I'm glad to see the dissertation I wrote on the Bills-Cowboys game didn't go to waste. I enjoyed my Week 5, going
11-3 against the spread and nailing my October Pick of the Month. I just hope I can repeat what I did last Sunday. If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ
Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-3)
Line: Bengals by 3. Total: 42.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5):
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5):
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Chiefs.
OUT: RB Chris Perry, WR Chris Henry, DE Frostee Rucker, LB Odell Thurman, LB David Pollack, LB Rashad Jeanty.
The following is a conversation that is likely to happen during FOX's pre-game show:
I like the Chargers in this matchup. LaDainian Tom... hey wait a second, you're getting the wrong side of my beautiful face with that
camera angle. Let's try placing it over here... Terry Bradshaw:
Dang nabit I ain't never seen no doggone camera in my life since I became 28 yeez
old and started playin' for the Steelers. Yeehaw! Long:
Yeah, that's it. Oh no, now my makeup's running. Jimmy, you say something while I get more
mascara. Jimmy Johnson:
The Cowboys will win. Now that I've said that, let me point out that I'm boring and have nothing interesting to say, so I'm
going to drone for five more minutes until our audience either changes the channel or falls asleep because no one has watched this show since we fired Cris
Collinsworth and Jimmy Kimmel. Bradshaw:
Dang nab that Collinsworth he so doggone borin' ain't no one ever paid attention to him and that Jimmy
Kimmel man always tellin' jokes I don't get. Here's a joke for all y'all. Knock knock? Who dis? Orange? Orange what? Orange juice! Ha! Terry Bradshaw show
don't need no Kimmel!
It's amazing how quickly everyone forgets things. Two weeks ago, the Chiefs went into San Diego and beat the Chargers. Easily one of the most impressive
wins of the year. Last Sunday, they were 2-point underdogs to one of the best teams in the league; the Jaguars dominated the Broncos in Denver earlier this
season. Jacksonville beat the Chiefs, who kept things interesting until late in the fourth quarter. Now, Kansas City is an even bigger dog to the Bengals,
who, in my opinion, are worse than the Jaguars.
Of course you can't blame the oddsmaker; he's just catering to public perception. I think most people consider this a must-win for Cincinnati. I've recently
started to believe that if a team needs a victory, they weren't that good to begin with. Besides, I'm not sure about the psyche of this Bengals squad;
Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer were bickering on the sideline two weeks ago, prompting Marvin Lewis to go berserk after the game, threatening to kick all
of the selfish players off the team.
Are the Bengals that much better than the Chiefs anyway? They won't be able to run the ball - Rudi Johnson is averaging 3.1 yards per carry this year, which
will force Palmer to beat Kansas City's secondary with his Pro Bowl wide outs. Problem is, the Chiefs aren't as weak against the pass as they are versus
opposing ground attacks; they get to the quarterback (15 sacks) and limit aerial attacks pretty well (174 passing yards per contest). Meanwhile, Cincinnati's
defense is renowned for its ineptness. The unit cannot contain the run (ranked dead last in the NFL) or the pass (250 yards per game), and definitely lack
the ability to accumulate sacks (4). Larry Johnson, who ran like a school girl prancing through a flower garden last week, should have a rare 100-yard
The Bengals are a bit overrated and the Chiefs are somewhat underrated. Consequently, the line is off, in my opinion. There's tons of action on Cincinnati.
And, as a kicker, Herm Edwards, who isn't really good at anything in the Xs-and-Os realm, usually has his teams bounce back after losing a home game the
The Psychology. Edge: Bengals.
The Bengals have had 13 days to think about their blowout loss to the Patriots on national TV.
The Vegas. Edge: Chiefs.
The Chiefs are so bland. There won't be too many people wagering on Kansas City this week.
Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 84% (74,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Chiefs.
Two Homes (Loss): Herm Edwards is 3-0 ATS at home following a home loss.
Bye Bye: Marvin Lewis is 1-3 ATS off a bye.
Carson Palmer is 6-2 ATS as a road favorite.
Chiefs are 14-7 ATS in October since 2002.
Opening Line: Bengals -3.
Opening Total: 41.5.
Weather: Possible thunderstorms, 75 degrees. Mild wind, 17 mph.
Start Em: Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez.
Sit Em: Rudi Johnson.
Prediction: Chiefs 20, Bengals 17
Chiefs +3 (3 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$300
Under 42.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
Chiefs 27, Bengals 20.
Houston Texans (3-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1)
Line: Jaguars by 6.5. Total: 37.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Jaguars -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Jaguars -3.5.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: .
Injuries: JAGUARS: OUT: K Josh Scobee.
I really hope Travis Johnson is either suspended or fined for his actions in Sunday's game against the Dolphins. For those of you who missed it, Miami
quarterback Trent Green low-blocked Johnson below the knees, knocking the defensive lineman over. This collision forced Green into unconsciousness. It was
actually pretty scary - like Kevin Everett in Week 1, Green laid motionless on the field. Johnson got up, walked over to Green and shouted obscenities at
the lifeless signal caller. Johnson was also vehement after the game, calling Green a scarecrow with no courage. Aside from the fact that Johnson botched an
easy Wizard of Oz reference, he taunted another player who may have been close to death. He needs to be fined or suspended. And in other news,
Johnson will spend the entire week bashing orphans, people with cancer and the elderly, saying they have no brain like the Tin Man.
What is it with the Texans beating the Jaguars? The former swept the latter last year, despite being inferior in all phases of the game. Jacksonville is still
a solid squad, but Houston has improved tremendously. Big advantage Texans, right? Well, remember, San Francisco beat Seattle twice this year, only to see
the latter claim revenge in Week 4. So, big advantage Jaguars, right? Not really - Jacksonville is favored by seven, and I'm not even sure it can score
The Jaguars' M.O. is pounding the ball with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. This worked really well against the Broncos, Falcons and Chiefs, three teams
that are susceptable to the run. The Texans do not belong in that category; they are eighth against opposing ground attacks. Jacksonville will be forced to
move the chains with David Garrard, who will have to elude a decent pass rush (10 sacks).
Jacksonville's defense is also great at stuffing opposing runners in the backfield, though its statistics don't exactly show it. It is ranked 25th in the
league, a standing that is a byproduct of one bad week. Last Sunday, the Jaguars restricted the Chiefs to just one yard per carry. Matt Schaub will be
force to operate in long-yardage situations amid a hectic, 13-sack pass rush and one of the better secondaries the NFL has to offer. Andre Johnson and Ahman
Green's availability could decide the winner of this game.
The Jaguars are the better team if the Texans don't have Johnson and Green. If the two are present, these squads are about even. Still, I love taking a
touchdown or more in any divisional matchup because the coaches and players know each other so well. I'm also a big fan of fading Jacksonville as a favorite (check
the trends below). With the Jaguars potentially being distracted with their matchup against the Colts next week, Houston is looking like a solid play.
The Psychology. Edge: Texans.
The Texans are on an Emotional Win Alert in the wake of kicking a game-winning field goal against the Dolphins. However, they're playing a huge
divisional rival, so I think they'll be focused. Jacksonville, meanwhile, plays Indianapolis next week, so this is a Look-Ahead Alert.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
The Texans just lost to the Falcons, and nearly escaped Miami, so the public may pound the hotter Jaguars.
Percentage of money on Houston: 59% (70,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Texans.
History: Texans have won 4 of the last 6 meetings.
Texans are 8-16 ATS after a win (2-0 in 2007).
Jaguars are 3-9 ATS as a favorite since 2006.
Opening Line: Jaguars -7.
Opening Total: 37.5.
Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees. Light wind.
Start Em: Owen Daniels, Both Defenses.
Sit Em: Ahman Green, Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew.
Prediction: Jaguars 19, Texans 16
Texans +6.5 (3 Units - Money Pick) -- Incorrect; -$330
Under 37 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
Jaguars 37, Texans 17.
Miami Dolphins (0-5) at Cleveland Browns (2-3)
Line: Browns by 4. Total: 45.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Browns -4.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Browns -4.5.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Browns.
Injuries: DOLPHINS: OUT: S Yeremiah Bell. BROWNS: OUT: RB Jamal Lewis*, OT Ryan Tucker, C LeCharles Bentley, LB Willie McGinest.
The Dolphins are 0-5, but at least they still have some believers. On Sunday NFL Countdown, Keyshawn Johnson picked them over the Texans because, "I
like the Fins. I like what they're trying to do." Hmmm... so, trading for a 58-year-old quarterback, drafting an unproductive kick-returner way too early,
not replacing a Pro Bowl tight end, and not making any additions to an archaic defense is a good thing? Man, how is Miami not 5-0?
I was talking to my friend Chris this morning - the guy I briefly mentioned in my Cowboys-Bills dissertation, and I asked him whom he thought I should take
with my Week 6 Survivor Pick, Baltimore or Cleveland. He suggested the Browns because the Dolphins really suck (sound familiar?) On my forum, Egg agreed
with Chris: "With Trent Green being out, I'm not even sure Miami will win those 2 games you predicted." On my daily poll, Browns over Fins currently leads
Ravens over Rams. Maybe I'm missing something, but when did Cleveland become an elite team? Also, I could be way off here, but I don't see any sort of dropoff
between Trent Green and Cleo "Bacardi" Lemon (pronounce it Limon because it's more fun - trust me.)
The Browns still have one of the worst defenses in the league. They're 27th against the run, and Ronnie Brown has been tearing it up lately. Brown will
set up play-action opportunities for Lemon, who will be facing a 4-sack pass rush and throwing into a secondary allowing an astonishing 267 passing yards per contest.
I think the Dolphins may be able to put up serious points in this game, which isn't exactly a bold prediction because the team is 18th in the league,
averaging 19.4 points per game. The Browns surrender 30.4, good for 30th in the NFL.
Cleveland should be able to score as well. One of the many reasons Miami is 0-5 is because its aging defense is way too slow. The Dolphins aren't giving up
crazy passing numbers because everyone is simply running against them. Jamal Lewis, who is enjoying a semi-renaissance, will trample Miami's pathetic front
four, setting up play-action opportunities for the surprisingly effective Derek Anderson, who, despite three interceptions last week, played pretty well
against the best team the NFL has seen in at least a decade. I don't think anyone in the Dolphins' secondary can cover Braylon Edwards.
Betting football isn't about looking at matchups; otherwise Ron Jaworski would be hitting 80 percent against the spread. Betting football is all about
finding spots, and I think this is a good one for Miami. This game means more to the Dolphins because they're desperate to avoid an 0-6 start. The Browns
may have put all of their eggs in one basket for the Patriots game. They may take Miami lightly because they've never heard of Cleo Lemon. Plus, there's way
too much action on Cleveland. For me, it's the Dolphins or nothing.
The Psychology. Edge: Dolphins.
The Dolphins are desperate for a win at 0-5.
The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
Cleveland beat Baltimore and Cincinnati, and hung with New England. Expect tons of money on the Browns.
Percentage of money on Cleveland: 76% (78,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Dolphins.
Two Roads (Loss): Current and '06 head coaches are 89-64 ATS on the road following a road loss.
Crappy Quarterback: Cleo Limon is 1-0 ATS on the road.
Zero Trend: 0-5 (or worse) teams are 21-7 ATS since 2000.
Opening Line: Browns -5.
Opening Total: 43.5.
Weather: Partly cloudy, 63 degrees. Light wind.
Start Em: Ronnie Brown, Chris Chambers, Jamal Lewis, Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow Jr.
Sit Em: Both Defenses.
Prediction: Dolphins 27, Browns 23
Dolphins +4 (4 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Incorrect; -$440
Over 44.5 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
Browns 41, Dolphins 31.
Minnesota Vikings (1-3) at Chicago Bears (2-3)
Line: Bears by 4.5. Total: 37.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Bears -7.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Bears -10.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Bears.
Injuries: BEARS: OUT: DT Dusy Dvoracek, S Mike Brown.
Speaking of the mock FOX conversation I wrote way back in my first lead, I used to watch that pre-game show all the time until they got rid of Cris
Collinsworth and Jimmy Kimmel, so I don't know if they're factually correct anymore. I'm sure Terry Bradshaw has a blunder or two every week. I can't say
the same for CBS. At halftime of the Jets-Giants game last week, Shannon Sharpe was helplessly reading the highlight of the Lions-Redskins game when he declared, "Fjw4oj wfjwfeoj 33f fwef
wefwoeq wgk qo." Luckily, I had subtitles on. Translation: "There's a reason the Lions haven't beaten the Redskins in 20 years." I know I make factual
mistakes from time to time, but I'm never 30 years off! I really think CBS, FOX, ESPN and other networks should consider getting rid of most of their former
players who have nothing interesting to say, and inserting funny sports writers and football experts into their pre-game shows.
When this line came out, I was dreading the fact that I would be going against a lot of public money. I figured that because the Bears were coming off a Sunday
night road victory, everyone would load up on them, especially considering how low this line is. However, that's not the case. There aren't that many
people betting on Chicago. I have no idea why some people are betting the Vikings, and frankly I don't really care. Makes life easier for me.
Why would anyone place their hard-earned money on Tarvaris Jackson on the road? Do so few people realize how much he really sucks? He's extremely inaccurate
and the only thing he has going for him is his scrambling ability. The Bears' defense will eat him alive. Minnesota's specialty is running the ball, and
doing so should be somewhat effective against a 16th-ranked ground defense. However, given Jackson's lack of weapons at wide out and accuracy his arm has, I don't
think we'll be seeing the Vikings hit double digits until late in the game.
Despite his solid performance on last week, I don't think too highly of Brian Griese either. That said, he's a million times better than Jackson - and
he'll need to be on Sunday because Minnesota's defense is ranked first against the run. Not that it really matters because Cedric Benson hasn't done much
this year anyway. Griese will need to be sharp against a 12-sack pass rush and a turnover-happy secondary.
The Vikings haven't lost by more than a touchdown this year. However, that stat is a bit skewed because they played the Falcons, Lions (Jon Kitna was
out for half the game), Chiefs and Packers (at home). I have no faith in Jackson's ability to lead his team to victory against a great defense in a
The Psychology. Edge: Vikings.
The Bears are coming off a huge victory at Green Bay, which may have saved their season. This could be a Let-Down Alert.
The Vegas. Edge: Vikings.
Only a lunatic would take the Vikings with their offense. Many bettors will obviously be more inclined to take the Bears after watching them win on national
Percentage of money on Chicago: 67% (68,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bears.
History: Home Team has won 9 of the last 10 meetings.
Crappy Quarterback: Tarvaris Jackson is 0-0 ATS on the road.
Vikings are 13-22 ATS (7-29 SU) outdoors since 2001.
Opening Line: Bears -6.
Opening Total: 37.5.
Weather: Sunny, 64 degrees. Light wind.
Start Em: Adrian Peterson, Bears Defense.
Sit Em: Cedric Benson.
Prediction: Bears 20, Vikings 6
Bears -4.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
Under 37 (.5 Units) -- Incorrect; -$55
Vikings 34, Bears 31.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) at New York Jets (1-4)
Line: Eagles by 3.5. Total: 42.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Pick.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Eagles -1.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Eagles.
Injuries: EAGLES: OUT: G Todd Herremans, CB Lito Sheppard. QUESTIONABLE: RB Brian Westbrook*, OT William Tra Thomas.
Has anyone ever figured out why Andy Reid is horrible prior to the bye and undefeated after the week off? This is undoubtedly one of life's greatest
mysteries. On a local Philadelphian sports-talk TV show, Daily News Live, the anchor asked Jon Runyan about this phenomenon. Runyan joked, "If I
knew the answer, I could sell that information." Fortunately for Runyan, I can sell him my theory so he can profit off of it. Reid devours his opponents after
the bye because he spends his entire week eating Doritos and Oreos. Like spinach is to Popeye, Doritos and Oreos give Reid the power to beat other teams. As
for the game prior to the bye, Reid obviously spends too much time at the supermarket, preparing for his week of relaxation. So... how much are you willing
to give me, Runyan? Fifty thousand? A hundred grand?
In the wake of the Bears and Chargers both winning last weekend, the Eagles and Jets are the two teams guilty of underachieving the most this season. You
can pin that on a number of things, but I'd have to point to quarterback play before anything. Donovan McNabb, coming off an ACL tear, looks lost and
uncomfortable in the pocket. It doesn't help that his receivers can't get open. Chad Pennington is even worse; his weak arm already a factor, Pennington is
getting into a horrible habit of lobbing up passes like punts. Two of his three interceptions against the Giants came in this manner.
The winner of this contest will obviously be the team that sees its quarterback break out of his slump. I feel McNabb has a greater chance of doing so.
Looking at the three teams the Eagles have lost to, all of them have great defenses capable of putting pressure on the opposing quarterback. Green Bay,
Washington and the Giants were able to get to McNabb, forcing him into some sacks and errant throws to receivers who were unable to get open. Of those three, only the
Giants don't have a prolific secondary, but that was made up by the 12 sacks Osi Umenyiora and the rest of the defensive front accumulated two weeks ago.
The Jets have neither a solid pass rush (three sacks) nor a good secondary. Andre Dyson could be one of the worst starting corners in the NFL. It'll also
help McNabb that he may have Brian Westbrook and William Tra Thomas back; the former practiced on Monday, while the latter is listed as questionable.
Pennington's woeful dink-and-dunk offense is good for about two touchdowns per game, which won't fly with the Eagles likely to put up 20 or more.
Aside from Pennington's struggles, the Jets cannot run the ball (Thomas Jones averaging 3.3 yards per carry) or pass protect (12 sacks allowed). Brian
Dawkins will probably be back from a 2-week hiatus, making matters much more difficult for Pennington.
Reid is undefeated straight up, and 6-2 against the spread when coming off a bye. There aren't many more sure bets in the NFL than taking the Eagles after
their coach has had a week to eat food - I mean prepare for his next opponent. This would be a multi-unit bet if the public weren't pounding the visitor.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
Both teams are desperate for a victory.
The Vegas. Edge: Jets.
The Jets look so bad, maybe the public forgot how terrible the Eagles were two weeks ago.
Percentage of money on Philadelphia: 87% (74,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Eagles.
Bye Bye: Andy Reid is 6-2 ATS off a bye.
Jets are 12-23-3 ATS as an underdog the previous 37 instances (5-6 under Eric Mangini).
Chad Pennington is 15-6 ATS off a loss.
Chad Pennington is 3-7 ATS as a home dog.
Eagles are 20-13 ATS vs. teams with losing records since 2001.
Eagles are 6-15 ATS vs. AFC opponents since 2001.
Donovan McNabb is 24-17 ATS on the road since 2001.
Opening Line: Eagles -3.
Opening Total: 41.
Weather: Sunny, 63 degrees. Mild wind, 18 mph.
Start Em: Brian Westbrook, Eagles Defense, Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery.
Sit Em: Thomas Jones, Jets Defense.
Prediction: Eagles 24, Jets 14
Eagles -3.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
Under 42.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
Eagles 16, Jets 9.
St. Louis Rams (0-5) at Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Line: Ravens by 9. Total: 37.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Ravens -9.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Ravens -8.5.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Ravens.
Injuries: RAMS: OUT: RB Steven Jackson, OT Orlando Pace, CB Tye Hill.
RAVENS: OUT: OT Jonathan Ogden, DE/OLB Trevor Pryce, LB Dan Cody.
You know that Frank guy on FOX's pre-game show, the one who always makes fun of John Madden? I'm not sure if you've heard or not, but he has his own TV
show on TBS. If only that station actually ran commercials for it - imagine the possibilities!
This line confused me a bit until I realized what Vegas was doing. By making the spread so high, the oddsmaker has induced casual bettors to take the points
with the Rams. The general public has lost four consecutive weeks with the Ravens, who have gotten the majority of the money against the Jets, Cardinals,
Browns and 49ers. Everyone is frustrated. The average gambler is crying out, "F--- Baltimore! They can't score!" Everyone has decided
to fade them this week.
Bad timing. I believe Vegas is once again trapping bettors into taking the wrong side. Just think about what has happened with the Ravens the past four games.
In Week 2, they maintained a huge lead with their backup quarterback, only to see the Jets come back with a rookie signal caller who happens to be better
than the starter. The following Sunday, the same thing happened. The Cardinals backdoored with Kurt Warner. In Week 4, the Ravens lost to an upstart
Browns squad, and then followed it up with a slim, 9-7 non-cover victory over 49ers, who are really strong defensively.
So, you have to ask yourself: In the wake of all of their injuries, are the Rams in the same echelon as the Jets, Cardinals, Browns and 49ers? I'd have to
say no. St. Louis is decimated with key players on the IR. The team cannot pass protect with Orlando Pace out. It can't run the ball without Steven Jackson. It can't
throw the ball with Gus Frerotte at quarterback. Frerotte and Brian Leonard will be asked to get it done in a hostile environment
against a great defense. That's not going to happen. Conversely, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Ravens put up at least 24 on the Rams, who are 29th
against the run and 26th in points allowed.
With all that in mind, I can't make the Ravens a huge play because they're going against two really powerful trends. I can, however, make them this week's
The Psychology. Edge: Rams.
Like the Dolphins, the Rams are hungry for their first victory of the season.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
The Ravens can't score, while the Rams just really suck. Could be 50-50 action.
Percentage of money on St. Louis: 57% (48,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Rams.
Statfox Trend: Ravens are a home favorite that is coming off a 1-3 point road win. (Teams 16-34 ATS in that situation since 2000).
Crappy Quarterback: Gus Frerotte is 0-0 ATS on the road since 2003.
Zero Trend: 0-5 (or worse) teams are 10-2 ATS vs. non-losing teams since 2000.
Zero Trend: 0-5 (or worse) teams are 21-7 ATS since 2000.
Rams are 13-28 ATS in road games since 2001.
Rams are 7-20 ATS on grass since 2001.
Opening Line: Ravens -10.
Opening Total: 37.5.
Weather: Sunny, 70 degrees. HEAVY WIND, 20 mph.
Start Em: Torry Holt, Willis McGahee, Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, Ravens Defense.
Sit Em: Brian Leonard.
Prediction: Ravens 24, Rams 3
Ravens -9 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
Under 37 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
Survivor Pick (5-0)
Ravens 22, Rams 3.
Tennessee Titans (3-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)
Line: Buccaneers by 2.5. Total: 37.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Buccaneers -1.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Pick.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Titans.
Injuries: TITANS: OUT: WR David Givens, CB Pacman Jones.
BUCCANEERS: OUT: RB Cadillac Williams, RB Michael Pittman, OT Luke Petitgout, DE Patrick Chukwurah, CB Torrie Cox.
It's time for my "NFL Primetime Sucks Rant of the Week." I used to love NFL Primetime with Chris Berman and Tom Jackson. Now, the show sucks. This
week, it neglected to cover the 49ers-Ravens game. Furthermore, Merril Hoge said, "Terrell Owens is the most overrated receiver of our era." I'd tell Hoge
to lay off the crack pipe, but he's been saying the dumbest stuff ever for years. ESPN should just release a compilation CD of all of Hoge's stupid quotes.
The first track would go something like this, "Vince Young sucks. I hate the Eagles! Factor back! Vince Young sucks. I hate the Eagles! Factor back!"
Young's not doing so hot right now. Not only did he have to endure Hoge's incoherent rants, he threw three interceptions last week, two of which were completely horrendous. After the game,
Young seemed broken down and looked like he was going to cry. Accuracy has never been Young's forte; he scrambles elusively and wins games in the fourth
quarter. And there's nothing wrong with that.
With that in mind, how can you not like Young in an underdog role? That's what suited for. Well, actually, I think it's more like an underdog against
an inferior squad. The Buccaneers looked foolish trying to contain the Colts last week, and I feel they will have similar failure attempting to stop the
Titans. Tennessee, which boasts one of the top rushing attacks in all of football, will trample a small Tampa Bay front seven, ranked only 15th against
the run. The Buccaneers will not have an answer for Young, LenWhale White and Chris Brown.
Like Young, Jeff Garcia is also a winner. However, Garcia is a bit behind the eight ball in this situation, given that he's missing his top two running
backs, and he has no weapons at wide receiver, save for Joey Galloway. Tennessee's defense has been exceptional this year, ranking fifth versus opposing
ground attacks and getting to the quarterback pretty well (two sacks per game.) I don't see Tampa Bay having more than two scoring drives in this contest.
This seems a bit easy. I'm worried about the amount of money on the visitor, although 81 percent on a Tuesday evening can quickly turn into 65 percent by
Sunday morning. That said, I'm sticking with the Titans. Until Young stops winning games in the fourth quarter, I'll keep playing him as an underdog.
Unit Update: If this gets closer to 50-50 action, I'll add units to this pick.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
This is an early marquee matchup, and neither team will be looking ahead to anything. No psychological edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Buccaneers.
Both the Titans and Buccaneers were unimpressive last week. I don't see significant action on either side.
Percentage of money on Tennessee: 80% (86,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Titans.
Vince Young is 11-6 as a starter (13-4 ATS).
Vince Young is 7-1 ATS as a road dog.
Opening Line: Buccaneers -1.5.
Opening Total: 38.
Weather: Sunny, 87 degrees. Light wind.
Start Em: Titans Defense, Joey Galloway.
Sit Em: Titans Receivers, Earnest Graham.
Prediction: Titans 17, Buccaneers 13
Titans +2.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
Under 37.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
Buccaneers 13, Titans 10.
Washington Redskins (3-1) at Green Bay Packers (4-1)
Line: Packers by 3. Total: 40.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Packers -6.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Packers -4.5.
Sunday, 1:00 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: None.
Injuries: REDSKINS: OUT: OT Jon Jansen.
More grammar lessons from Emmitt Smith. I can feel the excitement!
1. "Wade Phillips have not had time to insert this."
2. "The Jets can only be disrespected by every team in the league" (what the hell does that mean?)
3. "Mike Martz have this offense rollin'"
Can anyone believe the Packers and the Redskins will be engaged in a contest that could determine seeding in the playoffs? Or, as Emmitt would say, "Has
everyone believe the Packers and Redskins will be engagin!" Well, given everything that's happened to Washington thus far, I can. Let's take a look at
the Redskins' season for a second. On Kickoff Sunday, they managed to defeat the lowly Dolphins by only three. The following Monday, they walked into Philadelphia
and beat down a fraudulent Eagles team. After losing a contest to the Giants in the second half, they rebounded with a monstrous blowout over the Lions.
Big deal. The Eagles destroyed the Lions as well, and they looked completely lost against New York the following week.
In the wake of Washington's blowout and Green Bay's inexplicable second-half meltdown against the Bears, this line is a bit off. Don't get me wrong; the
Redskins are a solid team, but the Packers are superior and have proven more. The oddsmaker has set the spread at only a field goal, knowing the public wants
to pound the visitor. This is a perfect opportunity to jump on Green Bay, who will look to avoid losing two consecutive games at Lambeau.
That said, don't look for too much offense from the Packers. Washington's defense, ranked fourth in points allowed per contest (13.0) and 11th against
the run, has generated three sacks per game. Brett Favre, who won't have the luxury of DeShawn Wynn pummeling the
middle of the defensive line for 8-yard gains this week, will have to fit the ball into some tight spots. Shawn Springs, Carlos Rogers, Sean Taylor and LaRon
Landry will have something to say about that.
I don't expect Washington's offense to be as productive as it was against the Lions. But that goes without saying. Jason Campbell will have to elude a
12-sack defensive front that complements two outstanding cornerbacks and three very productive linebackers. And it's not like Campbell has the best weapons
in the world to work with. Chris Cooley is a great tight end, but Santana Moss is banged up and Antwaan Randle El won't have much luck getting open like
he did against the Lions. Washington cannot afford to abandon its ground game; the Packers are 18th when it comes to tackling running backs.
The public is on the Redskins, simply for the reason I described a few paragraphs above. There's value with Green Bay, and I'm going to take it.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
A big game between NFC Champion contenders. Both will be bringing it.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
I think the average bettor still sees the Packers as a top-tier team. They'll probably get a lot of action again.
Percentage of money on Washington: 56% (75,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Opening Line: Packers -3.
Opening Total: 41.
Weather: Sunny, 60 degrees. Light wind.
Start Em: Clinton Portis, Chris Cooley, Donald Driver.
Sit Em: Antwaan Randle El, DeShawn Wynn.
Prediction: Packers 17, Redskins 10
Packers -3 (1 Unit) -- Push; -$10
Under 40.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
Packers 17, Redskins 14.
Carolina Panthers (3-2) at Arizona Cardinals (3-2)
Line: Cardinals by 6. Total: 39.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Cardinals -3.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Cardinals -2.5.
Sunday, 4:05 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Cardinals.
Injuries: PANTHERS: OUT: QB Jake Delhomme. QUESTIONABLE: QB David Carr*. CARDINALS: OUT: QB Matt Leinart, OT Oliver Ross.
A funny quote by Steve Young after Dallas' inexplicable, last-second, 25-24 victory over the Bills on Monday night: "It may take the Bills a long time to
recover from this loss. Actually, the Bills may not EVER recover from this loss." Ever? Ever!? I can see it now. Thirty years in the future, ESPN runs a
"Where Are They Now" special on Trent Edwards, who's drinking liquor and eating his own feces by a dumpster, mumbling, "If only we recovered that onside
kick. If only Nick Folk missed that kick. If only I didn't throw that dumb pick." Hey, at least he rhymes.
When it was announced that Jake Delhomme would be out for the year, you could hear thousands of gun shots sound across the country. Those were Steve Smith
fantasy owners killing themselves. Smith caught just one pass from David Carr in the first half against the Cardinals last week. That's pathetic. What's even
more embarrassing are Carr's statistics. He's completing only 51.6 percent of his passes, and he's already been sacked as many times as Jake Delhomme has
(5) despite starting one less game. At least DeShaun Foster is productive (groan). Arizona's stop unit, ranked 14th against the run, will stack the line
of scrimmage and keep two defenders on Smith, forcing Carr to look elsewhere. Unfortunately, Carolina has no other weapons on its offense.
From one struggling signal caller to the next, Matt Leinart can now at least not worry about sharing snaps with Kurt Warner. Leinart's season-ending injury could be the best thing that happened to Arizona, given that Warner
is the more effective quarterback when he has protection. The Cardinals' offensive front has yielded only five sacks this year, which matches up well
with Carolina's defensive front having two sacks. With all day to throw, Warner will dissect the Panthers' putrid secondary.
I made it sound as if I like the Cardinals, but that's not the case. I like Carolina for a number of reasons. First of all, Arizona is facing the
troublesome StatFox Trend. Secondly, there's way too much money on the favorite. Thirdly, I love taking the Panthers as an underdog. They simply thrive
in that role, for whatever reason. And finally, I don't think the Cardinals are good enough to be a 4-point favorite over a solid team, even if its
quarterback boasts a women's haircut.
Saturday Night Note: Carr has been downgraded to questionable. I'm not going to put my hard-earned money on Matt Moore or Vinny Testaverde, but I still like Carolina. Decrease this to
The Psychology. Edge: Cardinals.
Definitely an Emotional Win Alert for the Panthers; they're coming off a game-winning field goal as a road underdog with no time left on the clock.
The Vegas. Edge: Panthers.
I don't think anyone believes in David Carr at this point.
Percentage of money on Arizona: 87% (62,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Panthers.
Statfox Trend: Cardinals are a home favorite that is coming off a 1-3 point road win. (Teams 16-34 ATS in that situation since 2000).
Two Roads (Loss): Current and '06 head coaches are 89-64 ATS on the road following a road loss (John Fox 2-5).
Panthers are 23-11 ATS as an underdog the previous 34 instances.
Opening Line: Cardinals -3.5.
Opening Total: 40.
Start Em: Steve Smith, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald.
Sit Em: DeShaun Foster, DeAngelo Williams, Edgerrin James, Both Defenses.
Prediction: Panthers 24, Cardinals 23
Panthers +6 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
Over 39.5 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
Panthers 25, Cardinals 10.
New England Patriots (5-0) at Dallas Cowboys (5-0)
Line: Patriots by 5.5. Total: 52.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Patriots -4.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Patriots -6.
Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Patriots.
Injuries: PATRIOTS: OUT: WR Troy Brown, DE Richard Seymour.
COWBOYS: OUT: WR Terry Glenn, NT Jason Ferguson, DT Tank Johnson.
The Patriots beat the Browns by 17. After the game, a somber Bill Belichick complained that his team made a lot of mistakes, played horribly and should have
lost. I repeat - he won by 17! Belichick looked like he wanted to run home, turn on the hot water in his bathtub and slit his wrists. That's why the
Patriots are going to win the Super Bowl this year. No, not the suicide of their coach - simply the fact that Belichick demands perfection and won't rest
until he gets it.
There's a huge disparity between these two teams. It's more than what we see on the field, and anything we can determine by just looking at the rosters. This year's
version of the Patriots expects to win every game. They had a poor performance against Cleveland, and still won by 17. Dallas, on the other hand, would
have lost to the inferior Bills if it wasn't for a recovered onside kick and a 53-yard, last-second field goal. I'm a big believer in Tony Romo, but at this
stage of his career, he's nowhere near Tom Brady. No one except Peyton Manning is. Brady is playing on a different level right now. He has 16 touchdowns and
only two picks, and he's completing 74.1 percent of his passes. The offensive line is doing its job - Brady has been sacked only three times. Laurence Maroney
should be back. And, of course, no one in Dallas' secondary can cover Randy Moss without worrying about Ben Watson, Donte' Stallworth and Wes Welker.
New England is giving up 13 points per game, which is scary because Richard Seymour has been out and Rodney Harrison is still getting into shape. The
Patriots have shut down the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, so the five-interception Romo shouldn't be
a problem, right? Well, as I eluded to in the previous paragraph, I think Romo is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. No one has scored more than
17 on New England this season, but if anyone but Indianapolis can do it, it's Romo, Terrell Owens, Jason Witten and Patrick Crayton. That said, I have
to favor Belichick in this matchup. You know he's been preparing for this battle for a few weeks. The Patriots' seventh-ranked run defense will shut down
Julius Jones and Marion Barber, forcing the still-green quarterback to beat them. I think Belichick has a few schemes and formations up his sleeve that
may give Romo some problems.
Everything I've learned over the years in the realm of handicapping tells me to take Dallas. There's tons of money on a road favorite facing
a home underdog that is coming off a poor performance. But I don't think any gambling lessons apply to the Patriots. As I've said on this Web site,
New England is like a Major League Baseball team playing in the minors. They're just that dominant over anyone. They've covered the spread in every game
this year, and I don't see why they stop now.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found, obviously.
The Vegas. Edge: Cowboys.
Some people believe the Cowboys were exposed as a fraud on Monday night. The oddsmakers may be forced to bump the Patriots up a point or two.
Percentage of money on New England: 91% (96,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
Monday Malaise: Wade Phillips is 0-2 ATS after Monday Night Football since 1999.
Patriots are 18-8 ATS vs. NFC opponents since 2001.
Tom Brady is 87-25 as a starter (71-39 ATS).
Tony Romo is 9-5 ATS as a starter.
Opening Line: Patriots -4.5.
Opening Total: 52.5.
Weather: Sunny, 86 degrees. Mild wind, 12 mph.
Start Em: Tom Brady, Laurence Maroney, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Ben Watson, Patriots Defense, Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, Jason Witten.
Sit Em: Julius Jones, Marion Barber, Cowboys Defense.
Prediction: Patriots 34, Cowboys 21
Patriots -5.5 (2 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$200
Over 52.5 (.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
Patriots 48, Cowboys 27.
Oakland Raiders (2-2) at San Diego Chargers (2-3)
Line: Chargers by 9.5. Total: 44.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Chargers -6.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Chargers -11.
Sunday, 4:15 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Chargers.
Injuries: RAIDERS: OUT: RB Dominic Rhodes, RB Michael Bush.
Jon Kitna has always been one of my favorite players. I've always loved his willingness to say anything. When the old Bengals, under Dick LeBeau, were
deciding between him and Akili Smith as their starter, he said, "I really hope they give this young guy a chance." Later in the year, Kitna declared, "You
know... sometimes it's embarrassing to tell people I'm the quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals." Prior to the 2007 season, Kitna predicted his team would
win 10 games, and that he would throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. With that said, I can't believe the story that came out of Detroit this week. Get a
load of this - Kitna has converted 20 of his teammates to Christianity. Twenty! That's almost half the squad! You know those whack-jobs who go door-to-door
and push their religious beliefs on people? They should hire Kitna. I guarantee he'd have half the population of America converted in just two weeks.
I think the Chargers converted a few people into believers with their 41-3 victory at Denver last week. Seriously, how impressive was that win? I'm just
glad Norv Turner finally came to his senses and decided to give LaDainian Tomlinson the ball as much as possible. Let's hope he doesn't resort back to
restricting Tomlinson to three touches per quarter. I don't think he will; Turner isn't a good coach, but he certainly isn't stupid. The Chargers match
up really well against the Raiders, assuming they stick with Tomlinson. Oakland is ranked 31st against the run, and Tomlinson has always dominated them,
rushing for 240 yards in their two meetings last year. Philip Rivers will have another great performance, capitalizing off play-action fakes and throwing
into a secondary surrendering 226 passing yards per contest.
Daunte Culpepper played well in Miami, and Justin Fargas was able to run all over the Dolphins, but let's be realistic here. The Chargers' defense is
a far superior stop unit. Though they're ranked just 21st against opposing ground attacks, they limited Travis Henry and Selvin Young to 3.8 yards per
carry last week. Assuming San Diego contains Fargas and LaMont Jordan, Culpepper will be forced into long-yardage situations. I'm not really sure what to
expect from Culpepper at this point. Nothing he did against the Dolphins really counts because they're one of the worst teams in the league.
I'm glad this game is garnering 50-50 action because I really like the Chargers. They fall under the Hello, Good Bye trend, which has worked so
well since the NFL went to its current bye system. Also, Turner, who coached the Raiders two years ago, may know a few secrets about his former team,
much like Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm did with the Steelers earlier this month. This contest is for first place in the AFC West. If San Diego were 4-1,
they would look past Oakland. But not in current state the AFC West is in.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
As weird as this sounds, this Chargers-Raiders matchup is for first place in the AFC West. San Diego has a bye, so it won't be looking past Oakland; if the team were 4-1 and not 2-3, it would be a different story.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
The Chargers are back. So is the public's money on them.
Percentage of money on Oakland: 50% (80,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Chargers.
History: Chargers have won the last 7 meetings.
Hello, Good Bye: Favorites of 6.5 or more are 24-3 ATS a week before their bye since 2002.
Divisional Dog of Seven: Current coaches are 43-30 ATS as divisional dogs of 7+ since 2002.
Raiders are 7-17 ATS vs. teams with losing records since 2001.
Raiders are 6-13 ATS in October since 2001.
Opening Line: Chargers -10.5.
Opening Total: 44.
Weather: Possible showers, 67 degrees. Light wind.
Start Em: Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates, Chargers Defense.
Sit Em: LaMont Jordan, Justin Fargas.
Prediction: Chargers 31, Raiders 10
Chargers -9.5 (5 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Correct; +$500
Under 44 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
Chargers 28, Raiders 14.
New Orleans Saints (0-4) at Seattle Seahawks (3-2)
Line: Seahawks by 6. Total: 42.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Seahawks -6.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Seahawks -6.5.
Sunday, 8:15 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Seahawks.
Injuries: SAINTS: OUT: RB Deuce McAllister. SEAHAWKS: OUT: DT Marcus Tubbs.
Baseball will likely be played while this game is going on, so it's time for some more of my dreadful baseball predictions. Last week, I said the Phillies
would beat the Indians in the World Series. Oops. The Indians defeated the Yankees, so I think I deserve a mulligan. I still like Cleveland over Boston;
the former has the better pitching at the top. The Indians have the stronger offense if you take out the two best players from each lineup. They also have the
superior bullpen. And, as a kicker, they can use their bugs to attack Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. In the NL, I'm going against the grain and picking
Arizona. I know the Rockies are hot, but they haven't played since Saturday. I can't imagine them keeping their momentum after such a huge layoff. In the
World Series, Indians over Diamondbacks.
The sad thing is, this contest will probably garner a higher TV rating than any non-Game 7 baseball playoff game. Not that Shaun Alexander's toilet-seat
rushing style or Drew Brees' one-touchdown-to-nine-interception ratio are all that exciting. In case you haven't been able to watch any Seahawks games,
Alexander isn't trying hard at all. If he can't find any running lanes to burst through, he seems content to just sit down on the turf, as if he has to go
to the bathroom. That should explain why he's averaging just 3.7 yards per carry. At what point do you cut him and trade for someone like Michael Turner?
Seriously - Alexander is providing nothing right now. The Saints are actually sixth against the run, so look for another 18-carry, 45-yard "effort" out
of Alexander. Matt Hasselbeck will have to beat New Orleans on his own, which won't be a problem, considering the defense has one sacks and a secondary
allowing big plays to everyone.
Deuce McAllister ran harder than Alexander last week, and the former didn't even play. McAllister's out for the year,
meaning the Saints will be asking Reggie Bush to carry the load. That didn't go so well against Carolina; Bush had 67 yards on 21 carries. Seattle is
susceptible to the run, but it doesn't even matter at this point. Brees needs to step up and stop throwing picks like a madman. The Seahawks have a front
four that has registered 16 sacks, and a 5-interception secondary, so they'll have something to say about that.
I picked against the Saints last week because like the Panthers, they're horrendous as a favorite. However, they thrive as an underdog. Just look at the
stats in the Trends section. If that's not enough to excite you about taking the touchdown, there will be a lot of money on Seattle, given the percentage
I've listed in the Vegas and the number of bets gamblers will place on a nationally televised game. Also, picking teams with an 0-4 record or worse is
generally a good proposition; both the Rams and Dolphins covered last week.
The Psychology. Edge: Saints.
Despite their loss to Pittsburgh, Seattle is still in good shape at 3-2. The Saints, meanwhile, will be trying to avoid an 0-5 start.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
I don't see the public giving the Saints much of a chance anymore.
Percentage of money on Seattle: 56% (68,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Saints.
Zero Trend: 0-4 teams are 10-4 ATS vs. non-losing teams since 2000.
Zero Trend: 0-4 teams are 15-5 ATS since 2000.
Saints are 35-24 ATS on the road since 2000.
Saints are 23-16 ATS as a road underdog since 2000.
Drew Brees is 25-16 ATS as a dog.
Drew Brees is 7-5 ATS off back-to-back losses.
Opening Line: Seahawks -6.5.
Opening Total: 41.5.
Weather: Partly cloudy, 60 degrees. Light wind.
Start Em: Marques Colston, Matt Hasselbeck, Deion Branch, Seahawks Defense.
Sit Em: Shaun Alexander.
Prediction: Seahawks 27, Saints 23
Saints +6 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
Over 42.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
Saints 28, Seahawks 17.
New York Giants (3-2) at Atlanta Falcons (1-4)
Line: Giants by 5. Total: 43.5.
Walt's Projected Line (Before Week 5): Giants -3.5.
Walt's Projected Line (After Week 5): Giants -4.
Monday, 8:30 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Giants.
Injuries: FALCONS: OUT: QB Michael Vick.
Don't worry - I haven't forgotten the Week 6 Look-Alikes.
I'm going to repeat what I did for last week's Monday night pick. I'm not going to go over the matchups because there's no point. Eli Manning is better than
Joey Harrington. Brandon Jacobs is superior to the archaic Warrick Dunn. The Giants have the better receivers and lines. The Giants should dominate this
game on paper, but that's why they're favored by the worst spread (3.5) in all of football.
Who's Going to Take the Falcons? Can you honestly tell me you know one person who likes the Falcons in this game? Everyone is on the Giants.
That would explain why as of Wednesday afternoon, 99 percent of the gambling public is on the visitor. There isn't an overwhelming difference in the number
of bets between this game and the others, as there was last week. However, a Monday Night Football game is still a Monday Night Football game - meaning
this contest will, in all likelihood, receive more action than any other matchup on the slate.
As we've observed last week, Vegas hates losing money. The public pounded the Packers and Cowboys, the two teams that received the most action in Week 5.
Both failed to cover the spread. Just think about it this way for a second. There will probably be 300,000 bets on this contest by Monday night. At least
90 percent of those will be on the Giants. If the average bet is $100, and New York covers, Vegas, a multi-billion-dollar industry, stands to lose
approximately $23.8 million on one night.
Monday Madness: We also observed how a crowd can will its team to victory, as the fans in Orchard Park provided their team with a huge spark against Dallas.
The Cowboys walked into a death trap and barely survived against an inferior opponent. It's a fact that fans are crazier at night - thanks to alcohol -
especially in a nationally televised contest. The Falcons also don't want to embarrass themselves in front of the entire world. The citizens of Atlanta
will be up for this game and ready to cheer their team to victory.
Are the Falcons Really That Bad? Atlanta lost to Minnesota in Week 1, 24-3, and everyone assumed the team would just fold. However, that
wasn't the case. The following Sunday, the Falcons hung with the Jaguars and even covered the spread. In Week 3, Atlanta led the Panthers for the majority
of the game. If it wasn't for DeAngelo Hall's 67 penalty yards on one drive, the Falcons may have won that contest. Atlanta achieved its first victory
the following game, impressively beating the Texans, 26-16. Last week, Atlanta once again covered, hanging with the Titans and losing by seven on the
road, despite Bobby Petrino's foolish decision to bench Joey Harrington in favor of the wildly inaccurate Byron Leftwich.
The Falcons are 3-2 against the spread (and probably should be 4-1 if it wasn't for Hall's meltdown), indicating that they're a bit underrated. I think
people automatically dismiss them because of what they went through this offseason, and the fact that Harrington is their quarterback. Which brings us to...
Does Harrington Suck That Much? I make fun of Joey Harrington all the time. I call him a caviar-eater and a piano-player, as if they were
the worst things in the world. Honestly, there are worse quarterbacks in the NFL (Kelly Holcomb, Tarvaris Jackson, Damon Huard, Trent Dilfer, Trent Green,
Cleo Lemon and perhaps Chad Pennington to name a few). Harrington actually has more touchdowns (4) than interceptions (3). His completion percentage is
very good (67.3). His passer rating is solid (87.3). And in home games this season, he's thrown for 584 yards, four touchdowns and no picks.
Harrington took 13 sacks the first two weeks of the season. Since then, he's only been tackled to the turf four times.
We've seen Harrington light it up on national TV before. With the Dolphins last year, Harrington torched the Lions, compiling 213 yards and three scores
on Thanksgiving. Harrington is actually bashed so much he's a bit underrated, as odd as that sounds. New York's secondary isn't anything special, so if he
gets pass protection - the line has done a great job the past three weeks - Harrington can put Atlanta into enough scoring positions to win the game.
How Many Units? Don't worry - this isn't another Pick of the Month or anything. I just like the Falcons a lot, and I thought writing
another dissertation would be fun. Actually it was pretty helpful. I was going to make this a 4-Unit play, but after writing this up, I'm taking the
Falcons for five.
Well, I guess I can say this was helpful as long as Atlanta covers. I just hope I didn't waste 40 minutes of my life.
The Psychology. Edge: Falcons.
The Falcons will be up for this game. The Giants, coming off three consecutive victories, could be in a flat spot.
The Vegas. Edge: Falcons.
The Giants appear to be unstoppable, while the Falcons look like a team that has Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich in their quarterback rotation. This is going to be another road favorite getting tons of money.
Percentage of money on NY Giants: 91% (180,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
MNF Home Dogs: Monday Night Football home underdogs are 5-4 ATS since 2006.
MNF Home Advantage: Monday Night Football home teams are 13-9 ATS since 2006.
Opening Line: Giants -3.5.
Opening Total: 43.
Start Em: Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Shockey, Joey Harrington, Roddy White, Alge Crumpler.
Sit Em: Giants Defense, Warrick Dunn, Jerious Norwood.
Prediction: Falcons 27, Giants 25
Falcons +5 (5 Units - Double Money Pick) -- Incorrect; -$550
Over 43.5 (.5 Units) -- Incorrect; -$55
Giants 31, Falcons 10.
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 +6, Dolphins +4, Chiefs +3, Falcons +4 (bought 0.5) (.5 Units to win 5.6) -- Incorrect; -$50
Teaser: Bears +1.5 & Patriots +0.5 - Both teams should win. (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
Live Dog: - Texans +230 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$100
Live Dog: - Dolphins +175 (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.
Check back at halftime to see if I have any plays posted. All plays are 2 Units unless noted.
Redskins +3 -140 -- Incorrect; +$290
Chiefs +3.5 -130 -- Incorrect; -$260
Patriots -1.5 -130 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
Saints +7 -120 -- Push; -$40
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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)
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)
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)
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
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)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,439-2,243-141, 52.1% (+$9,115)
Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 785-703-37 (52.8%)
Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 329-292-18 (53.0%)
Career Over-Under: 1,945-1,903-54 (50.4%)
Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%)
Career NFL Picks of the Month: 36-22 (62.1%)
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.
Cowboys: 9-8 (2014-15: 14-19)
Bears: 5-10 (2014-15: 14-17)
Bucs: 8-8 (2014-15: 18-14)
49ers: 11-5 (2014-15: 21-10)
Eagles: 7-9 (2014-15: 16-16)
Lions: 7-9 (2014-15: 19-13)
Falcons: 11-7 (2014-15: 17-15)
Cardinals: 10-6 (2014-15: 14-21)
Giants: 8-7 (2014-15: 14-17)
Packers: 11-6 (2014-15: 20-15)
Panthers: 11-4 (2014-15: 15-22)
Rams: 8-7 (2014-15: 16-15)
Redskins: 6-10 (2014-15: 20-13)
Vikings: 8-8 (2014-15: 20-13)
Saints: 12-4 (2014-15: 13-17)
Seahawks: 11-7 (2014-15: 16-19)
Bills: 10-6 (2014-15: 14-15)
Bengals: 3-12 (2014-15: 13-19)
Colts: 7-8 (2014-15: 14-18)
Broncos: 6-10 (2014-15: 18-13)
Dolphins: 10-6 (2014-15: 18-13)
Browns: 5-9 (2014-15: 16-13)
Jaguars: 6-9 (2014-15: 12-19)
Chargers: 8-8 (2014-15: 17-15)
Jets: 7-7 (2014-15: 17-14)
Ravens: 6-8 (2014-15: 17-15)
Texans: 11-6 (2014-15: 12-20)
Chiefs: 11-6 (2014-15: 18-15)
Patriots: 8-9 (2014-15: 22-14)
Steelers: 10-8 (2014-15: 18-14)
Titans: 10-5 (2014-15: 13-15)
Raiders: 9-8 (2014-15: 14-18)
Divisional: 44-47 (2011-15: 222-225)
2x Game Edge: 17-10 (2011-15: 86-97)
2x Psych Edge: 43-32 (2011-15: 151-133)
2x Vegas Edge: 23-32 (2011-15: 218-223)
2x Trend Edge: 42-31 (2011-15: 139-128)
Double Edge: 18-14 (2011-15: 59-61)
Triple Edge: 3-0 (2011-15: 3-3)
Quad Edge: 0-0 (2011-15: 0-0)