NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 12, 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 (Week 8, 2015): 5-8-1 (+$520)
NFL Picks (Week 9, 2015): 8-5 (+$280)
NFL Picks (Week 10, 2015): 6-8 (-$610)
NFL Picks (Week 11, 2015): 5-6-3 (-$2,010)

NFL Picks (2015): 78-90-6 (-$5,920)
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. 30, 5:55 p.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Go to Week 12 NFL Picks – Late Games

Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) at Detroit Lions (3-7)
Line: Lions by 3. Total: 47.

Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Eagles -3.
Walt’s Calculated Line: Eagles -1.5.
Thursday, Nov 26, 12:30 ET
Comment on this game

The Game. Edge: None.

WEEK 11 RECAP: I’ve been racking my brain, thinking about what to write here since Sunday evening when I lost both my eight-unit selection on the Chargers and my five-unit pick on the Vikings. I have no excuses to give. I’m not going to whine about any horrible officiating (don’t know what the Vikings did to deserve that) or terrible luck (Titans, Cardinals, Broncos, Rams all could’ve covered).

I will say that I’ve done it. I’ve accomplished the unenviable feat of being the worst NFL handicapper on the planet. There might be some alien who’s worse at picking NFL games in some distant galaxy, but here on Earth, I am the absolute worst. There’s no question about that.

I just lost $2,000 in a single week. My worst week ever prior to this past one was Week 6, 2010, when I went 4-9-1, -$1,865 (amazingly, that was a winning season). Week 11, 2015 shattered all records, as I went 5-6-3, -$2,010.

I have no idea what happened to me. I didn’t have a single losing season between 2003 and 2010. Not one. I used to hit 55-56 percent against the spread on a year-to-year basis. Now, I can’t even reach coin-flip status. It’s embarrassing. I have a female cousin who picks games just based on which cities she likes, and she’s well above .500. I watch every game, know all the players, follow the injury reports, break down the matchups… but it doesn’t matter. All I do is pick losers. It doesn’t matter which teams I take. If I place a high-unit wager on them, I will lose. I could’ve placed tons of money on the Jaguars, Chiefs, Packers and Bengals, and all of those sides would’ve lost as well.

I’m going to continue making picks even if I’m $50,000 in the hole because this is part of my full-time job, but I will tell you right now that you should fade all of my high-unit selections no matter what. I have absolutely no read on the NFL. It’s become a foreign language to me. I can’t begin to explain why the Chargers were the wrong side in their 33-3 loss. They got most of their players back. All of their linemen returned – and yet they still couldn’t block a stupid Chiefs team that I lost tons of units with when they suffered defeats to the Bengals and Bears earlier in the year. Like seriously, what the hell is going on here? Kansas City got blasted by the Bengals and lost straight up to the Bears, and yet demolished a team getting most of its personnel back as three-point road favorites? How the f*** does that make any sense?

And let’s talk about the Bengals and Texans. I lost big with Cincinnati last Monday night. OK, so the Bengals are beginning their late-season swoon, right? So, how the hell did they cover at Arizona? You can say they didn’t show up to play Houston on Monday night, so anyone telling me that motivation plays no factor in football is full of crap. The Texans piss me off more. I had a huge bet on them against the Dolphins in Week 7. They got blown out. Ever since then, they won at Cincinnati and upset the Jets, both of whom are better than Miami. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have lost by double-digits in three of four of their games following that victory over Houston.

Again, I ask you, how the f*** is anyone supposed to make sense of this? Why did the Dolphins demolish the Texans? To take a page from my cousin’s handicapping book, was Miami the right side because the city is more fun than Houston? Is that how I’m supposed to handicap football games? I don’t understand what the hell is going on. It feels like everything is random, but then again, if it were random, wouldn’t I be picking games at a 50-percent clip? I don’t get it.

I have no answers going forward. Seriously, I think I’ll be down $10,000 by season’s end. I don’t think it’s possible for me to have a legitimate winning week. Sue, I finished in the black in Weeks 8 and 9, but I was 5-8-1 in Week 8, and in Week 9, I lost my top two picks in the Dolphins (at Bills) and Eagles (at Cowboys). Yeah, the Dolphins, who beat this suddenly unstoppable Houston team, and the Eagles, who have gone on to lose to Miami and Tampa Bay. Ugh, what the hell?

If it sounds like I’m having a nervous breakdown right now, it’s because I am. I don’t know what the hell to do. I’ve stopped looking at trends, and yet I’m still down 18 units after doing so. I’ve transitioned to matchups, but what good are matchups when the Texans win straight up at Cincinnati, and the Packers lose outright to the Lions, only to beat a better team in Minnesota the following week?

Again, I have no idea how to make sense of this, and at this point, it just feels like I’m rambling. So, I’ll stop here.

WEEK 12 BETTING TRENDS – PSYCHOLOGICAL TRENDS: If psychological trends weren’t important, then the Bengals wouldn’t have lost to the Texans last Monday night. They didn’t show up to play Houston and suffered a defeat as a consequence.

However, my double-star psychological edges are just 16-18 ATS this year (albeit 121-105 ATS from 2011-2014), so there might be some stuff that works and other things that don’t. Or, maybe it’s all random. Nevertheless, it’s an exercise I want to explore, so here are all of my psychological trends from this season, sorted into categories, with green ones being correct and red ones being incorrect:

Emotional Victory (3-7):

Week 2, Rams at Redskins: “The Rams are coming off such an emotional victory. I can’t imagine that they’ll be up for this contest.”

Week 3, Falcons at 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.”

Week 4, Chiefs at Bengals: “The Bengals might be looking ahead to the Seahawks, especially after an emotional victory at Baltimore.”

Week 5, Browns at Ravens: “The Ravens are coming off an emotional, overtime win and could have trouble getting up for the Browns.”

Week 5, Bears at Chiefs: “This is a must-win for the Chiefs, who have to avoid 1-4. The Bears, on the other hand, are coming off an emotional, last-second win.”

Week 6, Bears at Lions: “The Bears just had an emotional, comeback victory, while the Lions were embarrassed.”

Week 6, Cardinals at Steelers: “The Steelers just had an emotional win and may not be up for a non-conference foe. The Cardinals, meanwhile, would love to win this revenge game for Bruce Arians.”

Week 7, Vikings at Lions: “The Lions fly out to London after this game. They’re coming off an emotional win.”

Week 7, Eagles at Panthers: “Not sure about Carolina’s focus here. The Panthers just had an emotional victory over the Seahawks.”

Week 11, Titans at Jaguars: “The Jaguars are coming off a last-second, emotional win.”

Wow, I completely miscalculated this. I thought teams would be adversely affected by prevailing in the final seconds, but as it turns out, they actually gain momentum off of it.

Emotional Loss (3-0):

Week 7, Raiders at Chargers: “The Chargers just sustained an emotional loss at the Packers. They could have trouble getting up for the Raiders.”

Week 8, Chargers at Ravens: “The Ravens could easily be flat after a tough loss Monday night.”

Week 10, Cowboys at Buccaneers: “The Cowboys are coming off two emotional losses and should be flat.”

This, for some reason, hasn’t popped up as often as it should have. I know that fading teams off emotional losses has worked in the past.

Look-Ahead Alert (6-8):

Week 1, Browns at Jets: “The Jets have the Colts, Eagles and Dolphins after this “easy” game, so they could look past the Browns.”

Week 3, Steelers at 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.”

Week 4, Raiders at Bears: “The Raiders could be looking past the Bears because they have the Broncos next week.”

Week 4, Chiefs at Bengals: “The Bengals might be looking ahead to the Seahawks, especially after an emotional victory at Baltimore.”

Week 5, 49ers at Giants: “It’s very reasonable to expect the Giants to be flat. They have the rival Eagles and Cowboys after this game against the pathetic-looking 49ers.”

Week 6, Redskins at Jets: “The Jets take on the Patriots next week after this non-conference foe.”

Week 7, Texans at Dolphins: “A Breather Alert for the Dolphins, who have the Patriots (on Thursday), Bills and Eagles after this game.”

Week 7, Jets at Patriots: “The Patriots just got their revenge, and now they’re big favorites prior to playing on Thursday night versus Miami. Meanwhile, this is a big statement game for the Jets.”

Week 7, Vikings at Lions: “The Lions fly out to London after this game. They’re coming off an emotional win.”

Week 8, Colts at Panthers: “The Panthers play the Packers next week and could be looking past the Colts, who lost at home to the Saints.”

Week 9, Jaguars at Jets: “The Jets battle the Bills on Thursday night.”

Week 9, Dolphins at Bills: “The Bills have a Thursday game against the Jets coming up.”

Week 10, Vikings at Raiders: “Teddy Bridgewater sounds like he’ll play, and the Vikings could be looking past the Raiders with Green Bay on the horizon.”

Week 11, Raiders at Lions: “The Lions, coming off a monumental win, have to play in four days. I can’t see them being up for this game.”

This appears to be a 50-50 proposition. I guess you might have to view it on a team-by-team basis, but even then, it’s hard to say if some of these wins/losses were because of the look-ahead angle. It’s probably best to avoid this going forward, as it’s unclear which teams will be looking ahead and which teams will be focused. I think using this for pre-Thursday and pre-London teams will work, but that’s about it.

Being Overhyped (2-1):

Week 1, Eagles at Falcons: “The Eagles have been hearing about how great they are, and now they are three-point road favorites? Sounds dangerous.”

Week 1, Vikings at 49ers: “This is a dangerous game for the Vikings. They are suddenly favored, while the 49ers have been hearing how awful they are.”

Week 2, Patriots at Bills: “This is the biggest game in Buffalo’s franchise history since the team previously made the playoffs. The Patriots, meanwhile, have been hearing about how great they are for the past week-and-a-half.”

Not enough of a sample size to determine anything.

Statement Game (2-1):

Week 2, Patriots at Bills: “This is the biggest game in Buffalo’s franchise history since the team previously made the playoffs. The Patriots, meanwhile, have been hearing about how great they are for the past week-and-a-half.”

Week 6, Dolphins at Titans: “The Dolphins have been hearing about how terrible they are for two weeks now. They’ll actually be motivated with a new head coach.”

Week 7, Jets at Patriots: “The Patriots just got their revenge, and now they’re big favorites prior to playing on Thursday night versus Miami. Meanwhile, this is a big statement game for the Jets.”

Another small sample size.

Must-Win Game (0-2):

Week 5, Bears at Chiefs: “This is a must-win for the Chiefs, who have to avoid 1-4. The Bears, on the other hand, are coming off an emotional, last-second win.”

Week 10, Lions at Packers: “The Packers are coming off two losses and will be desperate to rebound.”

As a wise man once said, if a team needs to win, chances are, it’s probably not that good to begin with.

Team Will Be Flat for Random Reason (2-2):

Week 1, Steelers at Patriots: “The Patriots will likely be relaxed, given that they’ve already “won” with Tom Brady’s suspension being overturned.”

Week 8, Lions vs. 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.”

Week 9, Titans at Saints: “The Titans fired their head coach and can’t possibly prepare for this game.”

Week 11, Jets at Texans: “As a bad team coming off a win, the Texans may not be entirely focused for this game.”

A random result for a random perspective.

All in all, I think this exercise was a good one. If emotional wins are excluded, double-star psychological edges would be 13-11 instead of 16-18, so that’s a plus. I’m glad I at least learned something.

PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: The assumption this entire time has been that Mark Sanchez will start this game, but that may not be the case. Sam Bradford has cleared concussion protocol and has been practicing. There’s a chance he could suit up, which would be an obvious upgrade. Bradford stinks, but he’s not nearly as bad as Mark Sanchez, who will always find a way to hit the lone iceberg in the ocean as the doomed sea captain.

This would’ve been an excellent matchup for either Bradford or Sanchez a couple of weeks ago, but that’s no longer true. The Lions have made great strides since the bye on this side of the ball. Darius Slay has been a revelation; he just limited Amari Cooper to only one catch. However, Slay won’t be as much of a factor here because the Eagles apparently don’t have a No. 1 wideout. I suppose it’s Jordan Matthews, but he has barely done anything all year, thanks to Chip Kelly’s insistence to trot out Riley Cooper and Miles Austin onto the field. The Eagles’ aerial attack has been a mess for the most part. It’s really amazing that Kelly has been so incompetent. Failing to understand that personnel trumps system in the NFL, Kelly won’t be in the league much longer. I’ve been saying this entire time that he’ll be at USC or Texas, but LSU is now a possibility now. Les Miles, More Saban.

Anyway, I’ve gotten off track here. The Lions have also been excellent in terms of stuffing the run. Stopping the Packers on the ground is not a big deal, but they just limited the Raiders to 42 yards on 19 carries. DeMarco Murray isn’t giving 100-percent effort – probably because Kelly is using him incorrectly – so I don’t like his chances of having a big game, at least as a runner.

DETROIT OFFENSE: The Lions have also been better on this side of the ball, but only marginally. Matthew Stafford has turned the ball over just once since the bye, so that’s a plus. However, he hasn’t exactly battled the toughest defenses, posting just 18 points against both the Packers and Raiders.

The Eagles will provide a tougher challenge. I know that they just surrendered 200 yards on the ground to Doug Martin and five touchdowns to Jameis Winston, but this unit has been pretty decent all year. I feel like they were just in a flat spot, given that they were a favorite playing prior to Thanksgiving. Besides, it’s not like they have to worry about the Lions’ rushing attack at all.

What Philadelphia struggles with most is defending No. 1 receivers, thanks to Byron Maxwell’s incompetence. Calvin Johnson will have a big afternoon as a result, but I can’t say the same for the rest of the Lions’ passing attack. The Eagles have shown that they can muster a strong pass rush, and Detroit still doesn’t protect well for Stafford.

RECAP: My pick hinges on Bradford’s availability. If he plays, I’m going to take the Eagles for a couple of units. If it’s Sanchez again, it’ll be a non-play for me, but I still may pick Philadelphia. The better team tends to cover in Thursday games because of a lack of preparation time, and I have to think that the Eagles are superior. Besides, they played with so much energy in last year’s Thanksgiving triumph over Dallas that I could see Kelly preparing his team well on short rest again.

The sharps agree, by the way. The Lions are being bet heavily, yet this spread is moving toward Philadelphia. I guess the pros believe the Eagles are an underrated, and I would agree. Philadelphia led 16-3 against the Dolphins, but lost because Sanchez was being stupid. The Buccaneers’ blowout was an eye-opener, but I think the Eagles were just looking ahead. Meanwhile, the Lions are 2-0 since the bye, but they have to regress back to the mean at some point, and it could be on Thanksgiving, a day in which they’ve flopped more often than not.

This spread was Eagles -3 a week ago, so I’m going to grab the value with the visitor. For the exact unit count, check back later in the week. I need to know if Bradford will play or not because I want no part of the Iceberg Captain.

I’ll be posting NFL Picks on Tuesday. Follow me at @walterfootball for updates.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m going to put a unit on the Eagles. This is a major overreaction. The spread was Eagles -3 a week ago. Now, it’s moved six points, which is just ridiculous. The public is driving this toward Detroit, so let’s take advantage. Think about it this way: The Eagles and Raiders are about even, yet the latter was -1.5 at Detroit a week ago. So, why is Philadelphia +3? I wish Sam Bradford were playing; if so, I think I’d put three units on the Eagles. But I still like them for a unit, even with Sanchez.

The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.

The Vegas. Edge: Eagles.
Lots of action on the host.
  • Percentage of money on Detroit: 67% (29,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Eagles.
  • Lions are 3-8 ATS as a Thanksgiving host since 2002.
  • Lions are 14-31 ATS against losing teams the previous 45 instances.
  • Matthew Stafford is 3-10 ATS as a favorite following 2+ wins. ???
  • Opening Line: Pick.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: Dome.

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Eagles 23, Lions 20
    Eagles +3 (1 Unit) — Incorrect; -$110
    Under 45 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Lions 45, Eagles 14

    Carolina Panthers (10-0) at Dallas Cowboys (3-7)
    Line: Panthers by 1.5. Total: 44.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Cowboys -1.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Panthers -2.
    Thursday, Nov 26, 4:30 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Panthers.

    VEGAS UPDATE: The six top-bet teams each week were 27-32-1 against the spread heading into Week 11. How’d they do this past weekend? Take a look:

  • Raiders -2 – Loss
  • Cardinals -5 – Loss
  • Cowboys PK – Cover
  • Patriots -7 – Push
  • Chiefs -3 – Cover
  • Jets -4 – Loss

  • Another winning week for the house, but of course, the Chiefs were one of the heavily bet teams that covered. If I hadn’t bet the Chargers at all, I guarantee San Diego would’ve won somehow.

    Here are the six top bets in Week 12, as of Tuesday afternoon (29-35-2 ATS this year):

  • Panthers PK
  • Lions PK
  • Giants -2.5
  • Browns -2.5
  • Raiders -1.5
  • Vikings +2

  • It’s odd that the usual public favorites like the Patriots, Packers, etc. aren’t being bet highly. Four non-winning teams comprise this list.

    Once again, follow @walterfootball for updates.

    DALLAS OFFENSE: It’s unusual that one of the MVP candidates wouldn’t be the top story as a quarterback in a game, but that’s the case in this second Thanksgiving matchup. Tony Romo returned last week, and while he was rusty, he certainly was an upgrade over Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden, leading Dallas to a much-needed victory that saved its season. It seemed as though the Cowboys were on the verge of imploding, but Romo saved the day.

    Beating the Panthers will be much more challenging, however. Only three teams have more sacks than Carolina, and that number will decrease with Charles Johnson back on the field. Dallas’ offensive line was prolific last year, but it hasn’t been the same in 2015. Doug Free has struggled, while La’el Collins hasn’t been great, though he has been an upgrade over Ronald Leary. Carolina’s front could win the battle here, while Dez Bryant will struggle to get open against Josh Norman. Romo will have to rely on Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten more than he’d like to.

    I don’t expect the Cowboys’ ground attack to do much either. Darren McFadden just enjoyed a big game against the Dolphins, but while Miami is 23rd against the run, Carolina is sixth. McFadden should still do well as a receiver out of the backfield, but he won’t help Romo have many short-yardage opportunities with his rushing ability.

    CAROLINA OFFENSE: Everyone outside of the state of Carolina – yeah, I’m combining the two, since that’s what the franchise did – were non-believers in this team, thanks in part to Kelvin Benjamin’s injury and the concerns on the offensive line. Those haven’t been issues at all, as the Panthers now stand at 10-0.

    The front has actually played surprisingly well throughout the 2015 campaign. Michael Oher has been the lone weak link, and he hasn’t been terrible. The Cowboys pressure quarterbacks effectively, thanks in part to DE Woman Beater, but the Panthers should neutralize that aspect of Dallas’ defense. They’ll block well for Newton, who will have some key scrambles to pick up first downs, as usual. Newton has done a great job of spreading the ball around to a supporting cast that lacked either talent or experience, save for Greg Olsen. However, Devin Funchess appears to be coming on, so he could be big down the stretch.

    The Panthers will have more success running the ball. Newton, of course, will be a factor in this regard. Jonathan Stewart figures to post quality numbers again as well, given that the Cowboys are just 21st against the run in terms of YPC.

    RECAP: The line movement on this game was very interesting. It opened Cowboys -1.5 and shot up to Panthers -1.5 by Tuesday afternoon. Now, it’s down to pick in most places. It appears as though the early move was just steam and that the sharps were waiting to get the best number possible on Dallas. There’s still +2 available on Bovada, by the way.

    Who exactly is wagering on Dallas here? This is the heaviest-bet game of the week, with the public pounding the Panthers like they’re some lock. Carolina could win, but the Cowboys are much better with Romo, and they’ll be much more desperate. They have a great track record as an underdog.

    Having said that, I’m gone back and forth on this game. I could make the case for the Panthers. They’re the better team on a short work week, so they have the edge in that regard. I’m still going to side with the sharp side, but I can’t say that I’m confident at all.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Surprise, surprise, another loser. As for this game, I don’t really have a strong read on it, so my apologies for those of you who want to bet against me. I just don’t know where to go with this. The Cowboys are much better with Romo and happen to be completely desperate. All of the sharp money is on Dallas. However, the Panthers have a chip on their shoulder as underdogs, and they sound legitimately excited to play on a national stage on Thanksgiving. I could see this game going either way. If you want to bet the Cowboys, you can get +2 -105 at Bovada. If you want the Panthers, PK -110 can be found on 5Dimes.

    The Psychology. Edge: Cowboys.
    A must-win for the Cowboys.

    The Vegas. Edge: Cowboys.
    The Panthers are the top-bet team on Thanksgiving.
  • Percentage of money on Carolina: 84% (18,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: TBA.
  • The underdog is 57-31 ATS in Cowboys games since 2010.
  • Cowboys are 8-5 ATS as a Thanksgiving host since 2001.
  • Cowboys are 26-18 ATS as an underdog since 2009. ???
  • Cowboys are 6-19 ATS when favored after a win since 2010. ???
  • Opening Line: Cowboys -1.5.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: .

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Cowboys 24, Panthers 23
    Cowboys +2 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Over 44.5 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Panthers 33, Cowboys 14

    Chicago Bears (4-6) at Green Bay Packers (7-3)
    Line: Packers by 7.5. Total: 45.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Packers -7.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Packers -8.
    Thursday, Nov 26, 8:30 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Packers.

    I went to the bank last Friday. I’m friendly with the teller, a woman of about 65. However, she asked me a very strange question:

    “You cooking or going?”

    I didn’t get it. In fact, I thought she was talking to the other bank teller. I even zoned out for a bit until I realized she was looking right at me, waiting for an answer.

    “Oh… I’m going to my parents’ house,” I replied, still shocked that she was asking me this.

    Cooking or going? It’s always been the latter for me, whether it’s driving to my parents’ house or taking a trip up to where my girlfriend’s parents live. But cooking? Seriously? How could anyone think I can possibly cook? I’m a slob who wears hoodies and sweatpants everywhere, even if I’m going out to dinner or shopping with my girlfriend. My girlfriend even asks me to wear a hoodie with no stains on it and my “nice sweatpants.” I basically sport the Bill Belichick look.

    Here’s a question: Do you think Belichick knows how to cook? I’d be shocked if he even knew how to pour a cereal for himself, personally. Belichick doesn’t strike me as any sort of culinary expert, and I’m not either. I can pour cereal, and I even learned how to make spaghetti – after years of studying – but cooking on Thanksgiving is a completely different story. I’d have better luck calculating the seventh integral of a curve than cooking a turkey. I wouldn’t even know where to start. Do you buy a pre-cooked turkey, or do you actually have to capture the actual animal and kill it yourself? I honestly have no clue.

    But anyway, I told the bank teller that I’ll be “working” more than either cooking or going. She went “ahh,” remembering that I write about football for a living. My previous two Thanksgivings have been hectic because I went to my girlfriend’s parents’ house, which is about 50 minutes away. I can’t exactly ask to watch football there – they don’t have a desk in front of their TV anyway, so I couldn’t work – so I’ve always been behind in terms of my write-ups. I’ve been watching games and writing so late that I’ve seen the sun rise each of the previous two Black Fridays.

    Fortunately, that won’t be the case this year. My parents are having Thanksgiving at their house again, and I already told my mom that I don’t want to eat until Dallas-Carolina is over.

    Ahh… it’s nice to have a vintage Thanksgiving where I can be an a**hole again and have everyone revolve around my schedule. It’s going to be a great Thanksgiving, and I hope all of you have a fantastic one as well. And as a public service announcement, please do not blow your life savings on Black Friday like I most certainly will. Trust me, I’ve done it before, and it’s not worth it.

    GREEN BAY OFFENSE: I feel pretty stupid after betting five units against Aaron Rodgers last week. Rodgers looked injured in an inexplicable loss to the Lions, but he returned to form in a crucial victory at Minnesota. His receivers still dropped passes, but he was able to move the chains effectively and post 30 points against a defense that had been playing rather well.

    I don’t see why Rodgers would suddenly revert to slump mode. He actually has an easier matchup this week against a Chicago defense that basically allowed Brock Osweiler to do whatever he wanted. The Bears did sack Osweiler on occasion, and I think they’ll put some pressure on Rodgers, but the Broncos could’ve scored more than 17 points had they not botched some opportunities. I have to think that Green Bay will take advantage of those.

    The Packers will also run the ball effectively. Eddie Lacy still hasn’t completely slimmed down, but he ran with a burst against the Vikings that was absent for the rest of the year. The Bears are much worse than Minnesota versus the rush; the Denver backs actually looked great against them.

    CHICAGO OFFENSE: Jay Cutler looked revitalized heading into last week’s game, but he turned the ball over a couple of times. It’s difficult to blame him, however, as Alshon Jeffery was out, and he was battling one of the NFL’s top defenses that was desperate to get back on track following two consecutive losses.

    The Packers’ stop unit hasn’t been overly effective in several games prior to the Minnesota contest, but it was roaring against the Vikings. Dom Capers, who made a great adjustment last year when he put Clay Matthews at inside linebacker in this exact matchup, once again made a terrific move. He slid Datone Jones in at outside linebacker, and Jones had the best game of his career. Green Bay put tons of pressure on Teddy Bridgewater, and it’ll do the same thing to Cutler, who has just one quality blocker up front in Matt Slauson.

    Cutler will especially struggle if Alshon Jeffery doesn’t play. Jeffery didn’t suit up against the Broncos, so he may have trouble getting ready on a short work week. Even if he plays, he may not be 100 percent. If he struggles (or misses this game), Cutler will have even more trouble keeping the chains moving.

    RECAP: This is my top play on Thanksgiving. I really like the Packers here. I’ve said it before – superior teams have a big edge on Thursdays because of a lack of practice time, and Green Bay is No. 6 in my NFL Power Rankings, while Chicago is a middling squad.

    The Packers just had a big victory against the Vikings, and I expect that to carry over into this contest. They seem to be ready for one of their awesome late-season surges, and it helps that they have a great track record against the Bears. Cutler is a baffling 1-11 versus Green Bay, including a 1-3 ATS mark at Lambeau.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: It figures that I would be on the wrong side of the public-sharp action. The sharps have pounded the Bears all day, sinking this spread from +9 to +7.5. The public, meanwhile, is betting the Packers heavily. I’m not going to change my pick; I have the Packers for three units. However, it’ll probably be a loser, so please bet on Chicago if you want to make money. The Bears do make sense to me; the Packers won at Minnesota, but were outgained in the process. This is a high number, so Chicago could keep it close. However, the better team usually covers on short rest, so that’s why I like Green Bay. And that’s why Chicago is the only way to go.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Bears.
    A decent lean on the host.
  • Percentage of money on Green Bay: 73% (48,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Packers.
  • History: Jay Cutler is 1-11 vs. the Packers.
  • John Fox is 9-5 ATS in same-season revenge games.
  • Jay Cutler is 40-68 ATS if you exclude Monday Night Football.
  • Packers are 28-16 ATS at home since 2010.
  • Packers are 38-18 ATS in divisional games since 2006.
  • Aaron Rodgers is 64-39 ATS since 2009 (9-6 ATS as a favorite of 12+).
  • Opening Line: Packers -9.
  • Opening Total: 48.
  • Weather: .

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Packers 27, Bears 13
    Packers -7.5 (3 Units) — Incorrect; -$330
    Under 45 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Bears 17, Packers 13

    New Orleans Saints (4-6) at Houston Texans (5-5)
    Line: Texans by 3. Total: 50.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : No Line (Hoyer).
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Texans -1.5.
    Sunday, Nov 29, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Saints.

    HATE MAIL: Lots of hate mail this week, as usual. Here’s a quick one to start off for my Thursday games:

    Yeah, OK, I’m going to blow my brains out because I lost on two fluky plays Thursday night. Sure, I’ll end things because of that. Perhaps I should have, as I wouldn’t have experienced Sunday’s blood bath.

    Here were some of the “nicer” posts about my horrible Sunday:

    I actually think that Peyton Manning comparison is so great. I love chicken parm, too.

    Another batch of Sunday hate mails:

    I’m actually shocked I’m not -$10,000 since 2011. I’ll take that as a positive sign.

    Here’s another person who thinks I should shoot myself:

    I don’t know why all of these people think I can shoot myself. If I can’t pick games, I definitely can’t aim a gun correctly.

    Here’s someone wishing heart disease upon me:

    Some classy individuals here, including one who thinks blind people are bad handicappers. What a disgusting thing to say. I’ll have to forward this to PC Principal so he can check this guy’s privilege.

    HOUSTON OFFENSE: I wanted to begin with this side of the ball because the Saints fired Rob Ryan during the bye. I have no idea why Sean Payton covered up the news after it broke. Perhaps it was because he was salty that he didn’t get to make the announcement himself, or maybe my theory was correct and Ryan had unflattering pictures of someone in the Saints’ organization, given that he shouldn’t have held on to his job for so long.

    The Saints will be better defensively without Ryan. They won’t suddenly transform into an offensive juggernaut or anything, but Ryan was so incompetent that an uptick in performance is to be expected. The team is still sorely lacking in talent on this side of the ball, however, so they won’t have any sort of answer for DeAndre Hopkins. Then again, no one really does. Hopkins just torched Darrelle Revis last week. Granted, Revis is not one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks anymore, but he had absolutely no chance to cover Houston’s dynamic wideout.

    The question here is whether or not the Texans will be able to click elsewhere on offense to be consistently efficient against the Saints. On paper, Brian Hoyer should find Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts open against a poor secondary. Alfred Blue, meanwhile, has a great matchup against New Orleans’ 31st-ranked ground defense. However, it’s unclear what sort of upgrades the Saints will have on the side of the ball, and it’s not like containing Washington, Shorts and Blue is all that challenging.

    NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: I bet Drew Brees wishes he got to battle the Texans earlier in the season when they were surrendering 40 points to the likes of Miami and Atlanta. Houston has improved defensively, so Brees won’t be nearly as effective as he would’ve been a month ago.

    However, I’m still a bit skeptical about the Texans’ defense. Sure, they have J.J. Watt and some other talented players, but what have they done exactly to earn this acclaim? They limited the Jets, but Ryan Fitzpatrick was clearly bothered by his surgically repaired thumb, and Todd Bowles was too incompetent to make the change at quarterback. The week before, Andy Dalton was sailing passes out of bounds, while Tyler Eifert dropped numerous balls.

    I’m not exactly buying Houston’s sudden surge, and I think a regression to the mean is likely to happen soon for this defense (and the team in general). It could occur versus the Saints, who still have plenty of firepower on offense. The Texans defend tight ends well, so I wouldn’t expect much from Ben Watson, but there are plenty of holes in the secondary for Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead to exploit. Mark Ingram, meanwhile, should have a decent game.

    RECAP: Who are the Texans to be three-point favorites against any non-terrible team? It’s fine if they’re playing the Zach Mettenberger-led Titans, but the Saints aren’t horrible. I don’t agree with this spread at all, as it should be -1.5. One-and-a-half points isn’t that much of a big deal normally, but it is if we can go through the key number of three.

    The Saints should be better on defense without Ryan, and I like their passing attack to beat Houston’s iffy secondary. They were humiliated prior to the bye, so they’ve had two weeks to hear about how horrible they are. Remember, New Orleans went into Indianapolis and won back in Week 7, so I think it can do the same thing here against a Houston squad that’s bound to regress.

    I like the Saints for two units. Following my San Diego loss, I’m hesitant to go big on a bad team, but two units feels like an appropriate amount.

    FRIDAY UPDATES: It was Black Friday for everyone else today, but for me, it was Enlightened Friday. While most people were shopping, I locked myself inside my office and tried to figure out what I’m doing wrong. I don’t know if it’ll help at all, but I’m trying my hardest here. I did pick up on a few things though, and as a result, I’m going to have several unit and pick changes today.

    I’m dropping all units from this game. There’s some uncertainty in terms of what we’ll see from the Saints coming out of the bye. Perhaps it’ll be a better defensive effort, but then again, the team may begin to mail it in, knowing that Sean Payton won’t be returning next year.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The public is on the Texans, but the sharps haven’t really touched this game. It doesn’t appear as though the books want to move off -3.

    SUNDAY NOTES: Nothing really changed here, as the juice continues to rise on the Texans. The sharps know they’ll get pounded if they go to Saints +3.5 by the sharps.

    The Psychology. Edge: Texans.
    The Saints take on the Panthers next week, but at 4-6, they’re in no position to look ahead.

    The Vegas. Edge: Saints.
    A decent amount of action on the Texans.
  • Percentage of money on Houston: 67% (30,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Saints.
  • Drew Brees is 32-22 ATS after a loss with the Saints (10-4 ATS as an underdog).
  • Opening Line: Texans -3.
  • Opening Total: 49.
  • Weather: .

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Saints 26, Texans 20
    Saints +3 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Under 50.5 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Texans 24, Saints 6

    Minnesota Vikings (7-3) at Atlanta Falcons (6-4)
    Line: Falcons by 2. Total: 45.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Falcons -3.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Falcons -1.
    Sunday, Nov 29, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: None.

    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!

    MINNESOTA OFFENSE: Teddy Bridgewater took a beating against the Packers. He was sacked six times and hit on countless other occasions. He even appeared to injure his shoulder in the second quarter and never really was the same after that. Bridgewater began the game well, but cooled off considerably following that crushing blow.

    Fortunately for Bridgewater, he won’t be facing any sort of dominant pass rush in this matchup. The Falcons are tied for the fewest sacks in the NFL with the Giants. They hardly gave Matt Hasselbeck a difficult time, and Hasselbeck is stricken with an even worse blocking unit in front of him than Bridgewater has. Thus, Bridgewater will have more time in the pocket. Whether he moves the chains consistently depends on how healthy he is.

    Casual fans may think that Bridgewater won’t even have to do anything because Adrian Peterson is bound to trample Atlanta’s poor defense. However, stopping the run is one of the few things the Falcons do well. Believe it or not, they are tied for second versus the rush in terms of YPC, limiting opponents to a 3.47 average. Only the Broncos are better.

    ATLANTA OFFENSE: The Falcons appeared to be on track to beat the Colts, but Devonta Freeman suffered a concussion. It’s unknown if he’ll be able to suit up in this contest, but there was some optimism earlier in the week. Freeman’s availablity is crucial, as the Vikings showed a liability versus the rush against the Packers. Freeman has been one of the league’s best running backs this year.

    Matt Ryan looked lost without Freeman, and he’ll struggle if Tevin Coleman is in the backfield with him again. On the other hand, he could thrive if he has Freeman’s support. Julio Jones is unstoppable, and the Vikings don’t have anyone to match up with him, given that Xavier Rhodes has been such a big disappointment this year.

    Minnesota’s ability to pressure Ryan will be key. Save for the center position, the Falcons’ offensive line has improved recently, surrendering just four sacks in the previous four games. The Vikings have a strong pass rush, so something will have to give. That something could be Brian Robison, who limped off the field against the Packers.

    RECAP: There are too many unknowns on this game, so I’ll have to pass in terms of betting. Bridgewater may or may not be 100 percent. Will Freeman and Robison play? If so, how healthy will they be?

    The Falcons have been miserable since the beginning of the year, failing to cover the spread since Week 4. That’s why I’m going to pick the Vikings. However, I don’t want to wager on a team that could be hindered by an injured quarterback and a banged-up important pass-rusher.

    FRIDAY UPDATES: No change here. I’m still leaning toward the Vikings, as the Falcons won’t have Devonta Freeman or Leonard Hankerson, but there’s not enough of an edge for me to bet either side.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The pros are betting the Falcons despite Freeman and Hankerson being out. What they might be looking at is Harrison Smith’s injury. The Vikings not having Smith is pretty huge, as he’s one of the top safeties in the NFL. I’m almost tempted to switch my pick to Atlanta.

    SUNDAY NOTES: The sharps are mostly on the Falcons, but there was some buy-back on the Vikings at +2.5.

    The Psychology. Edge: Falcons.
    The Vikings are coming off an emotional loss to the Packers, but they’re underdogs here.

    The Vegas. Edge: Falcons.
    The Vikings are a public dog.
  • Percentage of money on Minnesota: 71% (23,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Matt Ryan is 32-25 ATS at home.
  • Opening Line: Falcons -2.
  • Opening Total: 44.
  • Weather: Dome.

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Vikings 22, Falcons 21
    Vikings +2 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Under 45 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Vikings 20, Falcons 10

    St. Louis Rams (4-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (8-2)
    Line: Bengals by 10. Total: 42.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Bengals -7.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Bengals -7.
    Sunday, Nov 29, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Bengals.

    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. I normally criticize the NFL for many things, but I should commend them on the replay system. It’s cool that they can review calls unlike before when every ruling an official made stood no matter what. I mean, sure, sometimes the replays aren’t even called correctly, and sometimes the reviews take too long, and sometimes officials like Ed Hochuli confuse the rules and misinform the crowd incorrectly, and sometimes things ruled one way on the field can’t even be challenged… OK, maybe replay isn’t so great.

    What the NFL can do to help smooth everything out is install a chip in the ball. I think that would really revolutionize the game. Seriously. Think about it, with a chip in the ball, we would know exactly where it is on the field in relation to the first down and goal line. Thus, no more chain gangs and no more challenge flags to look at the spot.

    What sparked this was that Bruce Arians had to throw the red flag on two consecutive plays in the Week 10 Sunday night game at Seattle. The officials couldn’t even get it confirmed the second time because the view of the ball was covered up. If there’s a chip in the ball, it wouldn’t matter. The chain gang would no longer be needed, which is a great thing for football because they look like circus sideshow freaks in their weird orange outfits while carrying strange orange poles that are chained to each other. It’s very archaic and so avoidable.

    2. Speaking of rule changes, I feel as though the Bears should be punished for not disclosing their injuries. John Fox and his coaching staff treat the injury reports as if they are the United States’ nuclear codes. It’s ridiculous. For example, they listed Matt Forte questionable all week despite the fact that he didn’t even travel with the team to St. Louis.

    Roger Goodell needs to stop being a douche and start penalizing teams for this. Fox might think this is gamesmanship, but really, the injury report is for betting and fantasy purposes. Coaches may scoff at this, but betting and fantasy are why the NFL is so popular. Bettors and fantasy players effectively pay the salaries of Fox and other coaches, so the least that Fox and other a**hole coaches who conceal the injury report can do is be forthright to their paying customers.

    3. I’ll end this on a very light note. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I recently watched a porno where some foreign dude was invited to Thanksgiving dinner by his insanely hot American girlfriend. He sat in between his girlfriend and a gold-digging stepmom. The latter, of course, was inappropriately touching this guy from under the table, while her oblivious, fat husband kept gawking about how he was excited to watch the football game.

    “I love football!” he exclaimed.

    Here’s a screenshot. Check out where the gold-digger’s right hand is, and how awkward the foreign dude looks:

    So, why am I mentioning this? Well, I haven’t gotten to the best part yet. The fat husband mentioned that he was planning on going to his friend’s house to watch the game. The gold-digging wife, in an attempt to make small talk, asked who’s playing. The fat husband responded:

    “The red team versus the blue team.”

    Uhh… what!?!?! The “red team” versus the “blue team?” And you like football? You don’t even know the teams’ names!

    OK, OK, OK, I get that this porno company could’ve been sued by the NFL and whatnot, but they still could have used generic city names without getting into trouble. The NFL couldn’t have done anything if the fat husband said Kansas City versus Detroit (if they wanted a red team versus a blue team so badly).

    I was laughing so hard that I was instantly not in the mood anymore.

    I’m actually going to say that from now on if people ask me who’s playing. This Monday night, it’s the purple team versus the orange team. I love football!

    ST. LOUIS OFFENSE: Jeff Fisher just might be the worst head coach in the NFL. Fisher has long been overrated by the media, as his teams have gone .500 or so more often than not. There’s a reason we refer to him as Commander .500 on the podcast. Fisher has also utilized dirty tactics, and it was not a surprise to see him hire villain Gregg Williams. Now, we can say that Fisher shows no compassion toward his own players. Case Keenum was clearly concussed. It was obvious. Everyone knew it. Yet, Fisher showed no concern for his player’s well-being and ordered Keenum to stay on the field, and Keenum predictably flopped. Fisher told the media he was “caught up in game management,” whatever the hell that means. Doesn’t “game management” include watching what’s going on with an injured quarterback?

    Keenum may not be able to play in this game, but that would be a good thing. Nick Foles has sucked this year, but at least he could complete forward passes on occasion. Keenum struggled to do so versus one of the worst secondaries in football, so I don’t see how either quarterback will throw on the Bengals.

    However, neither may need to. Todd Gurley has a great matchup here, as the Bengals have one of the worst defenses in the NFL when it comes to stopping the run. They’ve given up 4.47 YPC to the opposition, which puts them 24th in the league in that regard. Gurley is one of the NFL’s top running backs, so he should be able to explode versus Cincinnati.

    CINCINNATI OFFENSE: Andy Dalton’s annual late-season swoon continues. Dalton sailed tons of passes out of bounds in a Monday night loss to the Texans, and while he played better at Arizona, he still was partly responsible for yet another defeat, as he missed several downfield throws, including the potential game-winner to A.J. Green.

    It’s not all Dalton’s fault, as his offensive line hasn’t been as great the past two games as it has been earlier in the year. That could spell trouble against the Rams, who rush the passer better than most teams in the NFL. Their sack total has slowed recently – four in the past three games after 26 in the first seven contests – but that’s because Robert Quinn has been out. Quinn was questionable heading into the Baltimore contest, so that’s an encouraging sign that he could return.

    With tons of pressure in his face, Dalton will struggle to keep the chains moving on a consistent basis, and he won’t have much help from a rushing attack that hasn’t been very effective this year. The Rams own a top-10 ground defense, so neither back will be doing anything on the ground.

    RECAP: The Rams are the right side here, as this spread is way too large. It was -7 a week ago, and it probably would’ve been -6.5 or so right before that. The spread has risen so much because of St. Louis’ recent struggles, but remember that the Rams were up 10 in the fourth quarter against the Ravens and could’ve easily won that game if it wasn’t for two missed kicks and a lost fumble at midfield. Plus, Quinn has been out. There’s a good chance he’ll be back for this crucial, must-win game for St. Louis.

    The Bengals, meanwhile, have struggled lately. Losing to the Texans at home was an eye-opening result, while the defeat at Arizona could’ve been much worse than the final score indicated. The Bengals were down two touchdowns and might have lost by that margin had Patrick Peterson not left the game. Their offense is not playing well, and I don’t think they’re in any position to lay nine points against a strong defense.

    I’m going to set this at three units right now. If Quinn is cleared to play, I’ll bump this up to four units. If he’s out again, I’ll drop it to two, as I like the Rams regardless.

    FRIDAY UPDATES: Quinn appears to be out, so as promised, I’m dropping this to two units. I still have some confidence in the Rams, however, as Foles’ return will be an upgrade. That’s how bad Keenum is.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Pinnacle, the sharpest book on the Web, is inviting action on the Bengals; they have -8.5 posted, while every other book is listing this game at -9. I still like the Rams for two units.

    SUNDAY NOTES: I guess I’m wrong about this one. After staying silent the entire week, the sharps pounded the Bengals on Sunday morning. The Rams are now available for +10.

    The Psychology. Edge: Rams.
    The Bengals put forth maximum effort at Arizona, but came up short. Now, they’re huge favorites over a non-conference foe.

    The Vegas. Edge: Rams.
    Slight lean on the Bengals.
  • Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 63% (30,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Rams are 29-45 ATS on grass since 2001.
  • Bengals are 15-6 ATS at home since 2013.
  • Bengals are 26-39 ATS as a favorite since 2007.
  • Opening Line: Bengals -9.
  • Opening Total: 42.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Bengals 20, Rams 17
    Rams +10 (2 Units) — Incorrect; -$220
    Under 42 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Bengals 31, Rams 7

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (5-5)
    Line: Colts by 3. Total: 46.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Colts -3.5.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Colts -3.
    Sunday, Nov 29, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Buccaneers.

    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. There’s a big shake-up in the college football playoff rankings this week in the wake of Ohio State’s loss. I’m posting these picks on a Tuesday, obviously, so I don’t know what the top four will look like, but Iowa is sure to take the Buckeyes’ spot. Two thoughts on this change:

    First, it’s kind of ridiculous that the Hawkeyes presumably get to move into the top four just because another team lost. Iowa wasn’t very impressive, as it didn’t handle a 2-8 Purdue team all that well despite the fact that the Boilermakers lost their starting quarterback in the first half. Sure, the Hawkeyes are undefeated, but who cares? They haven’t beaten anyone. Their best win was at Wisconsin, and the Badgers didn’t have their starting running back.

    Second, it didn’t surprise me at all that Ohio State lost. The Buckeyes had played like crap for most of the year. They had trouble putting away Northern Illinois, Indiana, Maryland and Minnesota. The fact that they couldn’t blast bad opponents was a sure sign that they were due for a letdown. Great teams take care of business. Overrated teams play like lethargic bums against inferior competition.

    2. With Ohio State and Oklahoma State going down, Notre Dame should be safe in the top four. The Irish had issues against Boston College, however, which is troubling. What I thought I saw earlier was much worse:

    I was mildly hung over Saturday morning when I saw this score and was completely confused. “Why the f*** is Notre Dame allowing 26 points to UMass Lowl, and what the hell is UMass Lowl!?” I said aloud. It took me about 30 seconds to realize that this was a college basketball score.

    I felt stupid, but the true culprit is the NCAA. Why the hell is college basketball starting so soon? It’s not even Thanksgiving! If you’re college basketball, why clash with football at all? College hoops should begin after the college football conference championships. That would be a smooth transition. But as for now, there’s too much going on and I can’t concentrate on college basketball at all. All I know is that UMass Lowl probably isn’t very good.

    3. I missed the end of the early games because I was getting a haircut. When I left my house, North Carolina was up big; I noticed that score because I considered Virginia Tech as a possible wager. I thanked the heavens that I didn’t bet that game as I pulled out of my driveway.

    When I came back home, I saw the following message on my Facebook wall from Chris B:

    After this unc game….I’m pretty sure my betting career has come to a screeching halt. I’m honestly not sure if you saw it but it is Completely fixed what just happened.

    I asked him what occurred, and here’s what transpired, for those of you who missed it as well:

    Unc is up 24-10 cruising. Williams fumbles the ball halfway through 4th….tech recovers and scores td on a 4th down play. 24-17. Unc gets the ball back and is driving. Fumbles again. VT scores another td on a 4th down play with a minute left. 24-24. Ot. VT gets ball first and scores a field goal. Unc gets ball and throws a td on 3rd down that the receiver clearly never caught and they let the play stand. ALL unc backers lose.

    Ugh. I’ve been on too many of these sides this year in college football and the NFL. Just see the Jaguars-Titans game last Thursday as proof. It’s frustrating, but there’s nothing you can do besides shake it off, keep betting and get screwed out of more money.

    TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: Jameis Winston had his struggles earlier in the season, but he has caught fire recently. He threw five touchdowns against the Eagles, and the positive momentum should continue here, as he might be battling an Indianapolis team missing its top cornerback.

    Vontae Davis injured his hamstring against the Falcons. Soft-tissue maladies tend to linger, especially for players at the receiver, running back and cornerback positions. Davis could miss this contest, but even if he suits up, there’s no guarantee that he won’t suffer a setback. Safety Mike Adams could also be out, which would be yet another problem for Indianapolis’ secondary, which won’t be able to deal with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. Austin Seferian-Jenkins could be back as well.

    Meanwhile, Doug Martin figures to have a solid game. The Colts are just in the middle of the pack in terms of stopping the run, and Martin is coming off a very impressive 200-yard performance.

    INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: The Colts’ major injury, of course, is at quarterback. Andrew Luck continues to miss time, so it’ll be Matt Hasselbeck once again. He’ll be battling a tougher defense this week, as the Buccaneers have made some improvements on this side of the ball. They still have some glaring problems in their secondary, but at least their pass rush has improved. They’ve accumulated six sacks in their previous two games, and they won’t have a difficult time sneaking by Indianapolis’ woeful front line, which might be missing Anthony Castonzo.

    It goes without saying that the Castonzo injury is huge. Considered “week to week,” Castonzo is one of three linemen playing well for the Colts. They’ll be down to two in his absence, so Hasselbeck could be under heavy pressure.

    The Colts won’t be able to relieve the heavy heat Hasselbeck will see by establishing Frank Gore either. The Buccaneers are ninth against th run, surrendering 3.72 YPC to opposing backs.

    RECAP: It surprised me to learn that both of these teams have covered four of their previous five. I suspected that of Tampa, but not of Indianapolis. However, the Colts needed back-door covers to beat the number versus the Patriots and Panthers, and their latest victory was partly the result of the Falcons being terrible all while losing Devonta Freeman to injury.

    I don’t normally like siding with a publicly backed underdog, but the ticket count on this game isn’t very large. Thus, the Buccaneers could cover. They’re the better team – with Luck out – and they tend to play better on the road than at home. I wouldn’t go crazy with this, given the percentage of bets coming in on Tampa, but I’m fine with a unit on the visitor.

    FRIDAY UPDATES: Would this spread still be -3 if the Colts had lost last week? I ask this because the Falcons outgained them by 100 yards and averaged 0.8 yards per play more than them. The Colts are overrated here, while the Buccaneers are still undervalued. Looking back on their past three games, they’ve outgained the Giants, Cowboys and Eagles; the latter two by wide margins. They’re playing great football right now, and they tend to thrive on the road. Thus, while I’ve taken off units on some games thus far, I’m willing to add two units to this contest.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps are on the Buccaneers. That’s understandable, as the Colts will be missing Mike Adams, a pretty decent coverage safety.

    SUNDAY NOTES: The guys on the ESPN pre-game show are saying that Matt Hasselbeck is better than Andrew Luck. Wow. Fire up the Buccaneers, who are getting sharp money.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Colts.
    All aboard the Buccaneers’ bandwagon!
  • Percentage of money on Tampa Bay: 70% (21,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Buccaneers.
  • Road Team is 63-36 ATS in Buccaneers games since 2009.
  • Opening Line: Colts -3.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: Dome.

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Buccaneers 24, Colts 20
    Buccaneers +3 (3 Units) — Incorrect; -$330
    Under 46.5 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Colts 25, Buccaneers 12

    New York Giants (5-5) at Washington Redskins (4-6)
    Line: Giants by 1. Total: 47.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Pick.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Giants -3.
    Sunday, Nov 29, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Giants.

    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.

    WASHINGTON OFFENSE: Kirk Cousins predictably fell back down to Earth last week. He torched the Saints, but Carolina’s defense limited him for the most part, save for an early deep bomb to DeSean Jackson. He was responsible for two turnovers, both of which were brutal.

    The Giants are somewhere in between. They’ve had issues in their secondary, thanks in part to a poor pass rush, but that aspect of their defense improved when Jason Pierre-Paul returned from injury. I have to hand it to Pierre-Paul; he has been outstanding thus far, especially as a pass-rusher. He made Tom Brady’s afternoon extremely difficult, and he’ll figure to do the same to Cousins. Pierre-Paul’s presence on the field makes everyone better, so I’d ignore the Giants’ overall seasonal numbers when looking at this matchup because their defense is now much better.

    Those numbers, by the way, indicate that the Redskins will be able to run effectively with Matt Jones and Alfred Morris, given that New York is 19th versus ground attacks. However, the Giants limited the Patriots to 68 yards on 21 carries prior to the bye, so I think they could have success against the two Washington backs.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: As bad as the Redskins’ scoring attack was versus Carolina, the defense was even worse. The stop unit had no hope of stopping Cam Newton and his limited supporting cast, and I don’t see them having more success against the Giants, who can also score tons of points.

    The Giants have a lethal offense, thanks to Odell Beckham Jr. They struggled for a couple of games earlier when Beckham was hobbled with an injury, but he’s completely healthy now. Manning will torch the Redskins’ atrocious secondary, which is something he does quite often.

    The only way Manning doesn’t dominate aerially is if he doesn’t need to at all. The Redskins have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, surrendering 162.8 rushing yards per game to their previous six opponents. That’s just horrible. New York’s entire cast of backs should all be successful.

    RECAP: The Giants have owned the Redskins, winning and covering their previous five meetings by straight-up margins of 7, 14, 31, 11 and 11. I don’t see why it couldn’t be six in a row. They’re the much better team, especially with Pierre-Paul back on the field, and they’re coming off a bye. Meanwhile, the Redskins have covered just once since Oct. 11. There’s a reason for that. They’re not a good football team, and this line is too short.

    I’m taking the Giants for four units. The only thing that concerns me is the public action on the visitor, but it appears as though the sharps are betting New York as well, though as of this writing, it’s too early to tell for sure whether the line movement is legitimate.

    FRIDAY UPDATES: I’m dropping the Giants to one unit, but it has nothing to do with what I’ve uncovered on Enlightened Friday. The Giants will be missing Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, their two top offensive linemen. That’s a huge deal, and it could totally ruin their offense. Casual bettors always underestimate how important the center position is, and the Giants don’t have much behind the outstanding Richburg.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Pugh and Richburg are out for sure, which is a major bummer because I liked the Giants with them in the lineup. It does help that Prince Amukamara will be back, but the sharps are picking Washington.

    SUNDAY NOTES: The pros continue to pound the Redskins, probably because of the Giants’ offensive line issues.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Redskins.
    A strong lean on the Giants.
  • Percentage of money on New York: 82% (32,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Giants.
  • History: Giants have won 15 of the last 19 meetings.
  • Giants are 44-25 ATS on the road since 2006 as long as they’re not favored by 3.5 or more.
  • Opening Line: Giants -1.5.
  • Opening Total: 46.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Giants 26, Redskins 20
    Giants -1 (1 Unit) — Incorrect; -$110
    Under 47.5 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Redskins 20, Giants 14

    Oakland Raiders (4-6) at Tennessee Titans (2-8)
    Line: Raiders by 1.5. Total: 45.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Raiders -1.5.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Pick.
    Sunday, Nov 29, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Raiders.

    Video of the Week: One of the many reasons I don’t like soccer is because I find it boring. Another is that the players seem like a bunch of pansies when they fake injuries. But what if they really did get hurt (thanks, Matt W)?

    Meh. Still boring.

    OAKLAND OFFENSE: I miss the good old days when Raider fans used to nonsensically send me hate mail because I wrote that Derek Carr didn’t have a good rookie campaign. They’ve conveniently disappeared following two dud performances from Carr the past two weeks. The Minnesota loss made sense, given that the Vikings have a great defense, but his struggles at Detroit were almost inexplicable on paper. Darius Slay smothered Amari Cooper, but that shouldn’t have shut down the entire offense.

    The big factor was that Rodney Hudson just wasn’t himself. Hudson, Oakland’s Pro Bowl center, was one of the main reasons the Raiders’ offense was so explosive earlier in the year. That’s no longer the case. He missed the Minnesota contest, then returned for the Lions, but didn’t appear to be 100 percent before leaving early after aggravating his ankle injury. Jack Del Rio said that he’s not sure about Hudson’s status for this Sunday. I guess we’ll see what happens, but it doesn’t sound good for Hudson. Even if he suits up, he could get knocked out again.

    It’s a shame for Carr, as he’d have a nice opportunity to expose a horrible secondary with adequate protection. Unfortunately for him, he may not have that, as the Titans sport a strong pass rush. They’re also decent versus the run, so don’t expect much from Latavius Murray.

    TENNESSEE OFFENSE: The Raiders took a big blow when they lost Aldon Smith to a suspension. Their pass rush isn’t as potent. I know that they sacked Matthew Stafford four times this past Sunday, but the Lions have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Then again, Tennessee can’t exactly protect Marcus Mariota well either.

    There are two bits of good news for Mariota, however. The first is that Kendall Wright is expected to return to the field. Aside from Charles Woodson, no one is playing well in Oakland’s secondary, so there’s potential here for Wright to have a big game. I like Delanie Walker’s chances as well.

    The second piece of good news is that the Raiders are atrocious against the run, so Mariota will be able to lean on Antonio Andrews, David Cobb and Bishop Sankey to move the chains on the ground. Those three backs aren’t very good, but you can say the same thing about Joique Bell, Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick, and they were all effective versus Oakland.

    RECAP: I don’t get why the Raiders are favored in this game. What have they done lately to deserve that? I liked Oakland a lot earlier in the year, but this team isn’t the same with Hudson being hurt and Smith getting suspended. I think there will be value with them once Hudson becomes healthy and the spreads start being more reasonable, but as for right now, I’d have to lean toward Tennessee.

    I think the Titans are the right side, and they should cover. Then again, they should’ve covered last Thursday, but were screwed over by a punt return and a Supernaw fumble. Mariota is now 4-3 ATS when playing an entire game while healthy. He should be 5-2, but whatever. I like him here, though I want to wait on Hudson’s status. If Hudson doesn’t play, I’ll place a unit or two on Tennessee.

    FRIDAY UPDATES: Hudson is listed as doubtful, so I’m betting the Titans. I’m actually going to take them for three units, and here’s why: Despite their record, they’ve played extremely well lately. They outgained the Jaguars and would’ve won that game if it wasn’t for a punt return at the end. They lost 27-10 to the Panthers, but that was a close game that got away from them at the end. Before that, they beat the Saints, averaging 7.2 yards per play in that contest. Oakland’s defense is pretty bad, so the Tennessee will be able to move the chains, especially with Kendall Wright back in the lineup. Meanwhile, Oakland’s offense has been a mess without Hudson. It’s not surprising that the Raiders haven’t been the same without their Pro Bowl center.

    With all of that in mind, what are the Raiders doing as road favorites here? I feel like there’s some “price memory” involved with Oakland, as people are remembering all of their impressive blowouts earlier in the season. The Raiders aren’t the same right now, so I want to grab the value with the Titans.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps continue to bet this down. They love the Titans, though they may want to re-think that, given that I put three units on Tennessee on Friday night. You can still get +1.5 on Bovada, by the way.

    SUNDAY NOTES: Sharp money came in on the Titans earlier, but it has slowed down Sunday morning. I thought Tennessee might be favored by now, but that’s not the case.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Titans.
    The public is not giving up on the Raiders.
  • Percentage of money on Oakland: 74% (11,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Titans.
  • Raiders are 7-23 ATS as a favorite since 2006.
  • Opening Line: Raiders -2.
  • Opening Total: 45.
  • Weather: .

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Titans 19, Raiders 13
    Titans +1.5 (3 Units) — Incorrect; -$330
    Under 45 (0 Units) — Push; $0
    Raiders 24, Titans 21

    Buffalo Bills (5-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-5)
    Line: Chiefs by 4. Total: 41.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Chiefs -3.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Chiefs -4.
    Sunday, Nov 29, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Chiefs.


    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!

    BUFFALO OFFENSE: There’s no line on this game right now because Tyrod Taylor’s status is uncertain. Rex Ryan recently said that Taylor should be able to play, but that doesn’t really mean much. Taylor hurt his shoulder late against the Patriots, but was still able to complete a deep pass to set up a field goal to get the push. It’s been that kind of year.

    The Bills better hope that Taylor plays because they’ll have no chance with E.J. Manuel at quarterback – especially considering how well Kansas City’s defense has been playing. The Chiefs smothered Philip Rivers this past Sunday even though the Chargers had their entire offensive line back. The Bills have a couple of liabilities up front that Kansas City can expose with its tremendous pass rush, making life very difficult for Taylor. As a result, Taylor, who may not be 100 percent, will once again have trouble connecting with Sammy Watkins, who will be battling a strong secondary.

    LeSean McCoy won’t be able to do much either, at least in terms of being of a rusher. The Chiefs are very difficult to run on, as they’ve surrendered 89 rushing yards or fewer to five of their previous six opponents.

    KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: The Bills also sport a solid defense, and that unit will have to play at a 110-percent level if Taylor is either out or banged up. Fortunately for them, they won’t exactly have to deal with the league’s most potent offense, or anything.

    By now, we’re all familiar with what the Chiefs do on this side of the ball. Alex Smith dinks and dunks no matter what the down and distance, and sometimes he’ll scramble for a first down. Some runs are mixed in as well, as long as Andy Reid didn’t confuse the rushing portion of his playbook with one of the menus he keeps around for emergencies in his office. One of Smith’s favorite targets, Travis Kelce, could have a difficult time in this matchup, as the Bills are excellent versus tight ends. They just put the clamps on Rob Gronkowski, so they should be able to do the same to Kelce.

    Where Buffalo’s defense could have trouble is containing the run. The team has given up 4.5 yards per carry to its previous five opponents. I know the Bills were able to stuff LeGarrette Blount repeatedly Monday night, but that was a matter of the Patriots not being able to block. The Chiefs won’t have such issues, as their front is capable of blasting open big holes for non-talents like Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware.

    RECAP: There’s no spread posted on this game, so check back later or follow @walterfootball for updates. I’m pretty sure I’ll be picking the Chiefs, but I’m not sure for how many units yet.

    FRIDAY UPDATES: I like the Chiefs in this matchup. They’re playing much better right now, as their defense has been out of this world. Alex Smith still sucks, but the offensive line, with the help of Jeff Allen returning from a mysterious absence, has been so much better. The Bills, meanwhile, have been largely unimpressive. They barely outgained the Dolphins, then played evenly with a Jets team that had an injured Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Buffalo stayed within seven of the Patriots, but New England is not an overly strong team right now because of all of its injuries.

    Kansas City for two units is the play. The Chiefs are going to bully around the Bills, who will be using a hurt quarterback of their own in their third-consecutive road game. That doesn’t sound like an ideal situation.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s surprising that the sharps are betting this down. They like the Bills, so if you want to take the Chiefs, wait until kickoff to perhaps land a -4.

    SUNDAY NOTES: I may not get this pick right – in fact, you should definitely bet the Bills – but at least I called the line movement. It’s now Chiefs -4. I don’t get why the sharps are betting the Bills, but that’s why I’m down more than 100 units this decade.

    The Psychology. Edge: Chiefs.
    The Bills are coming off a tough loss, but this is a big game for the wild-card race.

    The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
    Slight lean on the Chiefs.
  • Percentage of money on Kansas City: 63% (23,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Bills.
  • Bills are 16-9 ATS after playing the New England Patriots since 1999.
  • Bills are 7-16 ATS since November 2011 as a road underdog.
  • True home teams are 22-15 ATS in the last 38 Bills games.
  • Opening Line: Chiefs -5.
  • Opening Total: 42.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Chiefs 24, Bills 10
    Chiefs -4 (2 Units) — Correct; +$200
    Under 41 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Chiefs 30, Bills 22

    Miami Dolphins (4-6) at New York Jets (5-5)
    Line: Jets by 3.5. Total: 44.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Jets -3.5.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Jets -3.
    Sunday, Nov 29, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Jets.

    I don’t know if you noticed, but I made a slight change to the home page to separate all of the categories of the site…

    You may have seen a section called Open Rant, where you can create your own blogs. If they are good enough, I’ll post them on the home page or tweet them out.

    Our 2016 NFL Mock Draft Builder is live! Create your own mock, which could be placed in the mock database. I’ll also tweet some of them out.

    We also have a NFL Power Rankings Builder. Don’t like my power rankings? Create your own!

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: The Jets are dealing with three major injuries, two of which are on this side of the ball. The one everyone knows about is to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had surgery on his thumb following the loss to Buffalo. Fitzpatrick was a solid game manager to begin the year, but he has since fallen off. He has struggled in his previous three games, failing to do anything of note versus Houston most recently. So, despite the strong matchup, Fitzpatrick could struggle again.

    The other injury is to Nick Mangold. The Pro Bowl center has been in and out of the lineup, which has been another reason for the Jets’ decline. Center is the second-most-important position on offense, and Mangold is one of the top players at that spot. Mangold sustained a laceration on his hand against the Texans, and he’s undergoing an MRI to see if there’s any structural damage. If he misses this contest, the Jets won’t pass protect nearly as well versus a strong Miami front.

    The Jets at least might be able to take advantage of Miami’s leaky run defense again. They rushed for 173 yards on the Dolphins in London. Chris Ivory may not have the same success if Mangold is out or hurt, but he should still have a decent performance.

    MIAMI OFFENSE: The third injury the Jets are dealing with is to Darrelle Revis, who sustained a concussion against the Texans. Perhaps that was the result of not believing how frequently DeAndre Hopkins torched him. Revis is no longer a dominant cornerback, but he’s still the top player at his position on this roster. Not having him available will hurt.

    Fortunately for the Jets, they happen to match up extremely well versus the Dolphins. They blitz frequently, which is a problem for Ryan Tannehill, who doesn’t know how to read the blitz at all. Perhaps the Dolphins’ reluctance to allow Tannehill to change plays at the line of scrimmage has something to do with that, but maybe it’s the reason they don’t permit him to do it. Tannehill struggled versus New York in the first meeting, and I believe he’ll play just as poorly in this matchup, even if Revis is unavailable.

    The Dolphins have had success moving the chains when they’ve been able to run the ball, but that could prove to be difficult this Sunday. The Jets are 11th against the run. They’ve declined in that regard recently, but Miami’s running game hasn’t been as sharp either ever since Ja’Wuan James got hurt.

    RECAP: For some reason, I began writing about this game thinking that the Dolphins had some kind of awful track record against the Jets, but that’s not the case. Miami has won six of its previous seven meetings at New York, which is stunning. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised, given how lucrative betting the Dolphins as road underdogs has been unless they’re playing at New England. It didn’t work so well against the Bills, but they cashed against the Eagles two weeks ago.

    Meanwhile, the Jets haven’t covered the spread in a month. It feels like the public has never adjusted to them. People remember their blowout victories against the Colts on a Monday night and the Dolphins back in London, but this is not the same team. Fitzpatrick and Mangold are both hurt, which is huge.

    I’m picking the Dolphins here, but not for any sort of play. If Mangold is out, that may change, but I don’t see how Tannehill can possibly play well against such a blitz-heavy defense.

    FRIDAY UPDATES: Something I’ve discovered is how awful these teams have been playing lately. I was already aware of how bad they’ve been, but I wasn’t aware of how utterly awful. For example, the Jets, in their victory against the Jaguars, averaged 2.2 yards less per play than Jacksonville, all while being outgained. The Dolphins, on the other hand, had 14 fewer first downs than the Eagles in their upset victory at Philadelphia.

    Injuries have sunk these two teams. The Dolphins just haven’t been the same since losing Cameron Wake and Ja’Wuan James. The Jets, meanwhile, haven’t been able to do much offensively without Mangold. The good news is that Mangold will be back in the lineup. Darrelle Revis is out, but I still like the Jets to perhaps get on the right track. I’m willing to bet them for a unit.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps like the Jets so much that they pushed this number off -3, which is pretty hard to do. There are -4s beginning to pop up, so I’d lock this in as soon as possible.

    SUNDAY NOTES: The good news is that I called this line movement. The bad news is that I only have one unit on such a sharp side. The value on this game is now lost at Jets -4.5.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on New York: 56% (21,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Dolphins.
  • History: Road Team has won 12 of the last non-London 15 meetings.
  • Underdog is 63-35 ATS in the Dolphins’ last 98 games.
  • Dolphins are 20-5 ATS as a road underdog of less than 5 since 2008.
  • Opening Line: Jets -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 42.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Jets 20, Dolphins 13
    Jets -3.5 (1 Unit) — Correct; +$100
    Under 42.5 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Jets 38, Dolphins 20

    San Diego Chargers (2-8) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6)
    Line: Jaguars by 5. Total: 47.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Jaguars -1.5.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Jaguars -3.
    Sunday, Nov 29, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Jaguars.

    After 11 weeks, we have a survivor winner! BriLy24, Dewe0201, pmp300 and sabresbills04 entered the week as the only survivors out of the original 2,653. BriLy24 and sabresbills04 lost with the Eagles. The Jets ruined pmp300’s chances. Dewe0201 made a ballsy move and took the home dog Lions, and it paid off. Congrats to Dewe0201 for winning our 2015 Survivor Pool!

    Stay tuned for more contests. We’ll have our mock draft contest in the spring, as usual, and we’re also preparing something new that you all will enjoy.

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

    SAN DIEGO OFFENSE: I’m pretty angry at Philip Rivers right now. He grew a horrible pencil mustache during his bye week and his play against Kansas City matched his hideous facial hair. Granted, it wasn’t all his fault because he barely had any room to breathe in the pocket despite having most of his offensive linemen back on the field, but on the rare occasions in which he did have time, he missed his targets badly. He had Antonio Gates open for a long touchdown in the third quarter, but overthrew him. That would’ve made the score 12-10, which would’ve been important at the time.

    Rivers may have the same sort of challenges in this contest. The Jaguars pressure quarterbacks very effectively – they just sacked Marcus Mariota four times – so they could get by San Diego’s surprisingly bad linemen. Rivers will have the luxury of going up against a bad secondary, but his receivers haven’t been able to get open effectively, while Gates isn’t 100 percent.

    It would help if the Chargers could run the ball, but Mike McCoy foolishly continues to trot out Melvin Gordon, who has been a huge disappointment thus far. Gordon is posting Trent Richardson-type metrics, which is obviously pretty bad. What might be worse is that McCoy doesn’t recognize that he shouldn’t have Gordon on the field any longer. He could be fired at the end of the year.

    JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: The Chargers haven’t played very well on this side of the ball either, but it seems like their defense matches up well with the Jaguars’ scoring attack.

    The Jaguars have been able to score a decent amount of points this season, thanks to the two Allens, Robinson and Hurns. The NFL Network called them the “Allen Brothers,” which surprised me because I thought siblings shared last names; not first names. Nevertheless, both have been very effective this season, though Hurns didn’t appear to be himself Thursday night because of an injury. I still like Robinson to do well here, but San Diego’s secondary is pretty decent and should be able to limit Blake Bortles.

    Where San Diego fails defensively is against the run, ranking dead last against it. T.J. Yeldon, however, hasn’t shown the ability to dominate on the ground. Yeldon has enjoyed some decent moments, and he’s been much better than Gordon, but he’s averaging just 4.0 yards per carry. This isn’t completely Yeldon’s fault, however, as the blocking just isn’t there.

    RECAP: Call me stubborn, but I’m betting on the Chargers and against the Jaguars again. I don’t quite understand what happened to San Diego, but I know the team is not 33-3 bad. Meanwhile, who are the Jaguars to be laying four points against anyone? I know they just won by six, but those were fluky circumstances. Aside from that contest, they hadn’t prevailed by more than a field goal against anyone this season, thus this number is outrageous.

    I also like the Chargers better on the road. They have no fans, so their homefield advantage is worthless, but consider what they’ve done as visitors this season: They played a close game at Cincinnati, got blown out at Minnesota (they lost their entire offensive line in that contest), nearly beat the Packers in Lambeau and then led in the fourth quarter at Baltimore when Steve Smith was still on the field.

    I’m willing to take the Chargers for three units here, as they were humiliated last week and will be eager to bounce back. Plus, as mentioned, their defense matches up well with Jacksonville’s offense.

    FRIDAY UPDATES: I’m canceling my bet on this game. I’ve had a blind spot with the Chargers, and I don’t want any part of them. I still think they can cover, as the Jaguars don’t exactly look like a strong five-point home favorite, but there’s no doubt that Jacksonville is the better team. I’ve underestimated the Jaguars recently, when it’s been the Chargers I should’ve been trashing. I might put a unit back on San Diego if this spread reaches six, but there’s no value here right now.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The pros are all over the Jaguars as well. This spread may hit -6 soon, so bet it as soon as possible if you also like Jacksonville.

    SUNDAY NOTES: Nothing has changed since Saturday night, though this number never hit -6. I’d avoid this game, though the sharps liked the Jaguars at -4 and -4.5.

    The Psychology. Edge: Chargers.
    The Chargers are coming off a humiliating loss. They’ll be hearing how horrible they are all week, so they’ll be eager to rebound.

    The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
    The Chargers are a public dog.
  • Percentage of money on San Diego: 70% (25,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Chargers.
  • Jaguars are 26-51 ATS against non-divisional opponents since 2008.
  • Jaguars are 7-14 ATS as home favorites since 2008.
  • Opening Line: Jaguars -4.
  • Opening Total: 46.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 12 NFL Pick: Jaguars 17, Chargers 16
    Chargers +5 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Under 47 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Chargers 31, Jaguars 25

    Week 12 NFL Picks – Late Games
    Arizona at San Francisco, Pittsburgh at Seattle, New England at Denver, Baltimore at Cleveland

    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 12 NFL Picks – Late Games

    2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 12

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    NFL Picks - Feb. 12


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    2022 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 154-134-8, 53.5% (+$9,860)

    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)
    2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-43-3, 52.2% (-$1,965)
    2021 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 50-50, 50.0% (-$1,570)
    2022 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 56-44-2, 56.0% (+$1,860)

    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)
    2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-22-1, 62.7% (+$5,515)
    2021 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-32-1, 50.0% (-$725)
    2022 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 41-30-1, 57.8% (+$3,725)

    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)
    2020 Season Over-Under: 141-122-6, 53.6% ($0)
    2021 Season Over-Under: 132-151-3, 46.6% ($0)
    2022 Season Over-Under: 133-149-2, 47.2% (-$225)

    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
    2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$4,975
    2021 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$3,455
    2022 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$5,720

    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)
    2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$665)
    2021 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-3, 40.0% (-$920)
    2022 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-4, 42.9% (-$1,615)

    Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 3,420-3,152-195, 52.1% (+$21,170)
    Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 1,106-983-56 (52.9%)
    Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 549-485-25 (53.1%)
    Career Over-Under: 2,853-2,829-74 (50.3%)
    Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 23-16-1 (59.0%)
    Career NFL Picks of the Month: 46-34-1 (57.5t%)

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

    Cowboys: 8-9
    Bears: 11-4
    Bucs: 6-11
    49ers: 10-7
    Eagles: 7-7
    Lions: 9-8
    Falcons: 8-9
    Cardinals: 8-9
    Giants: 7-9
    Packers: 5-12
    Panthers: 8-9
    Rams: 8-9
    Redskins: 14-3
    Vikings: 6-9
    Saints: 10-7
    Seahawks: 7-9
    Bills: 9-7
    Bengals: 12-5
    Colts: 7-10
    Broncos: 9-6
    Dolphins: 6-11
    Browns: 11-5
    Jaguars: 13-4
    Chargers: 8-9
    Jets: 8-9
    Ravens: 11-6
    Texans: 5-12
    Chiefs: 5-10
    Patriots: 7-9
    Steelers: 11-6
    Titans: 9-8
    Raiders: 6-9
    Divisional: 50-35 (2011-22: 558-526)
    2x Game Edge: 36-24 (2011-22: 363-361)
    2x Motivation Edge: 32-36 (2011-22: 478-405)
    2x Spread Edge: 41-40 (2011-22: 197-168)
    2x Vegas Edge: 41-38 (2011-22: 407-406)
    2x Trend Edge: 15-13 (2011-22: 306-279)
    Double Edge: 17-13 (2011-22: 190-172)
    Triple Edge: 1-1 (2011-22: 32-36)

    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
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    2019 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
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    2020 Season:
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    Super Bowl LV Pick

    2021 Season:
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    2022 Season:
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    2023 Season:
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