NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 8, 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 (Week 3, 2015): 7-9 (-$870)
NFL Picks (Week 4, 2015): 6-8-1 (-$360)
NFL Picks (Week 5, 2015): 6-6-2 (+$55)
NFL Picks (Week 6, 2015): 5-8-1 (-$690)
NFL Picks (Week 7, 2015): 4-9-1 (-$860)

NFL Picks (2015): 54-63-5 (-$4,100)
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 Nov. 2, 5:20 p.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Go to Week 8 NFL Picks - Late Games

Miami Dolphins (3-3) at New England Patriots (6-0)
Line: Patriots by 9. Total: 52.

Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Patriots -10.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Patriots -7.
Thursday, Oct 29, 8:25 ET
Comment on this game

The Game. Edge: None.

WEEK 7 RECAP: Surprise, surprise, another terrible week. That's how I described by Week 6 selections, yet Week 7 was even worse. When you have bad luck AND make terrible picks, you're going to do horribly, and that's exactly what happened to me. The Atlanta game was ridiculous - don't get me started on that Julio Jones non-touchdown - and the Steelers, Bills and Cowboys were all one play away from cashing (Antonio Brown's dropped pass in Chiefs territory that turned into an interception; the bogus pass interference on Nickell Robey; the Dwayne Harris kickoff return), but spending eight units on the Colts and Texans was so incredibly stupid. I suck.

As I wrote last week, the new CBA has me all screwed up. I didn't have any losing seasons from 2003 to 2010 - not one - but I've been horrible ever since the new CBA was signed in 2011. The bad teams no longer cover in great spots, and I just haven't been able to figure things out. I don't know what else there is to say besides the fact that a winning week seems completely impossible right now. It really feels like I'll never win again.

WEEK 8 BETTING TRENDS: I've been discussing overreaction spreads, line movements of two or more against the Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread that weren't impacted by injuries. They were 6-9-2 ATS in Weeks 2-6, but 35-22 ATS in 2014. Here were the overreaction spreads from Week 7:

Before Week 6 After Week 6
Texans +1.5 Texans +4.5
Colts -6.5 Colts -4.5
Giants -5.5 Giants -3.5

Another loser. The Texans didn't try at all, while the Colts flopped. The Giants covered, but that's the one side I didn't take, of course.

Here are the Week 8 overreaction line movements:

Before Week 7 After Week 7
Lions +2.5 Lions +6
Patriots -10.5 Patriots -7.5
Colts +3.5 Colts +6.5
49ers +5 49ers +7.5
Falcons -9 Falcons -7
Jets -3 Jets -1

If these advance line movements were ever going to work, it'd be this week. There are six spreads that shifted at least two points. Patriots-Dolphins is understandable, as PC Head Coach has done a good job of checking privileges. The Colts moved up because they were horrible at home versus New Orleans, albeit in a very obvious flat spot. Everyone saw how awful the 49ers were on Thursday night, so no one was going to bet them at +5. The same goes for the Lions at +2.5 after they lost and the Chiefs won.

The Falcons dropped because they had trouble with the Titans, while the Buccaneers were very impressive at Washington prior to blowing that lead. Meanwhile, the Jets have fallen from -3 to -1 because of Oakland's great performance.

NEW CBA PART II: Last week, I pointed out how situations were different between the Realignment Era (2002-2010) and the New CBA Era. Another such item is how teams have fared in their second-consecutive road game.

Contrary to popular belief, betting on teams playing in their second-straight road game is profitable. Since 2002, those teams are 493-403 against the spread, not including those coming off byes. That's a 55-percent covering rate.

How has it fared in the New CBA Era? Just 153-139 ATS for 52.4 percent, meaning those teams in the Realignment Era were an unreal 340-264 (56.3%). That's an unbelievable percentage at such a large sample size.

So, what happened? There may not be a clear, logical explanation on the surface until we delve deeper into the numbers...

Second-Consecutive Road Situation ATS
Underdogs after Loss - Realignment Era 148-86 (63.2%)
Underdogs after Loss - New CBA Era 58-59 (49.6%)
Underdogs after Win - Realignment Era 96-85 (53.0%)
Underdogs after Win - New CBA Era 34-37 (47.9%)
Favorites after Loss - Realignment Era 36-44 (45.0%)
Favorites after Loss - New CBA Era 31-13 (70.5%)
Favorites after Win - Realignment Era 54-42 (56.2%)
Favorites after Win - New CBA Era 26-24 (52.0%)

Look at the shift in success between underdogs off a loss and favorites in the same situation in the two eras. I think this speaks to how much worse bad teams are, as they can't get up for their second-consecutive road tilt anymore.

That brings me to my next point, which is that I've noticed that most of my psychological trends don't seem to work when picking bad/inferior teams. This was highly effective in the Realignment Era, but not anymore.

With that in mind, I'm just going to focus picking good teams in good spots. Like the Vikings last week, for instance. The Lions were going into London and coming off a loss, so the superior squad covered.

NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: The Patriots must wish they would've gotten the Dolphins that struggled back in the Joe Philbin days. The team was woeful in all regards and inexplicably didn't put pressure on the quarterback. That has now changed, meaning Tom Brady will constantly be under siege on Thursday. The weakness of the Patriots' scoring unit is the poor offensive line, which has surrendered far too many sacks. Brady tends to struggle when hit often from a four-man rush, so Miami can force him into some incompletions and perhaps a turnover or two by putting heavy heat on him.

The Dolphins still have some holes in their secondary, so swarming Brady will be imperative. I'm sure Brady will have some time on occasion, and when he does, he'll be able to exploit the matchups, but New England's passing attack could be sporadic.

The Patriots should have trouble running the ball as well. The Dolphins' stout front was getting trampled in the early going, but things have changed under PC Head Coach. They won't be able to fully focus on LeGarrette Blount and/or Dion Lewis, but the strong defensive line should be able to limit New England on the ground.

MIAMI OFFENSE: The Patriots, on the other hand, aren't great versus the rush. They ranked 27th heading into the Jets contest in terms of YPC, and Lamar Miller has been explosive since the bye. Miller should be able to have a strong performance.

This will open things up for Ryan Tannehill, who will be throwing into a surprisingly solid secondary that has been decent despite Darrelle Revis' departure. Jarvis Landry should be effective - he caught eight passes for 99 yards in the previous matchup - but the Patriots could limit all of Tannehill's other weapons.

With that in mind, it's a good thing that Branden Albert is back in the lineup for the Dolphins. Tannehill has enjoyed much better pass protection ever since Branden Albert returned from injury a couple of weeks ago. New England can get to the quarterback effectively, so Albert's presence will be huge.

RECAP: These teams are closer than the public thinks they are. I've joked about PC Head Coach checking the Dolphins' privileges, but Cameron Wake being healthy and Branden Albert returning to the lineup have been huge. Wake at full strength is problematic for the Patriots, who can't block. Brady tends to struggle versus defenses that can get to the quarterback without blitzing, and that's exactly what the Dolphins are capable of accomplishing.

I love the Dolphins in this spot enough to take them for three units. They've perennially done very well on the road as underdogs, while the Patriots seldom cover these high spreads at home. This figures to be a low-scoring game, so getting more than a touchdown seems pretty appealing.

I'll be posting NFL Picks on Wednesday. Follow me at @walterfootball for updates.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I still like the Dolphins for three units. Let's talk about two misconceptions. The first is that Bill Belichick is going to cover because he has the edge on a short week. The truth is, Belichick is 0-3 against the spread in Thursday night home games, excluding season openers. That actually makes some sense, as a genius like Belichick doesn't have enough time to develop a master game plan against his opponent.

The second misconception is that Belichick will coach circles around PC Head Coach. Take a look at this stat: Belichick, as coach of the Patriots, is 7-2 straight up versus interim head coaches. However, only two of those victories have been by more than seven points. Recently, in a game against the Dolphins, Belichick won by just a field goal versus Todd Bowles.

This spread is way too high, and it's actually available at +9 -105 on Bovada.

The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.

The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
Not a surprise that the Patriots are getting lots of action.
  • Percentage of money on New England: 73% (72,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Dolphins.
  • History: Patriots have won 12 of the last 16 meetings (Home Team has won 6 of the last 7 meetings).
  • Dolphins are 17-10 ATS on the road vs. teams with a winning record since 2007.
  • Underdog is 62-31 ATS in the Dolphins' last 93 games.
  • Patriots are 45-33 ATS vs. AFC East opponents since 2001.
  • Tom Brady is 181-59 as a starter (136-99 ATS).
  • Tom Brady is 22-30 ATS as a home favorite of -9 or more (12-23 ATS since November 2007). ???
  • Opening Line: Patriots -8.
  • Opening Total: 51.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 8 NFL Pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 20
    Dolphins +9 (3 Units) -- Incorrect; -$330
    Under 52 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Patriots 36, Dolphins 7

    Detroit Lions (1-6) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (2-5)
    Line: Chiefs by 3. Total: 46.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Chiefs -2.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Chiefs -3.
    Sunday, Nov 1, 9:30 ET
    At Wembley Stadium, London
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Chiefs.

    VEGAS UPDATE: The six top-bet teams each week were 17-18-1 against the spread heading into Week 7. How'd they do this past weekend? Take a look:

  • Falcons -6 - Loss
  • Rams -6.5 - Cover
  • Bills -5.5 - Loss
  • Steelers +3 - Loss
  • Colts -4.5 - Loss
  • Panthers -3.5 - Cover

  • The books were killed in Week 5, but they rebounded quite nicely the past two weekends. The Rams were their only major loss.

    Here are the six top bets in Week 8, as of Wednesday afternoon (21-20-1 ATS this year):

  • Packers -3
  • Jets -2
  • Cardinals -4.5
  • Seahawks -6
  • Patriots -8
  • Vikings -1.5

  • It's insane how much money is coming in on Green Bay. That game could make or break Vegas' week.

    Once again, follow @walterfootball for updates.

    DETROIT OFFENSE: The Lions made news by firing their offensive coordinator and some other coaches this week. Changes like this are typically made during the bye week, so the timing of these moves is very strange. Preparing a game plan on a normal week, especially one in which requires traveling to another country, could be too much for the team to handle.

    It's a shame for the Lions, as they have a great matchup in this contest. The Chiefs' secondary has been an abomination this season. They haven't been able to cover anyone, so Matthew Stafford would've enjoyed a great performance. Perhaps he'll still play well, but the odds aren't in his favor, especially when considering how bad his offensive line is. The front can't protect him at all, so I expect the Chiefs' pass rush to hound him all morning. Kansas City is also strong against the run, so don't expect much from Ameer Abdullah.

    KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: It didn't seem like the Steelers gave their full effort last week, which would explain why Charcandrick West was actually able to look like Jamaal Charles after playing like Ray Charles the previous week. West, however, could have another big game, given that the Lions have a bottom-10 run defense.

    West running well will make life easier for Alex Smith, who continues to be a checkdown machine. The Lions can't stop the pass, but Smith's fear and lacking pass protection will keep him going short. That should work in between the 20s in this particular matchup, but the Chiefs could once again bog down in the red zone. Then again, perhaps Detroit's lack of focus will allow Kansas City to finally convert deep in enemy territory.

    RECAP: I think it's stupid to fire a head coach or a coordinator during a non-bye week. The Lions haven't had much time to adjust, especially while traveling to another country. Their offense might be even worse than usual, so I'm wondering how they're going to block the elite Kansas City edge rushers. Stafford figures to have a multi-turnover game.

    I'm taking the Chiefs, but only for a small play. I don't like this number very much. It's been inflated because of the Joe Lombardi firing, though I'm not sure if it's been adjusted enough. Also, I'm not crazy backing a bad team off a win, but Kansas City is the one team in this matchup that actually has hope. The Lions are done, while the Chiefs could improve to 3-5, which will have them just 1.5 games out of the second wild-card spot in the AFC playoff race.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This spread would be a shade too high in a vacuum, but I don't think enough has been taken into account concerning Detroit's offensive coordinator being fired during a non-bye week. I trust the better team more in London, and that happens to be the Chiefs. It's worth noting that there's been a bit of sharp and public action on the Lions, but not enough to bet them just based solely on that.

    SUNDAY NOTES: This spread has continued to fall, and it's now -3 -115 on 5Dimes. The sharps are all over the dog, for some reason. The Lions won't have a starting cornerback now, so their defense will have challenges in addition to their offense. Still only one unit on the Chiefs, though.

    The Psychology. Edge: Chiefs.
    The Lions fired a bunch of coaches and have to travel to another country, so I can't see them being in the right frame of mind.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Detroit: 55% (28,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Lions are 14-30 ATS against losing teams the previous 44 instances.
  • Andy Reid is 15-20 ATS vs. non-conference opponents as a favorite since 2002.
  • Andy Reid is 6-9 ATS going into a bye.
  • Opening Line: Chiefs -4.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: .

    Week 8 NFL Pick: Chiefs 19, Lions 9
    Chiefs -3 -115 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Under 46 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Chiefs 45, Lions 10

    Minnesota Vikings (4-2) at Chicago Bears (2-4)
    Line: Vikings by 2. Total: 43.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Vikings -2.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Vikings -3.5.
    Sunday, Nov 1, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Vikings.

    HATE MAIL: Lots of hate mail this week, as expected. Here's the first batch:

    The purpose of hate mail is sort of defeated when I'm bashing my own picks at the very top of the page. They're pretty much copying whatever I'm saying at this point.

    Here's more from the mouth-breathers:

    Once again, these people are telling me things I've already mentioned. Yawn. Step up your game, hate-mailers.

    I love it when people accuse me of being bais against their team. Yes, bais.

    This is hate mail, sort of, but I thought it was hilarious:

    Love it - although my haircut hasn't changed since I graduated college.

    MINNESOTA OFFENSE: The Vikings' scoring attack was decent enough a couple of weeks ago, but it seems like it's so much better now with Stefon Diggs making plays. Diggs was always a promising prospect, but nothing like this was expected out of a fifth-round rookie so soon. In just three games, Diggs has caught 20 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown, which is pretty amazing.

    The Bears' secondary won't have any answers for this. Their safeties are pretty solid, but all of their cornerbacks stink. It doesn't help that the team doesn't get much pressure on the quarterback. Chicago is tied for the fourth-fewest sacks in the NFL, so giving Teddy Bridgewater plenty of time to throw to a receiver who is suddenly making dynamic plays doesn't sound too promising.

    However, the big concern will be containing Adrian Peterson, of course. The Bears aren't very good in that regard either, ranking 25th versus the rush in terms of YPC (4.47). Peterson exploding would obviously make defending Bridgewater so much more difficult.

    CHICAGO OFFENSE: The Vikings are only marginally better versus the rush on paper (24th), but they could be worse in this contest. That's because Sharrif Floyd will be out of the lineup. Floyd isn't great against the run, but he's much better at it than his replacement, Tom Johnson. I like Matt Forte to have a big game.

    Floyd, however, will be missed the most in terms of the pass rush. He has generated great heat on the quarterback this season, and he's part of the reason why Minnesota is tied for ninth in sacks this year. The Bears don't have the best offensive line, so Jay Cutler will take whatever help he can get.

    Speaking of Cutler, he has been better of late with barely any #yolo throws. That could change on any given Sunday, but the team is currently optimistic about his chances, citing that his mechanics and such have improved. We'll see if that changes anytime soon, especially against a Minnesota squad that has a talented secondary, but Floyd's absence will certainly make things easier for Cutler.

    RECAP: If you want to bet the Vikings, like everyone else is doing, consider the following:

    1. Sharrif Floyd, as mentioned, is out, which is a huge downgrade to Minnesota's pass rush.

    2. There's tons of public action on the Vikings, but despite this, this spread has dropped from -2.5 to -1.5 (pick in some places). The sharps are betting the Bears.

    3. John Fox is 9-5 against the spread off a bye.

    4. The Vikings have an abysmal track record in Chicago. They haven't won there since 2007, and they've covered just twice at Soldier Field since 2000 - when Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss were at their peak!

    I'm picking the Bears to cover, though I'm not betting them. The Vikings are the superior team, and I can't stomach putting any money on Cutler.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I actually considered changing my pick for this game. I've realized that the Vikings' run defense isn't as bad as I made it out to be, as their stats are misleading because of one fluke Ronnie Hillman touchdown run. The Vikings are also much better than the Bears, even without Sharrif Floyd. I think I'm going to stick with Chicago, based on Minnesota's dubious history on the road in this rivalry, but I wouldn't bet anything on this game.

    SUNDAY NOTES: This spread has moved up a bit to -2. There was some sharp action on the Bears earlier in the week, but that may have been contrarian, phantom movement.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Bears.
    Tons of action on the visitor.
  • Percentage of money on Minnesota: 70% (27,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Bears.
  • History: Home Team has won 21 of the last 24 meetings (Bears won 8 of the last 11 meetings).
  • Vikings are 14-26 ATS in outdoor road games since 2008.
  • Bears are 31-21 ATS in November since 2001.
  • Jay Cutler is 39-67 ATS if you exclude Monday Night Football.
  • Opening Line: Vikings -1.
  • Opening Total: 42.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 8 NFL Pick: Bears 27, Vikings 24
    Bears +2 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Under 43 (0 Units) -- Push; $0
    Vikings 23, Bears 20

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) at Atlanta Falcons (6-1)
    Line: Falcons by 7. Total: 48.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Falcons -9.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Falcons -8.
    Sunday, Nov 1, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Falcons.

    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!

    ATLANTA OFFENSE: I'll never figure out how the Falcons were limited to just 10 points against a poor Tennessee defense. Julio Jones was screwed out of a touchdown - see my NFL Power Rankings for proof - while a weird interception, plus two field goals negated (penalty, miss) were all part of the problem. Matt Ryan, however, was just very mediocre, going 22-of-38 for 251 yards, one touchdown and two picks.

    The completion percentage and YPA were Ryan's second-worst of the season, only being better than versus the Redskins, when Julio Jones could barely walk. Jones is much healthier now, and the Falcons are taking on the Buccaneers, who just surrendered a ridiculous comeback to Kirk Cousins. Tampa's secondary is awful, as every single cornerback the team has on the roster is a major liability, especially Mike Jenkins, who would've been more effective last week if he had just fainted on the field and had never gotten up.

    Devonta Freeman doesn't have as good of a matchup as Ryan and the receivers, as the Buccaneers are a shocking sixth against the run. They've limited their previous three opponents to an average of 50.3 yards on the ground. However, Devonta Freeman has been matchup-proof ever since taking over as the starting rusher. Something has to give, and my money would be on Freeman, considering that Tampa has to focus on Ryan on Jones.

    TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: I have to think that the Falcons will score a decent amount of fantasy points, so the question is whether the Buccaneers can keep up. Based on last week's performance, that's a strong yes, as Jameis Winston had a quality outing. However, two things to consider: First, Winston did this against Washington's abomination of a secondary, which is much weaker versus the pass (26th) than Atlanta's is (8th). Second, Winston has proven to be very inconsistent, so the fact that he was on one week means next to nothing.

    Making matters worse for Winston is that he won't have strong rushing support again. Doug Martin ran well versus the Redskins, but that's because Washington hasn't been able to stop ground attacks recently. The Falcons have surrendered 80 or more yards on the ground to just one opponent this season. That's pretty impressive, especially considering where this defense was a year ago.

    Winston's only hope is having enough time in the pocket to make stuff happen. The worst aspect of Atlanta's defense is its inability to put pressure on the quarterback; the Falcons have accumulated the fewest amount of sacks this season (8). Fortunately for the Falcons, the secondary has more than made up for it. It should be noted that William Moore is expected to be out, but I think this could be a blessing in disguise because despite his popularity with the fans, he has been the weakest link in the defensive backfield this year.

    RECAP: This spread was -9 a week ago, so I like that we're getting two points of value with the Falcons. I like them in this spot, as this is their first easy home game with a healthy Julio Jones since their matchup against the Texans, which was a blowout victory.

    The Buccaneers, meanwhile, have looked good in their previous two games, but I can't get over the fact that the one superior opponent they've battled thus far, the Panthers, blew them out of the water. Every other foe they've faced - Titans, Saints, Texans, Jaguars, Redskins - are all pretty miserable. This game might serve as a reality check, though I'm not crazy about the Falcons because they haven't played well in a while.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a unit change. I've vowed a few weeks ago to stop with the unit changes unless there are injuries, but that happens to be the case here. Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are both out, so considering the Falcons can shut down the run, all the Buccaneers will be able to do offensively is throw to Mike Evans. That's their only option. This is looking like a blowout, so I'm comfortable placing two units on the host at -7.

    SUNDAY NOTES: I'm happy I got the Falcons at -7, as the spread has risen to -8. The sharps have no interest in the Buccaneers.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Buccaneers.
    No surprise that everyone's betting the Falcons.
  • Percentage of money on Atlanta: 78% (32,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Buccaneers.
  • History: Falcons have won 10 the last 13 meetings.
  • Road Team is 59-35 ATS in Buccaneers games since 2009.
  • Lovie Smith is 8-1 ATS as a divisional underdog of 7+.
  • Lovie Smith is 7-0 ATS as a road underdog following a road loss.
  • Matt Ryan is 32-23 ATS at home.
  • Opening Line: Falcons -7.5.
  • Opening Total: 48.
  • Weather: .

    Week 8 NFL Pick: Falcons 27, Buccaneers 13
    Falcons -7 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
    Under 48.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Buccaneers 23, Falcons 20

    New York Giants (4-3) at New Orleans Saints (3-4)
    Line: Saints by 3. Total: 51.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Saints -2.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Saints -4.
    Sunday, Nov 1, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Saints.

    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. The Bills-Jaguars game was the only contest I was able to watch live on Sunday because of my sister's wedding. Yeah, I know. Anyway, I thought I should offer my thoughts on the Yahoo! live stream.

    It sucked for the most part, but the one positive was that there were fewer commercials. Unless I missed one, there was no commercial-kickoff-commercial sequence. So, that was good. However, there were so many more negatives. For one, the feed was fuzzy and the display was never clear. I felt like I was watching something online from 2003. It's pretty embarrassing that Yahoo! couldn't provide a better feed.

    Also, I don't know if this was an issue for anyone else, but the feed looped and repeated itself at times. One time, I heard the announcer say "gets a good job of getting length and width" like five times in a row. As a result, the CBS play-by-play feed was always two plays ahead of the Yahoo! stream.

    Overall, I'd give this a C-. It was a nice experiment, but NFL games were made for TV. Even if the quality improves, it won't even come close to watching a football game on a 50-inch LED TV while lounging on your couch.

    2. Speaking of stupid things, the NFL fined Matthew Stafford last week for - get this - having "too much blue in his cleats" during a recent game.

    Too... much... blue... in... his... cleats... OK, yeah, it still sounded just as stupid when I separate the words like that.

    Wow. Just wow. Doesn't the NFL have better things to do than to calculate the amount of blueness on Stafford's cleats? I mean, come on. You have Greg Hardy making comments about shooting the other team and wanting to have sex with Tom Brady's wife and her friends, and yet no fine. But oh no, God forbid you have too much blue on your cleats!

    3. I highly enjoyed this. Check out this tweet from Big Daddy Graham, the Philly sports-talk host I like to listen to for Eagles overreaction Sunday night. The tweet itself looks innocent enough, and the responses do as well... until you reach absolute hilarity:

    I just cracked up again, though with a bit of melancholy, as I fear as though I'm heading down @NoMoreIllness' path.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: Eli Manning had a meltdown against the Eagles, and wasn't particularly effective against the Cowboys. Poor pass protection and Odell Beckham Jr.'s shaky hamstring would explain why he has declined recently. Both issues probably won't be fixed in this matchup.

    As for the former, there seemed to be a chance Will Beatty would return for this game, but it's sounding like that won't happen now. He'd be a tremendous upgrade over Marshall Newhouse across from Ereck Flowers, but the Giants will have to wait another week. That's significant, given that New Orleans has racked up nine sacks in the past two games. Meanwhile, there's a decent shot that Beckham will be healthier this week, but soft-tissue injuries tend to linger, so there's no guarantee that Beckham will improve.

    Beckham's health is obviously important, especially because the Giants' running game has struggled overall this season. I'm interested to see what Orleans Darkwa can do, however. Darkwa was impressive against the Cowboys, and the Saints have an even worse ground defense.

    NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: Like the Saints, the Giants can't stop the run. Darren McFadden just ripped right through them for a huge performance, and it's not like New York allowed this to happen because it was so focused on Dallas' passing attack. Drew Brees is much more threatening than Matt Cassel, so Mark Ingram should be able to pick up where McFadden left off.

    Ingram running well will only make things easier for Brees, who is heating up following a slow start. Brees should be able to have a big game against a defense that had surrendered 260-plus passing yards to every quarterback it had faced until battling Cassel last week. Again, Brees is a bit better than Cassel. Just a bit! He'll be able to carve up the Giants' poor defensive backfield.

    It would help the Giants if they could put pressure on Brees, but that's not likely to happen. They have a low sack number on the season. It'll improve once Jason Pierre-Paul returns, and it's sounding like that'll happen soon, but not this week.

    RECAP: The Giants typically play better on the road, but not in New Orleans, where they've been blasted twice in the Eli Manning era, 48-27 and 49-24. Granted, those were superior New Orleans squads, but it's not like the Giants are all that great either. They've been exposed recently, and they're fortunate that Cassel gave the game away last week; otherwise, they would've lost because they were certainly outplayed.

    I'm not crazy about the Saints in this spot; I'd like them better if they weren't coming off a win, but it seems like they're the right side.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I don't have any sort of read on this game. These teams are about even, and neither squad is in a good or a bad spot, so this contest could really go either way. The sharps haven't weighed in either, and understandably so.

    SUNDAY NOTES: Some are making a big deal of Jon Beason being out of the lineup, but Beason hasn't played well, so this only matters for depth purposes. I still have a slight lean on the Saints, but I don't feel good about it.

    The Psychology. Edge: Giants.
    The Saints are not a good team, so they could struggle off a win.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on New Orleans: 51% (12,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Giants are 43-25 ATS on the road since 2006 as long as they're not favored by 3.5 or more.
  • Eli Manning is 35-25 ATS as an underdog since 2007.
  • Saints are 36-20 ATS as a home favorite since 2007.
  • Drew Brees is 37-25 ATS off back-to-back wins.
  • Opening Line: Saints -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 49.
  • Weather: Dome.

    Week 8 NFL Pick: Saints 34, Giants 27
    Saints -3 (0 Units) -- Push; $0
    Over 51 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Saints 52, Giants 49

    San Francisco 49ers (2-5) at St. Louis Rams (3-3)
    Line: Rams by 7.5. Total: 40.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Rams -5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Rams -6.
    Sunday, Nov 1, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Rams.

    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. The Michigan Wolverines have a jerk coach. But a great one, at that.

    Michigan was up 31-0 in a recent game. It was late in the second half, so the opponent had no chance to come back. Yet, the Wolverines ran a fake punt.

    What a dick move. Jim Harbaugh appeared to be responsible at first, but then he yelled at the punter on the sidelines.

    I say, well done, Harbs. You totally convinced everyone that you had nothing to do with it. But I know you better than that. You clearly set this whole thing up and pretended to scream at your punter just so everyone wouldn't think you were a douche. Then again, you were probably yelling at the guy because he could've gotten an extra yard or something.

    2. Moving on to the SEC, the Georgia-Tennessee game a few weeks ago has been something I've been meaning to talk about. It was frustrating early on when the Vols kept shooting themselves in the foot, but the Bulldogs did just that late in the game. They made a mistake late with a 12-men substitution infraction, resulting in a 5-yard penalty on the final drive.

    While this was a dumb mistake - how do you have 12 men on the field on the most important play of the game? - perhaps the greatest blunder was made by CBS color analyst Gary Danielson, who was shouting at the top of his lungs that the contest was over because of a 10-second run-off. I rolled my eyes upon hearing this. That's because the clock wasn't running.

    A 10-second run-off without a running clock? Come on, Gary, it's almost like you never played in the NFL for a decade. It really boggles my mind how many announcers, who happened to be former players, don't know the basic rules. Anyone who has ever played Madden is well aware that there is no 10-second run-off when the clock isn't moving. How do all of these former players not know this? It's not like Danielson isn't the only one. It seems like an announcer gets tripped up by this every week. It's ridiculous.

    3. Speaking of stupid things, I really hate some people on Twitter, and I'm not talking about the PC idiots who wait to be offended by something that doesn't concern them. Those people are the scum of the Earth, but people who tweet stuff like this aren't far behind:

    I've never had anything against Matt Zenitz in the past, and I'm sure he's a nice fellow or whatever, but he and others of his ilk have begun posting football Vines videos on Twitter, which pretty much obliterates the RAM on my computer. I actually have to shut down my Web browser after some of these videos.

    Did Zenitz have to post this video? Why? Couldn't he just have described what was happening? He's a writer, after all. He doesn't need to show a stupid video of a missed field goal. Just say the kicker missed the damn field goal!

    ST. LOUIS OFFENSE: Todd Gurley didn't exactly break the single-game rushing record last week like I thought he could, but he still had an outstanding performance, ending up as the No. 2 fantasy running back behind Lamar Miller. Gurley will have yet another dominant performance in this contest; the 49ers just surrendered 156 rushing yards to the Seahawks, so Gurley could easily enjoy a similar output.

    Gurley's amazing running ability will continue to assist Nick Foles, who needs all the help he can get considering the "supporting" cast he's joined with. He should at least have time to find his lousy receivers, as the 49ers have just one player, Aaron Lynch, who can consistently put heat on opposing quarterbacks. The 49ers were tied for the fewest sacks in the NFL prior to taking on Russell Wilson and his abomination of an offensive line, so they once again won't be able to aid their atrocious secondary.

    SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: As bad as the 49ers' defense is, the team is even worse shape on the other side of the ball. The "scoring" attack is hot garbage, as there are so many problems.

    It all begins with Colin Kaepernick, whose mechanics are atrocious. Kaepernick sailed horrible passes out of bounds all night last Thursday, as he was rattled by Seattle's pass rush. If Kaepernick couldn't deal with the Seahawks' front, what's going to happen versus the Rams, who have a ferocious defensive line? St. Louis is tied for second in sacks, and the team could easily be first after this week is over.

    The 49ers can't take pressure off Kaepernick by establishing Carlos Hyde because Hyde is dealing with a stress fracture in his foot and has consequently been largely ineffective. He's gained 3.6 yards per carry or worse in all but two games this season, and that trend should continue against a Rams defense that has limited three of its previous four opponents to 64 rushing yards or fewer.

    RECAP: I like the Rams quite a bit here. First of all, they are so much better than the 49ers, and they match up very well against them. Kaepernick is awful when he's dealing with immense pressure, and St. Louis will definitely provide that. I also don't see how San Francisco is going to contain Gurley, who is a monster. The Rams have been a much better team since he has taken over as the full-time starter. They beat the Cardinals, played competitively at Green Bay and then destroyed the Browns.

    Second, this is a horrible spot for the 49ers. They had their Super Bowl against the Seahawks and lost. They were absolutely humiliated, so I don't see how they show up with much energy for this game. The Rams hate the 49ers, so I suspect that they'll be up to beat them into the ground.

    I'm going three units on the Rams right now, and I may move it up to four later in the week if I like what I see.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Despite Pinnacle listing this at -8 +100, I still like the Rams for three units. They're the superior team in the better spot, so they should be able to cover. The professional bettors haven't really touched this game.

    SUNDAY NOTES: Anquan Boldin is out, so I'm wondering why this line dropped to 7.5. Maybe someone knows something I don't - considering my picks this year, that's very likely - but I still like the Rams quite a bit.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.
    Slight action on the visitor.
  • Percentage of money on St. Louis: 62% (28,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: 49ers.
  • History: 49ers have won 14 of the last 19 meetings, excluding the 2012 tie.
  • Opening Line: Rams -7.5.
  • Opening Total: 39.
  • Weather: Dome.

    Week 8 NFL Pick: Rams 24, 49ers 6
    Rams -7.5 (3 Units) -- Correct; +$300
    Under 39.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Survivor Pick (3-4) - NFL Survivor Pick Advice
    Rams 27, 49ers 6

    Arizona Cardinals (5-2) at Cleveland Browns (2-5)
    Line: Cardinals by 7. Total: 46.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Cardinals -4.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Cardinals -4.
    Sunday, Nov 1, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Cardinals.

    If you've 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.

    CLEVELAND OFFENSE: I'm surprised the books posted a spread on this game. Josh McCown's status is unknown. Though it sounds like McCown could play, difference between the two quarterbacks is pretty significant. McCown hasn't been incompetent in most of his games, while the only thing Manziel seems to know how to do is get drunk and (allegedly) assault his girlfriend.

    Perhaps the sportsbooks figure both quarterbacks will struggle against the Cardinals' prolific defense. If so, that's a likely scenario. Arizona is fifth versus the pass in terms of YPA, and while the team doesn't pressure opposing signal-callers consistently, it could have great success getting to either McCown or Manziel, given that Cleveland has surrendered the second-most sacks in the NFL, behind only the Seahawks.

    Because of this, I expect the Browns to be conservative on offense to limit sacks and turnovers. Successful drives won't be consistent, but I don't think they'll give the ball away as much as they did last week. It would help if they could run the ball, but the Cardinals' eighth-ranked ground defense won't allow that to happen.

    ARIZONA OFFENSE: The Cardinals move the ball extremely well, but they have a major issue of sputtering in the red zone. Perhaps it's a result of the teams they've played. The past three opponents - Baltimore, Pittsburgh, St. Louis - all rank in the top 15 in red-zone defense. The Browns are 22nd, so it's possible that Arizona will be able to score sevens (or sixes, thanks, Chandler Catanzaro) instead of threes.

    But will the Cardinals even make it to the red area very often? On paper, yes. The Browns have the league's 31st-ranked rush defense, and Arizona has proven that it can move the chains with Chris Johnson. However, Cleveland could do a good job against him because of Craig Robertson's expected return. Robertson isn't known to many, but he's the Browns' top run-defending linebacker. He's been missing since the second half of Week 3, and the team has given up about a half yard more on the ground ever since he was lost.

    Meanwhile, Joe Haden and Tashaun Gipson could return to bolster the secondary. Haden has been cleared from concussion protocol. Gipson, meanwhile, has made strides, according to Mike Pettine. Having at least one back will be huge, especially against this bombs-away offense in which Carson Palmer airs it out every other play. While the secondary will be better, it won't matter much if the Browns can't put much heat on Palmer, and it doesn't appear as though they'll be able to, given that they've accumulated just five sacks in the past four games.

    RECAP: The Browns are going to be a lot better this week because they're probably getting three key defenders back into the lineup. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are traveling across the country and playng an early game off short rest. That's not a good situation to be in, and perhaps that's the reason that this spread has been bet down despite an overwhelming amount of money on the visitor.

    The Cardinals are in a terrible spot, so I think it would be a mistake to bet them this week. However, I can't bring myself to wager on the Browns despite all of their advantages. That's because Arizona is a much better team, and fading Bruce Arians hasn't been very smart.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Josh McCown is a game-time decision. If Johnny Manziel starts, I think the Browns are an auto fade. With McCown, however, the Browns have a chance of covering, as the Cardinals are playing an early game on the East Coast on a short work week. The sharps haven't touched this, as the possibility of Manziel starting probably scares them.

    SUNDAY NOTES: This spread has risen to seven, despite the fact that McCown will play. The public has pushed this number up, and there hasn't been anything the other way from the sharps.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    All of the money is on the Cardinals.
  • Percentage of money on Arizona: 88% (24,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Cardinals.
  • Bruce Arians is 26-13 ATS as head coach of the Cardinals.
  • Opening Line: Cardinals -5.
  • Opening Total: 46.
  • Weather: .

    Week 8 NFL Pick: Cardinals 23, Browns 20
    Browns +7 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Under 46.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Cardinals 34, Browns 20

    Cincinnati Bengals (6-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
    Line: Bengals by 1. Total: 48.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : No Line (Roethlisberger).
    Walt's Calculated Line: Pick.
    Sunday, Nov 1, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Bengals.

    Video of the Week: I've always liked stuff related to time travel. If you feel the same way, you may enjoy this video (Sebastian O):

    I don't get why the guy couldn't get hard. So what if he killed himself 16 times? That chick is hot!

    PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: It's sounding like barring a setback, Ben Roethlisberger will return this week. It's unclear how effective he'll be, but it's a definite that he'll be an upgrade over Landry Jones and especially QBDK. It feels like he's returning early, but it's not like he hasn't performed well while being banged up before.

    Besides, Roethlisberger has plenty of weapons to work with. Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant are two dynamic receivers, while Le'Veon Bell is an incredible force in the backfield. Pittsburgh's offense, when at full strength, is difficult to stop, so even though the Bengals' defense has been terrific this season, there's definitely some explosive potential on this side of the ball.

    Having said that, there's some major concern here, as the Steelers have injuries to their offensive line. Center Maurkice Pouncey has been out, while left tackle Kelvin Beachum has joined him on the injury report recently. Beachum was clearly missed against the Chiefs' edge rushers, but Pouncey's absence will loom large here, as Geno Atkins will be extremely difficult to handle on the interior.

    CINCINNATI OFFENSE: Like Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton has plenty of weapons. This was not the case last year, as A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert are completely healthy now. The Steelers have some problems in their secondary, and their inability to defend tight ends has been prevalent this season, so Dalton should continue to have plenty of success.

    The difference between these scoring attacks, however, is the blocking. Whereas the Steelers have some offensive line issues, the Bengals shield Dalton extremely well. Dalton has taken just six sacks this season, which is just insane, especially when considering a handful of quarterbacks have taken six or more sacks in a single game this season. Offensive line play has been very prevalent this year, so the Bengals have a good chance of advancing deep into the playoffs for that reason.

    Dalton will move the chains aerially, which is important because the Steelers have a solid ground defense. They couldn't stop Charcandrick West last week, but it didn't seem like all the effort was there. It certainly will be here in a big divisional battle. I expect them to shut down Jeremy Hill, though Giovani Bernard will do some damage as a receiver out of the backfield.

    RECAP: I know that the Steelers aren't technically home underdogs anymore, but they are in spirit, as most of the betting action is coming in on the Bengals. I bring this up because Pittsburgh is 7-2 against the spread as home underdogs in the Roethlisberger era. They're also getting about 30 percent of the action, which usually indicates that they are the righ side.

    Cincinnati is a very strong 6-0, but the team hasn't faced an opponent with the same type of fire power that Pittsburgh possesses. Seriously, check out the Bengals' opponents: Oakland, San Diego, Baltimore, Kansas City, Seattle, Buffalo. Some solid defenses there, but only the Chargers are near Pittsburgh offensively, and even that was a close win for the Bengals at home.

    I think the Steelers, who swept Cincinnati last year, can pull out a victory in a potential shootout. The Bengals could be mildly distracted with a Thursday night game on the horizon. I know that this contest is more important, but they still have to prepare for Thursday's contest. It's not a huge edge, but it helps gravitate me toward the Steelers, as does the fact that professional action has moved this spread three points despite lots of money going the other way.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Here's a game the professionals love. They've been all over the Steelers. I like Pittsburgh as well. Cincinnati is slightly better, but Pittsburgh, as an effective home dog without getting much money, seems to be in the better spot.

    SUNDAY NOTES: This spread has gone back and forth, as some sharps like the Bengals. There's more love for the Steelers, however.

    The Psychology. Edge: TBA.
    The Bengals play Thursday night, but they'll be more focused for this game.

    The Vegas. Edge: Steelers.
    The Bengals are predictably seeing lots of money their way.
  • Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 65% (27,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Steelers.
  • History: Steelers have won 13 of the last 17 meetings.
  • Bengals are 30-16 ATS as underdogs since 2009. ???
  • Bengals are 24-38 ATS as a favorite since 2007.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 39-20 ATS vs. the AFC North. ???
  • Opening Line: Bengals -3.
  • Opening Total: 48.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 8 NFL Pick: Steelers 34, Bengals 31
    Steelers +1 (2 Units) -- Incorrect; -$220
    Over 48.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Bengals 16, Steelers 10

    San Diego Chargers (2-5) at Baltimore Ravens (1-6)
    Line: Ravens by 4.5. Total: 50.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Ravens -2.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Ravens -2.
    Sunday, Nov 1, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Chargers.


    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!

    SAN DIEGO OFFENSE: The Chargers were anemic in all regards last week, but they were in an obvious flat spot. They were emotionally drained following the loss to the Packers, which prompted an ugly blowout in which Oakland was leading 30-3 right before halftime. Making matters worse, the team lost Orlando Franklin to an injury - as if the offensive line didn't have enough issues already.

    Fortunately, Franklin is considered day-to-day with a slight sprain, which means he could suit up this week. But even if he doesn't, I like San Diego's matchup on this side of the ball. And how could I not? Baltimore's secondary is in shambles, and Rivers has been one of the hotter quarterbacks this season. He could completely exploit the Ravens' awful defensive backfield with his plethora of weapons. Keenan Allen is unstoppable right now, and Stevie Johnson is back to offset the loss of Antonio Gates, if the talented tight end were to miss another game.

    Don't expect the Chargers to run much. They struggle in that regard, and Melvin Gordon has been benched. This might be for the best though, as Gordon has been turnover-prone. Besides, Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver are much better fits for the offense because of their ability in the passing game.

    BALTIMORE OFFENSE: Franklin wasn't the only prominent Charger missing in last week's blowout loss. Eric Weddle was also out, and that was a big deal. Weddle is one of the top safeties in the NFL, and without him, Derek Carr was able to look like Aaron Rodgers. There's a chance Weddle could return from his groin injury, but even if he doesn't, San Diego's defense could exploit some of Baltimore's injuries.

    Two prominent Ravens got hurt toward the end of the Monday night game. Left tackle Eugene Monroe and left guard Kelechi Osemele both left the field with shoulder and knee injuries, respectively. The fact that they couldn't take the field on a crucial, late drive might indicate that they won't be able to suit up come Sunday, especially on a short week. Baltimore's pass protection, which was weak to begin with, could struggle as a consequence versus a Charger stop unit that has accumulated 11 sacks in the past four weeks.

    One way the Ravens figure to move the chains is on the ground with Justin Forsett. San Diego's league-worst rush defense could mean a big game for Forsett. However, Osemele is Baltimore's best run-blocker after Marshal Yanda, so his potential absence could be huge in that regard.

    RECAP: Are the Chargers the better team? Yes. I have them four spots higher in my NFL Power Rankings, and despite their 2-5 record, they haven't really lost to any bad teams this year. Their defeats were to the Bengals (6-0), Vikings (4-2), Steelers (4-3), Packers (6-0) and Raiders (3-3). The Ravens, on the other hand, have dropped games to the 49ers and Browns.

    Do the Chargers match up well against the Ravens? Yes. Rivers is going to light up Baltimore's horrible secondary, while the entire left side of the Ravens' offensive line could be out, making things even more difficult for Flacco.

    Are the Chargers in a better spot? Yes. The Ravens tried hard Monday night and came up short. At 1-6, their season is done, and I think they'll be flat for this game. The Chargers, on the other hand, will be looking to rebound off an ugly loss, and they've actually been better on the road this year, nearly beating both the Bengals and Packers, who have a combined 12-0 record.

    Are the Chargers my top play this week? Yes. Five units.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I don't understand why the Ravens are favored by 3.5. It seems odd. The Chargers are slightly superior, and they're in a much better spot. It's not ideal that Orlando Franklin and Eric Weddle are out, but then again Baltimore will be missing Eugene Monroe and possibly Kelechi Osemele. I don't see the Ravens trying too hard after exerting so much energy Monday night. I'm sticking with five units on the visitor.

    SUNDAY NOTES: I'm shocked that this number is moving up. What do the sharps see in the Ravens? They love Baltimore, so I'll probably lose 5.5 units on this game. Feel free to fade me, as usual.

    The Psychology. Edge: Chargers.
    The Ravens could easily be flat after a tough loss Monday night.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on San Diego: 59% (17,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
  • Ravens are 20-9 ATS in November home games since 2000.
  • Ravens are 21-12 ATS at home as an underdog or favorite of 1-7 points with Joe Flacco.
  • John Harbaugh is 3-6 ATS after Monday Night Football.
  • Opening Line: Ravens -3.
  • Opening Total: 50.
  • Weather: .

    Week 8 NFL Pick: Chargers 31, Ravens 24
    Chargers +4.5 (5 Units) -- Correct; +$500
    Over 50.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Ravens 29, Chargers 26

    Tennessee Titans (1-5) at Houston Texans (2-5)
    Line: Texans by 4. Total: 42.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : No Line (Mariota).
    Walt's Calculated Line: Texans -2.
    Sunday, Nov 1, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: None.

    Survivor Update: We had 2,653 people enter, and had 2,282 still alive after Week 1. And then, Week 2 happened. The Colts, Saints, Ravens and Dolphins murdered almost everyone, and as a consequence, there were only 164 players remaining. We're now down to 36 now, as we lost 12 players last week, thanks to the Chargers and Bills.

    If you're still alive, make sure you get your 2015 NFL Survivor Pool pick in.

    Oh, and, check out our Fantasy Football Who to Start Weekly Rankings for weekly fantasy start-sit advice.

    TENNESSEE OFFENSE: There's no spread on this game as of this writing because Marcus Mariota's status is unknown. The latest report, from Jim Wyatt, is that Mariota participated in the open portion of practice Wednesday. Mariota, however, said he wasn't sure if he'd be able to suit up. Even if Mariota plays, it won't be clear if he'll be 100 percent. Zach Mettenberger wasn't great this past week, but he certainly didn't embarrass himself. Using him if Mariota isn't close to being completely healthy could be the better option.

    Ken Whisenhunt also needs to remember that he's battling the Texans, who are terrible. Seriously, they are awful. They showed no interest in tackling this past week, and while I do expect a better effort from them than we saw against the Dolphins, they still barely have any talent on their defense. There's J.J. Watt, of course, but he's being double- and triple-teamed on every play because there's no one else. Benardrick McKinney has looked good, and Jadeveon Clowney and Johnathan Joseph have been solid, but that's about it.

    The Titans don't have much fire power, but they should have success moving the chains on a defense ranked in the bottom 10 versus both the run and the pass. Kendall Wright finally got back on track last week and should have a strong outing versus a pathetic secondary.

    HOUSTON OFFENSE: I guess we won't be subject to anymore Brian Hoyer versus Ryan Mallett controversies anymore. Mallett has been released, which I'm sure he found out after waking up at 5 p.m. Mallett has great talent, but he has a brick of a brain and happened to be deterimental for the locker room, so getting rid of him was the right move.

    Hoyer has shown that he can play well against poor pass defenses like the Colts, and the Titans have a worse stop unit in that regard. They're 27th against the pass, though they've been better in that department with Coty Sensabaugh playing better in recent weeks. Still, I think Hoyer can have success targeting DeAndre Hopkins, who can't be covered.

    Unfortunately for the Texans, they won't have Arian Foster available because Bill O'Brien thought it would be a good idea to have him out on the field with four minutes remaining in regulation amid a blowout. Alfred Blue is obviously a downgrade, but he could have success against a putrid Tennessee ground defense that is also ranked 27th (4.53 YPC).

    RECAP: I can't give you a concrete pick yet because there's no spread posted. However, I'm probably taking the Titans, as Houston is a mess right now. There have been reports that the players hate O'Brien because he treats them like college kids. The Texans don't have the talent to overcome something like this, especially with Foster gone.

    Check back later in the week for my official pick, or follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    LINE POSTED: What's up with this spread? Why is it -4? These teams are about even, and Houston is too terrible to be laying more than a field goal against anyone, especially with Arian Foster out of the lineup. This line actually opened -4.5, but it has dropped despite equal action, meaning some professional money has come in on Tennessee. I'm going to be on that side as well, and I think it's worth betting a unit, and I'd jump on it now before it falls even further.

    SUNDAY NOTES: There's a slight public lean on the Texans, but the pros have pushed this number down. Houston being favored by more than a field goal is a joke.

    The Psychology. Edge: Texans.
    The Texans didn't show up against the Dolphins, so they could bounce back with a stronger effort.

    The Vegas. Edge: Titans.
    Slight lean on the host.
  • Percentage of money on Houston: 63% (9,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Texans.
  • History: Texans have won 5 of the last 6 meetings.
  • Opening Line: Texans -4.5.
  • Opening Total: 43.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 8 NFL Pick: Titans 17, Texans 13
    Titans +4 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 42.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Texans 20, Titans 6

    Week 8 NFL Picks - Late Games
    New York Jets at Oakland, Seattle at Dallas, Green Bay at Denver, Indianapolis at Carolina


    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 8 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

    NFL Power Rankings - Nov. 14

    2020 College Football Recruiting Rankings - April 14

    2020 NBA Mock Draft - Sept. 27


    Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.

    Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 18, 2020): 1-5 (-$1,430)
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    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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    Super Bowl XLIX Pick
    2015 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2015 Season:
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    Super Bowl 50 NFL Pick
    2016 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2016 Season:
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    2017 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2017 Season:
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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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