Tennessee Titans (6-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) Line: Steelers by 7. Total: 44.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Steelers -7.
Walt's Calculated Line: Steelers -6.5.
Thursday, Nov 16, 8:25 PM
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The Game. Edge: Steelers.
WEEK 10 RECAP: Matvei sent me a text after the Chargers-Jaguars game: "Don't make the Chargers your Pick of the Month again. I had zero units on the Chargers, and I aged 20 years watching that game." Thirty for me! I had Chargers +4 as my November NFL Pick of the Month, and I'm glad that I didn't get royally screwed out of that win.
Week 10 was good overall, but not great; I finished 8-5-1, +$290. I made some stupid mistakes, however, placing a combined five units late in the week on the Bears and Redskins, both of which were terrible sides. My other big loss, Bills +3, is not something I could have avoided, unfortunately. I thought I had a great number on Buffalo, but I apparently undervalued the Saints ... I guess?
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: This is a battle of two quarterbacks who have underachieved this year, but for different reasons. Marcus Mariota's bum hamstring has prohibited him from scrambling as much as he'd like to, which is obviously a bad thing because his legs are his best weapon. However, Mariota finally showed that he wasn't 100 percent last week, rushing for 51 yards.
Mariota's ability to move around will certainly help him in a matchup like this. The Steelers are capable of putting lots of pressure on the quarterback with their two defensive ends, Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, who should be able to win their battles against Tennessee's mediocre guards more often than not. Taylor Lewan figures to neutralize T.J. Watt, but it'll still be imperative for Mariota to navigate the pocket and dart downfield when he needs to.
The Steelers restrict the run effectively - they haven't surrendered more than 63 rushing yards to a team since Week 5 - but their ability to stop the pass is suddenly a big question mark. Top cornerback Joe Haden will be out, and their best safety, Mike Mitchell, is considered doubtful with an ankle. Mariota will have plenty of opportunities downfield with talented rookie receiver Corey Davis back in the lineup.
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: Ben Roethlisberger, meanwhile, has underachieved by just failing to consistently connect on downfield throws. The Big Ben of old would've found Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster with ease, but this Roethlisberger is way off with his deep passes. I've been pointing out for a while now that Roethlisberger had been pondering retirement all offseason, and once players begin thinking about hanging up the cleats, they usually start playing like it.
The Titans blew some coverages against the Bengals, as safety John Cyprien, coming back from injury, has played poorly thus far. Tennessee's cornerbacks, meanwhile, aren't bad, but they aren't outstanding yet, though Adoree Jackson seems to be improving each week. Still, Andy Dalton had some opportunities for big plays last week, so Roethlisberger might be in similar situations. However, there's no guarantee that he'll be able to hit his receivers.
As with Pittsburgh, Tennessee has been terrific against the run in the past month-plus. The Titans haven't surrendered more than 70 rushing yards since Week 5, though Le'Veon Bell will provide a tough test. Still, I expect Jurrell Casey to dominate the trenches against left guard Ramon Foster, who hasn't played well this season.
RECAP: The strategy for Thursday Night Football is to pick the better team as long as they're focused. The Steelers are the better team, but I'm not sure how mentally prepared they'll be for this game. They tend to play down to their competition, and we already saw them get blown out at home against the Jaguars. Tennessee is on the same level as its AFC South counterparts, and it can certainly pull the upset if Pittsburgh is aloof once again.
I'm going to take the Titans to stay within a touchdown, but I'm not going to bet this contest. Thursday night games are extremely volatile and need to be abolished, so I'd recommend staying away unless you think there's a big edge. I don't think there's a big edge in this matchup, as my line (Steelers -6.5) is close to the actual spread.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Steelers won't have Joe Haden or Mike Mitchell, which gives the Titans a big edge in the passing game. I'm almost tempted to bet Tennessee, but I really hate these Thursday games. If this were played on Sunday, I'd probably have a unit on the Titans, but the Steelers are the better team playing on a short week. They have the edge - as long as they show up. If you do bet Tennessee, +7 -105 is available at Bovada.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Titans.
Slight lean on the Steelers.
Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 63% (37,000 bets)
Detroit Lions (5-4) at Chicago Bears (3-6) Line: Lions by 3. Total: 40.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Lions -2.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Bears -2.5.
Sunday, Nov 19, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: None.
My overrated-underrated feature will continue in this spot, and I'm going to emphasize injuries (particularly those on the offensive line)...
Underrated NFL Teams:
Buffalo Bills: The Bills suffered blowout defeats against the Jets and Saints, transitioning them from overrated to underrated territory. They simply didn't show up two Thursday nights ago, and the Saints have been steamrolling everyone. The Bills are still a solid team that should continue to compete for a playoff spot.
Chicago Bears: The Bears lost by a touchdown to the Packers. They also happened to lose a touchdown because of John Fox's stupid challenge. Had the Bears maintained possession, perhaps they would've forced overtime. I think they took that game for granted anyway after seeing Brett Hundley struggle so much on national TV. I expect Chicago to rebound, especially with Kyle Long due back from injury.
Denver Broncos: The Broncos were blown out against the Patriots, but their special teams allowed 17 points. They also looked awful against the Eagles, but that couldn't have been a surprise. They were playing their third-consecutive road game on a short week after making a trip to the East Coast. Denver's defense, despite the performance at Philadelphia, is still great. Plus, it's important to note that the Broncos have played some extremely difficult games lately, so they'll rebound against worse competition.
Washington Redskins: The Redskins have fallen to 4-5, but they have all of their offensive linemen back from injury. I'm not sure why they were so bad defensively versus the Vikings, as Case Keenum threw for four touchdowns against them, but I think it might have something to do with playing such a physical game against the Seahawks and then flying home from across the country. That's my theory, anyway, so I expect Washington to play better going forward.
Overrated NFL Teams:
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons had a blowout victory over the Cowboys, so everything's fine now, right!? I think that was more about Dallas being overrated and Atlanta being desperate for a win. I'm not convinced the Falcons have solved all of their problems, though we'll have a better idea of that come Monday night versus Seattle.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars prevailed over the Chargers because Los Angeles made so many mistakes. Jacksonville had just one legitimate scoring drive in that contest. The team also had a nice win over a lethargic Cincinnati team that couldn't pressure the quarterback or get off the field on third down. Plus, the result would've likely been 16-7 if it weren't for a punt return, which is obviously less impressive than 23-7. Blake Bortles still sucks, his receivers are pedestrian, and his offensive line is not good. The Jaguars are just an average team, and they remind me of the Giants from 2016. They're overachieving, and they're likely going to make the playoffs, but they'll lose in the postseason right away and will win just 3-4 games next year once things stop going their way.
Minnesota Vikings: Case Keenum throwing four touchdowns...? Seriously? Come on. The Vikings, as they stand right now, are overrated. However, I think they have a good chance of making a deep playoff run if they go to Teddy Bridgewater soon. Keenum seems like one of the many one-and-done playoff signal-callers we've seen over the years, while Bridgewater has what it takes to win in the postseason.
DETROIT OFFENSE: The Lions have been very explosive on this side of the ball the past three weeks. They generated 500 yards against the Steelers, then didn't punt on a single occasion in a Monday night affair against the Packers. This past Sunday, they scored 38 on the lowly Browns, racking up 413 yards of offense. Based on Chicago's inability to stop Brett Hundley, many would expect Matthew Stafford to easily have his way with the Bears.
However, that may not be the case. The Bears were missing two key pieces of their defense against the Packers, as Danny Trevathan and Bryce Callahan were surprise scratches. However, because they were both questionable, there's a decent chance they could suit back up for this important game. If so, they'll have a big impact. Trevathan is the brains of Chicago's defense, and his presence on the field will prevent the Bears from having blown coverages. Callahan, meanwhile, is needed to cover Golden Tate in the slot.
The Lions have injury questions on this side of the ball as well, as stud guard T.J. Lang is in concussion protocol. Lang will desperately be needed against Akiem Hicks because Pernell McPhee already has a huge edge versus left tackle Taylor Decker, who wasn't in playing shape versus the Browns.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: The Lions also have a key injury on defense, and that would be to Ziggy Ansah. Without Ansah, the Lions didn't have the same pass-rushing juice against the Browns, who moved the ball quite effectively versus Detroit last week. If DeShone Kizer could score consistently on Detroit, I don't see why Chicago wouldn't be able to.
The Bears' problem last week, aside from Benny Cunningham's fumble at the pylon, was Kyle Long's absence. Long, the team's best lineman, didn't play on offense because of an injury, but he dressed and was on the field for field-goal formations, for some reason (nice one, John Fox). That has to be a sign that he'll play this week, and if so, he'll improve Chicago's blocking substantially because it'll get horribly inept center Hroniss Grasu out of the lineup.
It seems like Chicago should be able to protect Mitchell Trubisky fairly well in this contest if Long is on the field. They'll also be able to blast open big hopes for Jordan Howard, who will be battling a defense that struggled to stop Isaiah Crowell this past Sunday.
RECAP: I'm going to have three five-unit picks this week, and this is one of them. I absolutely love the Bears.
Chicago was +2.5 on the advance line. Now, the spread is +3 (-105 at Bovada) because of an overreaction to last week's loss to the Packers. I detailed why Chicago lost; the team didn't have two of its better defenders or its top offensive lineman. All three of those players were questionable heading into the Green Bay contest, so there's a good chance at least two of them return to action. If so, my line for this game is Bears -2.5, which is radically different than what the actual line is!
With their key players back, the Bears are too good to be field-goal home underdogs to Detroit. They've already beaten the Steelers and Panthers as hosts, and they were a dropped touchdown away from taking down Atlanta as well. There's no reason they shouldn't be able to upset Detroit.
The Lions, by the way, don't seem to be in a very good spot. They're coming off two double-digit victories, and now they play the Bears, whom they just saw lose to a Packer team they demolished. In four days from this affair, Detroit has to battle Minnesota on Thanksgiving. I highly doubt the Lions will be fully focused for this game.
I'm really considering locking in the +3 -105 at Bovada, but I think it would be best to wait on if Long, Callahan and Trevathan are able to practice. If all three are practicing fully Wednesday or Thursday, I'm going to lock this in.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The good news for the Bears is that Kyle Long is practicing, so Chicago will have its offensive line intact. The bad news is that Danny Trevathan and Bryce Callahan have yet to practice. I'm glad I haven't locked this pick in yet because of neither Trevathan nor Callahan practices, I'm going to downgrade the unit count on this game.
SATURDAY NOTES: Ugh, I'm sorry for doing this, but I'm severely downgrading this pick. I said that I was waiting on the status of Danny Trevathan, and to a lesser extent, Bryce Callahan. Both are questionable, but neither practiced all week. That was the case in Week 10, and neither played. Trevathan is the brains of Chicago's defense. The Bears always blow coverages when he's out of the lineup, and that's basically a death sentence against Matthew Stafford. I still like the Bears a bit because of the positive spot they're in, but I have to decrease this wager to one or two units. I'll put down one for now, but I'll shoot this back up to five units Sunday morning if Trevathan suits up. Check back later or follow @walterfootball for updates.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Lions won't have Ezekiel Ansah for this game, but that's not too much of a surprise. Save for the Giants game in Week 2, Ansah hasn't really done much this year. The greater injuries are to Danny Trevathan and Bryce Callahan. Trevathan's absence will especially be damaging for Chicago's hopes. I'm going to remain on the Bears for a unit, and the best line is +3 +115 at Bovada.
The Psychology. Edge: Bears.
The Bears need to win to keep their dim playoff hopes alive. The Lions battle the Vikings in four days.
The Vegas. Edge: Bears.
Tons of action on the Lions.
Percentage of money on Detroit: 75% (22,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bears.
History: Lions have won 7 of the last 8 meetings.
Lions are 22-35 ATS against losing teams the previous 57 instances.
Lions are 5-15 ATS after a double-digit win since 2011.
Lions are 3-9 ATS before their Thanksgiving game since 2005.
Matthew Stafford is 7-11 ATS as a favorite following 2+ wins.
Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) at New York Giants (1-8) Line: Chiefs by 10. Total: 45. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Chiefs -9.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Chiefs -11.5.
Sunday, Nov 19, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Chiefs.
VEGAS UPDATE: I'll be posting how the Vegas sportsbooks have done the previous week in this spot. Here were last week's most-bet sides:
The highest-bet sides were 20-22-1 heading into Week 10. The public won for the third week in a row, going 3-2 on the top games, thanks to Arizona's missed extra point. Highest-bet sides are now 23-24-2.
Here are the five highest-bet sides, as of Tuesday morning:
All of these teams are favored, and none are playing at home. I'd criticize the public for not learning anything, but they've been winning recently, so who am I to say anything?
Oh, and our weekly fantasy football contest has returned. It's like DFS, but weekly and free, and there are cash prizes! There's no reason not to enter, and you can submit up to five lineups per week! Click the link here for our new Weekly Fantasy Football Contest!
KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: The Chiefs have a huge edge on this side of the ball. Alex Smith releases his passes quickly to his play-makers, who elude defenders in space. The Giants have shown no interest in tackling recently, so short throws to Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt and Demarcus Robinson could end up going a long way, just as the third-and-33 to Robert Woods did two weeks ago.
Making matters worse for the Giants - or better, rather, as far as their draft positioning is concerned - their best defensive player, Snacks Harrison, will likely miss this game after being carted off with an ankle injury at San Francisco. Harrison is a supreme run-stuffer, and without him, Hunt is going to have huge lanes to burs through. Hunt has slowed down a bit following a hot start, but this contest should allow him to get back on track.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: The Giants lost their best defensive and offensive player last week (of those who were active). It was Justin Pugh on this side of the ball, as Pugh is now out for the season. If the Giants were still in playoff contention, this would be a crushing blow for them, as Pugh is the Giants' best and only capable offensive lineman. Without him, the blocking is going to be so much worse than it already was.
With two poor tackles, the Giants are going to have severe issues keeping Justin Houston and Tamba Hali out of the backfield. Meanwhile, defensive tackle Chris Jones, who has been performing at a high level this year, will be able to dominate the interior, which is still missing center Weston Richburg.
The Giants will neither protect nor run well with their Pugh-less offensive line. Eli Manning will connect on some impressive passes to Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, but those will be few and far between. New York simply won't be able to keep pace with the Chiefs.
RECAP: I went against one heavily bet road favorite in the previous capsule, but I will not be doing that here. I'm taking the Chiefs despite the fact that they're laying double digits on the road.
If you could tell me that the Giants would try hard in this game, I would pick them. However, they've quit on Ben McAdoo. The veterans have refused to tackle, which is going to be perilous versus the Chiefs. And without Pugh, the offense doesn't stand a chance of keeping pace with Kansas City.
Double-digit road favorites are 59-80 against the spread since 1989. Taking them usually isn't a wise move, as we saw last week when the Colts covered versus Pittsburgh. However, if you have one of the better teams in the NFL going against an opponent that is mailing it in, I think it's OK. Plus, Andy Reid is coming off a bye, which is a great thing for the Chiefs, as he's 13-5 against the spread with an extra week to prepare.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There's no way I'm betting this game, but for fantasy/FanDuel purposes, Snacks Harrison unexpectedly made a return to practice. Kareem Hunt won't be as productive if Harrison plays.
SATURDAY NOTES: I thought Snacks Harrison would be out, but he's been limited in practice all week, so he'll likely suit up. He'll give the Giants a better chance to cover this spread - as long as they actually try hard!
FINAL THOUGHTS: Chad Wheeler is going to start at right tackle for the Giants, and he'll have to block Justin Houston. Good luck, New York. Snacks Harrison will play, which is good news, but the Giants won't have Sterling Shepard. Harrison is obviously more important than Shepard, but New York's offense will be more limited than usual. I would still take the Chiefs at -10, but there's no value here. For what it's worth, the sharps liked the Giants above +10.
The Psychology. Edge: Chiefs.
Some players have quit on Ben McAdoo.
The Vegas. Edge: Giants.
The sharps are betting the Giants.
Percentage of money on Kansas City: 71% (22,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Chiefs.
Andy Reid is 13-5 ATS off a bye.
Eli Manning is 42-34 ATS as an underdog since 2007.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) at Miami Dolphins (4-5) Line: Buccaneers by 2. Total: 44. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Dolphins -3.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Dolphins -2.
Sunday, Nov 19, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Buccaneers.
HATE MAIL: I will be posting lots of hate mail this season. Even though I went 8-4-1*, I still received a healthy amount of hate in the comment section.
Here's a comment that happens to be very ironic:
I could see Green Leaf sitting at his computer, scratching his head, and asking himself, "Hurr durr why'd he say that was ironic, it doesn't look like an iron, hurr durr."
I love how people assume that my yearly wages are tied to my betting:
I actually own a home, but I have to say that the attic would be pretty sweet if I still lived at my parents' house.
Here's more criticism of lost funds:
Gold Flame, I'm disappointed in you that you don't think that I can lose money in the draft. You have to step up your hate mail skillz.
Here are a couple of idiots who think the Jaguars are a good team, and that I shouldn't have bet against them for my Pick of the Month:
And here's someone with a long rant about why I was so terribly wrong about my Cowboys pick:
I've written plenty of stupid things over the years, and it's all here to be criticized. Red Chet Hat, meanwhile, can just crawl into a corner and reemerge in a few weeks with a new random name. It's not easy putting your opinion out there, but something I learned long ago is that you need thick skin. If you're reading this and want to start a Web site of your own, know that you're going to get tons of comments like this, but you just have to shrug it off and realize that it's not worth paying attention to random Internet idiots.
That said, I do appreciate Red Chef Hat's breakdown as opposed to him writing, "WALTS DUM LOL." He could've done without the "stupid" part at the beginning, but meh.
This guy totally had me! I thought I'd have to write a witty response, but it turned out not to be hate mail after all!
MIAMI OFFENSE: Monday night's blowout loss to the Panthers wasn't Jay Cutler's fault. Well, the interception prior to halftime hurt, but Cutler didn't really make any mistakes besides that. He just didn't have an opportunity to do much because of his offensive line, which was absolutely dreadful in the wake of Ja'Wuan James' injury. Without James, the Dolphins have one of the worst blocking units in the NFL, as their only viable players up front are Laremy Tunsil, who is playing out of position, and Mike Pouncey, who is struggling because he needs hip surgery.
Gerald McCoy and Robert Ayers are going to dominate the trenches and put heavy heat on Cutler, who will have to keep releasing balls quickly. This will be effective at times because DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry are dynamic talents, but such plays will be inconsistent, just as they were Monday night.
It's a shame for the Dolphins that they don't have a better offensive line because this would be a terrific matchup for Cutler and his receivers otherwise. The Buccaneers' secondary, outside of T.J. Ward and Brent Grimes, is in shambles. Vernon Hargreaves would help, but his status is uncertain after he injured his hamstring this past Sunday. It was announced Monday that he'll undergo an MRI, so his status for Sunday's game isn't looking very good.
TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: While the Buccaneers will be without one of their starting cornerbacks, they'll at least be getting Mike Evans back. Evans missed last week's contest with a suspension, but he'll be on the field to abuse Miami's horrible cornerbacks. No one in the Dolphins' secondary, aside from Reshad Jones, can cover at all right now. That'll change in a few weeks once T.J. McDonald is in playing shape, but as for right now, Miami doesn't stand a chance of defending Evans and DeSean Jackson well.
The question is whether Ryan Fitzpatrick will be able to deliver the ball to them. Fitzpatrick won last week, but was fortunate not to have multiple interceptions. Fitzpatrick will be under heavy heat from Ndamukong Suh, who figures to dominate inept guard J.R. Sweezy, and I could see the suddenly beard-less quarterback forcing the issue.
The Buccaneers, however, should be able to exploit Miami's true liability, which is the linebacking corps. Kiko Alonso is one of the worst starting linebackers in the NFL, and Lawrence Timmons isn't much better. Cameron Brate should have a huge game, and some of Tampa's running backs will be effective receivers out of the backfield. And speaking of the Buccaneer runners, Doug Martin may finally have a quality performance, as the Dolphins have surrendered 129.4 rushing yards per game to opposing backs in the past five weeks.
RECAP: I don't want to bet either squad. Both of these teams have mailed in numerous games this year. The Dolphins' tackling efforts Monday night were abysmal, and the Buccaneers were recent no-shows in New Orleans and Arizona. Who's to say they'll try hard in this contest?
I'm going to take the Buccaneers because they're underdogs, but I don't see a quality betting opportunity in this contest, aside from the under. With two poor offensive lines, both teams should have trouble scoring.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This line is down to pick 'em, with a bit of sharp money on Tampa. Perhaps this is because Ndamukong Suh may not play. Suh has missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday with a knee. If Suh is out, I'll reevaluate and perhaps bet the Buccaneers for a low amount.
SATURDAY NOTES: I think I'm going to change my pick. I don't understand why Ryan Fitzpatrick is favored on the road. The Dolphins will have Ndamukong Suh - he's practiced fully Friday - while the Buccaneers will be missing starting cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, who has played well recently. Everyone's trashing the Dolphins, but this is their first easy game in several weeks, and they could be the sixth seed in the AFC after this week is over. They looked so awful Monday night that they dropped from -3.5 on the advance line to +1. Oh, and let me repeat: Ryan Fitzpatrick is a road favorite!!! I wish we were getting +3. I'd bet the Dolphins heavily at the number. But at +1, Miami is only worth a unit.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm still on the Dolphins for a unit with this line moving to Dolphins +2. I'm going to monitor the line movement, and I'm going to wager more units on Miami if this hits +3. The sharps are on the Buccaneers.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Tampa Bay: 54% (10,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Buccaneers.
Road Team is 79-49 ATS in Buccaneers games since 2009.
Underdog is 78-48 ATS in the Dolphins' last 126 games.
Dolphins are 11-35 ATS at home against teams with losing records since 2003.
Baltimore Ravens (4-5) at Green Bay Packers (5-4) Line: Ravens by 2. Total: 39. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Ravens -3.
Walt's Calculated Line: Packers -2.
Sunday, Nov 19, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Ravens.
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 wrote about the NFL needing to abolish Thursday Night Football in the wake of the Richard Sherman injury, but this is something I've suggested for a long time. Sherman agreed with those sentiments, saying that Thursday Night Football should be "illegal." Doug Baldwin echoed those thoughts, as did other NFL players on Twitter, including Terrance Knighton, who said the following:
"Thursday night football smh.... the body is not ready and is not at peak performance within a 3 day span. Player safety tho huh?"
It's pretty hypocritical of the NFL to have Thursday night games on every week. I failed to find numbers to support this, but it seems like there are more injuries on Thursday night. Seven Seahawks went down. Seven! That's insane.
Even without the injuries, Thursday Night Football is a horrible product. How can teams prepare for a game on just three days of rest? It doesn't seem feasible, and most of the games suck as a consequence. I'd be OK with Thursday night games if the two teams were both coming off byes, but they shouldn't be played otherwise. Not if the NFL cares about tainting its product and also failing to preserve the safety of its players.
2. Speaking of Thursday Night Football, NBC is going to try something new this week: They're going to show every play through the sky cam, which they initially did in the Patriots-Falcons Sunday night game to compensate for heavy fog.
I know some people like this more than the standard camera angle because you can see different things - and there's definitely some merit to that - but I don't like it. I'd normally chalk it up to my disdain toward change, but for some reason, that camera angle makes me sick. Like a little nauseous. I can't explain why that's the case, but it feels like I'm on a boat when I'm watching the game like that.
It's weird, but totally not expected. I've never been able to play first-person shooters for the same reason. I've always wanted to barf after about 15 minutes. I'm beginning to think I may need a trash can next Thursday night, so there's another reason to cancel these stupid games.
3. I feel like I complain about Steve Mariucci every other week. Last time, I noted that Mariucci didn't even know which injured players would be suiting up for the Packers in a big game versus Dallas. Mariucci, the weak link on the NFL Network pre-game show when Michael Irvin is sober, had some blunders lately that I'd like to point out:
- On Pittsburgh's offense: "The Steelers don't have to throw the ball. They have Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster." So... they don't have to throw the ball because they have two talented receivers? How does that make sense?
- He called Kirk Cousins "Kurt Cousins."
- On Game of Thrones: "I love Game of Thrones. I love the dragon." The dragon? You know there are three dragons, right? Why do you only love the dragon? More importantly, why do you clearly despise the other two dragons? Can you imagine Daenerys' rage if Jon Snow told her that he "loved the dragon?" She'd burn him alive, shouting, "What about my other two babies, Lord Snow!?"
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: Brett Hundley struggled in his first two starts, but finally played well last week. He moved the chains effectively against the Bears, throwing some Aaron Rodgers-like pinpoint passes. Is this a sign of things to come? Perhaps, as Hundley is very physically gifted, but it may have had something to do with the Bears being without Danny Trevathan and Bryce Callahan. As discussed the Lions-Bears capsule, Trevathan is the brains behind the defense, and Chicago blew tons of coverages without him. I doubt the Ravens are going to have similar issues.
Baltimore doesn't have a great secondary, as Eric Weddle has struggled this year, but the Ravens aren't going to make many mental errors. They'll also put heavy pressure on Hundley. Bryan Bulaga is out, so the Packers have a huge liability at right tackle. They're also getting poor play out of their left guard and center, and that's the area that the talented Brandon Williams occupies.
Speaking of Williams, the Ravens have been much better versus the run ever since he returned to the lineup. The Packers won't have Aaron Jones, and Ty Montgomery's status is in doubt, so rookie Jamaal Williams may have to handle most of the workload again. Jamaal Williams isn't very good, so Green Bay won't be getting much out of its ground attack.
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: Joe Flacco said during the bye week that his team has to be more aggressive, and that it has to "go after it," whatever that means. Doing so has been difficult for the Ravens, who have missed their best offensive lineman, Marshal Yanda, for most of the season. However, Baltimore could have success offensively this week.
The Packers are notoriously atrocious on this side of the ball. Their cornerbacks are a joke, and they've missed safety Morgan Burnett. There's a chance Burnett might suit up this week, but he may not be 100 percent. If he's out or limited, the Ravens could move the chains somewhat consistently, as Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace will have advantages over Green Bay's poor corners. That said, I expect the Packers to put some pressure on Flacco, mostly with Pro Bowler Mike Daniels, who has a very easy matchup this week.
Daniels and nose tackle Kenny Clark will make it difficult for the Ravens to establish the run. Green Bay has been much better versus the rush ever since Daniels returned from injury, and it's not like Baltimore pounds the rock especially well.
RECAP: If you're confused about why the Ravens, at 4-5, are road favorites at Lambeau, you're not alone. I made the Packers -1, so I don't agree with this spread.
Unfortunately, the difference between +2 and -1 isn't very substantial, and we lost value with the Packers. They were three-point home dogs prior to Week 10, but their victory over Chicago has moved the line. I'm going to pick them, but the value isn't there to make any sort of wager. Plus, I'd feel uneasy going against John Harbaugh off a bye; he's 7-2 against the spread with a week off (though just 2-2 ATS in the past four years.)
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Morgan Burnett still hasn't practiced, so that's a huge boon for Baltimore's struggling passing attack. Conversely, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith has been missing practice as well, so perhaps Brett Hundley will have another solid game. I'm still leaning toward the Packers, but I need +3 to bet them.
SATURDAY NOTES: Morgan Burnett is out for the Packers, while Jimmy Smith is questionable. Smith was able to have just one limited practice all week, so his health is definitely a concern. I could see him leaving the game early. However, the big injury in this contest is to left tackle Ronnie Stanley. That's absolutely enormous. Stanley has been Baltimore's best offensive lineman with Marshal Yanda out for the year. The Ravens will have a huge hole on Joe Flacco's blind side with Stanley out. Yet, despite this news, this spread hasn't moved at all. That's because the public barely even knows who Stanley is. I questioned Baltimore being favored at Green Bay with Stanley in the lineup, but now it makes absolutely no sense. My adjusted number on this game is Packers -2, so I'm going to bet a couple of units on the home dog.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Here's another game I'll continue to monitor. In the meantime, this spread is either +2.5 in most books or +2 +100 at Bovada. The latter is the one I would go with.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Packers.
A decent amount of action on the Ravens.
Percentage of money on Baltimore: 62% (17,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
John Harbaugh is 7-2 ATS off a bye.
Ravens are 12-22 ATS as road favorites since 2005.
Los Angeles Rams (7-2) at Minnesota Vikings (7-2) Line: Vikings by 1.5. Total: 45.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Vikings -3.
Walt's Calculated Line: Vikings -1.
Sunday, Nov 19, 1:00 PM
Comment on this game
The Game. Edge: None.
More Random NFL Notes! My apologies for those who wanted Random College Football Notes, but with most of the big games being blowouts, there's not really much to discuss. Plus, there's a ton to talk about concerning the pros. For instance...
4. Like everyone else, I'm frustrated with the pylon rule. I don't get it either. Obviously, if the defense recovers a fumble in its own end zone, it's a touchback. But the defense never recovers a ball that hits the pylon. Why is it automatically the defense's ball?
I think this rule needs to be changed. It killed both the Jets, Rams and Bears this year, and it doesn't really make any sense. I think the offense should keep possession. However, to prevent players from carelessly tossing the ball at the pylon, which would be a dumb look for the NFL, I would assess the team a 5-yard penalty. So, instead of the Bears keeping the ball at the Green Bay 2-yard line, they would've had first-and-goal at the 7, or so. I think this is a fair compromise, as the defense wouldn't be rewarded or punished.
5. I hit my November NFL Pick of the Month with the Chargers covering +3.5 against the Jaguars. As I wrote earlier, I had 30 years shaved off my life based on what happened at the end of that contest. I was lucky the Chargers didn't screw up, but I think I would've been extremely unlucky had they not covered. After all, I had an underdog of more than a field goal that didn't trail for a single second after halftime!
I expected things to go much worse, however. Even though I put eight units on the Chargers, and I was feeling confident about them early in the week, something changed Friday night/Saturday morning. I had a nightmare that I woke up late for Sunday football. It was already 4 p.m., so I raced into my office to flip on the TV. The Chargers-Jaguars game was on, and the score was Jaguars 81, Chargers 67, and the Chargers were driving with four minutes remaining. Making matters worse, Philip Rivers was no longer in the game. It was Jacoby Brissett instead! Yes, Brissett was quarterbacking the Chargers for some reason in an 81-67 deficit. I have no idea how the Blake Bortles-led Jaguars scored 81 points, by the way.
I woke up in a sweat, thankful it was just a nightmare. Still, I felt uneasy about the game, which I already had locked in. And I thought my nightmares would come true on the Austin Ekeler fumble and the Philip Rivers interception. Thankfully, the gambling gods were kind to me, and the Chargers covered. Had they missed out on the cover, I think I'd be in an insane asylum right now, muttering, "Should've seen it coming ... 81-67 ... Jacoby Brissett."
6. My November NFL Pick of the Month Part 2 is firing this week. Yep. And I'll tell you what it is right now. It's Eagles +6.5 at Cowboys.
Huh? How are the Eagles +6.5, you ask? Well, they're not, unfortunately, which means there really is no November NFL Pick of the Month Part 2. But the Eagles, once upon a time, were +6.5 at the Cowboys for this impending matchup, and I had a chance to bet on them.
Here's a sad story: I went to Las Vegas this summer to enter the Supercontest. No, wait, I'm not done. That's not the sad part. It gets worse. I forgot my checkbook, so I had to use my credit card to enter the contest. Entries for both contests were close to $7,000 in total, and I have just a $10,000 limit on my card, for some reason. Add in the hotel and flight expenses, and I was nearly maxed out because I foolishly forgot to bring a check.
I had to use the cash I brought with me to pay proxy fees and such, so I didn't have much money left over. I bet a bit on the Eagles Over 8 wins, Jets Under 4 wins (oops) and Eagles 35:1 to win the Super Bowl. I then sat at the Westgate casino and looked over some of their sheets. For those of you who have never been to the Westgate, they allow you to bet on games in advance (hence, the advance spreads), and they had games available for the entire season. One really stood out to me:
Eagles +6.5 at Cowboys!
I couldn't believe my eyes. There was no way the Eagles were going to be +6.5 at Dallas come Week 11. At worst, it was going to be +3.
Unfortunately, I didn't bet it. I just didn't have the money with me, all because I forgot my stupid checkbook. I would've gone big on it - those of you who have followed know how high I was on Philadelphia entering the year - but I couldn't wager on this game because I had to buy food, and stuff.
I've learned my lesson. I'm never forgetting my checkbook again when going to Vegas. Unfortunately, there won't be many great betting opportunities like this ever again.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: I still can't believe Case Keenum threw four touchdowns against the Redskins. I talked about being in a nightmare where the Jaguars were beating the Chargers, 81-67; watching the Redskins' defense trying to stop Keenum was like a horrible dream as well. It looked like Keenum was flashing back into reality toward the end when he threw two picks, as he suddenly remembered how mediocre he is, but the Redskins simply ran out of time.
Keenum was able to torch the Redskins because of Washington's poor defensive line and shoddy secondary play, but the Rams don't have those issues. In fact, they're going to give Minnesota's above-average interior line a ton of problems, as Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers have both been exceptional this year. They'll prevent the Vikings from running effectively, and they'll also put heavy heat on Keenum, who, by the way, the Rams are very familiar with. If you've forgotten, Keenum quarterbacked Los Angeles last year. The defense went against him every day in practice, so they should have some insight him.
That said, the Vikings will have at least some success moving the chains. Stefon Diggs seems to have an easy matchup against the disappointing Trumaine Johnson, and Adam Thielen is always somehow able to get open.
LOS ANGELES OFFENSE: The Vikings definitely have a bolstered offensive line this year, but their improvement is nothing compared to the Rams' blockers. Los Angeles has one of the top fronts in the NFL, which is extremely important in a matchup like this. The Vikings have a pair of exceptional edge rushers in Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter, as well as a terrific interior presence in Linval Joseph. Containing Joseph will be problematic, but Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein figure to do a good job on Griffen and Hunter, assuming that Griffen even plays after missing last week's affair.
Improved protection is one of the primary reasons Jared Goff has played much better in his sophomore campaign, and he's growing more comfortable with his receivers each week. He's always had chemistry with Cooper Kupp, but now Robert Woods has emerged as a No. 1 wideout. This, however, must have caught Mike Zimmer's attention. Perhaps he'll use talented cornerback Xavier Rhodes to blanket Woods, which would mean that the inconsistent Sammy Watkins would need to step up.
Of course, the Rams' offense will go through Todd Gurley, though the third-year runner will have some trouble finding open holes. The Vikings have yet to allow 100 rushing yards to any opponent this year. However, Minnesota has been a bit susceptible to running backs catching passes out of the backfield, and Gurley certainly excels in that regard.
RECAP: The spread for this game is Vikings -2.5, and I made this line Vikings -1. There's not much of a difference, as I was hoping to get Rams +3. I bet the sharps would be all over Los Angeles if it could get a field goal with the visitor, so I'd be a bit surprised if this spread went to three.
There are two other factors here. The first is something I mentioned already, which is the Rams' familiarity with Keenum. I think that'll help a lot. Keenum, meanwhile, can't give the Vikings any insight on the Rams, given that Los Angeles has a new coaching staff.
Second, the Vikings play on Thanksgiving four days after this game. So, the question is whether this means more to them than the impending Detroit contest. This could be for a bye, but the Lions game might be for the division. Detroit already beat Minnesota once, so a sweep would give the Lions a big edge in trying to win the NFC North.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I said on the podcast that I'd think about changing my pick. It's sounding like Everson Griffen and Mike Remmers will play, which is important. However, the Vikings could have a liability in their secondary if Andrew Sendejo is out; Sendejo hasn't practiced at all this week, so that's not going to help my case to switch the pick. I'm 51-49 on the Rams right now.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Rams are completely healthy, while the Vikings will miss two key players: Andrew Sendejo and Mike Remmers. However, Anthony Harris and Rashod Hill played well for Sendejo and Remmers, respectively, recently, so that may not be a big deal. It also sounds like the Vikings are focused for this game rather than their Thanksgiving affair versus the Lions in four days. I'm still 51-49 on the Rams, however, as I just can't figure this one out.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Five days have passed since I've made this pick, and I'm still 51-49 on the Rams. Even the sharps are split on this.
The Psychology. Edge: Rams.
The Vikings have to play the Lions in four days, but they may deem this game more important, as it could be for a first-round bye.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Minnesota: 55% (22,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
Mike Zimmer is 38-17 ATS as head coach of the Vikings.
Arizona Cardinals (4-5) at Houston Texans (3-6) Line: Texans by 2.5. Total: 38. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Cardinals -2.
Walt's Calculated Line: Pick.
Sunday, Nov 19, 1:00 PM
Comment on this game
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. It all started six years ago, when 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.
I've been messing around with spammers ever since, pretending to be Aaron Hernandez, Tom Brady and Walter White. I'll have new answers to Spam Mails here, so check them out if you want to see me screw with spammers!
ARIZONA OFFENSE: Drew Stanton suffered a knee injury during the Thursday night game - another player who got hurt in that wretched contest! - and there's a chance he could miss this game. If so, Blaine Gabbert will be at the helm. Stanton could still return to save Arizona from the man who closes his eyes when he releases the ball, but he won't be 100 percent in that instance.
That said, Stanton's knee isn't even the most significant injury the Cardinals have sustained over the past week. That would be to left tackle D.J. Humphries, who dislocated his knee cap. He's out for the year, and that's a huge deal in this game because his backup will have to battle Jadeveon Clowney. The Texans are missing numerous starters up front, but they still have Clowney, who performed extremely well last week even though he was battling Andrew Whitworth. Now, Clowney will have one of the easiest matchups of the year.
The Cardinals, as a whole, have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Adrian Peterson's outlook will be worse without Humphries, and Houston provided a tough matchup for him anyway. With Peterson not doing much, I can't imagine Stanton or Gabbert being successful in long-yardage situations.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: The Texans, of course, have a horrific offensive line themselves, as the only viable starter they have up front is center Nick Martin, and he's not even very good. Duane Brown being traded has created a massive void at left tackle, and as with Clowney, Chandler Jones is a dynamic edge rusher who will take advantage of this massive liability.
Tom Savage has struggled since replacing Deshaun Watson, and things won't get any easier for him, especially with Will Fuller out of the lineup. His one talented downfield threat, DeAndre Hopkins, has his toughest matchup of the year, as he'll be going up against Patrick Peterson. Hopkins will make some terrific catches, but not nearly as many as usual.
The Texans will have to run the ball to maintain some semblance of offense, but that'll be difficult against an Arizona squad that has surrendered just two 100-yard rushing performances all year. The Cardinals will be able to stack the line of scrimmage, so Lamar Miller won't find any room to run.
RECAP: I can't say I want to bet on either side. I don't know what's more unappealing: Stanton (or Gabbert) with his backup left tackle going up against Clowney, or Savage Knuckleblade, period. Yuck.
I'm going to take the Texans just because they're home dogs, but I don't like it. What I do like, however, is the under. I can't imagine either offense moving the chains with any sort of consistency.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The sharps are braver than I am because they're betting the Texans. Houston is now favored. I still like the under more than anything.
SATURDAY NOTES: I'm avoiding this game. I have no desire to pick between Blaine Gabbert behind a terrible offensive line and Tom Savage behind a terrible offensive line. Good luck.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Here's one of the bigger sharp games of the week, as the pros love the Texans. I guess they realize how important D.J. Humphries is for Arizona. But I just can't bring myself to bet on Houston.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Cardinals.
Sharp action on the Texans.
Percentage of money on Houston: 61% (10,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Texans.
Favorites after playing the Seahawks are 15-33 ATS.
Texans are 43-26 ATS after two or more consecutive losses (8-6 ATS as favorites).
Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) at Cleveland Browns (0-9) Line: Jaguars by 7. Total: 37. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Jaguars -7.
Walt's Calculated Line: Jaguars -7.5.
Sunday, Nov 19, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Jaguars.
Video of the Week: As someone who answers almost every single piece of spam/scam e-mail he receives, I really appreciated this (thanks, Luke T):
This is amazing. I can't believe they kept him on the phone for 36 minutes. I just wish they would have told him to hold on for 20 more minutes, and then another 20 minutes, and then eventually kept him on the phone all day. That's part of the reason I keep responding to them. If they're busy with me, they're not scamming someone more gullible!
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: People who pretend to be Jaguar fans are angry at me that I have their "favorite" team just 17th in my NFL Power Rankings. If you're wondering why, and you don't feel like clicking the link, it's because Jacksonville is a carbon copy of the Giants last year, whom I also considered extremely overrated. Both teams had outstanding defenses, but the offenses suck extremely hard. Blake Bortles is atrocious, and the offensive line struggles to block. Jacksonville has a star offensive player in Leonard Fournette (as did the Giants with Odell Beckham Jr.), but one player can't carry a team versus quality competition.
The Browns obviously are not quality competition. However, they have a couple of elements that could slow down the Jaguars. The first is their run defense. They've limited strong ground attacks for most of the season. For example, they restricted the Steelers to 43 rushing yards. The Titans gained just 72 yards on the ground against them four weeks ago. Stopping Leonard Fournette is difficult for most teams, but Cleveland can do it.
The second element is Myles Garrett, who was able to generate good pressure against the Lions last week. He has an even easier matchup this Sunday versus struggling rookie left tackle Cam Robinson. This will force Bortles into more bad passes. Bortles nearly threw away a victory against the Chargers, and it could be possible that he does exactly that versus the Browns.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: The Browns may have a couple of elements to hurt the Jaguars' offense, but it seems like Jacksonville's defense has a billion times more elements to shut down the Browns. DeShone Kizer moved the chains last week against the Lions, who have some liabilities on defense. The Jaguars don't really have any weaknesses, however.
It all starts up front, where Cleveland no longer has Joe Thomas. Tackles Spencer Drango and Shon Coleman won't be able to protect against Yannick Ngakoue or Dante Fowler, and they, along with Calais Campbell, will generate great pressure on Kizer, who will be forced into some poor passes. His horrible throws will fall into the arms of Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Tashaun Gipson. Kizer has been a turnover machine all year, and those three players will undoubtedly force some take-aways.
Meanwhile, Isaiah Crowell's running helped the Browns move the chains versus the Lions, but I wouldn't expect much from Crowell either. The Jaguars surrendered some long runs to the Jets earlier in the season, but have been pretty prolific versus ground attacks otherwise. In fact, no team has gained 70 or more rushing yards against them since Week 6!
RECAP: This is another blegh early game in which I'll have zero units. Don't worry. The big bets are coming. I promise.
I don't know how anyone can wager on this contest. The Jaguars are extremely overrated, and they have no business being favorites of more than a touchdown over anyone, let alone on the road! Bortles sucks, and following an overtime victory, he undoubtedly partied extra hard.
So, why not bet the Browns, you ask? Because they're the freaking Browns! The sharps were all over them last week, and they led in the second half as 11-point underdogs. And yet, they found a way to screw things up and fail to cover, just as they have all year. If you bet the Browns, make it a $10 max wager because they'll find a way to screw you.
I'm taking Cleveland for no units as solely an anti-Bortles play, but I'm not happy about it.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Both teams have multiple offensive line injuries. The Browns could be without center J.C. Tretter and right tackle Shon Coleman, neither of whom has practiced yet this week. The same goes for the Jaguars' guard Patrick Omameh and right tackle Jermey Parnell. None of this will make me bet a side - and the sharps haven't done so either - but I might put a half unit on the under.
SATURDAY NOTES: There's legitimate concern about Leonard Fournette playing, but I don't really care about that. This game will come down to how many soul-crushing turnovers DeShone Kizer is responsible in the red zone. If it's one or fewer, the Browns will cover. If it's two or more, the Jaguars are winning by double digits.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps are on the Browns. Again. And they'll probably lose. Again. I'm going to put half of a unit on the under because of the heavy winds.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
Who wants to bet on Cleveland?
Percentage of money on Jacksonville: 70% (17,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Browns.
Jaguars are 32-64 ATS against non-divisional opponents since 2008.
Jaguars are 6-14 ATS as favorites of 6.5 or more since 2003.
Jaguars are 3-7 ATS as favorites of -7 or more coming off a loss.
Washington Redskins (4-5) at New Orleans Saints (7-2) Line: Saints by 9.5. Total: 52.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Saints -7.
Walt's Calculated Line: Saints -7.
Sunday, Nov 19, 1:00 PM
Comment on this game
The Game. Edge: Saints.
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...
NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: Can the Saints be stopped? They haven't been since their Week 2 loss against the Patriots, but this is a different team now. They have an extremely powerful ground attack, and it's not like teams can just stack the box to contain Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, as Drew Brees can just torch them in response. It's going to take an elite defense to slow the Saints down, and Washington certainly does not have that.
The Redskins have had major problems because of injuries. They've been missing their top two defensive linemen, Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis, which is why they've been killed on the ground in most of their recent matchups. However, there's some good news, as it sounds like Ioannidis will return to the field this week. He'll be a huge boon for their ground defense, and it'll at least give them a chance to slow the Saints down a bit.
Of course, even with Ioannidis back, the secondary is a big question mark, as it surrendered four touchdowns to Case Keenum of all quarterbacks last week. If the Redskins couldn't contain Keenum, how in the world are they going to keep Brees from lighting up the scoreboard?
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: Because the Redskins won't be able to limit the Saints' scoring unit very well, the offense will have to keep up in a potential shootout. And that actually happens to be a possibility.
Though the Redskins didn't win last week, they got some good news, as all five of their starting offensive linemen played against the Vikings. They were able to score 30 points on one of the NFL's best defenses as a result, so they should have success against New Orleans. The Saints obviously have a better stop unit this year, but I wouldn't quite call it an elite group. The Redskins still have problems at linebacker, and their safeties could be exposed against a talented, healthy quarterback, which they have not faced since their Week 2 loss against Tom Brady.
Kirk Cousins is that talented, healthy quarterback, so this is going to be a nice test to see how good New Orleans' defense really is. Cousins isn't elite, obviously, but he has shown that he can put up points against great defenses, so I think he'll be able to keep this game close.
RECAP: The Saints burned me last week, but I suppose I'm stubborn because I'll be betting against them once more. This time, it's a two-unit wager on the opponent.
New Orleans' blowout victory over Buffalo may make it seem like the team is invincible, but keep in mind that the Saints, prior to battling the Bills and banged-up Buccaneers, beat the Bears by only eight and the Brett Hundley-led Packers by just nine. The Redskins are better than both of those teams, so they should be able to hang around.
I think the motivational factor will help Washington as well. The team is desperate for a victory to avoid 4-6, while the Saints have to battle the 7-2 Rams and their nemesis, the Falcons, after this contest. I don't think New Orleans will be on its "A" game, so Washington should be able to hang around and get the cover, even if it involves Cousins getting a back-door touchdown at the end.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I still like the Redskins quite a bit, and there's a nice number at Bovada (+8 -105). They should be able to stay within a touchdown, and I may increase this wager to three units.
SATURDAY NOTES: I really wanted to increase my wager on the Redskins, but then I saw that center Spencer Long and defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis are out. It's a bummer that Washington's offensive line isn't completely intact, but I still like Washington for a couple of units.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Spencer Long is indeed out for the Redskins, but the Redskins got a pleasant surprise with Matt Ioannidis being active. Ioannidis will help a bit against the run, which could be huge. I think this spread is way too high, so I'm going to increase my unit count to three. The sharps, by the way, were the ones to bump this spread up to -9.5.
The Psychology. Edge: Redskins.
This game is more important for the Redskins, who need to win to avoid falling way behind in the wild-card race. The Saints play the 7-2 Rams and arch-rival Falcons after this.
The Vegas. Edge: Redskins.
A strong lean on the Saints.
Percentage of money on New Orleans: 65% (19,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Saints.
Saints are 39-27 ATS as a home favorite since 2007.
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.