NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 14, 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 (Week 12, 2015): 6-10 (-$1,050)
NFL Picks (Week 13, 2015): 8-7-1 (+$195)

NFL Picks (2015): 92-107-7 (-$6,775)
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 Dec. 14, 5:50 p.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.


Go to Week 14 NFL Picks - Late Games







Minnesota Vikings (8-4) at Arizona Cardinals (10-2)
Line: Cardinals by 8. Total: 46.5.

Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Cardinals -6.
Walt's Calculated Line: Cardinals -9.
Thursday, Dec 10, 8:25 ET
Comment on this game

The Game. Edge: Cardinals.

WEEK 13 RECAP: Is it sad that I considered 7-7-1, -$5 to be a great week heading into Monday night? That's what it has come to. I would've been upset about such a result in the past, yet my picks have devolved into crap. Complete and utter crap.

Fortunately, the Cowboys covered Monday night, so I finished 8-7-1, +$195, which was my first winning result since Week 9. It was still frustrating, though. Can I vent a bit about a couple of selections? First of all, that Lions-Packers game. WTF? Why does something like that never go in my favor? I bet the Packers in the 2012 Fail Mary game, and I had the Lions on Thursday night. Such bulls***.

Second, thank you, Raiders, for completely self-destructing. That was great. Nice job, guys. Oakland lost 34-20, costing me four units. However, the Raiders were up six in the fourth quarter, and they were driving into Chiefs territory, looking to go up nine or even 13. However, a sequence comprised of three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and a missed field goal ruined my chances of covering. Oakland outgained Kansas City, 361-232, yet lost by two touchdowns.

Third, the Falcons led with a couple of minutes remaining in regulation, but like the Raiders, they found a way to lose. I'm less upset about that one - Tampa outgained Atlanta - but why couldn't I get something to go my way? It's been like this all year. It's just horrible. As I've written before, teams need to hire me to pick against them because I have the worst luck ever when it comes to handicapping NFL games.

ARIZONA OFFENSE: The Vikings got some bad news Tuesday when they had to rule out Harrison Smith, Linval Joseph and Anthony Barr for Thursday's game. It goes without saying how detrimental this. Joseph is one of the top defensive tackles in the league, and the pass rush and run defense were significantly worse without him against the Seahawks. Smith is arguably the best safety in the NFL. The Vikings struggled to defend Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett with him missing. Barr, meanwhile, is the team's No. 1 linebacker by a wide margin. His absence was painful as well.

I don't know how the Vikings are supposed to stop Arizona's high-octane offense without their three best defensive players. They stand no chance against Carson Palmer and his dominant receivers, who are now healthy again. The Cardinals struggled to score for a bit when John Brown and Michael Floyd weren't at 100 percent, but they certainly are now.

Meanwhile, David Johnson should have another big game. Johnson was excellent in his first start, and I expect him to be just as potent, given that the Joseph- and Barr-less Vikings can't stop the run at all.

MINNESOTA OFFENSE: If the Vikings want to win this game, they'll have to keep pace with Arizona's scoring unit. That, unfortunately, is a tall task for Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater has fallen flat on his face in two marquee matchups. He struggled against the Packers and was even worse last week versus Seattle. It wasn't all his fault, as the offensive line has been horrid, but I don't see why it would magically play better just four days later.

The Vikings will have to lean on Adrian Peterson, but that may not be a realistic option, given that they'll have to abandon the run again for the most part if they're way behind for the second game in a row. Besides, the Cardinals have the league's eighth-ranked rush defense.

RECAP: Once I heard that the law firm of Joseph, Smith and Barr would be out, I knew I'd be picking the Cardinals. The question is, for how many units?

I think three units makes sense. The Vikings have lost to the Packers and Seahawks by a combined score of 68-20, and Arizona is better than those teams. Also, this spread doesn't make much sense to me. The Seahawks were -2.5 at Minnesota, meaning they would've been -8.5 (at least) in Seattle. So, why is this number -7.5? You could argue that this is a short week for both teams, but I think that benefits the Cardinals. The superior squad has generally covered on Thursday night, and I think that trend will continue. The Vikings simply don't have enough time to game plan around the losses of their three top defensive players.

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

WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: Since I'm doing picks on Tuesday now, I thought I'd at least offer some notes on each game Wednesday afternoon. Here, the Cardinals have popped up to -8 or -8.5 in most places. It's even -9 at Bovada. I'd lock this in as soon as possible because the number will keep climbing.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Wow, look at the line movement. This spread rose as high as -11 Thursday morning, thanks to all of the sharp money coming in on Arizona. Some people responded by taking the Vikings at +11, dropping the line to +10. At 10, I'd still taking the Cardinals, but only for a unit. If you like Arizona, I hope you got them at -7.5 or -8.


The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.


The Vegas. Edge: None.
Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Arizona: 58% (54,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Cardinals.
  • Cardinals are 25-11 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Bruce Arians is 28-15 ATS as head coach of the Cardinals.
  • Opening Line: Cardinals -7.5.
  • Opening Total: 46.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Cardinals 31, Vikings 6
    Cardinals -8 (3 Units) -- Incorrect; -$330
    Under 46.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Cardinals 23, Vikings 20






    Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (10-2)
    Line: Bengals by 1. Total: 50.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: No Line (Roethlisberger).
    Walt's Calculated Line: Bengals -3.
    Sunday, Dec 13, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Steelers.

    WEEK 14 BETTING TRENDS - POST-SUPER BOWL: The Browns, Saints, Chargers and Rams all have something in common - beyond their ineptitude. Those four teams were home underdogs against superior divisional foes in Week 13. Three gave it their all, and I believe the fourth team would have as well if Mike Pettine hadn't lost his locker room. Oh, and all four were defeated.

    That had me wondering, how do these sorts of teams bounce back from losing their "Super Bowls?" Luckily, Killersports.com's database allows for some quick research (code "p:WP < 41 and p:HD and p:line > 4 and po:WP > 79 and week > 9 and p:DIV.")

    My hypothesis was that these teams would be flat following their "Super Bowl" defeat. I was completely wrong, as they were 22-16 against the spread in their following game.

    That's not anything that can be bet blindly, however, so let's delve deeper into this. The home-road split is 4-4/18-12. That's obviously not anything significant. Favorites - like the Browns and Rams this week - are 2-3 ATS, so nothing to go off there either.

    Things got slightly more interesting when I checked out how those teams fared in divisional contests afterward. They were 10-4 against the spread; the Chargers and Saints are in such matchups this week. Non-divisional teams were just 12-12 ATS. Unfortunately, 10-4 is not the greatest sample size.

    A slightly better sample size can be found when glancing at the teams that lost by a touchdown or less. I thought this might be the best-against spot, but I was dead wrong. These teams are actually 15-6 ATS, dating back to 1989! As for those that were blown out (20+)? They've also been winning, owning a 5-3 ATS record.

    I realize that all of this isn't something you can put money into, but sometimes that's not the point. I learned a valuable lesson today, and it's that teams in this situation aren't automatically going to be emotionally flat, as I had once assumed. Thus, even though I didn't find something to wager on, I may have saved myself some units by not fading teams in spots I once perceived to be poor.

    CINCINNATI OFFENSE: Tyler Eifert was missing last week, so I thought that the Bengals' offense would struggle without him. What I didn't take into account was that the Browns wouldn't try hard at all, given that there was a rebellion against Mike Pettine in the wake of his decision to start Austin Davis over Johnny Manziel.

    Eifert's absence will be felt much more here. The Steelers struggle to defend tight ends, so the fact that they potentially won't have to deal with him is huge. Eifert being out of the lineup will also make Andy Dalton less effective in the red zone. Sure, there's still A.J. Green, but Cincinnati doesn't have a potent weapon besides him, and unlike the Browns and Rams, the Steelers will actually know that they have to cover him.

    The Bengals will obviously attempt to establish the run with Jeremy Hill, who has performed well in his past two games after struggling earlier in the year. However, the Steelers have limited their previous three opponents to 45.7 rushing yards, so I think they'll handle Hill well. They'll at least be better than the Robert Quinn-less Rams and Browns in that regard.

    PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: Ben Roethlisberger struggled in the previous matchup, going 28-of-45 for 262 yards, one touchdown and three ugly interceptions, sustaining a 16-10 defeat. However, that was Roethlisberger's first game back from injury, and he clearly wasn't 100 percent. He has improved each week since, however, and he managed to torch the Colts on Sunday night for 364 yards and four touchdowns.

    Granted, Indianapolis doesn't have the best defense, but what about Seattle? Roethlisberger lit up the Seahawks as well the week before. Despite Cincinnati owning a strong defense, the team will find it difficult to contain him, given that he, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant are all completely healthy. Besides, it's not like the Bengals have been tested much against superior quarterbacks. Since the Week 8 matchup versus the hobbled Roethlisberger, Cincinnati has played Johnny Manziel, Brian Hoyer, Carson Palmer (allowed 34 points), Nick Foles and Austin Davis.

    Roethlisberger actually may not need to throw all that much. DeAngelo Williams figures to have a big game. He's running excellently right now, and the Bengals happen to rank 27th versus the rush in terms of YPC.

    RECAP: I'm going to pencil in the Steelers for three units. That could change, however, depending on: A) Eifert's availability, and B) how much betting action is coming in on Pittsburgh. The Steelers seldom cover when 70 percent or more of the action is going their way, perhaps because of the ownership's past ties to sportsbooking when it was legal.

    For now, the Steelers +3 makes a lot of sense to me. This a must-win situation for them, and they have revenge on their side. Plus, they might even be the better team if Cincinnati is missing its stud tight end. Remember, these Steelers outgained the Seahawks in Seattle, so I don't think they'll be intimidated to play on the road here. In fact, Dalton could be the one who chokes, given his dubious history in big games.

    WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: It's still early, but it looks like there's sharp action coming in on the Steelers. However, the books appear unwilling to move this number off +3.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: One of the reasons I liked the Steelers for three units was because I thought Eifert would be out. Eifert will play, but the Bengals will be without Pacman Jones and some other defensive backs. Jones has been one of the top corners in the NFL this year, so not having him will be huge in terms of covering Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. Perhaps that's why the sharps are backing Pittsburgh.

    SUNDAY NOTES: The sharps continue to pound the Steelers, which is why this spread is moving down. Cincinnati's banged-up secondary is going to have a difficult time against Pittsburgh's receivers.


    The Psychology. Edge: Steelers.
    This is an absolute must-win for the Steelers, given whom the Jets and Chiefs play this week. Plus, Pittsburgh has divisional revenge.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 51% (27,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Steelers.
  • History: Steelers have won 13 of the last 18 meetings.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 40-21 ATS vs. the AFC North.
  • Mike Tomlin is 6-2 ATS in same-season revenge games.
  • Bengals are 16-6 ATS at home since 2013.
  • Opening Line: Bengals -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: .


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Steelers 26, Bengals 20
    Steelers +1.5 (3 Units) -- Correct; +$300
    Under 50 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Steelers 33, Bengals 20






    Buffalo Bills (6-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)
    Line: Pick. Total: 48.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Bills -1.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Eagles -1.
    Sunday, Dec 13, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Bills.

    VEGAS UPDATE: The six top-bet teams each week were 33-37-2 against the spread heading into Week 12. How'd they do this past weekend? Take a look:

  • Panthers -7 - Loss
  • Cardinals -5.5 - Cover
  • Bengals -9 - Cover
  • Packers -3 - Cover
  • Broncos -4 - Cover
  • Chiefs -3 - Cover

  • Wow. If it wasn't for the Patriots and Bears teasers whiffing, the books would've gotten slaughtered. The Green Bay and Kansas City covers were fluky, too. Perhaps the oddsmakers need to do a better job of making sure a certain side wins, if you know what I mean.

    Here are the six top bets in Week 14, as of Tuesday afternoon (38-38-2 ATS this year):

  • Patriots -3
  • Lions +1
  • Giants -1
  • 49ers +1
  • Seahawks -11
  • Cardinals -7.5

  • We had some predictable teams last week, and the Patriots, Seahawks and Cardinals make sense. But Lions and 49ers? I'll be shocked if both cover. There's no line posted on the Seahawks game yet, but I anticipate them being bet heavily.

    Once again, follow @walterfootball for updates.

    BUFFALO OFFENSE: Think LeSean McCoy had this game circled on his calendar when the schedule was first released? The Eagles made a downgrade at the running back position this offseason, and McCoy took that as a sign of disrespect, and rightfully so. The irony is that McCoy is such a better fit for Chip Kelly's system than DeMarco Murray is, and it seems as though Kelly is finally conceding that Murray sucks in his offense. But I'll get to that later.

    McCoy will be fired up for this game, but I'm sure his former teammates will be as well. The Eagles know they have to stop McCoy in order to keep from being embarrassed. The problem is that they've surrendered 5.16 YPC to the opposition over the past month, which is the second-worst figure over that span (Saints). They may want to stop McCoy, but they won't have the personnel.

    Meanwhile, Tyrod Taylor should be able to play well. Taylor, the sort of quarterback Chip Kelly has wet dreams out, will be able to torch Philadelphia's hapless secondary. The Eagles have struggled against No. 1 receivers all year, so I don't see them stopping Sammy Watkins.

    PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: I thought it was a positive sign to see Darren Sproles used so much over Murray last week. Kelly has been very stubborn, but it seems like he's finally seeing the light in terms of how poor of a fit Murray is in his offense. Murray is a north-south runner, so asking him to go east-west most of the time was just dumb.

    Sproles may not be the primary ball-carrier here, but only because it sounds like Ryan Mathews will be back from his concussion. Mathews has performed better for the Eagles than Murray has, and I like his chances of having a big game, as the Bills have a very weak run defense that has given up 111-plus yards in each of its previous two contests.

    The Bills are much better against the pass, so they'll be able to limit the Eagles somewhat. They don't get to the quarterback very well, however, so I wouldn't expect Philadelphia's aerial attack to be too dysfunctional.

    RECAP: I'm not betting either side here, but I'm picking Philadelphia. I think people are still stuck in the mode of viewing the Eagles as the team that was demolished against the Buccaneers and Lions. They're much better than that with Bradford under center rather than the incompetent Mark Sanchez. They also appear to be trying hard again, given that they have a chance to win the division. They're actually in control of their own destiny.

    Also, who is Buffalo to be favored on the road? The Bills easily could've lost to the Texans had Houston not dropped a pair of Taylor pick-sixes. With the public backing Buffalo, I'll select Philadelphia.

    WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: A college buddy of mine I often discussed handicapping with reviewed my picks this week and thought that the Eagles were a team I wanted to place more units on, but didn't. Perhaps I'll explore this later in the week.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I thought about maybe putting a unit on the Eagles, but even though I have a $50 bet with my girlfriend's dad that they'll cover, I can't stomach it. The Eagles have such a dubious track record at home, though I do think they're the right side. Pro money is on Philadelphia, by the way.

    SUNDAY NOTES: There's professional money on the Eagles. It's still pick at Bovada, but -2.5 at Pinnacle, the sharpest book on the Web.


    The Psychology. Edge: Bills.
    Both teams need to win, but I wonder if the Eagles will be a little too full of themselves following the victory over the Patriots.


    The Vegas. Edge: Eagles.
    A decent lean on the visitor.
  • Percentage of money on Buffalo: 71% (23,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Bills.
  • Bills are 7-17 ATS since November 2011 as a road underdog. ???
  • True home teams are 24-15 ATS in the last 39 Bills games.
  • Eagles are 16-31 ATS at home since 2010.
  • Opening Line: Eagles -1.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: .


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Eagles 26, Bills 24
    Eagles PK (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Over 48.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Eagles 23, Bills 20






    Atlanta Falcons (6-6) at Carolina Panthers (12-0)
    Line: Panthers by 8. Total: 45.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Panthers -8.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Panthers -9.
    Sunday, Dec 13, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Panthers.

    HATE MAIL: Lots of hate mail this week, as usual. Here's a quick one from the comment boards following the Thursday night game:



    This turned into a long thread, so I didn't reply to it because I couldn't make it an easy copy-paste on here, but how dumb is that last comment. And I love how he refers to me as a "f@ggot" and a "little b*tch" just because I lost one unit. This guy clearly has mental issues and needs to be locked up immediately.

    More hate mail...



    I talked about proving one of my preconceived notions wrong before. Perhaps John L. figured out that his thinking was flawed as well. This type of mentality, quite frankly, doesn't make any sense. If winning via football betting was as easy as picking against the bad teams, sportsbooks would not exist.

    Here are a couple of comments from a cool dude named Fart Sausage (and someone else):



    Is "cheesedick" even an insult? I think I would like a cheesedick. Sounds tasty, mmm, mmm!!!

    Oh, and because draft season is soon upon us, I've been getting hate mail from my 2016 NFL Mock Draft:



    Serious about the pink giraffe, by the way. That's why I'm down 67 units, seriously.

    CAROLINA OFFENSE: If you're a Panther backer, it must be nice to know that the offense can pick up the slack when the defense struggles. The stop unit surrendered 38 points last week to the Saints, but the scoring unit posted 41, helping the team win its 12th game.

    Granted, this occurred against a horrible New Orleans squad that allowed Eli Manning and Marcus Mariota to combine for 10 touchdowns over a two-week span, but it's not like Atlanta's defense is the '85 Bears. They're quite terrible in numerous aspects, particularly the pass rush. They have the fewest sacks in the NFL, so Cam Newton will have all the time he needs to hook up with Greg Olsen and his receivers.

    Newton, of course, will scramble around and pick up big chunks like he usually does. Jonathan Stewart will also accumulate healthy amounts of rushing yardage; the Falcons have given up a combined 345 rushing yards over the past two weeks.

    ATLANTA OFFENSE: Because of their poor defense, the Falcons will have to score a healthy amount of points to defeat the Panthers. That could be an issue, however. Carolina surrendered 38 points at New Orleans, but the team will be more focused in this matchup. Josh Norman said so himself. He told the ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown crew that "Julio Jones completes me." He's been looking forward to this matchup, and I imagine that his teammates feel the same way.

    Speaking of Jones, he complained about the red-zone offense to the media this week, and rightfully so. Matt Ryan has been dreadful deep in opposing territory. I don't know why he hasn't been throwing to Jones, but this could be the wrong week to change that strategy.

    The Falcons won't have much more success running the ball. Carolina has the sixth-ranked run defense overall, and it has been No. 2 in terms of YPC over the past month, trailing only Detroit.

    RECAP: The Panthers are obviously the much better team, and they could easily demolish Atlanta. However, the Falcons, despite all of their losing, haven't dropped a game by more than 10 points all year. They've done well as large underdogs in the Ryan era, and I think they could cover this high number. If anything, they'll be in position for a back-door cover.

    Having said that, this is not a game I want to bet on. I don't want to have to count on a back-door cover. The Panthers don't look very appealing either, given the large amounts of action on them. This spread looks super shady, by the way. The books could've listed it at -10, and they still would've gotten more bets on Carolina than Atlanta. Why so low? Perhaps it's to keep the sharps from pounding the Falcons, who are 5-1 against the spread as underdogs of 7.5 or more since Ryan's second season.

    WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: Facebook friend Chris R. did some research on officials, and he found that the Falcons are just 1-7 in road games officiating by Ed Hochuli, who will be overseeing this contest. Hmm...

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I thought about changing this pick the entire week, and I've decided that I'm going to pull the trigger. As Matvei mentioned on the podcast, the Falcons have covered these large spreads when the opponent has been looking past them. The Panthers won't be doing that. They've been looking forward to this matchup for a long time. Josh Norman in particular is anxious to battle Julio Jones. I think the Panthers' motivation puts them over the top.

    SUNDAY NOTES: The sharps bet up the Panthers on Sunday morning. I'm glad I changed my pick.


    The Psychology. Edge: Falcons.
    The Falcons will give the Panthers all they have; a loss will end their season.


    The Vegas. Edge: Falcons.
    Tons of action coming in on the Panthers earlier, but it's evened out recently.
  • Percentage of money on Carolina: 61% (30,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
  • History: Panthers have won 4 of the last 5 meetings.
  • Falcons are 5-1 ATS as underdogs of 7.5+ since 2009.
  • Opening Line: Panthers -7.5.
  • Opening Total: 46.
  • Weather: .


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Panthers 24, Falcons 10
    Panthers -8 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 45 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Panthers 38, Falcons 0






    San Francisco 49ers (4-8) at Cleveland Browns (2-10)
    Line: Browns by 1.5. Total: 42.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Browns -3.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Pick.
    Sunday, Dec 13, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: None.

    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. Let's discuss some coaches. First of all, I don't get the Tom Coughlin criticism. I would have gone for it on that fourth down. What's the difference between going up 10 and 13? The Jets still would've been down two scores, and chances are, New York would've won by a point in regulation. Going for the touchdown was ideal. If the Giants converted, they would've been up three scores. If not, the Jets would've been stranded on their own 2-yard line. Eli Manning was the true culprit, throwing an interception and allowing the Jets to advance the ball to set up a scoring drive.

    People who think Coughlin needs to be fired are idiots. Coughlin is still one of the top coaches in the NFL, and half the league would kill to have him. The Giants would be wise to sign him to an extension just to shut these morons up.

    2. On the other end of the spectrum, there's Mike Pettine. I don't understand his decision-making regarding Johnny Manziel. Starting Josh McCown was at least defensible because McCown is, you know, a real NFL quarterback. Austin Davis is trash, however, so giving him the nod was just dumb. For those of you who have been reading for a while, you know my stance on Manziel. He's a drunken bum. He sucks. However, Davis sucks as well, and losing the locker room just wasn't worth it.

    So, should Pettine be fired at the end of the year? No. On the contrary, I'd give him an extension. Yeah, seriously! The Browns have two glaring issues, outside of poor personnel and their crook of an owner. The first is a lack of continuity, and the second is that the inmates have been running the asylum this entire time. Pettine lost the locker room, but that's inexcusable. Players, especially bad ones, should not be in a position of power like that. Extending Pettine would show them who's boss, and Pettine should be given the power to suspend anyone who isn't trying for acts detrimental to the team, much like the Eagles did with Terrell Owens a decade ago.

    Do I think Pettine is a good coach? Not really, no. But things need to change in Cleveland. The organization needs to stick with one regime for more than two or three years, and the players need to be stripped of their power. That's the only way the Browns will be able to turn things around.

    3. Speaking of the Browns, Matt Millen was the color analyst of their game against the Bengals. I referenced something odd that he said in the NFL Power Rankings. Here were a couple of comments that were even stranger:

    "Get your rear end up there!"
    "It bit them in the rear end."

    OK, we get it, Matt. You love stuffing your kielbasas in rear ends. You don't need to declare your love for doing so on national TV.

    CLEVELAND OFFENSE: Despite what I just wrote, Pettine listened to his inmates and made the switch to Manziel. The good news is that his players will actually try hard this week. The bad news is that Manziel sucks, so it may not matter.

    Manziel is a loser, but he'll at least have a chance against San Francisco's shaky secondary. He'll have Travis Benjamin back, as Cleveland's top wideout missed most of the Cincinnati loss with a shoulder injury. Pettine said Benjamin is "day to day," while Ian Rapoport suggested that he won't miss much time. This is good news for Manziel, who has shown a great rapport with Benjamin.

    The problem for the Browns is that their offensive line won't be able to block San Francisco's front, which has been much better lately. The Browns already gave up a massive amount of sacks, and now they won't have Joel Bitonio. The running game won't be very effective as a consequence.

    SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: I wrote it last week, and I'll type it again - I never thought I'd say that Blaine Gabbert is an upgrade over Colin Kaepernick, but that has turned out to be the case, somehow. Kaepernick just sailed helpless passes out of bounds, while Gabbert can actually move the offense on occasion. He did have some questionable throws against the Bears, but Kaepernick would've hurled more ugly ducks.

    The problem for Gabbert is he doesn't have much to work with. There's Anquan Boldin, but they don't have the greatest chemistry. Gabbert has developed a rapport with Vance McDonald, but the young tight end is in concussion protocol and is considered "week to week." If McDonald doesn't play, the 49ers will have problems moving the chains aerially, especially considering their woes on the offensive line.

    The 49ers will have more success running the ball. Journeyman Shaun Draughn has been a quality replacement for Carlos Hyde, and he figures to have a strong outing against a Cleveland rush defense that is ranked 30th in the NFL in terms of YPC.

    RECAP: The betting action on this game is crazy. Everyone is pounding the 49ers. I've heard many ask, "Why is Cleveland favored at home!?"

    Well, I'd like to ask, "Why would the 49ers be favored on the road?" That would be ridiculous. I know they just defeated the Bears, but they were outgained in that contest, 364-291. As for the Browns, their schedule recently has been insanely taxing. Save for a contest against the Ravens, they've battled the following since Week 8: Cardinals, Bengals, Steelers, Bengals. Of course they've gotten blown out a lot! How are they supposed to compete with the top eight teams in the NFL?

    The schedule has made the Browns seem worse than they are. Don't get me wrong, they stink, but they can still beat other bad teams at home. That's what I think they'll do here. I don't want to wager more than a unit on this game because betting heavily on a drunken bum quarterback doesn't seem like a great idea, but I believe that Cleveland is the right side.

    WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: Again, it's early, but the sharps are betting the Browns. Despite insane amounts of money on the 49ers, this number is climbing in Cleveland's direction.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps continue to bet the Browns, and I think I'm going to add another unit on them. I love the idea of going against public perception here. Everyone thinks Cleveland is miserable, yet the team has simply had the misfortune of traversing an extremely taxing schedule. As for the 49ers, the popular belief is that they're so much better with Gabbert now, but they were still outgained by a wide margin at Chicago. If Robbie Gould hits a 38-yard field goal, they lose. If that happens, would all the public money be coming in on San Francisco I doubt it.

    SUNDAY NOTES: The Browns are another sharp side. A spread of -1.5 is still available at Bovada, but it's -2.5 elsewhere. The 49ers are just in a terrible spot.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    Why would anyone bet Cleveland?
  • Percentage of money on San Francisco: 67% (21,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: 49ers.
  • Browns are 9-19 ATS as favorites since 2008.
  • Opening Line: Browns -1.5.
  • Opening Total: 41.
  • Weather: .


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Browns 23, 49ers 20
    Browns -1 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
    Over 42 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Browns 24, 49ers 10




    Washington Redskins (5-7) at Chicago Bears (5-7)
    Line: Bears by 4. Total: 43.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Bears -3.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Bears -1.5.
    Sunday, Dec 13, 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!

    WASHINGTON OFFENSE: The Redskins were stagnant on this side of the ball for most of Monday night for a couple of reasons. The first was that they couldn't use their tablets as a result of a power outage, meaning they didn't know how to respond to the same blitz that Dallas brought over and over. The second was that the Cowboys sported a terrific defense that smothered Kirk Cousins.

    I don't know if there will be another power outage, but I can safely say that the Bears don't have the same sort of stop unit the Cowboys possess. Unlike Dallas, Chicago is not stout versus the run. The Cowboys have surrendered 3.44 YPC to the opposition over the past month, while the Bears' figure in that span is 4.73. Matt Jones, who had a couple of nice runs Monday night, should be able to be effective on the ground - as long as he's not fumbling the ball.

    Cousins figures to play well, too. With DeSean Jackson, leader of the Crips, fully heathy, Cousins has lots of promising options at his disposal. The Bears' cornerbacks have played better than they did earlier in the year, but they aren't great, so I like Cousins' chances.

    CHICAGO OFFENSE: The Bears lost Martellus Bennett to a season-ending injury, but that isn't nearly as dire as it would've been a year ago. Bennett, for whatever reason, hasn't taken to Adam Gase's offense, so his absence won't matter outside of depth purposes.

    With that in mind, the Bears should be able to move the chains effectively in this matchup. Alshon Jeffery is healthy, and the Redskins don't have anyone who can cover him. Like the Bears, Washington's cornerbacks have improved as the season has moved along, but the personnel overall is still lacking.

    The Bears will also be able to run the ball very effectively. The Redskins happen to rank near the bottom in terms of run defense. In fact, only one opponent of theirs has failed to eclipse the century rushing mark since Week 5. Chicago has two terrific running backs in Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford who can take advantage of this liability.

    RECAP: The narrative leading up to this game might be that the Redskins don't have much of a chance because they haven't played well on the road. Let's dispel that, shall we? They got blown out by the Giants in Week 3 because they lost multiple offensive linemen early on. They took the Falcons to overtime. They lost by two touchdowns to the Jets, a better team. They then suffered defeats at the Patriots and Panthers, two top-five squads.

    It's not that the Redskins can't win on the road; it's that they've played a tough schedule as visitors. The Bears could be their easiest road opponent yet, especially considering the motivational angle. At 5-7, Chicago is out of the playoff picture. The Bears can only pass the Seahawks in the wild-card race, yet they're really three back instead of two because they lost to Seattle already. Thus, they can't get in. Losing to the 49ers effectively ended their season, so I don't really see them putting forth maximum effort here.

    If you couldn't tell, I really like Washington. In addition to the motivational angle, the spread also makes no sense. These teams are about even, so what's Chicago doing laying the hook? And I don't even think the Bears should be -3. The adage of three points for homefield is a thing of the past, as most models think that 2.5 is the appropriate number. But that may even be too high. Chicago has an awful track record at Soldier Field, owning an 8-18-4 ATS record as hosts since 2012. That's horrible!

    Also, I wrote this last week, but if the Bears win, it's not by a lot. Their margin of victory this year has been by 2, 1, 3, 24 (Rams are horrible) and 4. This game will be close, so I like the opportunity to win even if Chicago triumphs by a field goal. That said, I think the Redskins take this one outright.

    WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: I'm not sue why, but this spread isn't up in every book. I don't know of any significant injuries.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm surprised this spread hasn't gone anywhere. The play is still Washington. The Bears' season came to an end last week, so I can't see what possible motivation they could have for the Redskins.

    SUNDAY NOTES: I'm surprised professional money pushed the Bears up to -4. Well, maybe I shouldn't be too shocked, given my dubious history with four-unit selections. Betting Chicago seems like a good idea right now.


    The Psychology. Edge: Redskins.
    The Bears have to know that their season is over; they have to catch the Seahawks, who already beat them.


    The Vegas. Edge: Redskins.
    Slight lean on the Bears.
  • Percentage of money on Chicago: 67% (8,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Redskins.
  • Redskins are 13-6 ATS after losing to the Cowboys since 1997.
  • Jay Cutler is 41-69 ATS if you exclude Monday Night Football.
  • John Fox is 17-10 ATS after losing as a favorite.
  • Opening Line: Bears -3.
  • Opening Total: 44.
  • Weather: .


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Redskins 20, Bears 17
    Redskins +4 (4 Units) -- Correct; +$400
    Under 43 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Redskins 24, Bears 21




    Detroit Lions (4-8) at St. Louis Rams (4-8)
    Line: Lions by 3. Total: 42.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Rams -2.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Lions -3.
    Sunday, Dec 13, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Lions.

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

    Random College Football Notes:

    1. The college football season is almost over, as there are just three more games of significance remaining - the two semi-final contests and the championship, obviously.

    There should be seven instead, however. I'll continue to argue that there need to be eight teams in the playoff, at the very least. I actually think 16 is the correct number, but it can't be fewer than eight. There's just too much variance for there not to be eight. For example, Iowa has lost just as many games as Michigan State and Alabama. They were one yard away from beating the Spartans. Who's to say they wouldn't beat Michigan State in a rematch or upset Alabama? And how about Stanford? If the Cardinal hadn't lost the season opener - it's a different team now - it would be one of the four schools in the playoff. You can't tell me that Michigan State and Oklahoma are definitively better than Stanford. We don't know that. That's why it needs to be settled on the field.

    What's funny about this year is that there is no dominant team. None of the four playoff qualifiers impress me very much. Even 13-0 Clemson has its flaws. The Tigers had issues with South Carolina and then needed help from the officials during North Carolina's onside kick recovery (more on this later). I think this is the sort of year that one of the 5-8 seeds could definitely win. In fact, Stanford could be the best team in the country. I'd still favor Alabama in a neutral-field matchup, but the Cardinal could definitely win that one, and I would favor it over Oklahoma, Michigan State and even overrated Clemson.

    Also, I've said this before, but the more teams they have in their playoff, A) the more ad revenue they generate, and B) the possibility of filling out brackets like in March Madness opens up. The college football playoff would be insane if people had brackets. It would be the most-watched thing ever except for the Super Bowl. Besides, it would provide me with yet another opportunity to lose money, so how can they not implement it?

    2. Speaking of the Clemson-North Carolina call, I found it appalling. Not the call itself, though. The ruling was horrible, but mistakes are made. It's hard to officiate in real time. I've repeatedly commented about officiating in the NFL, but I'll admit that it's a difficult job, and honest errors can be made as a consequence.

    What's appalling is that they did nothing to correct it. Everyone makes mistakes, but failing to make amends for them is much worse. The refs had a chance to look into the call and get it right, but they didn't because "it wasn't reviewable."

    That's complete horse s***. Who the hell cares if it isn't reviewable? Who says? Just look at replay and get it right. It's not that difficult.

    I hate how football, whether it's the NFL or NCAA, is tied up in these cumbersome rules. Isn't it in everyone's best interest to get the calls correct? If so, why follow a set of confusing, nonsensical rules? If the official in that Clemson-North Carolina game had any balls, he would've overturned the call. Instead, he proved himself to be an incompetent, mindless automaton who can't think outside of the box.

    3. I think you would all agree that the most significant thing from the conference championships was the Dr. Pepper Challenge. Each halftime featured two kids playing for $100,000 in tuition money. The two would compete by throwing footballs into a giant Dr. Pepper can.

    I hate this thing because these kids throw underhanded tosses into the can. I think they should be forced to hurl the balls normally instead of like some 90-year-old grandma. Other people were appalled by the competition for different reasons...



    Ladies and gentlemen, we may have our Jerk of the Year. It's Jack Davis, some loser on Twitter who has extreme amounts of sand in his vag.

    I hate morons like this. What's wrong with making people compete for money, especially when the "loser" still wins $20,000 in tuition? I wish I could've won 20 grand in tuition when I was in college!



    Since when is winning 20 grand "losing out on 80K?" You don't "lose out on 80K" if you win 20K. If they actually stripped the contestants of 80K - i.e. seized their parents' house - sure, that would be terrible.



    Right. Because giving away $120,000 in total prize money is "gross." You know what's gross besides your haircut, pal? Your douchey mindset. This Jack Davis dude is probably one of those a**holes who believes that every kid needs to win a participation trophy in youth sports. He likely thinks that not handing out participation trophies, even to the worst kid in the league, is "gross." No, dude. Participation trophies are for losers. The same losers who whine about kids winning money on national TV, even if they lose in a friendly football-tossing competition.



    "Literal hunger games." Yeah. Dr. Pepper was making kids fight to the death for tuition money. Apparently, fighting to the death is the same thing as throwing footballs into a can like an old grandma.

    Sigh. I don't know what to say anymore. Jack Davis is an idiot, and so are all of those with the same mindset. Sadly, there are too many people of his ilk. If this isn't proof that our country is going to s***, I don't know what is.

    On a lighter note, I thought it was funny how each kid had high educational aspirations. One wanted to go to med school. Another aspired to study business or whatnot. I feel like there should've been a short chubby student who said, "My dream is to become an architect. Definitely not a city planner though - because there's nothing higher than architect!"

    DETROIT OFFENSE: The Lions have played exceptionally well on this side of the ball ever since they replaced Joe Lombardi with Jim Bob Cooter, but I'm wondering how long that will continue. On one hand, Detroit had aspirations of a 9-7 dream playoff season. Though that likely wasn't good enough to get them into the playoffs, it's what they were striving for. Losing the way they did against the Packers has definitely sapped their motivation, so how much film study was the team doing this week? That's definitely a legitimate question.

    On the other hand, St. Louis' defense is a train wreck. The Rams used to have one of the best stop units in the NFL, but they've fallen off a cliff ever since they lost Robert Quinn and Trumaine Johnson to injury. There's been no indication that either will play, and making matters worse, Janoris Jenkins could be out. Beat writer Jim Thomas tweeted Tuesday that the Rams are "exploring other options at cornerback," which is the worst thing you could possibly hear with a matchup looming against Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Detroit will also run the ball, as the Rams have surrendered an average of 134.8 rushing yards to their previous four opponents.

    ST. LOUIS OFFENSE: As bad as the Rams are on offense, they're even worse on this side of the ball. They even fired their offensive coordinator, who was used as a scapegoat for Jeff Fisher's mismanagement.

    Fisher is turning back to Case Keenum, but why would it even matter? Keenum is terrible, and his offensive line won't block effectively for either him or Todd Gurley. Keenum also won't have any downfield play-makers at his disposal. Gurley will break free for a few long runs, and I'm sure Tavon Austin wll have a big play or two, but that's pretty much it. Detroit's defense has been fantastic since the bye, so the Rams won't have much success doing anything.

    RECAP: This is the most unappealing game of the week for me. As mentioned, the Lions' lack of motivation is obvious. Their 9-7 aspirations are gone, and I'm sure they're still fuming about that horrible face mask call against Rodgers. However, the Rams have been the worst team in the NFL over the past month.

    This is obviously for no units, but I'm going to fade the public and take St. Louis. It's possible - and let me emphasize the word "POSSIBLE!!!" - that the Rams aren't as bad as I think they are. They've lost their previous two games by a combined score of 60-10, but their defeats were against the Cardinals and Bengals, two of the five best teams in the NFL. Before that, they almost beat the Ravens (with Joe Flacco at quarterback), so perhaps they'll pull out a victory against the distraught Lions.

    WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: Aside from the Patriots, the Lions are seeing the most action go their way. I know they've played well lately, but having so much confidence in a 4-8 team to win straight up on the road is crazy to me.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The public and sharps are both pounding the Lions. I guess I'm alone in thinking Detroit won't show up for this game. The Rams have looked terrible recently because they just battled the Bengals and Cardinals. They'll be more competitive here against a Detroit squad I don't believe in very much. I'm not sure I want to bet on Case Keenum, however.

    SUNDAY NOTES: Nothing really to note here. There's no professional money on this game. Public money has driven this up to -3. The books don't want to go to -3.5 because that would set up a horrible middle.


    The Psychology. Edge: Rams.
    I can't see the Lions showing up for this. They had a dream of going 9-7 and squeaking into the playoffs. Thanks to a crushing Hail Mary, it's all over.


    The Vegas. Edge: Rams.
    Who's going to bet St. Louis?
  • Percentage of money on Detroit: 78% (23,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Rams.
  • Lions are 16-31 ATS against losing teams the previous 47 instances.
  • Jeff Fisher is 49-36 ATS as an underdog since 2006.
  • Opening Line: Rams -1.
  • Opening Total: 40.5.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Rams 16, Lions 13
    Rams +3 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 42 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Rams 21, Lions 14




    San Diego Chargers (3-9) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-5)
    Line: Chiefs by 11. Total: 42.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Chiefs -8.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Chiefs -7.5.
    Sunday, Dec 13, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Chiefs.

    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.

    SAN DIEGO OFFENSE: Philip Rivers was an abomination the last time he battled the Chiefs. He went 19-of-30 for only 178 yards and a pick-six, dinking and dunking in utter futility. However, there are a couple of reasons to believe that this game will be different.

    The first, quite simply, is that this contest is on the road. Rivers has thrived as a visitor this year. In his previous three away contests, Rivers has thrown for 1,104 yards, nine touchdowns and no interceptions. Second, Rivers will have a healthier Antonio Gates at his disposal. Gates was barely walking the last time the Chargers took on the Chiefs, but he's definitely close to 100 percent now.

    Third, Justin Houston figures to miss more action. Houston pick-sixed Rivers back in Week 11, but he won't be around to harass him. It's well-documented how poor the Chargers' offensive line is, but the Chiefs won't be able to take full advantage of it with just one stout edge rusher.

    KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: Speaking of dink-and-dunk offenses, the Chiefs will once again utilize this type of attack. It's worked well for them during their winning streak, and it'll continue to be effective until they play a strong opponent for once.

    The Chiefs moved the chains with ease against the Chargers' slow linebackers in the first matchup, but this meeting could be different. That's because San Diego has begun using second-round rookie linebacker Denzel Perryman more. Many casual fans don't know who he is, but he's a speedy linebacker who excels in coverage. Having him on the field more often will certainly help the Chargers defend this dink-and-dunk nonsense. Meanwhile, San Diego's solid secondary will prevent the occasional deep throw.

    Having said that, the Chargers have continued to be weak against the run, so they can be beaten that way. Spencer Ware showcased himself in relief of Charcandrick West in the first clash between these two teams, so both backs will definitely have success in the rematch.

    RECAP: This spread is way too high. I know the Chiefs have scored 29, 33, 30 and 34 in their previous four games, but their defense has been a big part of that. Their offense just isn't consistent enough to cover a double-digit spread like this, and as I mentioned, I expect Rivers to be better in a big revenge setting.

    I also think the public perception of these two teams is way off. For the Chargers, people remember their brutal home losses, but they're just so much better on the road, thanks to their lacking fanbase. Seriously, you might be able to count the number of Charger fans in America on one hand. As visitors, San Diego was one play away from defeating the Packers in Lambeau, and contrary to popular belief, Arrrowhead is not that difficult of a place to play; Kansas City owns a middling 11-10 ATS record as a host in the Andy Reid era.

    For the Chiefs, box-score watchers see 34-20 last week, but completely ignore that the Raiders, who outgained Kansas City by a wide margin, were driving and seemed like they were in position to go up either nine or 13 in the fourth quarter.

    I'm taking the Chargers for three units. Perhaps I'm stubborn with them, but I've definitely learned to fade them at home and bet them on the road, where they've been so much better.

    WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: Go, Chajazz, Go. Yeah, I have nothing new to say here.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm dropping this to one unit. Philip Rivers has the flu, perhaps because he's so sick about the prospect of throwing to Vincent Brown and Tyrell Williams, his top two receivers this week. In fact, I want to vomit just thinking about it.

    SUNDAY NOTES: There's some terrible weather at this game, featuring rain and heavy winds. That benefits the underdog and the under in most cases, but Kansas City has the better running game and defense.


    The Psychology. Edge: Chargers.
    The Chargers have big-time revenge on their minds after the Chiefs humiliated them.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Kansas City: 51% (23,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Chargers.
  • History: Home Team has won 24 of the last 35 meetings (Chargers have won 11 of the last 16).
  • Philip Rivers is 30-22 ATS as a starter after Nov. 30 (13-9 ATS as an underdog).
  • Opening Line: Chiefs -10.5.
  • Opening Total: 45.5.
  • Weather: Rainy, 60 degrees. Heavy winds, 20 mph.


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Chiefs 27, Chargers 20
    Chargers +11 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 42.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Chiefs 10, Chargers 3




    New Orleans Saints (4-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
    Line: Buccaneers by 6. Total: 51.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Buccaneers -4.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Buccaneers -4.
    Sunday, Dec 13, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Buccaneers.

    Video of the Week: I'm glad they're making a sequel to Moneyball (thanks, Zach V):



    I couldn't care less about baseball, and I still hate the Yankees. This video pretty much shows why all of their non-fans despise them.

    TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: I wrote in my game recaps that Jameis Winston has passed Matt Ryan in the food chain of quarterbacks in the NFC South with his victory Sunday. Ryan has long been overrated, while Winston seems to improve each week. Now that he has his full complement of weapons at his disposal, the sky's the limit for him.

    Winston could have his best game yet as a pro this Sunday. The Saints have an atrocious defense that can't stop anyone. They surrendered 10 touchdowns to Eli Manning and Marcus Mariota in consecutive weeks earlier, and they still haven't gotten any better. Winston could throw four, five, six, hell, maybe even seven scores against New Orleans. That's how putrid this defense is.

    The only way Winston doesn't have a huge fantasy outing, aside from an injury, is if Doug Martin hogs all the touchdowns. And that's certainly possible. It's sad that the Saints are better against the run than the pass, yet are dead last in terms of stopping the rush. That's unbelievable.

    NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: If the Saints had a poor offense, they'd go down as one of the worst teams in NFL history. That's not the case, however, as Drew Brees has proven that he can also put up a healthy amount of points. He scored 38 on the Panthers last week, which was impressive.

    Tampa's defense obviously isn't as potent as Carolina's, especially without Gerald McCoy. The Buccaneers didn't miss the All-Pro defensive tackle against the Falcons, but that's because Ryan isn't very good. Brees was hot against the Panthers, and he should be able to torch a Tampa secondary that has some major issues and a linebacking corps that will have to play Danny Lansanah more with Kwon Alexander suspended. If McCoy is out again, Bees will have all the time he needs to find Brandin Cooks for more deep passes.

    The one thing the Saints won't be able to do on this side of the ball is establish the run with Mark Ingram. Though the Buccaneers struggle immensely versus the pass, they've shut down the run pretty well, ranking third in terms of YPC. I thought this would change without McCoy, but Tampa limited Devonta Freeman last week.

    RECAP: This is a tough one. The Buccaneers are the better team and should be able to post countless points on the Saints' defense like everyone else has. However, they have a poor track record of covering at home, and they also have to play a game in four days - a spot in which home favorites have struggled in the past.

    I'm going to take the Saints for zero units. I have no confidence in this pick, as I've flip-flopped back and forth. I just like getting a field goal-plus with divisional revenge, all while going against the Buccaneers at home. Unfortunately, that didn't work last week.

    WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: An injury I didn't learn of until now is that William Gholston is in concussion protocol. Gholston is a talented defensive lineman for Tampa, and his absence will be felt if he misses this game.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps appear to be betting this up, but I'm not sure how real this line movement is. Going from -3.5 to -4.5 is as artificial as you can get. In fact, this hit -5 at one point, and some big money snapped up Saints +5. It'll be interesting to see what happens Sunday morning. For now, I'm going to place a unit on the Saints. I think they're going to be the more-motivated team, as the Buccaneers already beat them. Tampa also has to worry about playing in four days.

    SUNDAY NOTES: Wow, the sharp money on this game is definitely real. Moving to -6 is a clear indicator. Perhaps the Saints will push the +6.


    The Psychology. Edge: Saints.
    Prior to my research, I would've said that the Saints would be flat off an emotional loss. Apparently not. The Buccaneers could be the flat team, given that they play in four days.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on New Orleans: 56% (15,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Saints.
  • History: Saints have won 7 of the last 8 meetings.
  • Drew Brees is 39-28 ATS as an underdog.
  • Road Team is 63-38 ATS in Buccaneers games since 2009.
  • Buccaneers are 16-35 ATS at home in the previous 51 instances.
  • Opening Line: Buccaneers -4.5.
  • Opening Total: 50.5.
  • Weather: .


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Buccaneers 28, Saints 27
    Saints +6 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 51.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Saints 24, Buccaneers 17




    Indianapolis Colts (6-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8)
    Line: Jaguars by 1. Total: 46.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Jaguars -1.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Jaguars -1.
    Sunday, Dec 13, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: None.

    THE ADVENTURES OF TOM BRADY'S HAIRCUTS

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

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



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

    INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: I can't say I'm quite sure why there's no line posted on this game yet. Andrew Luck isn't due back until Week 15, so Matt Hasselbeck will start if he's able. Chuck Pagano said that Hasselbck should be good to go, so what's the holdup?

    Hasselbeck has a nice matchup this week against Jacksonville's incompetent secondary. The Jaguars have allowed Philip Rivers and Marcus Mariota to post huge numbers the past two weeks, and Hasselbeck should be next. He has better downfield personnel than both Rivers and Mariota in T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief, so I don't see why he wouldn't be successful.

    The Colts won't be able to run the ball because Frank Gore is worn down and the Jaguars are actually second versus the rush in terms of YPC, but it's not like Rivers and Mariota had much support from their backs.

    JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: Blake Bortles posted brilliant numbers last week. Granted, it was against the Titans' horrid secondary, but it wasn't a surprise to see him evolve into a solid signal-caller, given that he's been coached by offensive coordinator Greg Olson, one of the best quarterback-whisperers in the NFL. Bortles excelled without Allen Hurns, making his performance even more impressive.

    Hurns will be back for this contest, so the Jaguars' scoring unit will be at full strength. We just saw Ben Roethlisberger rip right through Indianapolis' secondary, so Bortles has the potential to post similar results. The Colts don't have anyone to cover the "Allen Brothers," and yes, I haven't forgotten about Vontae Davis, whose play has dropped off a bit recently.

    Bortles won't have to do all the work, as I expect T.J. Yeldon to have another good game. Yeldon will be battling an Indianapolis defense that has surrendered 114.7 rushing yards per contest since its Week 10 bye. Also, Yeldon is getting the goal-line work now, which should make the Jaguars more efficient in the red zone.

    RECAP: I have no idea what I'm doing with this game. I'm not sure what the spread is going to be, so definitely check back or follow me @walterfootball for updates. I'm tentatively going to pick the Jaguars, but that may change later during the week.

    WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: No line yet.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I went back and forth on this, and I've decided that I'm going with the Colts. Asking the Jaguars to win straight-up is a tall order. I know they've won four games this year, but all four victories have been somewhat (at least) fluky. Perhaps this will be fluky as well, but I think the Colts will bounce back off an embarrassing performance on national TV. No units for me here.

    SUNDAY NOTES: There was some sharp movement on the Colts on Sunday morning, but not an overwhelming amount.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 59% (10,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: TBA.
  • History: 18 of the last 27 meetings decided by 8 points or fewer (Colts 6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS last 6).
  • Jaguars are 7-15 ATS as home favorites since 2008. ???
  • Opening Line: Pick.
  • Opening Total: 46.
  • Weather: .


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Colts 26, Jaguars 23
    Colts +1 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Over 46 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Jaguars 51, Colts 15




    Tennessee Titans (3-9) at New York Jets (7-5)
    Line: Jets by 8. Total: 43.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Jets -7.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Jets -7.5.
    Sunday, Dec 13, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Jets.

    As you may have noticed, I'm posting these picks on Tuesday. My new schedule will be as follows:

    Tuesday Afternoon:
    NFL Picks
    Fantasy Football Weekly Rankings

    Tuesday Evening:
    Fantasy Football: Start Em, Sit Em

    Wednesday Afternoon:
    Live 2016 NFL Mock Draft

    Wednesday Evening:
    FanDuel Picks
    College Football Picks

    Everything else will remain the same. As always, check back during the week or follow me @walterfootball.

    TENNESSEE OFFENSE: Marcus Mariota looked as brilliant as he played in the season opener last week against the Jaguars. It was a great sign to see him use his legs to sprint for a long touchdown. Those are his best attributes, so he should use them more often.

    Unfortunately for Mariota, this matchup will prove to be quite challenging, especially if Darrelle Revis returns. Revis still hasn't been cleared, but the latest reports, as of Tuesday evening, say that he has been doing better. Revis returning would obviously hurt Mariota, as he wouldn't be able to target either Dorial Green-Beckham or Kendall Wright. Considering Green-Beckham's performance last week, I have to believe that Revis will be covering him.

    The Jets' defensive line will be the deciding factor in this game. They're fantastic, while Mariota isn't protected very well. New York is going to absolutely dominate the trenches.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: While the Titans will struggle to score, the Jets should be able to post a decent amount of points. Tennessee's defense isn't a pushover; the team generates a strong pass rush and stops the run well. However, the Titans have liabilities that New York can expose.

    Those liabilities are in the secondary. Blake Bortles threw all over Tennessee's horrific defensive backfield, and Ryan Fitzpatrick should have similar success. Fitzpatrick, playing well now that his thumb is healed, will be difficult to stop, as Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker will be open all afternoon. Marshall is playing out of his mind right now, so I don't know how Tennessee can possibly deal with him.

    The Titans will at least give themselves a chance to force some punts by containing Chris Ivory. They've handled the run well in recent weeks, so I wouldn't expect Ivory to go berserk like he has in some contests this year.

    RECAP: When this spread first came out, I leaned toward the Titans because of Mariota and all of those points, but after thinking about it, I've come to realize that the Jets are the way to go. They're just so much better. They've thrived since Nick Mangold returned to the lineup and Fitzpatrick's thumb healed. I also think Tennessee matches up very poorly against New York. The Titans' offensive line doesn't stand a chance, and neither does its secondary.

    This is a one-unit play for me right now. If Revis is cleared to play, I may bump this up a bit.

    WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: Good news for Jets backers: Darrelle Revis was on the practice field for the first time since he sustained his concussion. He still hasn't cleared protocol, but it appears as though he may be on track to do so.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Revis is listed as probable, and Kendall Wright is out, so there's a third mismatch in the Jets' favor. With Revis smothering Dorial Green-Beckham, whom is Mariota going to throw to, exactly? The Titans have been competitive the past three weeks, but this is a huge step up in class from the Jaguars (twice) and Rodney Hudson-less Raiders. I'm going to add another unit on the Jets.

    SUNDAY NOTES: The pros are on the Jets, as the spread has moved up to -8 everywhere.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: Titans.
    Slight lean on the Jets.
  • Percentage of money on New York: 62% (16,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Opening Line: Jets -7.
  • Opening Total: 43.
  • Weather: .


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Jets 23, Titans 6
    Jets -8 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
    Under 43 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Survivor Pick (6-7) - NFL Survivor Pick Advice
    Jets 30, Titans 8




    Seattle Seahawks (7-5) at Baltimore Ravens (4-8)
    Line: Seahawks by 11. Total: 42.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Seahawks -4.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Seahawks -7.5.
    Sunday, Dec 13, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Seahawks.

    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!

    BALTIMORE OFFENSE: I'm beginning with the Ravens because Matt Schaub's availability is why there is no spread posted as of Tuesday evening. Schaub is dealing with a shoulder injury that he sustained against the Dolphins. It appears as though he's somewhat likely to play, but Jimmy Clausen will get more reps during the week. Clausen, of course, "battled" the Seahawks earlier in the season when he was with the Bears, so I'd love for him to start for comedic purposes.

    Regardless of which quarterback gets the nod, the Ravens aren't going to score much. The only difference I can see is that Schaub is guaranteed to throw a pick-six, while Clausen will just toss helpless checkdowns that don't go anywhere. Neither quarterback has much to work with, so the results will be the same. No points for Baltimore.

    The one play-maker the Ravens have on offense is Buck Allen, who had a strong showing at Miami. However, the Seahawks just put the clamps on Adrian Peterson, so why would they struggle to contain Allen?

    SEATTLE OFFENSE: I bet the Ravens wish they could've battled Russell Wilson earlier in the year. Wilson wasn't playing with much confidence at the beginning of the season, but he's been on a tear recently. The Seahawks made some changes up front and have gotten Wilson to release the ball quicker, which has been a tremendous boost. As a consequence, Seattle's offense has been on fire.

    There's no reason to think Wilson will slow down in this matchup. The Ravens have a putrid secondary that can't cover anyone. Wilson will frequently torch Baltimore's poor defensive backfield, and when he's not doing so, he'll dance circles around the other Ravens and move the chains using his legs.

    It's also helped Wilson that he has an improved running game by his side. Marshawn Lynch was hindered by an injury for most of the year, so he was ineffective. A healthy Thomas Rawls has been much better. The Ravens just surrendered 126 rushing yards to the Dolphins, so that doesn't bode well for their chances against Seattle.

    RECAP: The play is Seahawks or nothing for me. I guess we'll see what the spread is, but I know I'm taking Seattle no matter what. I'm just not sure what the unit count will be, so check back later or follow me @walterfootball.

    WEDNESDAY THOUGHTS: No line yet.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sportsbooks aren't in the business of handing out free money, yet I think the public is viewing this as free money? Oh, the Seahawks versus Jimmy Clausen? Give me 100,000 units on the Seahawks! All I know is non-divisional double-digit road favorites are 30-47 against the spread dating back to 1989. Something weird could happen here. Maybe not, but the fact remains that the Ravens haven't lost by more than eight points in any game this year. I don't know how they're going to do it, but they may find some way to stick around. Some sharps agree, by the way, as there was professional action on Ravens +12.5.

    SUNDAY NOTES: No surprise that the sharps have pounded the Ravens. Like I said, Vegas doesn't give away free money, and everyone is betting the Seahawks like they're as much of a lock as the sun rising every morning.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: Ravens.
    Who's not betting on the Seahawks?
  • Percentage of money on Seattle: 80% (19,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Ravens.
  • Seahawks are 27-37 ATS on the road since 2006 if they're not coming off an away loss.
  • Opening Line: Seahawks -10.
  • Opening Total: 42.
  • Weather: .


    Week 14 NFL Pick: Seahawks 17, Ravens 7
    Ravens +11 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Under 42 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Seahawks 35, Ravens 6



    Week 14 NFL Picks - Late Games
    Oakland at Denver, Dallas at Green Bay, New England at Houston, New York Giants at Miami



    LOADING COMMENTS...

    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 14 NFL Picks - Late Games



    NFL Picks - Jan. 16


    2021 NFL Mock Draft - Jan. 13


    Fantasy Football Rankings - Jan. 11


    2022 NFL Mock Draft - Nov. 15


    NFL Power Rankings - Nov. 14


    2020 College Football Recruiting Rankings - April 14


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    Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 18, 2020): 1-5 (-$1,430)
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    My Team-by-Team ATS Record
    This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.

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

    2003 Preseason: 3 | 4 | 5
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