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NFL Weekly Predictions
Week 5, 2007



Note: I'm not going to lie and say that losing my September Pick of the Month didn't hurt, as the 49ers fell to the Seahawks, 23-3. But the fact that San Francisco's starting quarterback was injured 50 seconds into the game truly sucked. I have no problem getting selections wrong because I made incorrect reads. But the 49ers had no shot with four-turnover Trent Dilfer. I went 8-6 last week, but only 2-3 with my Double Money Picks. Horrible. If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.



Arizona Cardinals (2-2) at St. Louis Rams (0-4)
Line: Cardinals by 3.5. Total: 40.5.

Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Cardinals -3.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

The Game. Edge: Cardinals.
Injuries: RAMS: OUT: RB Steven Jackson., OT Orlando Pace, CB Tye Hill. CARDINALS: OUT: OT Oliver Ross.

The following is a conversation that is likely to happen during CBS' halftime show (even though this game won't be on CBS):

Boomer Esiason: The Bills just killed the Jets! (He actually said this even though Buffalo won by only three.) Dan Marino: I like Buffalo. The Bills are a good team. Boomer: Well, I'll tell you what. If the Jets keep playing like this, they'll lose 64 games this year, I guarantee it. Marino: I like New York. The Jets are a good team. Shannon Sharpe: rFn23o ewfo nf efi3 new few ewfji 3r32h wkwa. Boomer: Great point, Shannon. If the Steelers can't rebound from their blowout loss to Arizona, they'll go 3-13. Marino: I like Pittsburgh. The Steelers are a good team.

I feel sorry for Rams fans. How many things can possibly go wrong with their team? Marc Bulger has busted ribs, Orlando Pace is out, the defense still sucks and Steven Jackson is killing his fantasy owners. I've been saying it for weeks; the reason the Rams are 0-4 is because they can't pass protect without Pace. They've allowed 11 sacks in four games, which doesn't bode well against an Cardinals squad that has racked up 12 themselves. That number's not an aberration; they were able to pin Ben Roethlisberger to the ground four times last week. St. Louis needs to avoid long-yardage situations, meaning they'll have to run the ball effectively. That's going to be a problem. Brian Leonard was able to rush for 58 yards on 16 carries at Dallas, but Arizona is ranked seventh against opposing ground attacks (the Cowboys are 14th.) If the Cardinals had no problem putting the clamps on Willie Parker, they'll easily restrict Leonard to less than three yards per carry.

I love what the Cardinals are doing with their quarterback rotation. Matt Leinart plays a few series; Kurt Warner then steps in; Leinart replaces him a couple of drives later; Warner comes in afterward. It's worked beautifully the past two weeks. Perhaps this is something the Bears should try. Anyway, I don't even think Arizona will need to do anything tricky versus St. Louis' pathetic defense. The Rams are 30th against the run, struggle to get to the quarterback (six sacks) and simply cannot force turnovers (one interception.) The Cardinals should be able to name the score in this contest.

I've said something similar last week, so just bare with me because it's something invaluable as far as betting and picking games are concerned: All signs point to Arizona in the Game department. Two stars in this section doesn't mean all that much, however (check stats at the bottom of the page.) The matchups are built into the spread, so we have to look for an edge to determine the correct side. This is a tough spot for the Cardinals; they just knocked off the Steelers, a team Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm were hectically preparing for, and now have to travel to St. Louis to take on the desperate Rams. The public is siding with the road favorite. That's something I have a problem with. Last week, the Cardinals were a junk team. Now, they're good enough to be laying points on the road? Thanks, but no thanks. I'm not giving 3.5, which happens to be the worst spread in football.

Wednesday Afternoon Note: Bulger has been benched in favor of Gus Frerotte. A good move - Frerotte gives the Rams their best chance of winning because of Bulger's broken ribs.


The Psychology. Edge: Rams.
The Cardinals are coming off a huge upset victory over the Steelers and have to fly out to St. Louis. They won't be at 100 percent in this contest. The Rams, meanwhile, have to be desperate to avoid an 0-5 start.


The Vegas. Edge: Rams.
I think the public is starting to get excited about the Cardinals. They just knocked off the Steelers, and may be overvalued. The Rams, meanwhile, are a team no one's willing to touch. No one sane, anyway.
  • Percentage of money on Arizona: 86% (36,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Rams.
  • History: Road Team has won the last 4 meetings.
  • Zero Trend: 0-4 teams are 8-4 ATS vs. non-losing teams since 2000.
  • Zero Trend: 0-4 teams are 13-5 ATS since 2000.
  • Matt Leinart is 9-3 ATS as a starter.
  • Marc Bulger is 5-1 ATS as a home dog.
  • Opening Line: Cardinals -1.
  • Opening Total: 40.5.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Edgerrin James, Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals Defense.
  • Sit Em: Matt Leinart, Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger, Brian Leonard.


    Prediction: Cardinals 16, Rams 15
    Rams +3.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Under 40.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Cardinals 34, Rams 31.



    Atlanta Falcons (1-3) at Tennessee Titans (2-1)
    Line: Titans by 8. Total: 40.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Titans -12.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Titans -10.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Titans.
    Injuries: FALCONS: OUT: QB Michael Vick. QUESTIONABLE: CB DeAngelo Hall. TITANS: OUT: WR David Givens, CB Pacman Jones.

    I can't believe I was right about Joey Harrington this whole time. In case you've forgotten, I revealed my groundbreaking Joey Harrington Theorem the first week of the season: Every year, Harrington starts playing well under the radar (he's been sharp the past two weeks and barely anyone has noticed.) He then has an amazing game, usually on national television (the Thanksgiving game last season; the Falcons play on Monday night in Week 6!), and everyone looks at that performance and the rest of his seasonal numbers, and boasts how they knew Harrington was eventually going to come around (we're already hearing how Bobby Petrino has "fixed" him.) From then on, Harrington throws interceptions and incompletions like a madman. Never fails. Why did it take Harrington two weeks to get going? He moved to a new city and was too busy looking for caviar shops and a new piano for his mansion. Duh.

    By reading that lead, you're correct in assuming I think Harrington's going to play well for the third week in a row. The Titans have an emerging defense, but their pass rush isn't anything to be proud of (six sacks in three contests.) If Harrington has ample time to throw, he won't have any problem connecting with Roddy White, Alge Crumpler and the rest of his weapons, although I'm well aware that Tennessee has a very talented secondary. It's just that Harrington is in his Caviar Zone right now, and there's no stopping him until Week 7. Something the Falcons won't be able to rely on in this game is their rushing attack; despite struggling against the run last year, Tennessee's front seven is ranked second in that department.

    Remember Vince Young's awesome Monday night performance at New Orleans? Do you recall how well the Titans ran the football? Expect the same thing to happen in this matchup. Atlanta, ranked 22nd against opposing ground attacks, has no hope of containing LenDale "16 Cheeseburger" White and Chris Brown, while worrying about Young's scrambling ability. The Falcons, like the Titans, are averaging two sacks per game, meaning they won't be able to put enough pressure on Young when he has to throw to convert first downs.

    I've made a living betting on the Titans the past 10 months. That streak, unfortunately, looks like it's coming to an end because the public has finally caught on to how good they are. This is the most Young has ever been favored by in the NFL, and I'm not too confident in his ability to cover such a high spread, under the circumstances. Tennessee, two weeks removed from a blowout in New Orleans, could have one eye on next week's battle against the Buccaneers. With the public backing the home favorite, I'll side with the still-underrated Falcons.


    The Psychology. Edge: Titans.
    I'm not sure how seriously the Titans are going to take the 1-3 Falcons. Atlanta, meanwhile, looks hungry for the chance to prove everyone wrong.


    The Vegas. Edge: Falcons.
    Vince Young versus Joey Harrington. Hmmm... whom will the public be betting on?
  • Percentage of money on Tennessee: 63% (60,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Titans.
  • Bye Bye: Jeff Fisher is 7-5 ATS off a bye.
  • Road Losers: Teams with a losing record are 33-102 SU on the road after a victory since 2003.
  • Vince Young is 10-6 as a starter (13-3 ATS).
  • Opening Line: Titans -9.
  • Opening Total: 39.5.
  • Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 88 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Joey Harrington, Roddy White, Alge Crumpler, Vince Young, LenWhale White.
  • Sit Em: Warrick Dunn, Jerious Norwood.


    Prediction: Titans 27, Falcons 20
    Falcons +8 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 40.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Titans 20, Falcons 13.



    Carolina Panthers (2-2) at New Orleans Saints (0-3)
    Line: Saints by 3.5. Total: 43.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Panthers -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Pick.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: None.
    Injuries: PANTHERS: DOUBTFUL: QB Jake Delhomme*. SAINTS: OUT: RB Deuce McAllister.

    Did you know that Emmitt Smith is single-handedly reinventing the English language? Take these three statements Emmitt made during Sunday NFL Countdown:

    1. "Wade [Phillips] inherit this success."
    2. "My game-breaker go to Brett Favre."
    3. "The Packers don't has a running game."

    Why hire someone illiterate when you can just talk to a quarterback no one understands on the Panthers? Unfortunately, Jake Delhomme is doubtful, meaning David Carr is slated to make his second woeful start. Prior to the final drive of the game against the Buccaneers, who were in major prevent, Carr was 11-of-31 for 51 yards and a pick. How horrendous is that? But before we start completely blaming him for Houston's woes from 2002 to 2006, let's acknowledge that he was battling one of the best defenses in the NFL. Carr should have a much easier time locating Steve Smith, Keary Colbert and Jeff King amid a secondary that can't stop anyone and a pass rush that has zero sacks this year. You read that correctly - zero sacks! New Orleans actually contains the run efficiently, but that won't matter; just as Peyton Manning, Jeff Garcia and Vince Young have done this year, Carr will torch the worst defensive backfield in pro football.

    While the Saints have no sacks, the Panthers aren't much better, considering they have only two of their own. I'm completely shocked Julius Peppers has failed to reach the quarterback the first quarter of the 2007 season. What happened to him? More importantly, what happened to Carolina's entire defense? The stop unit hasn't notched a single interception, while surrendering close to 230 passing yards per contest and ranking a mediocre 15th against the run. Drew Brees, who has inexplicably reverted to his 2003 form (one touchdown, seven picks) may finally break out of his slump. In fact, I'm willing to say that if Brees struggles this week, he's a lost cause for the remainder of the year. Something that will hurt New Orleans' chances, however, is the fact that it no longer has the services of Deuce McAllister. As porous as Carolina's defense has been, one-dimensional offenses tend not to work in this league, unless you're talking about the Lions.

    These teams pretty much mirror each other. Is New Orleans more desperate for a victory? Sure, although Carolina is coming off a 13-point loss to Tampa Bay themselves. I'll resort back to an adage I've used the past few years: Take the Panthers as a road dog. Fade the Saints as a home favorite. It shouldn't be shocking that the visitor has claimed six of the past seven meetings in this NFC South rivalry.


    The Psychology. Edge: Saints.
    I wouldn't exactly call this a must-win for the Panthers. The Saints, on the other hand, need to avoid an 0-4 start.


    The Vegas. Edge: Panthers.
    I think the Panthers and Saints both have the public very confused. Should be equal action.
  • Percentage of money on New Orleans: 83% (40,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Panthers.
  • History: Road team has won 6 of the last 7 meetings.
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 24-45 ATS since 2006.
  • Zero Trend: 0-3 teams are 11-8 ATS vs. non-losing teams since 2000.
  • Bye Bye: Sean Payton is 0-1 ATS off a bye.
  • Panthers are 23-11 ATS as an underdog the previous 34 instances.
  • Saints are 16-31 ATS at home since 2001.
  • Saints are 9-21 ATS as a home favorite since 2001.
  • Drew Brees is 7-4 ATS off back-to-back losses.
  • Opening Line: Saints -3.
  • Opening Total: 45.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Steve Smith, Marques Colston.
  • Sit Em: DeShaun Foster, DeAngelo Williams.


    Prediction: Panthers 20, Saints 17
    Panthers +3.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Under 43.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Panthers 16, Saints 13.



    Cleveland Browns (2-2) at New England Patriots (4-0)
    Line: Patriots by 16.5. Total: 48.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Patriots -24.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Patriots -20.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Patriots.
    Injuries: BROWNS: OUT: OT Ryan Tucker, C LeCharles Bentley, LB Willie McGinest. PATRIOTS: OUT: WR Troy Brown, DE Richard Seymour.

    This new NFL Primetime sucks. Have I mentioned that at all? Bring back Chris Berman and Tom Jackson, and for the love of God, please cover all of the games! The show neglected the Bills-Jets contest this week. Instead, the public was subjected to a Bob Holtzman update where the reporter said, "The Bengals were impressed when watching Randy Moss on tape." There's a newsflash. Did the Bengals not realize Moss was this good prior to watching film? Have they not been following the NFL at all? Did they still think Moss was in Minnesota? I also have to say that I'm shocked the Cincinnati players were watching tape instead of robbing banks, hitting random women and children, and sleeping with 13-year-old girls.

    I asked last week if there was a point in compiling a write-up for New England's offense. Tom Brady, Randy Moss and company seem to do whatever they want. They actually failed to score 38 points last week, but they didn't have Laurence Maroney, so I'll let that slide. That does bring up a good point - the Patriots were missing their top running back, yet they were still able to score at will. Sure, they were playing the Bengals' defense, but the Browns aren't any better. Cleveland has only four sacks, three picks, and is ranked 25th against the run. I can't see anyone stopping the Brady-to-Moss connection, much less the Browns, who yielded six touchdowns to Carson Palmer.

    The scary thing about New England's 4-0 start is that the team beat each of its first four opponents by 20 or more without the services of Richard Seymour and Rodney Harrison. The latter returns from his suspension, which is the last thing the semi-upstart Browns need right now. Derek Anderson has played remarkably well. Jamal Lewis is shockingly gashing opponents at 4.9 yards per carry. Braylon Edwards is quickly becoming a top-tier No. 1 wide out. Kellen Winslow has 20 receptions for 367 yards. Yet, none of that matters because the Patriots have already shut down the likes of the Jets, Chargers and Bengals.

    I'm taking the Patriots until further notice. I don't care if Vegas sets the spread at 30. There's no stopping New England.


    The Psychology. Edge: Browns.
    The Patriots have the Cowboys next week, so they could be a little flat. There is a chance, however, that Cleveland's victory over Baltimore has New England's attention.


    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    Vegas won't have to make this line as high as they would have a week ago (mid 20s.) We still may be seeing our first 20-point spread since 2002. I don't think the oddsmakers can make this line high enough.
  • Percentage of money on New England: 65% (33,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
  • Crappy Quarterback: Derek Anderson is 2-1 ATS on the road.
  • Monday Might: Teams coming off a 17+ win on Monday Night Football are 24-14 ATS since 1999.
  • Patriots are 35-22 ATS at home under Bill Belichick.
  • Tom Brady is 86-25 as a starter (70-39 ATS).
  • Opening Line: Patriots -14.
  • Opening Total: 47.5.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Benjamin Watson, Patriots Defense.
  • Sit Em: Derek Anderson, Jamal Lewis.


    Prediction: Patriots 38, Browns 14
    Patriots -16.5 (2 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$200
    Over 48.5 (.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
    Survivor Pick (4-0)
    Patriots 34, Browns 17.



    Detroit Lions (3-1) at Washington Redskins (2-1)
    Line: Redskins by 3.5. Total: 46.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Redskins -3.5.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Redskins -3.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Redskins.
    Injuries: LIONS: OUT: S Daniel Bullocks. REDSKINS: OUT: OT Jon Jansen.

    I'm sure you've all seen the More Taste League commercials. I want to talk about the Commish. He's the authority on beer and has super-hot chick referees by his side, so he's the man, right? Well... I feel compelled to point out that he played one of the bosses who liked Michael Bolton in Office Space. I know he was just acting, but admitting you like Michael Bolton - on any medium, including acting in movies - is one of the worst sins any man can ever commit. Seriously, it's like saying you worship the devil or promote Michael Jackson's sexual endeavors. I may never buy Miller Lite ever again. I'm sorry, but I don't want to be associated with anyone who likes or pretends to like Michael Bolton.

    I can't believe these two teams are meeting in a crucial October contest that could determine one of the wild card spots in the NFC. When Jon Kitna predicted the Lions would win 10 games this year, no one took him seriously, including myself. However, Detroit is on pace for a 12-4 record, despite its gimmicky Hawaii Coast offense. They don't run the ball - or at least they pretend not to. I was shocked to see the Lions carry the ball 22 times last week, though they failed to garner a 4-yard average. I don't think Detroit's one-dimensional scoring attack will work against top-notch defenses. Sure, the team scored 37 against the Bears, but about half those points came off turnovers and on special teams. Plus, Chicago was missing half its secondary. Washington's stop unit is one of the league's finest. More importantly, they're actually healthy. Kitna should be able to score 17-24 points, but I don't think he'll get anything more, considering that the Redskins are capable of getting to the quarterback (seven sacks in three games) and containing aerial attacks (they give up 217 passing yards per contest.)

    I don't think we can take away anything that Detroit's defense did to the Bears last week. Brian Griese sucks; Cedric Benson is a fat bum; and Chicago's offensive line is old and slow. Instead, I feel it is more important to study Philadelphia's performance; the Eagles' offense, which has been mediocre at best in three of their four games, somehow put up 56 points against the Lions. In that contest, Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter trampled Detroit's defensive front at seven yards per carry. Donovan McNabb, meanwhile, threw four touchdowns and just five incompletions. Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts will pummel the Lions' sub-par front seven, setting up play-action opportunities for Jason Campbell. I don't think anyone in Detroit's secondary can keep up with Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El and Chris Cooley.

    Tough game to pick. On one hand, I hate laying 3.5, especially with an offense that isn't exactly lethal. On the other hand, I don't really trust the Lions to select them as a short road dog against a very solid squad. With the public backing the underdog, I'll take the favorite, although I'm lacking any sort of conviction.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No psychological edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    I think people are back on the Lions bandwagon. The Redskins are bland and are definitely not a public team.
  • Percentage of money on Washington: 51% (42,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Redskins.
  • Lions are 3-6 ATS on the road in 2006.
  • Opening Line: Redskins -4.5.
  • Opening Total: 45.5.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 84 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Jon Kitna, Roy Williams, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, Chris Cooley.
  • Sit Em: Tatum Bell.


    Prediction: Redskins 31, Lions 24
    Redskins -3.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 46 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Redskins 34, Lions 3.



    Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-2)
    Line: Jaguars by 2. Total: 36.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Chiefs -1.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Chiefs -3.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Jaguars.
    Injuries: JAGUARS: OUT: K Josh Scobee.

    Another commercial I want to talk about is DLP's latest ad. This one features the "It's the Mirror" girl helping some blurry football player out on the side of the road. The girl blows angel dust all over him, removing his blur feature. Then, some groupie in the background yells, "Go baby." I'm sure you've all seen it. First of all, I'm disappointed that DLP used some cheap, knock-off football player instead of a real one. What kind of company is DLP that they couldn't get Peyton Manning or Jon Runyan to do the ad? Also, what's up with the girl? She's been on TV for three years and hasn't aged one bit. Chris Henry's waiting for this girl to turn 13. C'mon, DLP, what's the hold up?

    Someone who doesn't need to age is Larry Johnson. After carrying the ball 416 times in 2006, holding out and getting paid, Johnson is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry this season. Granted, he gained 123 yards on 25 carries last week, but anything's possible when Norv Turner is involved. I'm skeptical; I need to see Johnson go over the century mark more than once. The Jaguars are 27th against the run, but that statistic is an aberration, given that they've been pretty stout against opposing ground attacks since Tennessee shredded them in Week 1. In fact, the Jaguars restricted Travis Henry to only 35 yards on 11 carries prior to their bye. If Johnson can't run effectively, Damon Huard will have to beat Jacksonville's secondary. Huard got away with some lucky throws last week, but I don't think it'll work this time; the Jaguars have 10 sacks in three games, so Huard won't have much of an opportunity to locate Tony Gonzalez and Dwayne Bowe downfield.

    After LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 114 yards in the first half last week, he touched the ball only three times in the third quarter. Jack Del Rio isn't dumb; if Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are pummeling Kansas City's defensive front at 4.4 yards per carry - which is what they're giving up on the year - Del Rio will keep feeding Taylor and Jones-Drew the ball. What a concept. Furthermore, the Chiefs also have to worry about David Garrard scrambling out of the pocket. Garrard has been efficient this season (three touchdowns, no picks, 64-percent completion rate), and I expect him to economically manage this game.

    Doesn't this line seem shady? The Chiefs just knocked off the Chargers on the road, yet they're home dogs to a Jaguars team that had problems with the Titans and Falcons? About two-thirds of the betting public seem to be taking the bait, assuming this is even a trap game to begin with.


    The Psychology. Edge: Jaguars.
    The Jaguars owe the Chiefs for knocking them out of the playoffs last year.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    I don't see why there wouldn't be equal action on this game. Both of these teams are coming off upsets against "superior" AFC West foes.
  • Percentage of money on Kansas City: 54% (40,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Chiefs.
  • Bye Bye: Jack Del Rio is 1-3 ATS off a bye.
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 24-45 ATS since 2006.
  • Chiefs are 14-6 ATS in October since 2002.
  • Opening Line: Chiefs -4.5.
  • Opening Total: 34.5.
  • Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 89 degrees. Mild wind, 15 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Jaguars Defense, Tony Gonzalez.
  • Sit Em: Damon Huard, Larry Johnson.


    Prediction: Jaguars 24, Chiefs 14
    Jaguars -2 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 36 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Jaguars 17, Chiefs 7.



    Miami Dolphins (0-4) at Houston Texans (2-2)
    Line: Texans by 5. Total: 43.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Texans -6.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Texans -7.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Texans.
    Injuries: DOLPHINS: OUT: S Yeremiah Bell. TEXANS: OUT: FB Jameel Cook, WR Andre Johnson*, WR Jacoby Jones*, OT Charles Spencer, S Jason Simmons, S Glenn Earl.

    I can't believe Ricky Williams is reapplying for NFL reinstatement. This guy's like the plague; he won't go away. Meanwhile, his agent, Leigh Steinberg is talking him up: "He's only 30 and could have six or seven more productive years," Steinberg said. "Because of how incredibly disciplined he is with his diet and training." Umm... what? Incredibly disciplined with his diet and training? Training for what, being able to smoke as many joints as possible before passing out?

    Williams couldn't have picked a worse time to stop smoking herb. Ronnie Brown has gained 200 or more total yards the past two contests. The problem with the Dolphins, as I've pointed out numerous times this offseason and preseason, is Trent Green and the offensive line. Green, who has been sacked seven times this year, has thrown seven picks to just five touchdowns. He's unreliable, old and inaccurate. Houston's fourth-ranked ground defense will stack the line of scrimmage, limiting Brown's running lanes and forcing Green into obvious-passing downs. The Texans have nine sacks this season - six of which are from Amobi Okoye and Mario Williams - so they should be able to limit Miami's mundane passing attack.

    I just got an e-mail saying the Texans would be 4-0 if Andre Johnson and Ahman Green didn't get hurt. I don't agree with Houston beating Indianapolis, but the team definitely would have knocked off Atlanta. Johnson is still hurt, though I don't think it will matter against Miami's pathetic defense. The once-proud stop unit is 26th against the run. It cannot get to the quarterback (five sacks) or stop the pass. Joey Porter is overrated. Jason Taylor is old, and Zach Thomas is injured and old. Houston will ram the ball down the Dolphins' throat, setting up play-action opportunities for the extremely accurate Matt Schaub.

    The Dolphins really suck, but I feel as though I have to take the 5.5. The Texans are still a young team whose top player won't be in the lineup. Covering 5.5 with the money on their side, against a desperate club could be too much to ask.


    The Psychology. Edge: Dolphins.
    Miami needs to avoid an 0-5 start. Unfortunately for them, they're battling a Texans squad that has dropped two in a row.


    The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
    I think this line is a bit low, considering that the public has finally realized how horrendous the Dolphins are. Vegas could be looking for people to take Houston.
  • Percentage of money on Houston: 61% (37,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Dolphins.
  • Zero Trend: 0-4 teams are 8-4 ATS vs. non-losing teams since 2000.
  • Zero Trend: 0-4 teams are 13-5 ATS since 2000.
  • Texans are 21-9 ATS after two or more consecutive losses.
  • Opening Line: Texans -5.5.
  • Opening Total: 42.
  • Weather: Retractable Roof.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Ronnie Brown, Chris Chambers, Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels, Texans Defense.
  • Sit Em: Dolphins Defense.


    Prediction: Texans 24, Dolphins 20
    Dolphins +5 (2 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$200
    Over 43.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Texans 22, Dolphins 19.



    New York Jets (1-3) at New York Giants (2-2)
    Line: Giants by 3.5. Total: 40.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Jets -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Giants -3.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: None.
    Injuries: GIANTS: PROBABLE: RB Brandon Jacobs*.

    New Jersey lawyers have filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of all Jets season-ticketholders who paid to watch the Patriots during the Bill Belichick era. "How many times have the Patriots done this? We find it hard to believe they did it just once," said attorney Carl Mayer. "I think the ticket holders are genuinely concerned about it. This is a type of misrepresentation."

    I hate when people sue each other for trivial things, including sexual harassment. I'm referring to the Isiah Thomas case. Is Isiah a slimeball? Of course. Did the woman whom he sexually harassed deserve $11 million? Definitely not. On that note, I have a plan. I'm going to dress up in a wife beater and short shorts (think Chevy Chase in Vacation), stand outside of a women's bathroom and attempt to be sexual harassed. I'll then sue for millions, move to Hawaii and lay on the beach every day for the rest of my life.

    in the mean time, I'll cover this game. Can someone explain this line to me? The Giants, for some reason, are 3.5-point favorites on a neutral field, despite being the inferior team in this matchup. All of this after 16-3 victory over a head coach too concerned about eating cheese steaks to give his rookie left tackle help with one of the elite pass rushers in the game. You have to love what defensive coordinator Steve Spagnola has done with this defense; he places some of his ends under the guard and center on passing downs. The obvious way to counter this is with draws and screens, something Reid apparently couldn't figure out on Sunday night. Eric Mangini, who seems to be more cunning of a coach, will ram Thomas Jones down the Giants' throat. And for some reason, I have a feeling Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery will have greater success getting off the line of scrimmage than Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown.

    This contest figures to be a shootout because I can't see either defense stopping the opposing scoring attack. To be more specific, I don't think the Jets could contain a high-school powderpuff team; they have three sacks and surrender more than 250 passing yards per contest. Eli Manning's stout offensive line will give him all the time in the world, allowing him to locate Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey downfield.

    As I mentioned above, this line is way off because the average bettor sees the Giants as the superior squad. They're not. Vegas had to favor the wrong side to cater toward public perception. Let's take advantage of this.


    The Psychology. Edge: Jets.
    The Giants have pretty much gotten their act together, coming off a very easy win over Philadelphia. The Jets, on the other hand, need a victory to avoid 1-4.


    The Vegas. Edge: Jets.
    Lots of people had the Jets against the Bills, so that means they lost tons of money. The Giants are the hotter team. The public will pound them.
  • Percentage of money on Giants: 90% (64,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Jets are 12-22-3 ATS as an underdog the previous 36 instances (5-5 under Eric Mangini).
  • Opening Line: Giants -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 41.5.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 82 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Chad Pennington, Thomas Jones, Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery, Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Jeremy Shockey.
  • Sit Em: Both Defenses.


    Prediction: Jets 27, Giants 24
    Jets +3.5 (5 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Incorrect; -$550
    Over 40.5 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
    Giants 35, Jets 24.



    Seattle Seahawks (3-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
    Line: Steelers by 6. Total: 40.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Steelers -6.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Steelers -5.5.
    Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Steelers.
    Injuries: SEAHAWKS: OUT: DT Marcus Tubbs. STEELERS: QUESTIONABLE: WR Hines Ward*.

    One more thing on the Jets. I found Chad Pennington's long-lost brother or son.

    Maybe it's just me, but I feel as though what these teams did last week was a bit skewed. The Steelers struggled, flying across the country and playing two coaches who were extremely familiar with their personnel. The Seahawks, meanwhile, easily vanquished the 49ers because Alex Smith suffered a separated shoulder and had to be relegated to the sideline 50 seconds into the game.

    Give Seattle credit though; the team managed to sack the surprisingly incompetent Trent Dilfer six times in the first half, a feat that would have garnered more coverage on ESPN if Osi Umenyiora hadn't single-handedly shattered Winston Justice's hopes of playing in the NFL for more than a few years. The Steelers have a far superior protection scheme and a much more elusive quarterback. Plus, Ben Roethlisberger's arsenal of Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Heath Miller is far more lethal than Darrell Jackson, Arnaz Battle and Vernon Davis. Willie Parker should eclipse the century plateau against the league's 19th-ranked run defense, allowing Roethlisberger to play-action Seattle's secondary to death.

    Unlike the Steelers, the Seahawks won't be able to run the ball effectively Sunday afternoon. Pittsburgh's sixth-ranked ground defense will restrict Shaun Alexander to less than three yards per carry. It also helps that Alexander is nothing more than a fat bum at this stage of his career, who is content to just sit on the turf when there is no running room available. Matt Hasselbeck will need to become pass-happy on obvious throwing downs, which could spell trouble against Dick LeBeau and the 14 sacks his front seven has accumulated this season.

    I love the Steelers in this spot; they're coming off a loss, while the Seahawks, who suck on the road, will have the daunting task of playing an early game on the Atlantic coast. Mike Holmgren has been horrendous in those situations (see numbers in the Trends section.)


    The Psychology. Edge: Seahawks.
    The Seahawks have waited two years to claim Super Bowl revenge. The Steelers just lost to the Cardinals and would like to bounce back.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Given that the Seahawks just clobbered the 49ers, and the Steelers lost to the "lowly" Cardinals, the public could be looking at what it considers a live dog.
  • Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 54% (45,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Steelers.
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 24-45 ATS since 2006.
  • Two Roads (Win): Current and '06 head coaches are 75-59 ATS on the road following a road win (Mike Holmgren 4-4).
  • Early Game Alert: Pacific Teams playing on the Atlantic Coast at 1:00 PM are 19-26 ATS since 2002 (Mike Holmgren 1-7).
  • Seahawks are 4-7 ATS on the road since 2006.
  • Matt Hasselbeck is 10-16 ATS off back-to-back wins.
  • Steelers are 20-7 ATS in October since 2000.
  • Steelers are 9-4 ATS in October home games since 2000.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 37-12 as a starter (31-18 ATS).
  • Opening Line: Steelers -6.5.
  • Opening Total: 39.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 83 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Willie Parker, Santonio Holmes, Heath Miller, Steelers Defense.
  • Sit Em: Shaun Alexander, Seahawks Defense.


    Prediction: Steelers 26, Seahawks 10
    Steelers -6 (5 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Correct; +$500
    Under 40 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Steelers 21, Seahawks 0.



    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) at Indianapolis Colts (4-0)
    Line: Colts by 9.5. Total: 45.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Colts -11.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Colts -11.
    Sunday, 4:05 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Colts.
    Injuries: BUCCANEERS: OUT: RB Cadillac Williams, OT Luke Petitgout, DE Patrick Chukwurah, CB Torrie Cox. COLTS: OUT: LB Rob Morris. QUESTIONABLE: RB Joseph Addai*, WR Marvin Harrison*, S Bob Sanders.

    We've reached the 4:00 games, so why not some baseball playoff predictions? I like the Phillies in the NL. Their lineup is unparalleled; they have the league's MVP, Jimmy Rollins, leading off; and with Jake Peavy and Chris Young gone, I'll take Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick over anyone else's top two. The bullpen struggled all year, but actually played considerably well down the stretch. Kyle Lohse's ability to pitch a few innings in relief also helps. Philadelphia over Chicago in five. As for the AL, I don't like the Red Sox or Yankees. The former is offensively inept, while the latter just doesn't have the pitching staff to contend. Plus, I have a feeling we may see an Alex Rodriguez choke job. Cleveland takes the AL. I love the Indians' offense, while C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona will dominate the opposition. Cleveland over the Angels in seven. The World Series? Phillies over the Tribe in six!

    The Buccaneers' revitalized defense has done a great job this year. They've limited the opposition to 174 passing yards and 11 points per game. They're without a doubt the best team in the NFC South. That said, the three teams they've beaten are the struggling Saints, the Orlando Pace-less Rams and the David Carr-led Panthers. Call me crazy, but Indianapolis' scoring attack is far superior to those three squads. The only type of defense that can slow down the Colts, who average 32.8 points per contest, is a 3-4 with outstanding rush linebackers. The Buccaneers' traditional 4-3 won't work, especially because Tony Dungy is extremely familiar with Monte Kiffin's Cover-2 scheme.

    Tampa Bay will need to keep up with Indianapolis to have a shot at winning this game. Jeff Garcia has been incredible this year - he has no interceptions, a completion percentage of 64.4 and a 98.9 passer rating - but I feel as though he and his lacking arsenal are a bit overmatched here. Do you honestly see Garcia, Michael Pittman, Ike Hilliard and Joey Galloway keeping up with Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark?

    A great trend that has made sharps a lot of money in the past favors Indianapolis. Check the Trend section out below. Also, while the public is on the host, 75-80 percent is actually low for the Colts.


    The Psychology. Edge: Buccaneers.
    This is Tampa Bay's chance to prove it's an elite team. The Colts just knocked off the Saints, 1-0 Titans, 2-0 Texans and 2-1 Broncos, so this could be a Let-Down Alert. That said, Tampa Bay's 3-1 record could have their attention.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    The public will always play the Colts. Just a fact of life.
  • Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 51% (42,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Colts.
  • ESPN Kiss of Death: Teams that receive eight of nine votes from the ESPN Experts were 24-45 ATS since 2006.
  • Two Roads (Win): Current and '06 head coaches are 75-59 ATS on the road following a road win (Jon Gruden 2-2).
  • Hello, Good Bye: Favorites of 6.5 or more are 23-3 ATS a week before their bye since 2002 (Tony Dungy 3-1).
  • Buccaneers are 6-16 ATS on the road after a win under Jon Gruden.
  • Buccaneers are 1-8 ATS off back-to-back wins since 2003.
  • Colts are 12-7 ATS vs. the NFC under Tony Dungy.
  • Opening Line: Colts -11.
  • Opening Total: 46.5.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Joey Galloway, Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark.
  • Sit Em: Buccaneers Defense.


    Prediction: Colts 34, Buccaneers 17
    Colts -9.5 (4 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Correct; +$400
    Over 45 (.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
    Colts 33, Buccaneers 14.



    Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
    Line: Ravens by 3.5. Total: 35.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Ravens -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Ravens -3.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Ravens.
    Injuries: RAVENS: OUT: OT Jonathan Ogden, DE/OLB Trevor Pryce, LB Dan Cody. 49ERS: OUT: QB Alex Smith*, DE/OLB Manny Lawson.

    A word on the whole Han Solo soccer thing. Well, before I begin, I have to note that I had no idea we even had a women's soccer team. And if I knew, I would have thought they'd be as bad as the men's squad. That said, how dumb is the coach? Why would he bench his top goalie in favor of a scrub backup in the championship match? I have no problem with what this Han Solo chick said after the 4-0 loss. Think about it this way: How would people react if Bill Belichick decided to bench Tom Brady in favor of Matt Cassel or Vinny Testaverde in the Super Bowl? Would Brady be correct in complaining about a 42-0 loss? Absolutely. I can't believe Solo was banished from the team. Our women's soccer coach - I don't even know his name - should be fired. Let's just hope he's not replaced by Norv Turner.

    Though they're not 0-4 or 1-3, the Ravens are just as disappointing as the Bears, Chargers, Saints and Eagles. They haven't even covered a game yet, thanks to six turnovers at Cincinnati, two backdoor covers by the Jets and Cardinals, and a horrendous performance at Cleveland. Steve McNair hasn't been the quarterback the Ravens were expecting when they signed him away from the Titans. He's thrown as many picks as touchdowns (2), while his yards-per-attempt number, 6.2, is among the league's lowest. It's actually less than Chad Pennington's, and all the Jets' signal caller does is throw 3-yard passes. Willis McGahee, despite averaging 4.7 yards per carry, has yet to gain more than 104 yards in a single contest. Brian Billick seems to have developed a Norv Turner-Mike Martz disorder; there's no reason McGahee should have been limited to just 14 rush opportunities at Cleveland. Billick needs to pound the ball with McGahee until his running back's legs fall off because McNair just isn't good enough anymore to lead his team to victory.

    That said, McNair is like John Elway when you compare him to how poorly Trent Dilfer played last week. The one-time Super Bowl champion committed four turnovers and was sacked six times in the first half. Baltimore's defense, though old and overrated, can still bring the heat against weak offensive fronts. Given that the 49ers have surrendered 15 sacks this season, I think they qualify under that category. I also wouldn't count on Frank Gore doing much; the Ravens are fifth against the run, and Gore is gaining just 3.7 yards per carry through four weeks.

    This may seem like a trap game, but it's not. The Ravens have opened up -3 and are now -3.5 in some books. Billick isn't the mastermind genius he makes himself out to be, but historically he's done extremely well in the latter end of a back-to-back road series (check the Trends.) That's good enough for me.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    Both teams are coming off inexcusable losses. The loser goes to 2-3.


    The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.
    Considering that the 49ers were ripped to shreds by the Seahawks, Baltimore could be another road favorite receiving tons of action. I think the public expects the Ravens to bounce back.
  • Percentage of money on Baltimore: 87% (33,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
  • Two Roads (Loss): Current and '06 head coaches are 89-63 ATS on the road following a road loss (Brian Billick 5-2; 11-3 regardless).
  • Ravens are 26-39 SU vs. non-losing teams since 2000.
  • Opening Line: Ravens -3.
  • Opening Total: 35.5.
  • Weather: Sunny, 70 degrees. Mild wind, 13 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Willis McGahee, Todd Heap, Ravens Defense.
  • Sit Em: Frank Gore.


    Prediction: Ravens 17, 49ers 3
    Ravens -3.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 35 (.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
    Ravens 9, 49ers 7.



    San Diego Chargers (1-3) at Denver Broncos (2-2)
    Line: Broncos by 1. Total: 42.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Broncos -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Broncos -3.
    Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Chargers.
    Injuries: BRONCOS: OUT: WR Rod Smith.

    After watching LaDainian Tomlinson rush for 114 yards in the first half, Norv Turner opted to go away from the 2006 MVP, giving him the ball three times in the third quarter. In my Week 4 Wrap Up, I offered A.J. Smith a simple, two-step solution to fix his team. 1) Fire Norv Turner. 2) Fill up a suitcase with $100 bills, get on your knees and beg Marty Schottenheimer to come back. But that's not going to happen. Poor little A.J. had one too many quarrels with Schottenheimer, so the stubborn GM had to fire the 14-2 coach. OK, let's try this out... Here's a simple, two-step solution for Tomlinson: 1) Tell Turner to beat A.J. in Chinese checkers, backgammon and Yahtzee. 2) Watch the relationship deteriorate, prompting A.J. to fire Turner and hire a more competent coach.

    It's so frustrating watching the Chargers play. It just doesn't make sense. Why wouldn't Turner keep giving Tomlinson the ball? Why is Philip Rivers scared to throw to the 2006 MVP? If Schottenheimer were coaching this squad, Tomlinson could be a threat to eclipse the 200-rushing yard barrier in this contest, given that Denver is 29th against the run. However, I'm not sure how many carries Tomlinson will receive. Five? Fifteen? Twenty-five? With Turner holding the clipboard, anything's possible.

    In my 49ers-Ravens preview, I mentioned that the Ravens have yet to cover a game. Well, the Broncos share that trait. Thanks to the multiple pieces SportsCenter composed this offseason regarding Denver's resurgence, they're one of the most overrated teams I've seen in recent memory. Seriously, what have they done to warrant being favored in this contest? They barely beat the Bills on Kickoff Weekend. It took them an overtime field goal to slay the Raiders the following Sunday. In Week 3, Jacksonville destroyed them at Mile High. Last Sunday, the Colts slaughtered them. The problem with Denver, offensively, is that Jay Cutler has more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4). Also, the Broncos are averaging just 1.8 touchdowns per contest; they move the chains efficiently, but often screw up in the red zone. I have to believe that trend will continue this week; Travis Henry will go over 100 yards, but Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips will force Cutler into a few errant throws in San Diego territory.

    I have a problem taking either side in this game. Will Mike Shanahan coach circles around Turner? Definitely. Do the Chargers need a victory more than the overrated Broncos? Without a doubt. I can't even tell you to fade the public because this contest is garnering about 50-50 action. I'm going to pick the best player on the field. Maybe he'll break a few long runs and win this AFC West battle, despite his coach.


    The Psychology. Edge: Chargers.
    Big game in the AFC West. Not much of a psychological edge for either side, although San Diego needs a win just a bit more.


    The Vegas. Edge: Broncos.
    The Chargers just lost their second straight game as a huge favorite. I think Joe Public is scared to bet on them.
  • Percentage of money on San Diego: 68% (33,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Broncos.
  • History: Home Team has won 9 of the last 12 meetings.
  • Broncos are 14-8 ATS at home when the line is -3 to +3 the previous 22 instances.
  • Broncos are 9-6 ATS in October home games since 2000.
  • Broncos are 3-13 ATS as a favorite since 2006.
  • Opening Line: Broncos -1.
  • Opening Total: 41.5.
  • Weather: Showers, 72 degrees. Mild wind, 15 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, Travis Henry, Javon Walker, Brandon Marshall.
  • Sit Em: Norv Turner, Travis Henry, Both Defenses.


    Prediction: Chargers 17, Broncos 16
    Chargers +1 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Under 42.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Chargers 41, Broncos 3.



    Chicago Bears (1-3) at Green Bay Packers (4-0)
    Line: Packers by 3. Total: 40.5.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Packers -3.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Packers -4.5.
    Sunday, 8:15 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Packers.
    Injuries: BEARS: OUT: DT Dusy Dvoracek, S Mike Brown.

    I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you to check out a song by Schmidty, a reader of this Web site who posts frequently on the forum. If you like hip-hop, I think you'll enjoy his new song, Lion of Judah. I liked it enough to ask him to e-mail me the mp3 so I could put it on my playlist. Check it out here.

    Did anyone find it funny that lightning and heavy rain delayed the start of the Dolphins-Raiders game? It's as if Mother Nature declared, "No! These teams suck! I refuse to watch these losers!"

    Speaking of losers, how bad is Brian Griese? I can't believe people actually thought he'd be an upgrade over Rex Grossman. I've been saying it for months; Griese is even worse than Grossman. He failed in Denver. He failed in Miami. And he was injury-prone in Tampa Bay. Griese gives the Bears no shot at winning this game, especially against a devastating defense on the road. The Packers' defensive line, which has nine sacks this season, should be able to get past a slow and old offensive line, forcing the erratic signal caller into more picks and fumbles. I don't think Green Bay's outstanding secondary will have a problem covering Bernard Berrian and Mushin Muhammad, considering Griese won't be able to get them the ball. Chicago also won't have the luxury of a running game to lean on; Cedric Benson is a fat, top-five bust who is currently gaining only 3.2 yards per carry.

    Like the Ravens and Broncos, Chicago has yet to cover the spread. Just don't blame the defense. The Bears already have 16 sacks this year, so they may initially give Brett Favre a few problems. If Green Bay had a legitimate ground attack to turn to, I could say it would take some of the pressure off Favre. However, the Packers' two leading rushers have a combined 184 yards on 61 carries - good for three yards a pop. That said, I believe Green Bay could start scoring in the second half. Bears fans saw it against the Chargers, Cowboys and Lions - their stop unit gets too tired from being on the field the entire game. If Chicago's offense can't sustain long drives, Favre and the Packers will wear the Bears' defense down.

    One team ascending; the other descending. I know the public is on the Packers, but I just can't back Griese on the road. Maybe it's time for Kyle Orton - his arm sucks, but at least he doesn't make mistakes.


    The Psychology. Edge: Bears.
    Same situation as San Diego-Denver. Chicago needs a victory a bit more, but Green Bay wants to slay its archrival.


    The Vegas. Edge: Bears.
    I think every football bettor is excited to bet the hot Packers against the struggling Bears.
  • Percentage of money on Green Bay: 86% (70,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Two Roads (Loss): Current and '06 head coaches are 89-63 ATS on the road following a road loss.
  • History: Bears have won 4 of the last 6 meetings.
  • Crappy Quarterback: Brian Griese is 3-6 ATS on the road.
  • Opening Line: Packers -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 41.5.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 69 degrees. Light wind.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Donald Driver, Packers Defense.
  • Sit Em: Brian Griese, Cedric Benson, Brandon Jackson, DeShawn Wynn.


    Prediction: Packers 23, Bears 10
    Packers -3 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 40.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Bears 27, Packers 20.



    Dallas Cowboys (4-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-3)
    Line: Cowboys by 11. Total: 45.

    Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 4): Cowboys -7.
    Walt's Projected Line (After Week 4): Cowboys -7.
    Monday, 8:30 ET - Buy Tickets

    The Game. Edge: Cowboys.
    Injuries: COWBOYS: OUT: WR Terry Glenn, NT Jason Ferguson, DT Tank Johnson. BILLS: OUT: QB J.P. Losman, WR Peerless Price, TE Kevin Everett, DE Ryan Denney, LB Paul Posluszny, CB Jason Webster.

    Look, there's no point in breaking this game down in terms of matchups. I'm not going to waste anyone's time here, because it's clear that the Cowboys are the better team. Let's look at this contest another way.

    Monday Madness: I can't remember the last time the Bills hosted a Monday Night Football game, can you? I can't even remember the last time Buffalo was featured on Monday night. I had to ask my future brother-in-law, Brad, an avid Bills fan, and he couldn't even remember. So, I had to look it up: This is the first Monday Night Football game in Orchard Park since... 1994! I can't believe it's been 13 years! I would have thought Al Michaels called a game where Doug Flutie or Rob Johnson hosted another team. Guess not.

    Why is this important? The crowd will be absolutely nuts in a very emotional contest for the Bills. Even though Buffalo doesn't have postseason aspirations, this is as close to a must-win the team will have the entire year; they won't want to disappoint their hungry fans.

    There is actual precedent for this. In 2004, the Bengals, who were off to a 1-4 start, were hosting a Monday night battle for the first time since the early 90s. They were playing the Broncos as seven-point home underdogs. One of the local newspapers ran a headline reading, "Please Don't Embarrass Us." No one gave the Bengals a chance. Yet, they pulled off an improbable upset, triumphing 23-10.

    "The Cowboys Are Going to Rip 'Em:" I asked my friend Chris to give me his first impression of this game. He said, "The Cowboys are going to rip 'em." Later, when I talked to my dad about this matchup, he predicted a blowout in Dallas' favor. When I told him I was considering the Bills as a big play, he looked at me as if I belonged in a mental institution.

    In the world of sports betting, if everyone believes something's going to happen, the opposite usually occurs. Everyone thinks the Cowboys are going to slaughter the Bills. Well, everyone except myself and a few crazy Bills fans who live in isolated huts in the woods in western New York, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

    The Vegas: I have a section specifically for how the public is betting the game, but what's going on in this contest deserves special attention in that regard. As of Wednesday evening, 97 percent of the money in Vegas is on Dallas. That's not anything really special, however; we've seen high percentages before. The key thing to look at is the number of bets sportsbooks have received. As of Wednesday evening, 22,000 bets have been placed - that's 5,000 more than any game on this week's slate. If the Cowboys cover this massive spread, do you know how much money Vegas is going to lose? There's a reason casinos and sportsbooks make billions of dollars of every year. As I said in the previous section, if everyone believes something's going to happen, the opposite usually occurs.

    Are the Bills Really That Bad? The Bills are the first double-digit home underdog this year. Are they that bad enough to be guilty of that distinction? Let's look at it this way. The Cowboys were 13-point favorites over St. Louis last week. Adjusting three points from Dallas to a neutral field, and three more from the neutral field to St. Louis, the Rams would have been 7-point home dogs last week. Are the 0-4 Rams three points better than 1-3 Buffalo, who just knocked off the Jets? When the Bills were 0-3, I wrote that they were underrated. On Kickoff Sunday, they nearly knocked off the Broncos, losing by one, 15-14. The following game, coming off an emotionally draining Kevin Everett-laden week, Buffalo hung tough, trailing Pittsburgh 9-0 until late in the second quarter. In Week 3, the Bills were shellacked by the Patriots, but actually led until close to halftime, 7-3. And last Sunday, Buffalo beat the Jets, thanks to an impressive performance by rookie quarterback Trent Edwards.

    I think the public is looking at the Bills' record, rather than how they lost their first three games. The team also has a history of starting slow and finishing hot under Dick Jauron; Buffalo was 5-4 after losing to the Jets, Bears, Lions and Patriots twice last year. Their 2-5 start to the 2006 campaign was a byproduct of playing four playoff squads. Sound familiar? Denver, Pittsburgh and New England all currently lead their respective divisions.

    Circled Game: I circled this game as soon as the schedule came out. I printed out the slate and quickly jotted down, "If Cowboys 4-0, Bills losing record, Bills win." I knew the public was going to pound Dallas. I figured the emotional, raucous crowd would carry Buffalo to victory. I was aware that the Bills would be underrated after playing three tough opponents. And, to top it off, the Cowboys could have one eye on next week's matchup against New England.

    My Pick of the Month: I know I got my September Pick of the Month wrong. I was considering Arizona and San Francisco. Enough people told me to lay off the Cardinals against the "unstoppable" Steelers. I listened, and predicted that the 49ers would beat the Seahawks, 21-14. Well, Alex Smith went down 50 seconds into the game, and Seattle won convincingly. Meanwhile, Arizona upset Pittsburgh. The score? 21-14.

    This is my October Pick of the Month. Betting football is all about finding spots, and this happens to be a great one for Buffalo.


    The Psychology. Edge: Bills.
    No one on the Cowboys is going to take the Bills seriously. But this is a huge game for Buffalo; the city hasn't hosted a Monday night game in ages. The crowd's going to be pumped and ready to will their Bills to victory.


    The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
    The line may seem high, but c'mon, America's Team versus crappy Buffalo? Tony Romo against Trent Edwards? The public will be pounding Dallas.
  • Percentage of money on Dallas: 90% (190,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Hello, Good Bye: Underdogs of 6.5 or more are 17-10 ATS a week before their bye since 2002.
  • Tony Romo is 9-4 ATS as a starter.
  • Tony Romo is 5-1 ATS on the road.
  • Bills are 5-12 ATS in their last 17 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Bills are 10-5 ATS as a dog under Dick Jauron.
  • Opening Line: Cowboys -10.
  • Opening Total: 44.
  • Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 64 degrees. Mild wind, 11 mph.


    Fantasy Spin.
  • Start Em: Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, Patrick Crayton, Jason Witten, Trent Edwards, Lee Evans.
  • Sit Em: Both Defenses.


    Prediction: Bills 24, Cowboys 14
    Bills +11 (8 Units - October Pick of the Month) -- Correct; +$800
    Under 45 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Cowboys 25, Bills 24.


    Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks
    A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week
    (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted whenver winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.


  • Anti-Public Parlay: Panthers +4 (bought 0.5), Rams +4 (bought 0.5), Jets +4 (bought 0.5), 49ers +4 (bought 0.5), Bears +4 (bought 0.5), Bills +11 (bought 0.5) (.5 Units to win 18.5) -- Incorrect; -$50
  • Live Dog: - Panthers +165 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$165
  • Live Dog: - Jets +170 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$100
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Marshawn Lynch +500 - Lynch will be the opening-day starter for the Bills and will have the luxury of running behind a huge offensive line. Running backs make the quickest transition into the NFL, and Lynch is the only rookie who's guaranteed a starting gig. (1 Unit)
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Field +700 - James Jones? Jacoby Jones? Who knows, Marques Colston came out of nowhere last year. (1 Unit)
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jamaal Anderson +1400 - Unlike Gaines Adams, Jamaal Anderson will be starting on Day 1. With teams concerned about John Abraham, Anderson seems like he could be poised for a double digit-sack campaign. (1 Unit)
  • Odds to Win Super Bowl: Patriots 5/2 - Not great odds, but they'll get the job done. (1 Unit)
  • Odds to Win Super Bowl: Steelers 22/1 - Getting a great deal here. (.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Chiefs Under 7.5 -155 - Larry Johnson will get hurt, the defense will suck and Herm Edwards will lose his mind. (1.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Dolphins Under 7 -125 - I've talked about the Dolphins plenty of times already. (1.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Steelers Over 9 -105 - The Steelers went 8-8 with a damaged Ben Roethlisberger. No way they win less than 10 this season. (1.5 Units)
  • Regular Season Wins: Giants Under 8 -165 - No way they get to 8-8 this year. (1.5 Units)
  • Player Prop: Larry Johnson Under 1,700 Total Rushing Yards - Since Eric Dickerson, no running back who has carried the ball 385 or more times has finished in the top 10 in rushing. Johnson had 416 carries, the most in the history of the NFL. (2 Units)
  • Player Prop: Wes Welker Over 675 Total Receiving Yards - Wes Welker has been Tom Brady's new go-to-guy in training camp and preseason. I'm expecting a big year from him. (2 Units)
  • More prop picks will be listed here.



    Second-Half Bets
    Check back at halftime to see if I have any plays posted.

  • Bills +10.5 -120 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100



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    Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 7, 2014): 10-4-1 (+$330)
    Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 7, 2014): 3-0 (+$700)
    Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 7, 2014): 1-1 (-$40)
    Last Week Over-Under (Week 7, 2014): 9-6 ($0)
    Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 7, 2014): -$220

    2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 1-1, 50.0% (+$370)

    2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 59-57-6, 50.9% (-$935)
    2014 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 23-18, 56.1% (+$770)
    2014 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 3-6-1, 33.3% (-$1,330)
    2014 Season Over-Under: 59-45-1, 56.7% ($0)
    2014 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$690

    1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%)
    2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%)
    2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%)
    2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%)
    2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%)
    2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%)
    2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%)
    2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%)
    2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550)
    2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620)
    2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370)
    2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080)
    2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925)
    2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760)
    2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580)

    2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%)
    2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%)
    2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%)
    2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%)
    2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%)
    2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110)
    2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510)
    2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260)
    2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180)
    2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715)
    2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130)
    2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890)

    2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%)
    2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%)
    2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%)
    2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%)
    2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%)
    2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420)
    2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055)
    2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330)
    2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790)
    2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260)
    2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650)
    2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970)

    2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%)
    2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%)
    2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%)
    2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%)
    2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%)
    2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%)
    2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900)
    2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860)
    2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195)
    2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5)
    2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135)
    2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30)
    2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340)

    2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035
    2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775
    2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865
    2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200
    2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590
    2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685
    2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245

    2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%)
    2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400)
    2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720)
    2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640)
    2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810)
    2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870)
    2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560)
    2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900)

    Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,073-1,901-116, 52.2% (+$11,480)
    Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 667-601-31 (52.6%)
    Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 279-240-11 (53.8%)
    Career Over-Under: 1,600-1,582-47 (50.3%)
    Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-14-1 (61.1%)
    Career NFL Picks of the Month: 30-16 (65.2%)



    My Team-by-Team ATS Record
    This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.

    Cowboys: 2-5
    Bears: 3-4
    Bucs: 4-2
    49ers: 3-3
    Eagles: 3-3
    Lions: 2-4
    Falcons: 3-4
    Cardinals: 2-4
    Giants: 2-5
    Packers: 4-2
    Panthers: 2-5
    Rams: 3-3
    Redskins: 4-3
    Vikings: 5-2
    Saints: 2-3
    Seahawks: 3-3
    Bills: 3-4
    Bengals: 2-4
    Colts: 4-3
    Broncos: 4-2
    Dolphins: 5-0
    Browns: 3-1
    Jaguars: 3-4
    Chargers: 2-5
    Jets: 4-3
    Ravens: 2-4
    Texans: 5-2
    Chiefs: 4-1
    Patriots: 4-3
    Steelers: 3-4
    Titans: 4-2
    Raiders: 3-3
    Divisional: 12-14 (2011-13: 141-137)
    2x Game Edge: 7-6 (2011-13: 55-62)
    2x Psych Edge: 6-12 (2011-13: 92-80)
    2x Vegas Edge: 14-14 (2011-13: 129-142)
    2x Trend Edge: 12-8 (2011-13: 72-78)
    Double Edge: 3-5 (2011-13: 27-33)
    Triple Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 2-1)
    Quad Edge: 0-0 (2011-13: 0-0)

    2003 Preseason: 3 | 4 | 5
    2003 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 20 | XXXVIII
    2004 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2004 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XXXIX
    2005 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2005 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XL
    2006 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2006 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLI
    2007 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2007 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLII |
    2008 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2008 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIII |
    2009 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIV |
    2010 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2010 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLV |
    2011 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2011 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLVI |
    2012 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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    Super Bowl XLVIII NFL Pick 2014 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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