Well, I was 0-2 on Saturday, but 2-0 on Sunday, hitting my biggest play of the weekend with the Giants. In hindsight, if I suffer a miserable 0-4 Week 18, New York probably would have been my Pick of the Month. I was going to make it the Colts against the Patriots, but that's not going to happen. Totals went 3-1. Very odd.
If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my
Sports Betting FAQ
San Diego Chargers (13-5) at New England Patriots (17-0)
Line: Patriots by 14. Total: 47.
Walt's Projected Line:
Sunday, 3:00 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Patriots.
QUESTIONABLE: QB Philip Rivers*, RB LaDainian Tomlinson*, TE Antonio Gates*. PATRIOTS:
OUT: LB Rosevelt Colvin.
Vegas came out about even last weekend. They cashed in when Seattle and Indianapolis failed to cover, but lost with the Giants and Jaguars both beating the number. That's 2-2 with the juice, but remember that a lot of people hit an obvious Patriots-Packers teaser on Saturday.
And now, it's time for more grammar lessons from Emmitt Smith! You may actually win a sword fight against Guybrush Threepwood using some of these quotes - even though they aren't insults! (And if you got that reference, you are awesome.)
1. "Now the Colts are probably playing with more confidence than they ever have played since they been with the Indianapolis Colts." (Commentary: Right... That makes a lot of sense. As opposed to the Colts playing with more confidence than they ever have since being with the Jacksonville Jaguars.)
2. "Last year there was a lot of things the Colts had to address. They couldn't stop the run... and all those... that was one of the biggest things they had to address." (Commentary: Brain fart, much?)
3. "The hill represent another rushing title this year for the season. For others watching this thing who've worked out on hills, this is a opportunity to build strength within." (Commentary: What... the... hell... is Emmitt talking about? First of all, again with the repetition. Rushing title this year for the season? And I love how Emmitt's appealing to the working-out-on-hills demographic because those people never get any love.)
As I'm typing this on Tuesday afternoon, there are 23,000 bets coming in on this game, just 1,000 short of the Packers-Giants tilt. I'm confused. What are these 23,000 people betting on? Philip Rivers is questionable. LaDainian Tomlinson is questionable. Antonio Gates is still limping around. Are any of the Chargers starters going to play at all?
It goes without saying that you need to be at 110 percent to beat the Patriots. You must score on every single possession, and you need to either force two turnovers, or get one and score on special teams. The Chargers can definitely do the latter part; they lead the league in take-aways with 30 interceptions and 18 fumble recoveries. It's so hard to rattle Tom Brady and his stellar receiving corps, but if San Diego can apply pressure on him like the Eagles did in November, it could bait him into a pick or a fumble. That said, the Patriots are still going to score at least 30 points if the weather conditions hold up. Brady, unlike Peyton Manning, is not prone to the 3-4. And his receivers, unlike Marvin Harrison, aren't banged up. There's no way to defend against Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte' Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney (who steps it up in the playoffs), Ben Watson and Kevin Faulk without worrying about a Laurence Maroney or Brady draw.
With that in mind, the Chargers are going to have to score on nearly every possession. Conventional thinking says they'll be able to with Rivers and Tomlinson on the field; San Diego was able to move the chains effectively against Indianapolis' No. 1 defense. But what about if Billy Volek and Michael Turner play? Well, this goes back to one of my old theories, which was once again effective this year. When a backup quarterback gets his first start, you're going to win eight out of 10 times siding with him because the other team will take him lightly. Do you honestly think the Patriots will be the least bit worried if Volek is at the helm? Of course not. But if Adam Joshua Feeley and Kyle Boller can shred New England's putrid stop unit, I think Volek, one of the better backups in the NFL, can have just as much luck.
OK, so what if Rivers gets cleared to play? Won't the Patriots be extremely focused? I actually don't think so. It's no secret New England was geared up to battle the Colts. Because its archrival lost, I believe there's going to be some sort of a let-down factor. The Patriots already clobbered San Diego once this year. I have to believe they think they're going to do so again. That could create some sort of an aloof atmosphere in Foxboro, which really isn't a home-field advantage anymore. People in the old stadium used to go nuts. Gillette doesn't have the same environment.
Line movement also favors San Diego. When the spread first came out at 15.5, I thought Vegas was simply baiting people into taking the visitor. I didn't realize all the injuries were a factor. The public is still siding with the Chargers, but the line has moved down to 14, which indicates that the books think they made the opening figure a little too high.
So, can the Chargers win this game? Only if they play perfect football. Like I said, they need to score on every drive, and either force a pair of turnovers, or create one and score on defense or special teams. If they don't do that, New England will win.
In case you couldn't tell, I like the Chargers to cover. I guess that makes me the 23,001st degenerate idiot as of Tuesday afternoon.
The Psychology. Edge: Chargers.
The Chargers are a confident team. I honestly think they believe they can knock off the Patriots. New England, meanwhile, may not be as intense in the wake of the Colts getting knocked off.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
What is up with this line? People are going to bet their mortgages on the Chargers.
Percentage of money on New England: 55% (189,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
Patriots are 38-26 ATS at home under Bill Belichick.
Patriots are 16-7 ATS in December/January home games since 2000.
Tom Brady is 98-26 as a starter (76-46 ATS).
Tom Brady is 13-2 in the playoffs (8-7 ATS).
Opening Line: Patriots -15.5.
Opening Total: 51.
Weather: Cold and clear, 15 degrees. HEAVY WINDS, 22 mph.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Chargers 21
Chargers +14 (2 Units - Money Pick) -- Correct; +$200
Under 46.5 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
Patriots 21, Chargers 12.
New York Giants (12-6) at Green Bay Packers (14-3)
Line: Packers by 7.5. Total: 41.
Walt's Projected Line: Packers -9.
Sunday, 6:30 ET - Buy Tickets
The Game. Edge: Packers.
Injuries: GIANTS: OUT: RB Derrick Ward, TE Jeremy Shockey. PACKERS: OUT: RB DeShawn Wynn, S Nick Collins.
A few months ago, I mentioned that I'm a narcopletic. Seriously, I fall asleep anywhere. One time I was typing something in Microsoft Word, and I passed out with my head on the keyboard. I woke up and there were more than 80 pages of the letter H in my document. So anyway, after years of searching, I found someone who shares my problem. When I was done working out at the gym the other day, I went into the showers, swim trucks on, of course. I spotted an ugly man wearing a blue speedo at the end of the room. He caught my attention because he was making an odd noise. It took me 10 seconds to figure out that he was actually asleep, and the noise he was making was his snoring. As I was finishing up, the man suddenly woke up, looked around and finally realized he was asleep. He consequently started crying. I would have consoled him, but I don't make it my business to approach ugly men wearing blue speedos.
Before I discuss game, take a look at my Week 20 Look-Alike Pictures
featuring Jabba the Hut and Kip Dynamite. Also, you can still compete against me and others by picking
football games at the Picking Forum. You'll be able to pick every game starting Wednesday
afternoon, and you can post comments for each contest as well. No prizes, but you do get bragging rights.
As I wrote in the first paragraph on this page, I loved the Giants last week. If I hadn't endured one of the worst five-day sequences in my life and wasn't coming off an 0-4 Wild Card Weekend, I probably would have made them my Pick of the Month. Fortunately, I love a side in this game just as much. I'll give you a few reasons in my write-up - or you can just scroll down and completely ignore these next few paragraphs.
Eli Manning has really taken a step forward in becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL the past few weeks. Excluding one pick in the fourth quarter against the Patriots, Manning hasn't turned it over since beating the Bills about a month ago. That's right - Manning has committed just one turnover the past month. I'm so upset; who am I going to make fun of now?
However, despite Manning's unceremonious improvement, I don't think he'll have much success at Lambeau Field. Why? Simple - Manning was quoted a few weeks ago saying that the reason for his perennial late-season implosions was the cold weather. Think about it - it wasn't below freezing at Giants Stadium when Manning battled the Patriots. It was obviously hot at the New Sombrero for his victory against the Buccaneers. And Texas Stadium doesn't exactly get frigid either. Manning's last poor performance came at Orchard Park when it was extremely windy and snowing hard.
With that in mind, I hopped on to Weather.com to find out what the conditions are going to be like at Lambeau. Well, if they're right, it's going to be -2 degrees at kickoff. And to make matters worse, it's going to be so windy that the forecast is calling for a gale, meaning winds of greater than 40 mph. Uh oh!
The Packers thrive in this type of weather. We all saw it last week. The Giants, meanwhile, are going to be freezing to death, unless of course, they all get blown away to the land of Oz.
I think Green Bay matches up well with the Giants anyway. New York thrives on getting to the quarterback. The Packers, meanwhile, have the best offensive line in the league. The unit completely dominated the sack-happy Seahawks. I see no reason why they can't do the same thing to the Giants. Ryan Grant should be able to have a monstrous evening. Marion Barber exposed a few holes on New York's defensive front. Grant should be able to do the same thing, thanks to the help of a quarterback with just a bit more postseason experience than Tony Romo.
On the other side of the ball, Green Bay's ravenous front seven will apply tons of pressure on Manning, forcing the warm-weather quarterback into a few turnovers. Running the ball against the Packers, as we witnessed on Saturday, is not an option. I don't see the Giants keeping up with Green Bay's prolific offense.
In case you're incredibly dense, I love the Packers. I know there's quite a bit of action on their side, but I think the line is fair. Dallas was -7 over the Giants, so Vegas is telling us that the Cowboys are equal to the Packers. Because Dallas was the one-seed, I can buy that.
The Psychology. Edge: Packers.
Eli Manning said it himself - he loves playing in warm weather and hates the cold. Uh oh...
The Vegas. Edge: Giants.
Seems like a fair line to me, as Vegas is saying the Packers and Cowboys are equals. Wouldn't surprise me if the public pounded the Pack.
Percentage of money on Green Bay: 72% (180,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Giants.
Giants are 14-4 ATS on the road since 2006.
Packers are 12-7 ATS in December home games since 2000.
Opening Line: Packers -7.
Opening Total: 43.5.
Weather: VERY COLD AND SNOWY, -2 DEGREES. GALE, 42 mph.
Prediction: Packers 28, Giants 7
Packers -7.5 (8 Units - Pick of the Playoffs) -- Incorrect; -$880
Under 41 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
Giants 23, Packers 20.
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.
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.
Packers +3.5 -120 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
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Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 18, 2016): 2-2 (+$445)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2016): 2-0 (+$500)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2016): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 18, 2016): 0-4 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 18, 2016): $0
2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780)
2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-124-10, 53.7% (+$1,645)
2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-34-3, 55.3% (+$675)
2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-20-5, 50.0% (-$975)
2016 Season Over-Under: 119-138-1, 46.3% (+$95)
2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$795
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%)
2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%)
2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%)
2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%)
2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%)
2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%)
2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%)
2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%)
2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550)
2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620)
2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370)
2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080)
2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925)
2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760)
2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580)
2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885)
2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%)
2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%)
2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%)
2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%)
2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%)
2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110)
2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510)
2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260)
2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180)
2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715)
2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130)
2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890)
2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820)
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: 2,436-2,240-141, 52.1% (+$9,795)
Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 785-702-37 (52.8%)
Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 328-290-18 (53.1%)
Career Over-Under: 1,941-1,901-54 (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: 8-8 (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: 11-5 (2014-15: 17-15)
Cardinals: 10-6 (2014-15: 14-21)
Giants: 8-7 (2014-15: 14-17)
Packers: 10-5 (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: 11-6 (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: 10-6 (2014-15: 12-20)
Chiefs: 10-6 (2014-15: 18-15)
Patriots: 7-8 (2014-15: 22-14)
Steelers: 9-7 (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: 16-10 (2011-15: 86-97)
2x Psych Edge: 43-32 (2011-15: 151-133)
2x Vegas Edge: 23-31 (2011-15: 218-223)
2x Trend Edge: 41-30 (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)