Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) at San Francisco 49ers (4-10) Line: Jaguars by 4.5. Total: 43. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Jaguars -5.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: 49ers -1.
Sunday, Dec 24, 4:05 PM
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The Game. Edge: Jaguars.
Make sure you get your pick in for the WalterFootball.com 2017 NFL Survivor Pool. Of the 1,630 we had to start the year, we were down to 15 last week. We still have 15 because no favorite lost in Week 15, save for the Chargers, who were laying one point.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: If you listen to any NFL TV analyst, they'll tell you that Blake Bortles has been the best quarterback throughout the month of December. Bortles has certainly compiled some tremendous stats, but he's also feasted on some horrendous competition. The Texans didn't look like they wanted to tackle whatsoever last week. The Colts have practice-squad players starting at cornerback. The Seahawks didn't have five of their front-seven players for most of the game. These are Jacksonville's previous three opponents.
Does anyone want to remember what Bortles did beforehand? He barely completed half of his passes and maintained a putrid 4.8 YPA in a loss to the Blaine Gabbert-led Cardinals. The week before, he was just 17-of-30 for 154 yards and a touchdown at Cleveland. Prior to that, he was guilty of two horrible turnovers against the Chargers in a game in which Jacksonville led for zero seconds in the second half. Bortles is bound to implode once he faces superior competition. The 49ers have a horrible secondary, but Bortles will still be on the road, and not the friendly confines of his fancy stadium and pool for the first time since Thanksgiving weekend.
While the 49ers struggle in the secondary, they're pretty effective in the front seven. They've been strong against the run since getting Reuben Foster back from injury. They also have DeForest Buckner, who has a huge mismatch in the trenches in this contest. He'll apply heavy heat on Bortles and force some turnovers.
SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: The 49ers have been so much better with Jimmy Garoppolo. They're 3-0 with him as the starter, and they just slew two other AFC South squads. Can Garoppolo go 3-of-3 against the weakest division in pro football?
This will be Garoppolo's toughest challenge to date, as the Jaguars boast an excellent defense. Calais Campbell, like Buckner, has a great matchup on the interior. Meanwhile, Yannick Ngakoue will cause havoc on the edge. It would be great for the 49ers if they had solid right tackle Trent Brown available, but he was placed on injured reserve recently. Meanwhile, Jacksonville's elite secondary will make it difficult for Garoppolo's primary weapons to get open, at least in theory.
I say "in theory" because Garoppolo doesn't really have primary weapons. He spreads the ball around all over the place, much like his mentor. That gives him an advantage, which is key because he'll have to carry the offense on his shoulders; I don't expect Carlos Hyde to do much versus Jacksonville's excellent run defense.
RECAP: I have two five-unit picks lined up this week, and this is one of them. This spread is out of control. I've tabbed San Francisco at -1, yet the 49ers are 4.5-point underdogs.
This is something I discussed last week, and I'll bring it up again. Had Garoppolo started all year, the 49ers would be 8-6 at the very least right now. Perhaps they'd even be 9-5. If the 10-4 Jaguars were at the 8-6/9-5 49ers, what would this spread be? San Francisco might be a 2.5-point favorite, right?
Also, if this version of the 49ers were hosting the Jaguars three weeks ago, what would this line be? Jacksonville has reeled off three victories, but all three were at home. Two wins were against the worst teams in the NFL. The third was against the Seahawks, who lost Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright during the contest. Jacksonville hasn't been on the road since Thanksgiving weekend, and they lost to Blaine freaking Gabbert in that game. If Blaine freaking Gabbert can beat the Jaguars, why can't Garoppolo? Oh, and the week before, they were up by just three against the Browns in the middle of the fourth quarter!
This spread is WAY off. Oh, and let's not ignore the fact that the Jaguars could be distracted with next week's revenge game against the Titans on the horizon. It's highly doubtful that they'll take a 4-10 non-conference foe very seriously. With all that in mind, let's capitalize with a huge bet on the 49ers.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I still love the 49ers, and Kenny does as well, as you'll be able to hear on our podcast shortly. The sharps are also on San Francisco.
SATURDAY NOTES: There are no injury concerns entering this game except for the Jaguars missing Marqise Lee. The 49ers are still my top pick. I'm actually going to lock in the +4.5 at Bovada right now, as the sharps have begun betting San Francisco.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: I'm paying a small price for locking this pick in. The spread is still +4 across the board, but Bovada now has +4.5 -105. Still, I don't think it'll matter, as the 49ers remain my top side. They should be able to win outright.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This spread hasn't moved throughout Sunday at any book. It's still +4.5 -105 at Bovada. The sharps took the 49ers at +4.5, but haven't played them at +4.
The Psychology. Edge: 49ers.
The Jaguars have to play rival Tennessee next week after this non-conference matchup.
The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.
The public is betting the Jaguars.
Percentage of money on Jacksonville: 65% (23,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: 49ers.
Jaguars are 33-65 ATS against non-divisional opponents since 2008.
Jaguars are 11-31 ATS vs. NFC opponents since 2007.
New York Giants (2-12) at Arizona Cardinals (6-8) Line: Cardinals by 3. Total: 39. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Cardinals -7.
Walt's Calculated Line: Cardinals -3.
Sunday, Dec 24, 4:25 PM
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The Game. Edge: None.
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 15, Real and Evil Emmitt prepare to battle one another one last time.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: The Giants had some no-show performances prior to Ben McAdoo's firing, but they've played hard in the two games since. They held a 10-10 tie with the Cowboys with eight minutes remaining in regulation, and they were a blocked field goal away from defeating the Eagles last week.
The Giants have put forth full effort for Eli Manning's return the past two weeks, and I don't see why that would change in this contest. New York seems hungry for a win, though the matchup is a difficult one on this side of the ball. Patrick Peterson will take away Sterling Shepard, while Manning will be under heavy pressure from Chandler Jones, who will have the luxury of battling Ereck Flowers.
Running the ball will be impossible for New York as well. The Cardinals have an excellent rush defense - they've surrendered just one 100-yard rushing performance since Week 7 - and they defend tight ends fairly well, so Evan Engram should be held in check.
ARIZONA OFFENSE: I have to tell you how extremely upset I was when we found out the heart-breaking news that Blaine Gabbert wouldn't be starting this game. I had enjoyed betting against Gabbert the past several weeks, but it looks like that has come to an end. Yo! Gabbert Gabbert? More like No! Gabbert Gabbert.
Drew Stanton will start instead, and he's at least competent. I'd say he's on the level of Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's not good, but he's not horrible enough to be an automatic fade each week. That said, his offensive line just might be. The Cardinals arguably have the worst blocking unit in the NFL right because both of their tackles are out. I don't think they'll be able to keep the Giants' prolific front out of their backfield.
The Cardinals have no running game to speak of, so they're going to have difficulty moving the chains. Larry Fitzgerald will do his thing, catching about six passes to move the sticks on occasion, but the offensive success will be very limited.
RECAP: Man, look at that advance spread. Arizona -7!? What the hell were they smoking when they came up with that?
I even thought the opener, Arizona -4.5, was way too high. Unfortunately, Gabbert was benched, and the line dropped to 3.5. There just isn't good value with the Giants. I like them a bit, enough to take them for a unit, but it's a shame that we missed out on a golden betting opportunity.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems that the Cardinals are favored by more than a field goal. Their offensive line is atrocious, and Drew Stanton isn't good enough to compensate for it. I'm bumping this up to two units, though I wish Blaine Gabbert were playing.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Giants are down to +3 (+3 -115 at Bovada), thanks to sharp money on the underdog. It sounds like Landon Collins could play again for New York after he was limited in practice Friday, though that's unclear at the moment. I'm bumping this up to three units.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: The sharps have bet the Giants all the way down to +3. We're at least getting +105 juice on that at 5Dimes, so that's a silver lining.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There's mixed sharp action on this game. The pros bet the Giants at +4.5, +4 and +3.5. The spread dropped to +3, and that's when they began betting Arizona -3, perhaps to get a potential middle. I still like the Giants a lot. Landon Collins will play, which is a big boost for New York's secondary.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on New York: 53% (2,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Giants are 48-36 ATS on the road since 2006 as long as they're not favored by 3.5 or more.
Eli Manning is 44-35 ATS as an underdog since 2007.
Cardinals are 28-16 ATS in December home games since 2000.
Seattle Seahawks (8-6) at Dallas Cowboys (8-6) Line: Cowboys by 4. Total: 47. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Cowboys -3.
Walt's Calculated Line: Cowboys -3.
Sunday, Dec 24, 4:25 PM
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The Game. Edge: TBA.
A reminder that Jerks of the Week for this week is up, so just click the link. This week's jerks entry is Hallmark Movies.
DALLAS OFFENSE: This game reminds me of the Bengals-Lions matchup in that there are so many injury concerns on one side of the ball that it's impossible to determine what's going to happen at the moment. The Cowboys could be without Tyron Smith, who, according to Jane Slater, is dealing with a bulging knee. Meanwhile, the two Seattle linebackers are injured. K.J. Wright missed last week's game, while Bobby Wagner was so ineffective that he had to leave the game early.
One player who will be returning is Ezekiel Elliott, as he'll be playing for the first time in six weeks. The Seahawks already had a dubious outlook against him, and they may have to try stopping him without their two star linebackers. That seems like an impossible task, especially after what Todd Gurley did to them last week.
Dak Prescott will certainly benefit from Elliott's presence, as he'll command much less attention. He'll also be going against a skeleton-crew secondary that features only one active member of the Legion of Boom. However, if Smith is out, Prescott will get lots of pressure from the blind side. We've seen Dallas' offense without Smith, and it's not pretty.
SEATTLE OFFENSE: Things are much more clear on this side of the ball. The Seahawks have struggled to block all year, and that will continue against the Cowboys, who have a pretty potent pass rush. DeMarcus Lawrence has been a beast this year, and he has an easy matchup against poor right tackle Germain Ifedi. David Irving, meanwhile, will be able to take advantage of Seattle's right guard if he suits up.
That said, Russell Wilson has faced tremendous pressure all year, and he's been able to succeed in many games because of his unbelievable mobility. I'm sure he'll give the Cowboys fits at times, and his receivers have positive matchups against Dallas' secondary, though it should be noted that the Cowboys have improved in this area recently because some of their young corners have played well.
The Cowboys have also gotten better at defending tight ends, though that's because Sean Lee has returned from injury. Dallas has limited Evan Engram and Jared Cook effectively the past two weeks. Jimmy Graham is obviously a better player, but Dallas can keep him from going off as well.
RECAP: I think this spread is a bit too high. I made Dallas -3, and that's exactly what the advance line was. However, because of Seattle's blowout loss to the Rams, this spread has shifted up two points.
The Seahawks looked horrible against the Rams for sure, but they had the aforementioned problems with the linebackers. If Wright returns from his concussion and Wagner practices fully this week, the Seahawks will be in prime position to rebound - especially if Tyron Smith is ruled out.
Of course, that's just speculation. Wright could remain out, while Wagner might continue to struggle. It's too early to tell, but perhaps the Friday injury report will provide clarity.
I'm going to mark down the Seahawks for TBA units for now. Check back later in the week or follow @walterfootball for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There's still no word on Bobby Wagner, though K.J. Wright has cleared concussion protocol. It also seems increasingly unlikely that Tyron Smith will play. I'm thinking I might bet Seattle, but I would need Wagner to play.
SATURDAY NOTES: I would love to get some clarity on the injuries heading into this game. One thing we know is that David Irving is out. However, it's unknown what else will happen. Bobby Wagner has been cleared to play, so he'll be on the field, but will he be 100 percent? Meanwhile, Tyron Smith is a game-time decision. Hopefully we know more prior to kickoff, but I can't suggest betting this game yet.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: This is another big sharp game, with the line falling to +4. I assumed that Bobby Wagner would be playing, and that's what people are saying on Twitter, though I haven't seen anyone credible mention it. We'll see. I'll have final thoughts posted around 3:30 Eastern!
FINAL THOUGHTS: Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright are both active. However, Dallas will also have Tyron Smith. This game is very difficult to bet because either Wagner or Smith could easily aggravate their injuries and leave the game, which would be devastating for their teams' chances. I'm going to lay off of it, but I would side with the sharps and bet the Seahawks if I had to.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
I'm surprised there isn't more action on the Cowboys.
Percentage of money on Dallas: 55% (28,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Seahawks.
The underdog is 75-50 ATS in Cowboys games since 2010.
Seahawks are 22-11 ATS in Week 11 or later since 2013.
Seahawks are 12-5 ATS in their road finale since 1996.
Seahawks are 35-48 ATS on the road since 2006 if they're not coming off an away loss.
Russell Wilson is 11-7 ATS after a loss as long as he's not favored by -10 or more.
Russell Wilson is 13-6 ATS as an underdog.
Pete Carroll is 12-6 ATS after losing as a favorite.
Cowboys are 18-28 ATS as home favorites in Cowboys Stadium (excluding Thanksgiving).
Cowboys are 15-25 ATS when favored after a win since 2010.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) at Houston Texans (4-10) Line: Steelers by 9. Total: 45.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Steelers -8.
Walt's Calculated Line: Steelers -7.
Monday, Dec 25, 4:30 PM
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The Game. Edge: Steelers.
It's time for a Ross Avila update! Ross, some idiot kid on Facebook who challenged me to a picking contest this year, has finally thrown in the towel. He stopped making his own picks after Week 3, and because I called him out on stealing other people's selections, he has apparently quit.
Ross said he would go away for good if I won, but he predictably hasn't kept his word. Instead, he attacked random women who weren't around to defend themselves last week. Last week, Ross pretended that he's a Vegas tout of some sort:
Ross then tried to make a bet with me, which is dumb because I know he doesn't have the money to pay:
I've bet with readers before, but Ross is some teenage loser who doesn't even have $20; let alone $100.
Here was Sunday's interaction...
It's amazing how much Ross cares about me. It seems like his entire life is dedicated to posting on my Facebook wall and hoping I'll lose, yet I don't give a damn about him at all, aside from the entertainment value he provides for the readers, who can laugh at how pathetic he is. I may have lost lots of units over the years, but Ross is the true loser.
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: The Steelers lost Antonio Brown for the rest of the regular season, which would be a big deal if there were more than two games remaining in the regular season, and if both contests weren't against extremely weak competition. Pittsburgh gets Houston this week, and then the battle the winless Browns in the finale.
There's little doubt that the Steelers can beat the Texans without Brown. If you want proof, check out last week's Texans-Jaguars film. Blake Bortles torched Houston's anemic secondary by throwing to no-name players like Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens. Who? Exactly. If players spat out of the Madden random name generator can thrive against the Texans, I'm sure Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster will have plenty of success.
The one thing the Texans still do on this side of the ball, aside from applying blind-side pressure with Jadeveon Clowney, is stop the run. Le'Veon Bell doesn't have an easy matchup as a runner, but he'll make some big plays as a receiver out of the backfield.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: T.J. Yates will make another start this week, but it doesn't matter who gets the nod. The Texans have the worst offensive line in the NFL. They can't block whatsoever. Yates didn't even have a full second to throw against Jacksonville until garbage time this past Sunday. Things were so bad for Houston as a whole that the team had more penalties (3) than net yards (0) by the end of the first quarter.
The Jaguars were able to overwhelm the Texans with their prolific defensive line, and the Steelers possess a great front as well. Cameron Heyard, Stephon Tuitt and T.J. Watt will all easily break though Houston's poor line to put heavy heat on Yates.
Theoretically, if the Texans were able to get halfway-decent blocking, they'd be able to do some damage against the Steelers, who haven't been the same defensively without Ryan Shazier. They've been weaker against the run, so Lamar Miller could have a solid performance. Also, don't forget about DeAndre Hopkins, who finds way to make great plays no matter who's throwing the ball to him.
RECAP: The Steelers are such trash when they're large, road favorites. They've been absolutely anemic in this role over the years. They are 3-17 against the spread on the road as favorites of -8 or more since 1990. It's insane how bad they've been!
It's hard to trust the Texans for a substantial wager, however. Yates was atrocious last week, but it's not really him that bothers me about the Texans. It's their offensive line. Their blocking is horrendous, and they have a severe disadvantage in the trenches.
Still, we've seen the Steelers dog it enough times in games like this that I'm tempted to put a unit or two on Houston. I'll go with one for now.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I'm taking my unit off the Texans. I know Pittsburgh has been historically bad as large road favorites, but Houston's offensive line is also historically bad. Also, it sounds like Bill O'Brien could be fired in two weeks, so that might cause the Texan players to be distracted.
SATURDAY NOTES: I'm still torn on this, and I don't have any new injury notes to report. This is still zero on the Texans.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: Pinnacle has the Steelers at -8, which is great news for Houston bettors.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps are on the Texans. I would side with them as well, but I'm not confident enough to bet them. The Steelers often show up flat in games like this, and Ryan Shazier's absence will be huge, but Houston's offensive line is extremely atrocious. Pittsburgh's front has such a big mismatch edge that the Texans may not be able to do anything. The best line for Houston is +9 -105 at Bovada.
The Psychology. Edge: Texans.
The Steelers are coming off a brutal loss, and they seldom try hard in these sorts of games.
The Vegas. Edge: Texans.
I'm surprised there's not more money on the Steelers.
Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 68% (63,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Texans.
Ben Roethlisberger is 45-31 ATS in December and January.
Steelers are 3-17 ATS on the road as favorites of -8 or more since 1990.
Steelers are 23-36 ATS as road favorites since 2007.
Texans are 44-28 ATS after two or more consecutive losses (8-7 ATS as favorites).
Oakland Raiders (6-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (12-2) Line: Eagles by 10.5. Total: 46.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Eagles -7.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Eagles -4.5.
Monday, Dec 25, 8:30 PM
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The Game. Edge: Eagles.
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 Philadelphia, the best place in the world, and if any of you disagree, I'll kill you all! Tonight, my eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles take on the Oakland Faders. Get it, guys? Faders because the Raiders are fading away like losers?
Emmitt: Loser, I...
Reilly: Emmitt, for f**ks' sake, will you stop calling me random words each week!? Calling me loser is really painful. Mother used to call me loser all the time, though she hasn't done it in a while. I think the last time she called me loser was Tuesday, though she and Jay Cutler went away for the weekend. This is the first time I've been home alone by myself, and I'm scared, but I think I'll be OK!
Herm: SCARED! HE'S SCARED! YOU KNOW WHO'S SCARED!? HERM'S SCARED! HERM'S GONNA BE THE HEAD COACH OF ARIZONA STATE! DON'T KNOW ANY OF THE PLAYERS ON THE TEAM! DON'T KNOW ANY OF THE PLAYERS! GOTTA LEARN THE PLAYERS' NAMES! GOTTA LEARN 'EM! JUST GOTTA DO IT! JUST GOTTA LEARN THE NAMES! GONNA START LEARNING THE NAMES! GONNA BEGIN LEARNING THE NAMES! GONNA START! GONNA BEGIN! GONNA GET GOING! GONNA... uhh... GONNA... HERM FORGOT WHAT HERM HAD TO BEGIN DOING! HERM FORGOT WHAT HERM HAD TO START DOING! HERM... uhh... umm...
Reilly: I can't wait till you're gone, you a**hole, stupid mother-f***er! Herm, you are my worst enemy, and I hope you lose every game at Arizona City. Anyway, our guest in the booth tonight is someone who might replace Herm, Warren Sapp! Warren, how are you tonight?
Sapp: I won't lie to you, Kevin. Life's been tough. I was fired from NFL Network, so I'm hoping this opportunity will pan out. To help smooth things over, I bought all of you gifts. Here y'all go.
Reilly: What is this, a banana?
Millen: Whoa, momma! I love to ram kielbasas into the backsides of my 100-percent USDA Men, but this "banana" will do wonders instead! Thank you, Warren!
Tollefson: Warren, this is amazing. Thank you. The women I have locked in my cellar are often bored, and this "banana" will provide them plenty of hours of enjoyment. By the way, Reilly, you are some sort of loser if you don't know what this is.
Millen: Why is everyone calling me loser!? I'm not a loser! Does a loser have 20 Carson Wentz bobble head dolls!? I don't think so!
Sapp: Twenty bobble head dolls? Ha! That's nothing. I have 50,000 Carson Wentz bobble head dolls. My financial manager told me buying them was a bad idea, but he was wrong.
Fouts: And here's what he means by bobble head. A head is a part of the body that is on top of the body. Let's not confuse this with Mr. Boddy, the butler from Clue. This body has one "D" while Mr. Boddy has two "Ds" and that's how you know the difference. Now, when you combine bobble and head, you have a head that bobbles. A head that bobbles goes like this, boing, boing, boing. That's how you know you have a bobble head. If you see a head that bobbles, it's a bobble head most of the time.
Wolfley: YOU'RE RIGHT, DAN. BUT EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT A BOBBLE HEAD IS. WHAT I'M INTERESTED IN IS A BOBBLE DILDO AFTER SEEING THIS DILDO THAT THE LARGE MAN WITH LIPS JUST GAVE ME.
Sapp: I got you, Ron. I'll bring those next week and give them to everyone.
Reilly: Bobble dildo!? No one knows what that is! If I wanted plastic bananas, I'd go to the grocery stores and buy them, idiot!
Sapp: What'd you say!?
Reilly: Uhh... nothing, please don't hurt me!
Charles Davis: Warren, Kevin is a giant p**sy, Warren. Warren, Kevin always tries to talk tough like he's something, Warren, but Warren, he's nothing, Warren. Kevin, you better watch out, Kevin, because Warren, Kevin, will kick your butt, Kevin. Kevin, you gotta watch out for Warren, Kevin, and Warren, you can feel free to beat up Kevin, Warren. Warren, can you name giant p**sies like Kevin, Warren? Warren, I'll give you 55 guesses, Warren. Warren, just name one, Warren, and you wind the grand prize, Warren.
Sapp: Easy. Pepperoni pizza.
Charles Davis: Warren, that's correct, Warren. One point correct, Warren. Already more points than Kevin, Warren.
Reilly: WHAT THE F***, I'VE BEEN GUESSING EVERY F***ING WEEK AND I NEVER WIN ANY POINTS AND NOW THIS GUY APPEARS WITH A F***ING PLASTIC BANANA AND HE WINS WITH AN ANSWER THAT MAKES NO F***ING SENSE! I HATE YOU ALL! We'll be back after this!
PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: So far, so good with Nick Foles. Well, sort of. The Eagles were a blocked field goal away from losing to the Giants last week. Foles threw four touchdowns, so he wouldn't have gotten blame for the loss, and rightfully so. He played well for his abilities, but Carson Wentz would've scored well into the 40s against New York. I say this because Foles had a YPA of only 6.2 last week. To put that into perspective, Wentz had just ONE game where he had a YPA worse than 6.2 all year!
Foles is mostly a checkdown artist, so I wouldn't expect the numbers to improve. He does, however, have an easy matchup in this game. The Raiders have improved defensively in recent weeks, but they still stink against the pass. Their corners are mostly terrible, while Reggie Nelson has regressed. Foles should have success throwing short passes to Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and especially Zach Ertz, as the Raiders are poor versus tight ends.
The Raiders can apply pressure on the quarterback and stop the run, however. The Eagles' problem at left tackle is finally getting exposed with Wentz out, and they won't be able to run as well as they'd like versus the Raiders, who improved against the rush after acquiring NaVorro Bowman.
OAKLAND OFFENSE: The Eagles did not play well on this side of the ball last week. I didn't think that was too much of a surprise. Philadelphia's defense is good, but not great. It only seemed great because it had always been playing with a lead with Wentz scoring tons of points. That was not the case, as the Eagles trailed 20-7 against the Giants last week.
The Eagles could have trouble covering Michael Crabtree, Jared Cook, and also Amari Cooper if he finally returns from his ankle injury. With Cooper on the field, the Raiders will have better weapons than the Giants, who moved the chains quite easily on Philadelphia.
The one problem with Oakland's scoring unit is now the offensive line. The interior is stout, but the tackles are now a concern because Donald Penn is out. Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry should have plenty of success generating pressure, so Carr will have to release the ball quickly.
RECAP: I wrote earlier that I had a pair of five-unit picks. As you may have guessed, this is the second one.
I cannot believe this spread. My eyes popped out of my head when I saw it. In what world does Nick Foles deserve to be a nine-point favorite over a competent team? He and the Eagles barely beat the Giants last week, and New York is not as good as Oakland happens to be! Not that the Raiders are solid, by any means, but they've been in most games this year. They've only been blown out thrice, and Carr was playing hurt during two of those contests.
I made this spread Philadelphia -4.5. Something like that makes much more sense. The Eagles, without Wentz and Jason Peters, are an average team. Foles threw four touchdowns last week, but he's still a severe downgrade. This is like the Patriots going from Tom Brady to Matt Cassel in 2008, except Doug Pederson is not Bill Belichick.
This line is inflated because the sportsbooks have been getting crushed by favorites. The public is pounding the Eagles anyway, so I'm happy to wager heavily on some great value.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I'm still very high on the Raiders. I would love to get +10, but +9 still seems ridiculously high.
SATURDAY NOTES: I've gotten a couple of e-mails from people wondering whether or not the Raiders will be deflated after being eliminated from the playoffs, which I think is possible. Also, Bruce Irvin is in concussion protocol, and center Rodney Hudson has been missing practice with kidney stones and an ankle injury. If Hudson is out, Oakland's defense is going to be so much worse. With all that considered, I'm going to drop this wager to two units. It might be fewer units come Monday if the injury report worsens, and the weather isn't looking good (it's supposed to be very windy Monday.)
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: There's going to be extremely nasty weather here Monday, which will impact Oakland way more than Philadelphia, so I'm going to cancel this wager all together.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I was outside quite a bit today in Philadelphia. It was cold and very windy. It's less windy now, but it also happens to be colder. I don't think that bodes well for the Raiders, who could be a complete no-show in this game. They were just officially eliminated from the playoffs yesterday, so I could see them laying a giant egg with zero effort. Conversely, this spread is ridiculously high. If the Raiders come to play, they will almost definitely cover. Nick Foles shouldn't be favored by double digits under normal circumstances, but this may not be a normal game. The best line available is +10.5 at Bovada, but that's not enough for me to bet Oakland. The sharps, by the way, are on Philadelphia.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Raiders.
The public and sharps are on the Eagles.
Percentage of money on Philadelphia: 68% (72,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Raiders.
Derek Carr is 4-1 ATS as an underdog of 6+ since 2015.
Opening Line: Eagles -9.
Opening Total: 48.5.
Weather: Potential snow, 33 degrees. HEAVY winds, 30 mph.
Week 16 NFL Picks - Early Games
Indianapolis at Baltimore,
Minnesota at Green Bay,
Cleveland at Chicago,
Detroit at Cincinnati,
Miami at Kansas City,
LA Chargers at NY Jets,
Tampa Bay at Carolina,
Buffalo at New England,
Denver at Washington,
Atlanta at New Orleans,
LA Rams at Tennessee
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 2, 2018): 8-7-1 (-$80)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 2, 2018): 3-2-1 (+$130)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 2, 2018): 2-2 (-$250)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 2, 2018): 10-6 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 2, 2018): $0
2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-0, 100% (+$1,200)
2018 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-24-2, 52.9% (+$515) 2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 9-12-1, 42.9% (-$550) 2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 4-4, 50% (-$475) 2018 Season Over-Under: 17-15, 53.1% (-$225) 2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: $0
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) 2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$3,790)
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) 2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395)
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) 2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595)
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) 2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640)
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 2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510
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) 2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,601-2,407-153, 51.9% (+$5,650) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 826-755-42 (52.2%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 353-318-19 (52.6%) Career Over-Under: 2,097-2,046-56 (50.4%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 41-24 (63.1%)
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.