NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 3, 2015

NFL Picks (Preseason 2015): 7-10-1 (-$1,420)
NFL Picks (Week 1, 2015): 10-6 (+$940)
NFL Picks (Week 2, 2015): 9-7 (-$895)

NFL Picks (2015): 26-23-1 (-$1,375)
NFL Picks (2014): 143-133-7 (-$1,885)
NFL Picks (2013): 144-131-8 (+$5,580)
NFL Picks (2012): 130-145-8 (-$5,760)
NFL Picks (2011): 137-133-12 (-$1,925)
NFL Picks (2010): 144-131-8 (+$6,080)
NFL Picks (2009): 151-124-9 (+$3,370)
NFL Picks (2008): 136-125-6 (+$4,330)
If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.

Vegas betting action updated Sept. 28, 5:45 p.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Go to Week 3 NFL Picks - Late Games

Washington Redskins (1-1) at New York Giants (0-2)
Line: Giants by 4. Total: 45.

Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Giants -5.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Giants -2.
Thursday, Sep 24, 8:25 ET
Comment on this game

The Game. Edge: None.

WEEK 2 RECAP: Losing the September Pick of the Month sucked. However, heading into Monday night, I was 9-6, -$345. and I had five units on the Colts. I had a chance to pull ahead, but Andrew Luck had one of the worst performances of his career, all because his incompetent general manager forgot to acquire offensive linemen.

As for the eight-unit loss, I'm very disappointed in how the Bills played. They committed multiple penalties, drops or turnovers on almost every drive, shooting themselves in the foot all afternoon. I don't know why they were extremely undisciplined, but had they been clean, they may have won the game. Having said that, it was a mistake to use Buffalo as my Pick of the Month. A three-unit wager or so would've been more appropriate. It was bad handicapping on my part. I was just eager to bet against a team I know to be overrated, though perhaps better opportunities will arise down the road.

Fortunately, my other top plays hit, save for Seahawks +4 and Titans -1. My numbers say Seattle was the right side, so I have no regrets about that. The Tennessee game, on the other hand, was just a fade of Johnny Manziel that didn't work out. I should have laid off that one because my numbers didn't support a wager on the Titans. Again, bad handicapping.

WEEK 3 BETTING TRENDS: Last week, I discussed overreaction spreads. Here were line movements of two or more against the Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread that weren't impacted by injuries:

Before Week 1 After Week 1
Broncos PK Broncos +3
Buccaneers +7 Buccaneers +10
Colts -9.5 Colts -7

This dynamic is 2-0 heading into Monday night, which isn't surprising considering it was 35-22 last year. Hopefully, the Colts bring it to 3-0.

Here are the Week 2 overreaction line movements:

Before Week 2 After Week 2
Eagles -3.5 Eagles +2.5
Rams -2.5 Rams +1
Texans -8.5 Texans -6.5
49ers +4.5 49ers +6.5

The Jets are the best team evar! The Steelers are great because they blew out a team that was playing an early game after a super late Monday night! Jameis Winston is awesome despite that dreadful Week 1 showing! The 49ers stink! You have to love public overreaction.

0-2 TEAMS: I'd like to take a look at 0-2 teams this week. I'm not sure exactly what I'll find, but perhaps I'll be able to unearth something useful with my research.

First and foremost, it's not a good idea just to blindly bet on 0-2 squads. They are 89-94 against the spread dating back to 1989, which is as far back as my database goes, for those wondering.

Next, let's look at the basics:

0-2 Team Situation ATS
Home Favorite 24-27
Home Underdog 16-19
Road Favorite 5-7
Road Underdog 43-39

So, nothing there either. Let's try to be a bit more creative:

0-2 Team Situation ATS
Vs. Team Coming off Win 34-43
Vs. Team Coming off Loss 55-51
Vs. Divisional Opponent 34-35
Vs. Non-Divisional Opponent 55-59

Not great either, but the first item is worth monitoring. Teams that are 0-2 and playing an opponent coming off a victory this week include the Giants, Ravens, Saints, Texans and Lions.

But what if we go to the extremes, such as big favorites/underdogs? Here's where we finally have something:

0-2 Team Situation ATS
Favorites of 6+ 19-10
Underdogs of 10.5+ 15-8

Those aren't great sample sizes, but both make sense. Big 0-2 favorites are usually decent (or better) teams that have endured bad luck. Both the Texans and Seahawks fit into this category. Meanwhile, massive 0-2 underdogs might be undervalued by the public. Chicago could be getting 10.5 or more, but we'll have to see when the spread is released, as Jay Cutler's status is unknown.

I'll be posting NFL Picks on Wednesday. Follow me at @walterfootball for updates. WASHINGTON OFFENSE: So, this Matt Jones guy is pretty good. Jones rumbled right through St. Louis' stout defensive front last week, and it shouldn't be surprising if he picks up where he left off. The Giants surrendered four yards per carry to Tevin Coleman last week, so I like Jones' chances better than Coleman's. Oh, and Alfred Morris is still going to receive plenty of opportunities. It's going to be a huge advantage for the Redskins that they'll have two fresh running backs throughout the contest.

Jones and Morris will make life much easier for Kirk Cousins. I'm not high on Cousins at all, but there's no question that he's a better option than Robert Griffin, who has no interest in studying film. Cousins will have plenty of time in the pocket, as the Giants don't have any semblance of a pass rush. Cullen Jenkins can get to the quarterback, but that's about it.

Cousins will use that time to locate Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed once again. New York has two solid cornerbacks, but not much else in terms of coverage. Rookie Landon Collins looks like he's a big liability in coverage thus far.

NEW YORK OFFENSE: While the Redskins have been a bit better than expected when controlling the ball, the main reason they're a couple of plays away from being 2-0, aside from the lethargy of their opponents, is that their defense has improved tremendously. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry has proven to be an enormous upgrade over the incompetent Jim Haslett, and the players are performing better as a result.

The secondary has shown a tremendous amount of improvement, with Bashaud Breeland and Trenton Robinson playing well. I don't anticipate them shutting down Odell Beckham Jr., or anything, but I don't expect Eli Manning to rip through their defensive backfield as easily as he did on a Thursday night last year.

The thing is, Manning will need to have a big performance because New York won't be able to run the ball very well. Thanks to Terrance Knighton and Ryan Kerrigan, the Redskins are extremely stout versus the rush, so I wouldn't expect much out of Rashad Jennings or Andre Williams. Neither back was even able to run against the Falcons - Jennings was limited to 12 yards on nine carries - so how will they do much on the ground versus the Redskins?

RECAP: I'm always wary of betting big on Thursday night games because the contests tend to be sloppy. However, I like the Redskins quite a bit here. Here are a few reasons:

1. I don't think this spread is priced properly. Why are the Giants more than -3 over a non-dreadful opponent? Yes, they're a couple of plays away from being 2-0, but think about it this way: They couldn't beat the Falcons, who aren't as good outside the dome, and they were given so many gifts (turnovers, drops, etc.) by the Cowboys in the opener, yet still couldn't capitalize. The Giants aren't even that good at home, so they don't deserve the full three, so this means that New York is a couple of points better than Washington. I'm not buying that.

2. Speaking of New York's home-field futility, NFC East teams as home favorites in divisional games are 27-53 against the spread in the past 10 years. Yeah, that bad! The Redskins are 4-4 ATS at New York in their previous eight visits, but this Redskin team is better now.

3. It appears as though the sharps are on Washington as well. Despite a decent chunk of action on the Giants, the spread is moving toward the Redskins.

I'm taking Washington for three units. If this were a Sunday game, I'd play four units on this contest, but like I said, Thursday games can be sloppy.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I know I said I wouldn't go above three units on a Thursday night, but I'm breaking my rule. I have some good reasons though. The Giants are missing some key players like Ereck Flowers and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The sharps are all over the Redskins, pushing this down to +3 (still +4 on Bovada) despite tons of action on the host. And, I was reminded that Perry Fewell, the Giants' defensive coordinator last year, is now serving as the defensive backs coach for the Redskins. Fewell might have some extra insight on how to beat New York.

The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.

The Vegas. Edge: Redskins.
No one is buying Washington yet.
  • Percentage of money on New York: 72% (66,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Giants.
  • History: Giants have won 14 of the last 18 meetings.
  • Tom Coughlin is 11-5 ATS as a favorite after losing as a favorite.
  • Opening Line: Giants -4.
  • Opening Total: 44.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Redskins 20, Giants 17
    Redskins +4 (4 Units) -- Incorrect; -$440
    Under 44 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Giants 32, Redskins 21

    Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-1)
    Line: Steelers by 2. Total: 49.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Rams -2.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Rams -2.5.
    Sunday, Sep 27, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: None.

    VEGAS UPDATE: The sportsbooks had the worst opening Sunday in 20 years. Thus, it's no surprise that they rebounded in Week 2. Here were the six highest-bet games from Week 2, which I listed on Tuesday of last week:

  • Rams -3.5 - Loss
  • Dolphins -6 - Loss
  • Titans -1 - Loss
  • Cardinals -2 - Cover
  • Patriots -1 - Cover
  • Lions +3 - Loss

  • The top six teams went 2-4 in Week 1 and 2-4 again this past weekend, so simple math says 4-8 overall thus far. Of course, New England had to cover. FML.

    Here are the six top bets in Week 3, as of Wednesday afternoon:

  • Steelers -2
  • Falcons -2
  • Jets -2.5
  • Cardinals -6.5
  • Patriots -13.5
  • Colts -3

  • Once again, follow @walterfootball for updates.

    PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: The Steelers will welcome back Le'Veon Bell to the lineup after his two-game suspension. DeAngelo Williams did well in his absence, but there's no comparing the two backs. Bell is one of the top runners in the NFL, and he also is a big part of the passing attack, thanks to his receiving and blitz pick-up ability.

    Having said that, there's a chance the Steelers could struggle in this contest, and it all has to do with the offensive line. The front has blocked well for the most part, but had two easier matchups thus far against New England and San Francisco's depleted fronts. The Rams, on the other hand, have one of the top defensive lines in the NFL. Aaron Donald appears to have emerged as the best defensive tackle in the NFL, and it's fair to wonder how Pittsburgh is going to deal with him, considering the liability at center. Cody Wallace has struggled through two contests while starting for Maurkice Pouncey, one of the great centers in the league. If he couldn't block the Patriots and 49ers, what's going to happen against the Rams?

    Still, despite the blocking issues, it's difficult to imagine the Steelers not scoring a decent amount of points. Bell, Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are all incredible players, the last time I checked. The Steelers may stall in some of their drives, but they'll find the end zone on at least a couple of occasions.

    ST. LOUIS OFFENSE: The Rams' defense will do their best to limit the Steelers' scoring attack, but their offense will have to post some points to give the team a chance. With that in mind, it's a good thing they happen to be playing one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

    Pittsburgh didn't know how to line up defensively in the opener, which was just embarrassing. The team was better in that regard versus the 49ers, but they still showed that they have numerous liabilities, particularly in the linebacking corps and secondary. They didn't get much of a pass rush from the former group, while the defensive backs continued to surrender big gains.

    Something the Steelers actually do well on this side of the ball is stop the run. Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham aren't exactly feared, but there's a chance Todd Gurley will suit up. Gurley is a game-time decision, but if he plays, Pittsburgh will be prepared for him.

    RECAP: The Rams are one of my top plays this week. Here's why:

    1. The Steelers play arch-rival Baltimore next week. And next week is just four days because that contest is on Thursday night. Favorites have a dubious history prior to playing on Thursday, and Pittsburgh could trip up as a result. How can it possibly take St. Louis seriously after watching the Rams lose to the underrated Redskins?

    2. Another dubious spot for the Steelers is that of a road favorite. They're 16-29 against the spread in the past decade laying points on the road, and it's even worse after a victory. They're 8-21 ATS in such situations (3-5 ATS as favorites of less than a field goal).

    3. There's tons of money coming in on Pittsburgh. As shown above, the six-most highly bet teams each week are just 4-8 against the spread this year. The public will never beat the house.

    4. You can't ignore the advance line movement. The Rams were -2.5 prior to Sunday's games, and now they're +2? Based on what, an obvious let-down loss at Washington, and a Pittsburgh victory against a 49er team playing in an early game off a short week?

    I'm dialing up the Rams for four units. Maybe I'm crazy, or stupid, or both, but St. Louis seems like the obvious play to me.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps are on the Rams, and the sharpest sportsbook on the Web, Pinnacle, has a St. Louis -1 spread posted, even though it's pick everywhere else and even +2 on Bovada. Pinnacle is basically saying, "Hey, if you like the Steelers, come bet it here!" I'm pretty confident with these four units.

    SUNDAY NOTES: I still love the Rams, and they're still +2 on Bovada despite being -1 elsewhere. The sharps jumped on them this morning.

    The Psychology. Edge: Rams.
    The Steelers have the Ravens in four games, and then they play on Monday night. I have to believe they'll be looking past St. Louis.

    The Vegas. Edge: Rams.
    All of the money is on the Steelers.
  • Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 83% (33,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Rams.
  • Steelers are 15-26 ATS as road favorites since 2007.
  • Steelers are 7-19 ATS as road favorites coming off a win under Mike Tomlin.
  • Mike Tomlin is 4-16 ATS as a favorite after a win of 14+ in the regular season unless a bye is coming up.
  • Jeff Fisher is 48-32 ATS as an underdog since 2006.
  • Opening Line: Steelers -1.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: Dome.

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Rams 26, Steelers 20
    Rams +2 (4 Units) -- Incorrect; -$440
    Under 49 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Steelers 12, Rams 6

    San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
    Line: Vikings by 2. Total: 45.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Vikings -3.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Vikings -3.
    Sunday, Sep 27, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: None.

    The most illiterate sports bettor in the world is a man named the Real John Moss. He loves to e-mail me and talk to me on G-chat. I've posted all of the messages he's sent me over the years, including those in 2012 and those in 2013.

    I didn't hear from the Real John Moss in 2014, so I just assumed that he was either dead, locked up, or passed out in a ditch somewhere. Fortunately, he contacted me over the summer!

    Here's a link to the lastest Real John Moss conversation.

    SAN DIEGO OFFENSE: I was concerned for Philip Rivers' safety when D.J. Fluker went down with an injury. Fluker missed Sunday's contest, yet Rivers came out of it unscathed. In fact, he played extremely well, going 21-of-27 for 241 yards, two touchdowns and a late interception in desperation time. The Bengals have a tough defense, so I like his chances, though the Vikings present another difficult matchup.

    Matthew Stafford threw for 286 yards and a pair of scores on the Vikings this past Sunday, but it took him 53 attempts and some garbage-time opportunities to accomplish that. Stafford happened to be banged up, however, and his offensive line blocked extremely poorly. Rivers won't have such troubles, despite Fluker's absence, though Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson could have issues getting open versus Minnesota's secondary.

    The Vikings appear to be weak against the run, however, so the Chargers could take advantage there. Carlos Hyde trampled the Minnesota front seven in the opener, and Melvin Gordon, who looked good versus the Bengals, could approach the century rushing mark.

    MINNESOTA OFFENSE: The Viking and Charger defenses kind of mirror each other. Both teams are strong in the back end, so it's difficult to imagine Teddy Bridgewater having a tremendous amount of success. Bridgewater might be able to methodically move the chains, especially via Kyle Rudolph, but he'll have to lean on the rushing attack even more than last week.

    But that may not be much of an issue. Ameer Abdullah broke free for a big gain in Week 1, and then Giovani Bernard blazed through San Diego's stop unit this past Sunday. Adrian Peterson was a bit sluggish in the opener, but he bounced back with a terrific effort against Detroit. If it weren't for some fumbles near the goal line, Peterson would've enjoyed a monstrous fantasy day. He'll be able to redeem himself in this contest.

    RECAP: I like the Chargers for a couple of units. It seems like they're in a good spot here, as teams in their second-consecutive road game have covered at about a 60-percent clip over the years. The Vikings, on the other hand, have to travel to Denver next week. They just beat a divisional rival that swept them a year ago (with the help of the opposing quarterback being injured), and now they have this non-conference game prior to a very tough battle on the road. I don't like this situation at all for them.

    Also, it seems like this spread is begging the public to take the Vikings. These teams are about even, so why isn't this a full -3? A home favorite laying just 2.5 is very enticing, so this could be a ploy by Vegas to get more action on the host.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Some big money was placed on the Chargers on Saturday afternoon. That might indicate that they have a good chance of covering. I still like them for two units.

    SUNDAY NOTES: This spread has jumped all over the place Sunday morning, dropping to -1 and back up to -2 as soon as it was announced Ladarius Green would be out. I still like the Chargers for two units.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on San Diego: 53% (19,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Opening Line: Vikings -2.5.
  • Opening Total: 45.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Chargers 23, Vikings 20
    Chargers +1.5 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
    Under 44.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Vikings 31, Chargers 14

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) at Houston Texans (0-2)
    Line: Texans by 6. Total: 41.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Texans -8.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Texans -6.
    Sunday, Sep 27, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Texans.

    HATE MAIL: Lots of hate mail this week, especially in the wake of my Pick of the Month loss. The mouth-breathers who somehow believe the Patriots didn't cheat were in full force:

    Here are two real e-mails I received:

    Now, if you're actually a decent human being, there's a chance you might be feeling sorry for me. Please don't. I love these hate mails/comments. They provide a good laugh and also great reading material. Plus, it's fascinating to be reminded how many miserable mouth-breathers there are on the Internet.

    HOUSTON OFFENSE: There were rumors floating around about Ryan Mallett and substance abuse when he was playing for Arkansas. There might be new rumors about him and substance abuse during last week's game. Mallett was terrible, flinging inaccurate balls all over the place. High passes, low passes, wide passes, Mallett seemed to throw everywhere but to his receivers.

    Perhaps Mallett will have more luck against a worse defense. I'm not making an earth-shattering statement by revealing that the Buccaneers have an inferior stop unit compared to Carolina's. Sure, Tampa just limited the Saints to 19 points, but Drew Brees was playing through a shoulder injury, and his offensive line really let him down. The Buccaneers are just two weeks removed from surrendering four touchdowns to Marcus Mariota, so Mallett could have some success. At the very least he'll be better than he was in Week 2.

    I also should note that it doesn't sound like Arian Foster is going to play. There's a chance he could return for Week 4, but it'll be Chris Polk, Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue trying to move the chains again. Not ideal.

    TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: The Buccaneers won't have much more success on the ground. Doug Martin looks rejuvinated after mailing it in the past two years, but he'll have a tough battle in this game. Houston's defense limited Jamaal Charles to just 57 yards on 16 carries in Week 1, and then it shut down Jonathan Stewart this past Sunday, though that's not an overly difficult feat. Still, running on J.J. Watt and Vince Wilfork will be difficult all year.

    The Texans also figure to stymie the Buccaneer passing attack. Jameis Winston had a decent performance in the Superdome, but did so against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Houston is a major step up. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney will be breathing down Winston's neck, and Tampa doesn't have the offensive line to do anything about this. Meanwhile, Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be out, which is huge, especially because Mike Evans is clearly not 100 percent. He was hobbling around last week and was clearly just a decoy.

    RECAP: I'm pretty torn on this pick. On one hand, I want to take the Buccaneers because betting the road team in their games over the years has proven to be very fruitful (check the numbers below). I also think this spread is too high, even with the advance line movement, and it might violate the Six and Six Rule, which states never to lay six or more points with a team that will win six or fewer games. I'm not sure if Houston qualifies, however.

    On the other hand, the Texans seem like the right side because of that line movement, plus they are going to be desperate to avoid an 0-2 start. As mentioned at the very top of the page, 0-2 teams cover at a high rate when favored by six or more. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, might be too high off that bogus victory over New Orleans. I highly doubt they would've pulled the upset had Brees been healthy.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I still have no opinion on this game. I don't see a reason to bet either side. The sharps haven't weighed in at all either.

    SUNDAY NOTES: This spread has dropped to -6, as some of the sharps finally bit and took the Buccaneers for a bit.

    The Psychology. Edge: Texans.
    The Texans will be desperate to avoid 0-3, while the Buccaneers might be flat off a victory as such big underdogs.

    The Vegas. Edge: Buccaneers.
    The Buccaneers were a public underdog, but there is now a slight lean on the host.
  • Percentage of money on Houston: 62% (20,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Road Team is 58-33 ATS in Buccaneers games since 2009.
  • Texans are 39-24 ATS after two or more consecutive losses (8-6 ATS as favorites).
  • Opening Line: Texans -6.5.
  • Opening Total: 40.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Texans 23, Buccaneers 13
    Texans -6 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 41.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Texans 19, Buccaneers 9

    Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) at New York Jets (2-0)
    Line: Jets by 3. Total: 46.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Eagles -3.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Jets -4.
    Sunday, Sep 27, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Jets.

    If you haven't seen this yet, we have a new NFL Pick Em Contest on this Web site. It's free entry, and there are monthly and seasonal prizes: $350 for the year, and $100 for each month. There's no reason not to enter. Click the link to register!

    PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: Football is usually very complicated, but sometimes it's overly simple. If you can't block, you're not going to win very many football games. That's a basic principle, and the Eagles most certainly can't block. Chip Kelly the general manager screwed over Chip Kelly the head coach, depleting talent on the roster by getting rid of Evan Mathis and failing to bring back Todd Herremans. As a result, DeMarco Murray was constantly blown up in the backfield, while Sam Bradford was too scared to step into his throws.

    I'll get to both items, beginning with Murray. The former Cowboy back is on pace for 88 rushing yards this season. That's unreal. Murray was an overrated commodity because of Dallas' offensive line, but this statistical ineptitude isn't his fault. He has no running room, as he was blown up in the backfield six times last weekend. The Jets looked weak versus the rush on Monday night, but I imagine that's because they were playing the pass against Andrew Luck. They won't have the same fear against Bradford.

    Speaking of Bradford, his skittish approach to the game, quite possibly the result of his extensive injury history, has to be disconcerting for Philadelphia. It's hard to imagine him having much success against the Jets' secondary, which just shut down Andrew Luck. The Colts' All-Pro barely had any time to throw on most occasions, so how will Bradford have any sort of opportunity to do so?

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: It's crazy to see Ryan Fitzpatrick not be so incompetent, but offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is doing a great job with him. Fitzpatrick isn't doing anything spectacular, but he's making precise throws and constantly moving the chains. He carved up the Colts, and he figures to pick up where he left off Monday night.

    There's no question that the Eagles have defensive problems. Their secondary is still a disaster. Byron Maxwell is already complaining about fatigue, and it's not a surprise that he's been a complete failure thus far. It's still early, but Maxwell is looking like a predictable bust; he was never a No. 1 cornerback, and yet he's being asked to cover top receivers, which is just a recipe for disaster. Meanwhile, Kiko Alonso, one of the few defenders who had been playing well, is going to be out for a while with a knee injury.

    Fitzpatrick figures to put together some methodical drives against the Eagles, and Chris Ivory will be mixed in with some strong runs. Philadelphia actually plays well against the rush, but could be weaker against it if Mychal Kendricks misses playing time. Kendricks also sustained an injury last week, but there's a chance he could suit up.

    RECAP: The Jets are in a terrible spot. They're coming off a big Monday night victory, and they have to travel to London next week. Teams playing in London the following Sunday are just 6-14 against the spread, which is pretty bad (3-8 ATS as favorites). Also, the crazy line movement says to take Philadelphia, just solely on principle. This spread was Eagles -3.5 a week ago, and now it's +2.5. That's insane.

    Having said that, I don't know if I can take the Eagles for more than a unit. They've shown no signs of life, save for a half against a tired Atlanta team. The offensive line can't block at all, and I don't see how that's going to change at all. If I can get +3, I may increase this to two units.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Here's another one Pinnacle is telegraphing. The Jets are -1 there and -2 or -2.5 elsewhere. They want New York money, making me a bit more confident in the Eagles. That said, I don't trust Philadelphia because of its putrid offensive line.

    SUNDAY NOTES: The Eagles can now be had at +3 with plus money because DeMarco Murray is out. Even with the better number, it's not enough for me to increase my unit count.

    The Psychology. Edge: Eagles.
    The Jets just won a big game and have to travel to London next week.

    The Vegas. Edge: Eagles.
    I thought there'd be more money on the Jets.
  • Percentage of money on New York: 60% (27,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Eagles.
  • Jets are 10-16 ATS in September home games since 2000 (6-5 since in 2009).
  • Opening Line: Pick.
  • Opening Total: 48.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Jets 17, Eagles 16
    Eagles +3 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Under 46.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Eagles 24, Jets 17

    New Orleans Saints (0-2) at Carolina Panthers (2-0)
    Line: Panthers by 9.5. Total: 42.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Panthers -2.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Panthers -6.
    Sunday, Sep 27, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Panthers.

    I wouldn't say my weekly random NFL notes cluttered these picks pages, so I'll keep them here. What I'm also going to do is store all of them in a Random NFL Notes section so that you can go back and read previous entries in the future.

    Some random NFL notes I can't put anywhere else:

    1. This is not my Video of the Week, but I need to post this. There are tons of Cowboys fans living in the Philadelphia area, so if you've never met one, here's what they look like (thanks, Michael M):

    I think the best part of this video was the guy saying that they need to bring the Heisman back to Dallas, and then he tried to play it off in the comments section as if he really meant to say that just to see if people were paying attention.

    2. Speaking of a**holes, Broncos' rookie pass-rusher Shane Ray can be described as one, at least according to this e-mail I've received. An e-mailer calling himself BosworthB sent me the following:

    Wow. How douchey and pretentious do you have to be that you think you can exchange one of your slutty groupies with some guy's wife? What a scumbag.

    Well, there is at least a silver lining. And it's that Ray will soon go bankrupt if he continues to spend money on overpriced coffee at Starbucks.

    3. I wrote something in Week 1 that Charlie Campbell was able to clarify for me. I wondered why the Buccaneers scheduled a 4:25 p.m. game against the Titans instead of a 1 p.m. start. At 1, they could take advantage of the scorching Florida sun, much like Miami did last year against New England. At 4:25, it wouldn't be as hot, and there would also be the risk of a thunderstorm delay.

    Charlie told me that all early-season Buccaneer home games are in the 4 p.m. window because of the heat. Apparently, many fans complained that the conditions were too hot.

    And now we know why the Buccaneers are a dreadful 13-33 against the spread in their previous 46 home games. I can't believe those fans are such wusses. The players, who are in pads, didn't complain, yet some a**holes can't sit in the stands for a few hours? Ridiculous. If the Glazers actually cared about what was going on, they'd tell those fans to go f*** themselves and move back to 1 p.m. to take advantage of what could be a great homefield.

    NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: There's no spread posted on this game because Drew Brees' status is unknown. At last check, Brees was limited in Wednesday's practice and told reporters that he's confident he'll play. That's nice and all, but will he be 100 percent, or anywhere close to it?

    Brees was dreadful in Week 2. He went 24-of-38 for 255 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Those numbers wouldn't be terrible for a mediocre signal-caller, but they are putrid for Brees, especially given his opponent. The Buccaneers just surrendered four touchdowns to Marcus Mariota, so Brees would've enjoyed a much better performance had he been healthier. Instead, Brees is hurt, and now he and his limited supporting cast will have to deal with Carolina's vastly superior defense.

    I wouldn't trust Mark Ingram to have much success either. The Panthers haven't faced tough rushing attacks yet, but they were able to severely limit T.J. Yeldon and the Houston runners, so I don't like Ingram's chances.

    CAROLINA OFFENSE: The Panthers have been sluggish on offense as well, but that was expected when Kelvin Benjamin was lost for the year. Still, it doesn't excuse Cam Newton's horribly inaccurate passes. He had several receivers open on Sunday whom he just couldn't hit. However, he was able to will his team to victory with some timely third-down conversions and scrambles.

    Newton will have an easier time moving the chains in this matchup. He won't have to deal with J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney anymore. Instead, he gets the Saints, who can't put any sort of pressure on the quarterback or cover anyone downfield. Newton's pedestrian targets (not including Greg Olsen, obviously) will actually be able to get open for a change.

    The Saints aren't very good against the run either, so this might be a rare occasion in which Jonathan Stewart puts together a solid performance. Of course, it's quite possible that Newton will lead the team in rushing yardage. New Orleans had no answer for Newton when he was healthy in a late meeting last year.

    RECAP: There's no spread on this game yet, so I can't give a definitive pick until one is posted. However, if Brees suits up, I'm taking the Panthers unless the line is way too high. Check back later, or follow me at @walterfootball for updates.

    FRIDAY UPDATE: I'll have to recheck my numbers Saturday to see if I'm making a play on this, but it looks like I'll be taking the Panthers at -8. With Drew Brees out, the Saints could just be a dead squad. I usually like good teams missing their quarterback, but New Orleans is nothing without Brees, and I think Carolina might have won by more than eight anyway.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I tried to find some sort of interesting angle in this game, but I couldn't. This spread was maybe somewhat appealing for Carolina at -8, but it has since risen to -9.5. I don't want to take the Panthers at that number, while the Saints are very "blegh" with McCown at quarterback. I'll pass.

    SUNDAY NOTES: There are still some -9.5s floating around but this spread is -10 in most places. I'm not touching this game.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Saints.
    Slight lean on the Panthers.
  • Percentage of money on Carolina: 60% (13,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • History: Panthers have won 4 of the last 6 meetings.
  • Opening Line: Panthers -3.
  • Opening Total: 45.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Panthers 27, Saints 16
    Panthers -9.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Over 42.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Panthers 27, Saints 22

    Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) at New England Patriots (2-0)
    Line: Patriots by 14. Total: 49.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Patriots -12.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Patriots -12.
    Sunday, Sep 27, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Patriots.

    As with the random NFL notes, I'm going to have all of my Random College Football Notes on one page as well. Oh, and you can find my College Football Picks here.

    Random College Football Notes:

    1. I have to talk about the marquee game, of course, which was the Ole Miss upset over Alabama. It wasn't really an upset because the Rebels were rated higher according to the metrics, and the Tide was just a seven-point favorite because of its name brand, but still, the stupid public will consider it an upset, nonetheless.

    Many Alabama fans will blame Lane Kiffin for the loss, and rightfully so. Kiffin sucks. If his dad wasn't a legendary defensive coordinator, he'd be handing Gatorade to the players right now. Kiffin killed the team with awful calls all night, but perhaps his biggest downfall was going to those stupid cartoon cards to signal in the plays. I think those are so stupid, and it would make perfect sense that Kiffin would be late to the party with that.

    Kiffin reminds me of some loser who gets into a fad just as it's about to be phased out. Like, when he was a kid, he probably started collecting pogs just when his friends quit playing with them. I can only imagine him going into Nick Saban's office and going, "Hey, Nick, these other teams have these cool graphic cards! They're like so awesome! Let's use them!" And then Saban just said yes because he didn't want to be bothered by such an annoying douche.

    2. Speaking of Saban, I don't understand how Alabama doesn't have a quarterback. Like, really, he's allegedly the best coach in college football, so why couldn't he recruit a top-rated signal-caller? Saban needs to make a call to Satan because he made a pact with him years ago to always have the top college players. Maybe Satan is slacking and downloading porn, so that would explain why he forgot to give Saban a good quarterback.

    3. I'm also shocked Saban didn't get the top kicker in college football. Forget Joey Bosa; this guy might just be the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. No joke. Check out what happened in the Notre Dame-Georgia Tech game:

    Holy crap. A 437-yard field goal? This Harrison Butker fellow has to be the top pick in the draft, right? I mean, that's an automatic three points on every single possession at the very least, as long as there's no turnover. If he can blast 400-yard field goals in the NFL, he could be the MVP every single year he's in the league!

    NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: I feel like I've exhausted all "Tom Brady/Patriots have proven me wrong by still finding ways to cheat" jokes. For some of those, check out my NFL Power Rankings. Trust me, they are great.

    Tom Brady is on fire. Beating the Steelers wasn't very impressive because they didn't know how to line up properly, but he abused the Bills' top-notch defense this past week. With that in mind, how are the Jaguars going to handle him? Jacksonville can stop the run pretty well, but that's about all the team does well on this side of the ball. The Jaguars have holes in their secondary, which Brady will most certainly exploit. Then again, he can just throw passes to Rob Gronkowski, perhaps the best weapon in the NFL right now.

    Brady also figures to have plenty of time in the pocket. Jacksonville's pass rush isn't that bad, but if Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes couldn't rattle Brady, I don't see why the Jaguars would.

    JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: Blake Bortles had a key drive in his young career last week, moving the team into field goal range to beat the Dolphins. Will Bortles be able to parlay that great possession into a solid outing in New England? Perhaps. The Patriots have some issues in their secondary, and some of their mainstays on defense, such as Rob Ninkovich and Jamie Collins, haven't been playing well.

    However, there are two things going against Bortles. The first is Bill Belichick, who was able to confuse another young quarterback last week. Belichick figures to have some genius game plan prepared for Bortles, who could be forced into multiple turnovers like Tyrod Taylor. The second is left tackle Luke Joeckel, who continues to be dreadful. Chandler Jones has a great matchup against him, which he figures to exploit.

    Despite the potential issues, the Jaguars might be able to move the chains via T.J. Yeldon. The rookie runner had success last week against a stout Miami front, so he figures to have an even better performance, as the Patriots have struggled mightily versus the rush through two games.

    RECAP: The Patriots are 11-23 against the spread as home favorites of nine or more since 2007. They win, but just don't cover in these lopsided matchups. Thus, I'm taking the points with Jacksonville, but can't say I'm too confident about it.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: There's nothing here. The Patriots suck as big favorites, while the Jaguars suck in general. The shraps are on the Jaguars.

    SUNDAY NOTES: Yeah, still no interest.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
    Everyone thinks the Patriots are going 16-0.
  • Percentage of money on New England: 81% (41,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Jaguars.
  • Jaguars are 22-49 ATS against non-divisional opponents since 2008.
  • Tom Brady is 177-59 as a starter (134-97 ATS).
  • Tom Brady is 21-30 ATS as a home favorite of -9 or more (11-23 ATS since November 2007).
  • Opening Line: Patriots -13.5.
  • Opening Total: 48.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Patriots 26, Jaguars 16
    Jaguars +14 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Under 49 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Patriots 51, Jaguars 17

    Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-2)
    Line: Ravens by 1.5. Total: 45.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Ravens -3.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Pick.
    Sunday, Sep 27, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Bengals.

    If you followed this site for a while, you might remember that I like to respond to my spam mails. Five years ago, a man named Jon Wire from the "United Bank of Africoan" promised me an ATM card of some sort, so I responded as a man named Mister Compassion Chuck Norris, who was raised by wolves. The following season, I received e-mails from Richard Held and Loon Bruce, who told me I won a Facebook Award, which comes with a "lump sum pay out of (750,000.00 GBP)." Pretending to be Matthew Millen Kim, I sent out my application and fake money.

    I messed around with a spammer pretending to be a black woman named Mulyana in 2012. I assumed Steve Urkel's identity and had many exchanges with Mulyana. Click the link to see all of that. As for the 2013 season, I pretended to be Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez in some responses. In 2014, Donald Sterling answered spammers.

    This week, I have a new Spam Mail in which some person told me he was robbed on vacations in Manila. How could I possibly help!? Check out the link.

    CINCINNATI OFFENSE: It's crazy how much of an impact Terrell Suggs had on Baltimore's defense. The Ravens had no pass rush last week, and Derek Carr, who struggled in a quarter-and-a-half against the Bengals, lit up Baltimore's defense, going 30-of-46 for 351 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Jimmy Smith was uncharacteristically bad, and safety Kendrick Lewis didn't seem as though he had a clue as to what was going on. As it turns out, life is a bit more difficult when Suggs isn't around to rush the quarterback.

    If the Ravens had difficulty dealing with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, how are they going to contain A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert? Green is still one of the better receivers in the NFL, while Eifert has emerged as a very strong intermediate option, now that he's healthy. Andy Dalton also happens to be protected pretty well - he hasn't taken a sack yet - so Cincinnati's aerial attack should deliver.

    As for the ground game, Baltimore will have more success in that regard, but only by default. Latavius Murray averaged 4.3 yards per carry last week, so Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard figure to post a similar number. Hill was benched this past week for fumbling, but he's expected to retain his starting job - and rightfully so, since he is the superior runner.

    BALTIMORE OFFENSE: The Ravens also have a key injury on this side of the ball, but not a new one. Breshad Perriman has been out for what seems like an eternity, and it's safe to say that Baltimore is dying for him to return to action, given that Joe Flacco has no one to throw to besides Steve Smith and Crockett Gillmore, and no one even knew the latter existed prior to this past weekend.

    The Bengals are decent enough in coverage that they'll be able to limit Joe Flacco. They're especially strong against the run, so I wouldn't expect much out of Justin Forsett, whose 3.8 yards-per-carry average won't exactly strike fear into the hearts of the Cincinnati defenders.

    There are also problems up front for the Ravens. Eugene Monroe has been out, which has been a major issue because replacement James Hurst has put together two of the worst performances from an offensive lineman that the world has ever seen. Monroe being back would be huge, but the Ravens will still have to worry about blocking Geno Atkins, who has been a terror following a down 2014 campaign.

    RECAP: I'm taking the Bengals for a couple of units. The Ravens play better at home, but they've done so much traveling over the past couple of weeks that they might not be fresh. They also have to conserve some energy for Thursday night's matchup versus the Steelers; as mentioned earlier, favorites prior to Thursday night struggle. Plus, Cincinnati has had Baltimore's number recently, winning four of the previous five.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Eugene Monroe is out. The theme this year is that teams that can't block haven't won, and Baltimore can't block right now. The Ravens also have to prepare for the Steelers in four days, and Cincinnati has the better team overall. The Bengals make sense for two units.

    SUNDAY NOTES: The sharps were silent on this game all week, but they finally jumped on the Bengals this morning. That makes sense, given everything going against Baltimore right now.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 52% (23,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
  • History: Home Team has won 8 of the last 11 meetings.
  • Bengals are 29-16 ATS as underdogs since 2009.
  • Ravens are 21-11 ATS at home as an underdog or favorite of 1-7 points with Joe Flacco.
  • Opening Line: Ravens -3.
  • Opening Total: 44.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Bengals 27, Ravens 24
    Bengals +1.5 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
    Over 45.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Bengals 28, Ravens 24

    Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1)
    Line: Browns by 3.5. Total: 43.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : No Line (Carr).
    Walt's Calculated Line: Browns -3.
    Sunday, Sep 27, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Browns.

    Video of the Week: Game Theory is one of my favorite YouTube channels, so I was excited when the creator of that launched Film Theory. If you like Game of Thrones, you'll enjoy this:

    Unfortunately, we may never know what happens in the books because George R.R. Martin will probably eat himself to death before releasing the next one in the series.

    CLEVELAND OFFENSE: The media is ranting and raving about Johnny Manziel, but the bill-rolling quarterback made just three great plays last week, all against a poor defense. Manziel struggled otherwise; he went just 5-of-12 for 44 yards outside of those plays. That's hardly worth ranting and raving over.

    With that in mind, it's understandable why Cleveland would go back to Josh McCown. Though McCown isn't very good, he's a better, safer, more-consistent option. He'll avoid careless fumbles, and he won't need luck to defeat the opponent. McCown figures to have success in this contest. Through two games, the Raiders have surrendered 66 points and haven't shown any signs that they can do anything positive on this side of the ball. Khalil Mack is great, and Dan Williams is playing well, but that's about it. The other Raider defenders have been either putrid or sub par.

    OAKLAND OFFENSE: The Raiders figure to be able to move the ball, too. the Browns can get to the quarterback pretty well, but they once again have a major weakness versus the rush. Their linebackers are major liabilities in that regard, and unlike last year, Oakland can move the ball on the ground, thanks to Latavius Murray. The second-year back has averaged at least four yards per carry in each of his first two contests, so I suspect that he'll break that mark once again in this matchup.

    Having Murray as an established option will help tremendously, as Derek Carr has to deal with a major liability up front. Because of Menelik Watson's injury, J'Marcus Webb has to start at right guard, and he has predictably been terrible. The Browns, who pummeled Marcus Mariota into the ground last week, figure to take advantage of this, so Carr could struggle as a consequence.

    Another issue for the Raiders is that Amari Cooper will have to deal with Joe Haden. The top corner shut down Kendall Wright last week, and while Cooper will provide a greater challenge, it goes without saying that Cooper won't have the sort of monster game he enjoyed last week. If I'm wrong, and Cooper dominates again, we could be looking at the sure-fire winner of the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

    RECAP: This is Oakland's first road game, which would normally be a good thing, but the Raiders will be playing in an early start on the East Coast - something that hindered both the 49ers and Chargers last week. Also, Oakland is just 8-23 against the spread following a victory over the past five years, which is just awful. This team hasn't been able to maintain success. I'm not eager to bet the Browns either, but they seem like the right side.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: No interest here, but it should be noted that the Raiders are +4 on Pinnacle and +3.5 elsewhere, so keep that in mind just in case you want to bet Oakland.

    SUNDAY NOTES: No sharp money on this game. The Pinnacle spread now matches every other line.

    The Psychology. Edge: Browns.
    The Raiders are coming off an emotional win and could be flat in an early start.

    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    The Raiders are a public underdog.
  • Percentage of money on Oakland: 62% (15,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Browns.
  • Raiders are 8-23 ATS after a win since 2009.
  • Browns are 19-12 ATS after allowing 30 or more points since 2005.
  • Browns are 9-17 ATS as favorites since 2008.
  • Opening Line: Browns -4.
  • Opening Total: 41.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Browns 19, Raiders 13
    Browns -3.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Under 43.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Raiders 27, Browns 20

    Indianapolis Colts (0-2) at Tennessee Titans (1-1)
    Line: Colts by 3.5. Total: 467.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Colts -4.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Colts -5.
    Sunday, Sep 27, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Colts.


    I've been citing that Tom Brady has lost his "clutch" ability over the past few years, but I guess I can't do that any longer because he just won his fourth Super Bowl. Or, can I...? Brady, after all, reached the "Big Game" with the help of his deflated footballs.

    Brady was stuck on three Super Bowls for a long time before he resorted to cheating. So, what happened? The obvious answer is his wife. But more specifically, it's the haircuts that his wife forces him into getting. It's unknown to the media, but Brady's haircuts are much more than just silly fashion statements; each haircut gives Brady a new persona. Including this one...

    To see the story behind this one, check out the new Adventures of Tom Brady's Haircuts!

    INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: I'm not breaking any news here by writing that the Colts' offensive line is a complete mess. Even Chuck Pagano said so. When asked if the front was to blame for the Monday night loss, he replied with something like, "That's how it's been the past three years, hasn't it?" What a wonderful, direct shot at general manager Ryan Grigson, whose incompetence has resulted in a depleted roster and a quarterback who was nearly murdered on national television.

    Andrew Luck was hit relentlessly Monday night, and he might have the same treatment in this contest. Granted, the Titans don't have Muhammad Wilkerson available to dominate the trenches, but they can get after the quarterback with Jurrell Casey, Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo. The latter two aren't huge concerns compared to Casey because the Indianapolis tackles, Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort, are pretty decent. The team is really hurting in the interior, so Casey figures to have a big game.

    One key difference will be the secondary. In addition to facing tons of pressure, Luck's receivers couldn't win most times against the Jets. That may not happen in this matchup, given that the Titans don't possess anyone nearly as good as Darrelle Revis, or Antonio Cromartie, or Buster Skrine, for that matter. Perrish Cox is playing well, but the other members of the Tennessee secondary are struggling mightily. Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson were both torched on Travis Benjmain touchdowns, while Michael Griffin has continued his trend of being terrible.

    TENNESSEE OFFENSE: All the talk heading into this matchup will be about whether or not the Colts' offensive line can keep Andrew Luck upright. I coud ask the same thing about the Titan front. The group had a miserable showing at Cleveland this past Sunday, with Marcus Mariota taking a whopping seven sacks - an enormous number for any mobile quarterback. And, to add injury to insult, Chance Warmack was knocked out of the game with a sprained knee. He may return soon, but he has already been ruled out this week.

    Mariota had a great debut, but that was against a lost Tampa defense that only took advantage of Drew Brees because he was hurt. He struggled versus the Browns, and he might be in for a tough matchup against the Colts. That may draw some quizzical looks, but remember that Indianapolis was playing without its three top cornerbacks for most of Monday night, including Vontae Davis. And besides, it's not like the Colts will have to deal with a receiver as great as Brandon Marshall. Kendall Wright is solid, but he's all Tennessee has.

    I don't expect the Titans to have much luck running the ball either. The Colts are surprisingly stout versus the run, as they've been able to bottle up LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory in consecutive weeks. Without the aid of a strong ground attack, Mariota will have to do more on his own, and that may not work against a defense that figures to welcome back Davis and Darius Butler.

    RECAP: The Colts are the play for three units. Might as well give you three reasons why I like them:

    1. Indianapolis is 13-2 against the spread off a loss and 14-4 ATS in divisional games under Luck. Now, Luck didn't come through for us on Monday night, but perhaps the Jets were better than everyone - especially me - thought they were. Luck usually mops the floor against weak divisional foes, so I think he'll do the same thing this week.

    2. The Monday night overreaction is absurd, and this spread has dropped from -4.5 to -3 as a consequence. I normally pay attention to line moves of two or more, but the spread shifting down to the key number of three is important.

    3. The Titans, meanwhile, have done a ton of traveling thus far, and this is their first home game. Teams in Week 3 home openers cover about 33 percent of the time because of all that fatigue.

    I considered going higher on this pick, but two things are keeping me from making this a five-unit choice. First, there's a ton of action on the visitor. Second, the dysfunction in the organization could be a real thing, much like the 49ers experienced last year. Still, I think Indianapolis is the right side.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The Colts can't block either, but it's not like they have an overwhelming opponent this week. The Titans are better with Marcus Mariota, but I expect Andrew Luck's mastery of the AFC South teams to continue.

    SUNDAY NOTES: It might be a good sign that the Colts didn't drop down to -3, as that would've meant that the sharps were on Tennessee.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Titans.
    All the money on the Colts thus far.
  • Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 86% (28,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Colts.
  • History: Colts have won 20 of the last 24 meetings.
  • Andrew Luck is 13-2 ATS off a loss.
  • Andrew Luck is 14-3 ATS against divisional opponents.
  • Opening Line: Colts -5.
  • Opening Total: 48.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Colts 27, Titans 16
    Colts -3.5 (3 Units) -- Incorrect; -$330
    Under 47 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Colts 35, Titans 33

    Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
    Line: Falcons by 1.5. Total: 43.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Cowboys -4.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Cowboys -1.5.
    Sunday, Sep 27, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: None.

    We're going to have new features on the site shortly, beginning with something we published recently. You can go here to Create Your Own Power Rankings - and once you do, people will be sending you hate mail, just like they do for my NFL Power Rankings.

    Also, check this out: We have a new Matchup Breakdown, featuring game logs, experts' picks and more.

    DALLAS OFFENSE: Cowboy players are dropping like flies. At this rate, there won't be anyone healthy left on the roster by Halloween. Several players were unavailable for the start of the season, and following Dez Bryant's Week 1 injury, Tony Romo was lost the following Sunday with a broken clavicle.

    It goes without saying that the Cowboys sustained a huge blow. Romo had played extremely well through two weeks. Now that he's gone, Brandon Weeden will have to step in. Yes, the same Weeden who was displaced by Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel in Cleveland. Weeden appears to have improved his game, however. At least that's what it looked like from the seven passes he threw in relief at Philadelphia. Weeden completed all seven attempts, which included an impressive touchdown to Terrance Williams.

    I'm not indicating that Dallas is going to be very successful with Weeden, but the old man might be able to at least hold down the fort and salvage some wins before Romo returns in eight or so weeks. He might be able to play well against bad defenses. Atlanta's stop unit is better than it has been in recent years, but there are still some glaring liabilities, particularly in the secondary. Excluding Desmond Trufant, the other defensive backs haven't been performing well, so perhaps Weeden will be able to take advantage of this. He should be able to have a clean pocket as well; the Falcons don't produce a pass rush. They stop the run well, but they are weak in the other aspects.

    ATLANTA OFFENSE: While the two prominent players in Dallas' offense will be out for a while, two key defenders will be returning in Week 5. Rolando McClain and Greg Hardy will take the field in a couple of weeks, but until then, the other players in the stop unit will have to hold down the fort.

    The Cowboys should be able to do that - excluding, of course, the plays in which Matt Ryan targets Julio Jones. The monstrous receiver is arguably the top player at his position right now, and there's no stopping him. Brandon Carr and J.J. Wilcox have performed well thus far, but no one stands a chance against Jones.

    What Dallas will be able to do, however, is stop the run. The team excels in that department, thanks to Sean Lee finally being in the lineup. Lee has missed so many games in recent seasons that it was easy to forget how great of a player he is. He's been dominant for the Cowboys thus far, so he'll help put the clamps on Devonta Freeman, who will handle the majority of the workload with Tevin Coleman sidelined.

    RECAP: The Cowboys are one of my top plays this week. I love it when good teams are without their starting quarterback for the first game. They tend to give 110 percent, and Dallas definitely has the players to pull an upset with a backup under center.

    In addition to that, here's why I love Dallas:

    1. The underdogs in Cowboy games are 55-25 against the spread since 2010. Dallas just does so well when getting points.

    2. Look at all that money on Atlanta! Everyone and their mothers is betting the Falcons. Oh, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones versus Brandon Weeden and no Dez Bryant!? Of course Atlanta's going to win!

    3. I think the Falcons are playing with house money and may not be fully prepared. They're coming off an emotional win and are now 2-0. They could have easily lost those first two games, so they may take this for granted. I mean, how can they possibly get up for Weeden following a last-second victory?

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps are all over the Cowboys, and so am I. They remain one of my top picks of this week. If ypu like them, Bovada has them listed at +2 -105.

    SUNDAY NOTES: The sharps continue to pound the Cowboys, who are now favored. You can still get them at +1.5 on Bovada, however.

    The Psychology. Edge: Cowboys.
    I have to imagine the Cowboys will be giving 110 percent with Tony Romo out. The Falcons, meanwhile, are coming off an emotional win.

    The Vegas. Edge: Cowboys.
    Barely anyone wants to take Dallas.
  • Percentage of money on Atlanta: 77% (34,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Cowboys.
  • The underdog is 55-25 ATS in Cowboys games since 2010.
  • Cowboys are 16-8 ATS after playing the Eagles since 2000.
  • Opening Line: Pick.
  • Opening Total: 44.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Cowboys 27, Falcons 23
    Cowboys +1.5 (4 Units) -- Incorrect; -$440
    Over 43.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Falcons 39, Cowboys 28

    Week 3 NFL Picks - Late Games
    San Francisco at Arizona, Buffalo at Miami, Chicago at Seattle, Denver at Detroit, Kansas City at Green Bay


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

  • Prop/teaser/parlay picks posted in Week 3 NFL Picks - Late Games

    NFL Picks - Jan. 16

    2021 NFL Mock Draft - Jan. 13

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Jan. 11

    2022 NFL Mock Draft - Nov. 15

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    Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 18, 2020): 1-5 (-$1,430)
    Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2020): 0-2 (-$575)
    Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2020): 0-2 (-$855)
    Last Week Over-Under (Week 18, 2020): 2-3-1 ($0)
    Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 18, 2020): $0

    2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-2, 50.0% (-$135)

    2020 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 132-123-6, 52.6% (+$3,280)
    2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 43-42-3, 50.6% (-$2,650)
    2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-22-1, 62.7% (+$5,515)
    2020 Season Over-Under: 137-119-6, 53.5% ($0)
    2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$375

    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% (+$3,585)
    2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$6,105)
    2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$4,235)
    2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,880)
    2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,335)
    2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$7,445)
    2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$7,825)
    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% (-$3,215)
    2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$780)
    2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$4,300)
    2018 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 140-134-14, 51.3% (+$845)
    2019 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 149-128-9, 53.6% (+$1,200)

    2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%)
    2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%)
    2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%)
    2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%)
    2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%)
    2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110)
    2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510)
    2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260)
    2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180)
    2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715)
    2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130)
    2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890)
    2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820)
    2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475)
    2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395)
    2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-41-2, 55.9% (+$2,670)
    2019 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-36-2, 55.0% (+$655)

    2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%)
    2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%)
    2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%)
    2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%)
    2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%)
    2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420)
    2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055)
    2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330)
    2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790)
    2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260)
    2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650)
    2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970)
    2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120)
    2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465)
    2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595)
    2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 27-32-1, 45.8% (-$4,735)
    2019 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-27-2, 57.8% (+$2,185)

    2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%)
    2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%)
    2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%)
    2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%)
    2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%)
    2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%)
    2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900)
    2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860)
    2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195)
    2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5)
    2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135)
    2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30)
    2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340)
    2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0)
    2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95)
    2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640)
    2018 Season Over-Under: 118-128-3, 48.0% (-$225)
    2019 Season Over-Under: 126-133-4, 48.6% (-$50)

    2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035
    2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775
    2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865
    2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200
    2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590
    2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685
    2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245
    2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
    2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275
    2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510
    2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,495
    2019 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,715

    2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%)
    2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400)
    2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720)
    2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640)
    2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810)
    2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870)
    2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560)
    2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900)
    2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350)
    2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
    2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780)
    2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040)
    2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-3, 57.1% (-$640)
    2019 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3-1, 50.0% (-$625)

    Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,989-2,760-179, 52.0% (+$13,585)
    Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 953-858-49 (52.6%)
    Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 452-396-23 (53.3%)
    Career Over-Under: 2,459-2,413-66 (50.5%)
    Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%)
    Career NFL Picks of the Month: 44-29-1 (60.3%)

    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: 11-5 (2014-19: 47-50)
    Bears: 6-11 (2014-19: 45-48)
    Bucs: 7-9 (2014-19: 44-45)
    49ers: 8-8 (2014-19: 53-44)
    Eagles: 8-8 (2014-19: 55-46)
    Lions: 9-6 (2014-19: 53-42)
    Falcons: 9-7 (2014-19: 55-45)
    Cardinals: 10-6 (2014-19: 45-50)
    Giants: 3-13 (2014-19: 52-41)
    Packers: 12-4 (2014-19: 54-46)
    Panthers: 13-3 (2014-19: 47-52)
    Rams: 5-12 (2014-19: 53-41)
    Redskins: 7-8 (2014-19: 47-48)
    Vikings: 9-7 (2014-19: 51-45)
    Saints: 7-10 (2014-19: 49-50)
    Seahawks: 8-9 (2014-19: 43-56)
    Bills: 10-7 (2014-19: 52-42)
    Bengals: 9-5 (2014-19: 42-52)
    Colts: 8-7 (2014-19: 50-45)
    Broncos: 9-7 (2014-19: 45-48)
    Dolphins: 12-4 (2014-19: 47-46)
    Browns: 7-9 (2014-19: 46-44)
    Jaguars: 4-11 (2014-19: 41-55)
    Chargers: 8-6 (2014-19: 46-49)
    Jets: 8-8 (2014-19: 50-40)
    Ravens: 5-11 (2014-19: 48-47)
    Texans: 10-5 (2014-19: 48-47)
    Chiefs: 12-4 (2014-19: 56-50)
    Patriots: 6-10 (2014-19: 55-53)
    Steelers: 7-10 (2014-19: 56-43)
    Titans: 10-7 (2014-19: 49-47)
    Raiders: 7-9 (2014-19: 43-52)
    Divisional: 43-47 (2011-19: 405-394)
    2x Game Edge: 63-60 (2011-19: 213-210)
    2x Motivation Edge: 45-30 (2011-19: 347-288)
    2x Spread Edge: 42-33 (2011-19: 61-55)
    2x Vegas Edge: 25-22 (2011-19: 320-335)
    2x Trend Edge: 18-13 (2011-19: 250-228)
    Double Edge: 27-21 (2011-19: 122-107)
    Triple Edge: 5-4 (2011-19: 21-18)

    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 |
    2012 Season:
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    2013 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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    2014 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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    2015 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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    2016 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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    2017 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
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    2018 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2018 Season:
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    2019 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2019 Season:
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    2020 Season:
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