to switch to the Ravens, so that's how close this pick is. I don't want any part of this game.
The Psychology. Edge: Raiders.
E.J. Manuel showed enough last week where the Raiders might rally behind him, as good teams often do with backup quarterbacks.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Oakland: 57% (19,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
John Harbaugh is 10-5 ATS following a loss of 10+.
Ravens are 3-11 ATS on the West Coast in franchise history.
Raiders are 9-25 ATS as home favorites since November 2005.
Green Bay Packers (3-1) at Dallas Cowboys (2-2) Line: Cowboys by 2.5. Total: 52.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Cowboys -3.
Walt's Calculated Line: Packers -2.
Sunday, Oct 8, 4:25 PM
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The Game. Edge: Packers.
A reminder that Jerks of the Week for this week is up, so just click the link. This week's jerks entry is the Shirtless Hooligans at the Mall.
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: Despite missing several key players, the Packers were able to dismantle the Bears on Thursday night, thanks to four Mike Glennon's turnovers, three of which led to touchdowns. Dak Prescott won't be as charitable, but the expected returns of David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga should make up for that.
With nine days to recover, Bakhtiari and Bulaga are likely to take the field. They'll be needed, as DeMarcus Lawrence is having an All-Pro season. Bulaga should be able to handle him somewhat well, while Bakhtiari will shield Tyrone Crawford. David Irving will be worrisome in the interior, but it's first his game, so he may not be 100 percent.
I expect Aaron Rodgers to have terrific protection, so he should be able to slice through a Dallas back seven that has some shaky players in prominent roles. Sean Lee's return should help, but there are still big problems at linebacker, cornerback and safety, and I can't see the Cowboys slowing Rodgers down at all.
DALLAS OFFENSE: While the Packers' blocking figures to improve in this contest, the Cowboys will still have major problems in that regard. Their offensive line has taken a big step backward this season, as the departures of Ronald Leary and Doug Free have been enormous. Tyron Smith has regressed as well, which isn't good considering that Nick Perry will be rushing Prescott from the blind side. Meanwhile, elite defensive end Mike Daniels will return to take advantage of the big mismatch he has against Jonathan Cooper.
Daniels will certainly help defend Ezekiel Elliott as well. The Packers have surrendered at least 100 rushing yards to their previous three opponents, but all of that has been without Daniels. Elliott hasn't been able to get on track this year because of the worsened blocking, and I think he will continue to be frustrated.
The one major problem area for the Packers is the cornerback situation. Prescott will definitely be able to take advantage of some mismatches in the secondary, but not on most snaps, given the pressure he'll face from Green Bay's front. Prescott also won't be able to do much with Jason Witten either, as the Packers happen to be terrific against tight ends.
RECAP: I think the wrong team is favored in this game. The Packers, who should be getting most of their prominent players back from injury, are simply better than the Cowboys, who continue to be overvalued by bettors. People still refer to Dallas' offensive line as one of the NFL's best, but that simply isn't true anymore. The Cowboys' front was a big reason why they went 13-3 last year, so it because it's worse now, it's hardly a surprise that they just lost to the Rams, struggled to put away the woeful Cardinals and got blown out in Denver. Their only impressive victory this year was in Week 1 versus the woeful Giants, who were missing Odell Beckham Jr.!
Not only are the Packers more talented, but they've had more time to prepare. It's hardly a surprise that Rodgers is 16-4 coming off nine days of rest or more, winning by an average margin of 7.6 points. If you give him extra time to prepare, he can really be lethal, especially against a defense as pedestrian as Dallas'.
Also, throw in the fact that the Cowboys don't have much of a home-field advantage, and I made the line Packers -2. I wish we could get +3, but this is still a big play for me, as I love the idea of getting Rodgers as an underdog with extra time to prepare. I know this is playoff revenge for Dallas, but it's not like the Packers are going to be less motivated to win this game than the Cowboys are.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There's some professional money on the Cowboys, but I'm willing to bet that this is an attempt to get the line to +3. I would love that. The Packers, coming off extra rest, should be favored. The Cowboys are not nearly the same team from last year. Sean Lee isn't practicing, while Tyron Smith is banged up with a bad back. If a +3 -110 appears, I may increase my wager, though I'd have to be sure the Packer tackles and Mike Daniels suit up. All three have been practicing. Oh, and by the way, this will be the other leg of my teaser.
SATURDAY NOTES: Man, I wish this spread were +3. I still love the Packers despite the +2.5 tag - especially at +110 on 5Dimes - as all of their important players are set to return (both tackles, Mike Daniels, Davante Adams). Meanwhile, Sean Lee, the heart of the Dallas defense, has been declared out. This is a huge deal, yet the spread hasn't moved at all. Green Bay remains my top pick this week.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: There's some sharp movement on the Cowboys, pushing this line up to -2.5 -120 (-2 -125 at Bovada). Again, I'm holding out for +3, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It sucks that David Bakhtiari is out for the Packers. I thought he'd play. Still, the Packers are in better shape than the Cowboys, who won't have Sean Lee. Tyron Smith is also banged up. The best number out there right now +2.5 -105 at 5Dimes.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Green Bay: 55% (40,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Packers.
Aaron Rodgers is 81-51 ATS since 2009 (9-6 ATS as a favorite of 12+).
Aaron Rodgers is 34-27 ATS on the road as long as he's not favored by 6.5 or more points.
Aaron Rodgers is 17-13 ATS as an underdog.
The underdog is 73-43 ATS in Cowboys games since 2010.
Cowboys are 17-27 ATS as home favorites in Cowboys Stadium (excluding Thanksgiving).
Jason Garrett is 4-7 ATS after losing as a favorite.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) at Houston Texans (2-2) Line: Chiefs by 3. Total: 44.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Chiefs -3.
Walt's Calculated Line: Texans -2.
Sunday, Oct 8, 8:30 PM
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The Game. Edge: Texans.
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.
I'm a disappointing 9-10-1, as I've been crushed by the bad luck I discussed earlier. Still, I'm ahead of Ross, who is now 6-13-1. The good news for Ross is that he keeps winning fake bets he claims to make after the games are over.
Are you ready for Ross Avila's picks? They're quite the doozy. In my Supercontest entry, I'm going with the Eagles, Chargers, Jaguars, Packers and Texans. Ross is going against the Eagles, Chargers, Jaguars, Packers and Texans (meaning he's taking the Cardinals, Giants, Steelers, Cowboys and Chiefs.) That's right, Ross is so pathetic that he's not even trying to handicap anymore. Ross, who once described himself as a sharp...
...is now so horrible that he's going against all my selections in a desperate attempt to catch up. Unbelievable. I don't even know if I should count his picks this week because he blatantly cheated, waiting until the Supercontest selections were available on the Westgate site to go against every single one of my picks. He actually did this with four of his five selections last week, so it's not a one-time fluke. Then again, maybe we shouldn't have been so surprised by this, given that Ross pretends to be a Google intern when he's really just a women's shoe salesman.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: Deshaun Watson has improved by leaps and bounds each week. His collegiate head coach, Dabo Swinney, said that teams would be passing on Michael Jordan if they didn't take Watson, and Watson certainly looked like a football version of Jordan in last week's blowout victory over the Titans.
Watson was able to easily expose the flaws the Titans had in their secondary. The Chiefs have some as well. Phillip Gaines sucks, and Terrance Mitchell isn't much better. Meanwhile, Eric Berry is very much missed, as Daniel Sorensen has not been a good replacement. Because Marcus Peters doesn't shadow, the Texans can line up DeAndre Hopkins against an inferior corner. Hopkins is having a terrific year, and I don't see why he would slow down versus the Chiefs.
The one concern I have for the Texans is their pass protection. The blocking somehow held up against the Titans, but containing Justin Houston is a completely different story. Chris Jones will also prove to be difficult to handle in the interior. That said, Watson's mobility will definitely help matters, and the Texans should still be able to move the chains somewhat consistently.
KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: The Chiefs posted 23 real points against Washington, which was a low total considering the amount of injuries the Redskins suffered in that game. They lost Josh Norman, among other vital pieces of their defense. Kansas City wasn't doing much offensively beforehand, thanks in part to its offensive line. Mitchell Schwartz couldn't block Ryan Kerrigan, and he'll have similar problems against Whitney Mercilus. Jadeveon Clowney will also take advantage of Eric Fisher. Then there's J.J. Watt, who could be matched up against backup guard Jordan Devey. It can't be emphasized enough how much of a mismatch this is. Starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif couldn't put any weight on his leg when he left the Monday night affair with a knee injury. Devey, who struggled, has an even tougher matchup versus Watt.
Poor protection will certainly disrupt some drives, but the Chiefs won't be shut out, or anything. Alex Smith will be able to do what he does best - scramble for first downs and release quick passes to Travis Kelce. The Texans struggled to stop Rob Gronkowski in Week 3, as most teams do, so Travis Kelce could have another excellent performance.
Meanwhile, one Kansas City star who could disappoint a bit is Kareem Hunt. The rookie has been tremendous thus far, but he has a tough matchup, especially considering the blocking woes. Excluding Week 1, which was just a mess in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Texans have surrendered just 157 rushing yards on 53 carries, which is good for a 2.96 YPC average. Houston bottled up DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry last week, and it could have similar success against Hunt.
RECAP: This is a big game for the Texans. This is the first time they'll have a nationally televised home game in the Watson era. The Texans, who have a legitimate home-field advantage, will be aided by an absolutely raucous crowd as they try to make a statement that they can be a big factor in the AFC playoff race.
I think Houston will pull the upset. Even though the Chiefs are 4-0, the Texans seem like they're the hotter team. The Chiefs nearly lost to the Redskins and their skeleton-crew defense, and they'll be playing on a short work week with a backup guard going up against Watt.
The one thing I'm worried about as far as taking the Texans for a big play is concerned is that the Chiefs simply find ways to win. They've prevailed in 22 of their previous 28 games, and all they have to do here is win by more than one point. However, I think the conditions are unfavorable for them in this contest, so I'm taking the Texans to win for three units.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif continues to miss practice, so it sounds like Kansas City's backup guard will be tasked to block J.J. Watt. This is going to be a huge problem for the Chiefs, who could be overwhelmed by all the emotion in Houston's stadium.
SATURDAY NOTES: This game has a big-time public-sharp dichotomy, where the Joes are on the Chiefs, while the pros are taking the Texans. With Laurent Duvernay-Tardif officially out, the Texans seem like the right play, though I wish we were getting more value with them.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: Some public movement has pushed this line up to Chiefs -2. There's not much sharp pushback, however, though that could change at any moment. I still like the Texans quite a bit.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Wow, I can't believe what I'm seeing at Bovada. They're listing +3 -115, which I will definitely take. I hate paying more juice than -110, but I will do that to get to three. Even still, I'd still really like the Texans at +2 (BetUS). They have a great matchup with Kansas City's right guard being out, and the Chiefs are playing on a short week in an environment that's going to be crazy. The sharps haven't taken either side, while the public is on Kansas City.
The Psychology. Edge: Texans.
This Texan team is on national TV for the first time, so this could be a statement game for them against the undefeated Chiefs, who are coming off a short week.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Kansas City: 56% (30,000 bets)
Minnesota Vikings (2-2) at Chicago Bears (1-3) Line: Vikings by 3.5. Total: 41. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: No Line (Bradford).
Walt's Calculated Line: Bears -2.5.
Monday, Oct 9, 8:30 PM
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The Game. Edge: Vikings.
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 Chicago! Tonight, the Chicago Cubs will take on the Minnesota Twins. Guys, this game is boring. I can't even name a player on any of these teams except Adrian Peterson. Emmitt, can you give me a reason to pay attention to this game?
Emmitt: Cub, are it not your job to listen to the game? The TV network we working for give you a rain check to so you can go to the bank and put the rain check in the money machine and he gived you money, and the only think you has to do are listen to the game.
Reilly: Did you just call me Cub? Why would you do that? Do you really think my name is Cub? Emmitt, we've been working together now for almost 10 years, and you call me something different every week. Last week, it was Chief. This week it's Cub. Do you not know my name?
Emmitt: Are your name not really Cub? Are your name Twin? Or Chief?
Reilly: Ugh, never mind. Why can't anyone ever remember my name? The pretty girl at the local Wawa doesn't even remember my name even though I followed her home and snuck into her bedroom. But mother won't let me have a girlfriend because I am too young to be deflowered. Anyway, we're joined by Tony Romo, who wanted extra practice this week. He has taken the place of Herm Edwards, who has taken the day off to buy Halloween candy.
Tony Romo: Hey Kevin, don't worry, I won't call you Cub, or Chief, it's great to be with you guys tonight. I wanted to practice Monday Night Football just in case I ever get the job in the future. Before we talk about the team, I'm going to project that Don Tollefson is going to say something sexist, and then Matt Millen will make a perverted comment toward me.
Tollefson: Hey Tony, how about we find some worthless skanks to cook and clean for... hey, how did you know I was going to say that?
Millen: What sorcery is this? Tony, did you see my lucky kielbasa in my brief case? I usually carry a kielbasa in my brief case, but today I have my lucky kielbasa that I was going to sneak into your backside during halftime.
Reilly: Wait a second, I wasn't paying attention because I was looking at the Wawa girl's Facebook page. She's now in a relationship. What the hell!? Even though mother said she can't be my girlfriend, I still asked her out, and she said she couldn't because she had to take a shower. She actually did shower, for you skeptics. I saw it first-hand!
Tony Romo: Now that Kevin has stopped being creepy, Ron Wolfley is going to say something nonsensical, and then Dan Fouts will drone on and on without making a point.
Wolfley: KEVIN, DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE WAWA GIRL. I VISITED A FORTUNE TELLER WITH LIPS THIS WEEK AND IT SAID THAT SHE'S NOT REALLY A WOMAN. SHE'S AN EVIL PORCUPINE WITH LIPS. OR WAIT, MAYBE I HAVE MISSPOKEN. I THINK SHE'S A PORCUPINE WITHOUT LIPS. OR MAYBE SHE HAD LIPS BUT SHE LOST THEM.
Fouts: And here's what he means by lost. There's an island, and a plane crashed on it. This is the show Lost, where the main character, Jin, is an Irish man who doesn't speak English. And here's what I mean by Irish. There's a country called Irish, where there are Irish people. I think it's in the Pacific Ocean. And here's what I mean by Pacific Ocean. There are seven oceans. The North American Ocean, the South American Ocean, the Europe Ocean, the African Ocean, the Asia Ocean, the Alaska Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. And here's what I mean by North American Ocean...
Reilly: Shut up, idiot, I even know there aren't seven oceans! There are seven seas; not seven oceans!
Charles Davis: Kevin, I heard that you want to talk about seas, Kevin. Let's begin with a nearby sea, Kevin. How about the Caribbean Sea, Kevin? How about that for a start for some sea talk, Kevin? Let's move on to the Mediterranean Sea, Kevin. How about the Yellow Sea, Kevin? Why don't we discuss the Sea of Japan, Kevin? Why not talk about the Dead Sea, Kevin? How about Hudson Bay, Kevin? Just tricked you, Kevin! That's not a sea, Kevin! How about you name a sea, Kevin? I'll give you 88 chances, Kevin. Just name one sea, Kevin.
Tony Romo: Here comes a brief stutter by Kevin, followed by Charles Davis telling him he guessed Pepperoni Pizza Sea. Kevin will have to forfeit his guesses.
Charles Davis: You guessed Pepperoni Pizza Sea, Kevin? That was such a bad guess, Kevin, that you forfeit all your other guesses, Kevin!
Tony Romo: And here comes Kevin, who's going to threaten to kill Charles Davis!
Reilly: I'M GOING TO KILL CHARLES DAVIS AND YOU TOO, TONY ROMO! HOW THE F*** DO YOU KNOW EVERYTHING, TONY!? YOU'RE MAKING ME LOOK BAD AND NOW I'M GOING TO BE PRESSURED TO ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION TO THE GAMES, YOU MOTHER-F***ER! We'll be back after this!
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: There's no spread posted yet because Sam Bradford's status is up in the air. Mike Zimmer said there's a chance Bradford could suit up, but that's exactly what he said a week ago. Case Keenum was sharp against the Buccaneers in Week 3, but he took a step backward against a tougher (and healthier) Detroit stop unit this past Sunday.
Of course, the big injury occurred when Dalvin Cook's knee buckled. Cook has torn his ACL, which is a shame because he was having such a great rookie campaign. Latavius Murray will take over, and while he's a big name, he is not nearly as talented of a player. Murray struggled to maintain a solid YPC average behind Oakland's elite offensive line last year, so I can't imagine him having much success in Minnesota. Murray performed poorly in relief last week, and the Bears stop the run fairly well.
Where Chicago is weakest on this side of the ball is the secondary. The linebacking corps is also a problem with Danny Trevathan suspended. I think the Bears will be fine if Keenum starts, but Bradford's precision will be too much for the Bears unless they can generate some consistent pressure on him. Right tackle Mike Remmers can be exposed, but Leonard Floyd has struggled this year.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: The Bears have made the switch to Mitchell Trubisky. It's about time. Mike Glennon was a turnover machine, so Trubisky can't possibly be worse. Trubisky was quite excellent in the preseason, but he'll be going up against a first-string defense for the first time.
Trubisky doesn't have much to work with as far as downfield weapons are concerned, so he'll need to be protected. The Vikings have a stout defensive front, and I envision Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter getting by tackles Charles Leno and Bobby Massie on some occasions. However, the strength of the Bears' line is the interior now that Kyle Long and Josh Sitton are both back in the lineup, so Trubisky should at least be able to step into his throws.
Because Long and Sitton are healthy again, the Bears should be able to establish Jordan Howard on the ground. Ameer Abdullah and the Lions nearly tallied 100 rushing yards on the Vikings, Howard could have a similar output. Meanwhile, Tarik Cohen needs to be featured more than he was last Thursday. Linebacker Eric Kendricks is not playing well right now, so this is a matchup the Bears could exploit.
RECAP: There's no line posted, so I can't give out a concrete pick yet, but I will almost certainly be on Chicago for several units. The Bears have been very competitive in games that they haven't turned the ball over like crazy, upsetting the Steelers and nearly slaying the Falcons. They will be energized with the quarterback change, and the extra rest they've had will be a huge boost for them.
Meanwhile, I get the feeling that the Vikings won't be appropriately downgraded for the loss of Cook. Murray is a household fantasy name, so I think people might assume the Vikings will be the same team despite Cook being out. I highly doubt that'll be the case. Cook was such a big part of their offense, and Murray simply isn't good enough to be a starter in the NFL.
I'm hoping the Bears at least +3. If so, this is going to be one of my top plays of the week, but we'll see. Check back later or follow me @walterfootball for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Sam Bradford practiced for the first time in two weeks, but he could still miss this game. There hasn't been a line posted yet.
SATURDAY NOTES: It seems like Sam Bradford is going to start, though you never know with him. I like the Bears, but I was really hoping to get +3 -110; not the +2.5 or +3 -115 lines that all of the books are offering. This pick might end up being two units rather than three, which is what I initially planned.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: There's a ton of public money on the Vikings, pushing this to -3 -125. This line may hit -3.5 or even -4 if the sharps don't start taking the Bears. I'm going to be on Chicago, but I don't know for how many units just yet. It'll be two or three.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm moving to three units. I like the Bears a lot in this matchup. This line is way too inflated - this spread, in Minnesota, would be higher than what it was in Green Bay last Thursday! - especially when considering that the Bears are coming off extra rest. The Vikings aren't going to be as good without Dalvin Cook, and we have no idea if Sam Bradford is 100 percent. The Vikings have a bad history in Chicago - the host has won 24 of the previous 28 matchups in this rivalry - and it's telling that Pinnacle is listing this line at -3.5 +102. The sharpest book wants Minnesota money, indicating that the Bears are the right side.
The Psychology. Edge: Bears.
The Bears were embarrassed on national TV, and they've had extra time to hear about it.
The Vegas. Edge: Bears.
No surprise that all the money is on the Vikings.
Percentage of money on Minnesota: 65% (57,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
History: Home Team has won 24 of the last 28 meetings (Vikings won 4 of the last 5 meetings).
Mike Zimmer is 34-17 ATS as head coach of the Vikings.
Mike Zimmer is 0-4 ATS after losing as a favorite.
Week 5 NFL Picks - Early Games
New England at Tampa Bay,
Buffalo at Cincinnati,
NY Jets at Cleveland,
San Francisco at Indianapolis,
Tennessee at Miami,
Arizona at Philadelphia,
LA Chargers at NY Giants,
Carolina at Detroit,
Jacksonville 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 21, 2017): 0-1 (-$330)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2017): 0-1 (-$330)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2017): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2017): 1-0 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21 and seasonal, 2017): -$720
2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040)
2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$3,790) 2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395) 2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595) 2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640) 2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510
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: 2,574-2,383-151, 51.9% (+$5,125) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 817-743-41 (52.3%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 349-314-19 (52.6%) Career Over-Under: 2,080-2,031-56 (50.5%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 39-24 (61.9%)
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.