NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 3, 2016

NFL Picks (Preseason 2016): 12-7-1 (+$1,290)
NFL Picks (Week 1, 2016): 13-3 (+$1,735)
NFL Picks (Week 2, 2016): 9-7 (-$430)

NFL Picks (2016): 34-17-1 (+$2,595)
NFL Picks (2015): 133-138-10 (-$2,360)
NFL Picks (2014): 143-133-7 (-$1,885)
NFL Picks (2013): 144-131-8 (+$5,580)
NFL Picks (2012): 130-145-8 (-$5,760)
NFL Picks (2011): 137-133-12 (-$1,925)
NFL Picks (2010): 144-131-8 (+$6,080)
NFL Picks (2009): 151-124-9 (+$3,370)
NFL Picks (2008): 136-125-6 (+$4,330)
If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.

Vegas betting action updated Sept. 26, 6:15 p.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Go to Week 3 NFL Picks - Late Games

Houston Texans (2-0) at New England Patriots (2-0)
Line: Texans by 1. Total: 40.

Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Patriots -3.5 (Garoppolo).
Walt's Calculated Line: Patriots -2.
Thursday, Sept 22, 8:25 PM
Comment on this game

The Game. Edge: None.

WEEK 2 RECAP: I definitely don't think Week 2 was that bad, as I feel like I handicapped four of my six multi-unit picks well. Unfortunately, I finished in the red because of the first bulls*** cover of the year.

If you missed it, the Colts (+6.5) were down just three points despite a pick-six earlier in the fourth quarter and a defender of theirs falling down because of an injury during what appeared to be a pick-six of his own. The Broncos moved into field goal range with less than two minutes remaining and failed to move the chains on a third-and-1, setting up a short field goal. That made the margin six, which was still fine!

On the first play of the ensuing drive, however, Andrew Luck was stripped by Von Miller, and the ball was returned for a touchdown by Shane Ray, ruining Indianapolis' ATS win with a bogus front-door cover. The sad part is, all Ray had to do was fall on the ball, and the game would've been over! What he did was stupid, since it gave the Colts a chance to mount a comeback, although that was very unlikely.

If it wasn't for that bad beat, I would've finished in the black. Instead, I'll be either 10-6, -$220 or 9-7, -$430 depending on what happens tonight. Not horrible, considering the circumstances, but definitely not what I was hoping for.

The two big picks I whiffed on were Dolphins +6.5 at Patriots and Buccaneers +7 at Cardinals. I don't understand what the hell happened to Miami - why couldn't that high-priced defensive line stop LeGarrette Blount running behind three rookie interior linemen in the fourth quarter!? - and Jameis Winston's struggles at Arizona were unexpected. It felt like a couple of bad things happened, and then things just snowballed on the Buccaneers. They are definitely not 33 points worse than Arizona.

NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: I imagine the mindset of Patriot fans went from, "Ugh, our season is over, Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt!" to "Oh yeah, Tom Brady's coming back in two weeks!" in a matter of seconds this past Sunday. Then again, I don't even know if New England's season would be finished in the event that both Brady and Garoppolo would be unavailable. Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL, and he went 11-5 with Matt Cassel, for crying out loud.

The thing is, Cassel was some late-round draft pick scrub. As we've learned, he didn't possess any talent; he simply was effective in 2008 because of Belichick. Jacoby Brissett, on the other hand, is a very skilled quarterback. He was a third-round selection, and following a stinker in his first preseason game, Brissett was pretty effective in the exhibition, as you can read here in my NFL Rookie Quarterback Rankings. Sure, he has to grow mentally because he hasn't seen any real action yet, but he has a good arm and will be able to scramble to get himself out of trouble - which is crucial considering who happens to be on the other side of the ball.

That, of course, would be J.J. Watt, though I'd be more concerned about Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney, given that Watt isn't completely healthy yet. The Patriots have a big liability at right tackle with Sebastian Vollmer out. However, I'm sure Belichick will have a great game plan installed for Brissett to help nullify this weakness. Perhaps he'll have Brissett target cornerback Kareem Jackson often, as Jackson has struggled thus far.

HOUSTON OFFENSE: As with most good teams missing their starting quarterback, I expect the Patriots' defense to step up in order to compensate for Brissett starting. Of course, it would be a huge boost if Dont'a Hightower were available. The talented linebacker missed Week 2 with a knee injury, and his presence would be big in this contest, as he would help shut down Lamar Miller and force Brock Osweiler to throw in more unfavorable down-and-distance situations.

Belichick saw Osweiler in a matchup last year in which the Broncos prevailed. With more film on Osweiler, I'm sure Belichick will be able to cook up some schemes to rattle the young quarterback. The Patriots should be able to pressure Osweiler, just as they did to Ryan Tannehill in the first half of last week's game. Houston's left tackle and interior offensive line haven't been very good thus far, and I expect Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard to rack up numerous pressures.

That said, Osweiler won't be completely denied. His receivers are excellent, and that includes Will Fuller, who became the first Texan rookie to accumulate consecutive 100-yard receiving games to start a career in the storied franchise. I can't help but remember how Ryan Tannehill torched the New England secondary in the second half of Sunday's game when the pass-rushers were tired, so perhaps that'll happen again.

RECAP: I can't believe what I'm seeing with this spread. Texans -2 at Patriots? Are you kidding me? So, this would be -8 if this game were in Houston? That means, according to the books, the Chiefs, who were +1 at Houston, are seven points better than the Patriots with Brissett.

That doesn't make any sense. The Patriots should not be home underdogs to anyone. I don't care if Belichick goes into a graveyard, digs up a corpse and starts it at quarterback. The Patriots should always be laying points at home.

Besides, I think there might be a bit too much Texans hype. Sure, they're a good team, but what have they done thus far? They beat the Bears by eight, who were then trashed at home on Monday Night Football, albeit amid numerous injuries. They then managed to defeat the Chiefs, who were down to the Chargers by three touchdowns until Keenan Allen was knocked out for the game. Houston has yet to prove that it's elite yet, which is another reason it shouldn't be favored on the road.

NFL coaches and players look at the spread - remember how the Panthers said they were disrespected when they were underdogs on Thanksgiving? - and I'm sure Belichick and his players are pissed about being home underdogs to this unproven Texans squad. I'm taking New England for four units, taking advantage of this awful spread.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: The public is on the Texans, while the sharps have moved this spread from +2.5 to -1. I'm still very confident in the Patriots, as I'm sure Bill Belichick has an excellent game plan prepared. Houston, meanwhile, had just two mediocre victories against average teams thus far, both of which came at home. New England makes too much sense to me and is worth a four-unit wager. The best number currently available is +1 -105 at Bovada, so I'll go with hat.

The Psychology. Edge: Patriots.
Think Bill Belichick is pissed that everyone is doubting his team in the wake of Jimmy Garoppolo's injury?

The Vegas. Edge: None.
Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Houston: 57% (35,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Opening Line: Texans -2.5.
  • Opening Total: 41.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Patriots 20, Texans 17
    Patriots +1 -105 (4 Units) -- Correct; +$400
    Under 40 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Patriots 27, Texans 0

    Denver Broncos (2-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
    Line: Bengals by 3.5. Total: 42.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Bengals -4.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Bengals -3.5 (Dalton) or Pick (McCarron).
    Sunday, Sept 25, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: None.

    OVERRATED-UNDERRATED: I posted betting trends and such in this spot over the past couple of years, but I won't be doing that as much because I'll be moving away from trends. Instead, I'll list some underrated observations that the media either isn't discussing or is misinforming the public about. I think I'll do this in conjunction with overrated and underrated teams, which I should definitely put more effort into...

    Underrated NFL Teams:

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers were just blown out, but that won't change my opinion that they happened to be underrated. The score was 40-7, but there's definitely not a difference of 33 points between the two teams. Jameis Winston played horribly, but the Buccaneers moved the ball well on numerous drives before he self-destructed. I think the game would be a lot different if they played again. Anyway, I gushed about the Buccaneers prior to Week 1, citing that they had outgained 13 of their 16 opponents last year in terms of yards per play. I was confident they'd win in Atlanta, but I did not expect them to lead 31-13 prior to garbage time. With Winston now having experience, and Mike Evans being more focused, the sky is the limit for the Buccaneers, whom I will actually project to possibly win the NFC South.

  • Detroit Lions: Since Jim Bob Cooter has taken over as the offensive coordinator, the Lions are 7-3 straight up and against the spread (would be 8-2 if Aaron Rodgers didn't hit that Hail Mary). They lost to the Titans in Week 2, but they were the better team for all four quarters. They held the lead throughout - they were up 12 heading into the fourth quarter - and had numerous touchdowns wiped out by penalties. They also didn't have DeAndre Levy, Ziggy Ansah and Ameer Abdullah on the field (the latter two lost during that particular contest), so they'll be better once they return to action. Detroit is a solid team, as Matthew Stafford appears to be playing at the top of his game right now.

  • Minnesota Vikings: Can you have an underrated, undefeated NFL team? Apparently, as the Vikings opened as 7.5-point underdogs at Carolina this week. What is it going to take for the public to respect Minnesota? The Vikings arguably have the best defense in the league, while Stefon Diggs is blossoming into becoming one of the top receivers in the NFL. Sam Bradford has proven to be competent, so if he stays healthy - a big if, obviously - the Vikings will continue to be ranked among the best teams in the NFL, regardless of whether Adrian Peterson plays or not.

    Overrated NFL Teams:

  • Carolina Panthers: So, the Panthers demolished the 49ers, and everything is OK now? That's what the public is saying, as Carolina is favored by more than a touchdown over the Vikings. The Panthers still have some problems, as their tackles aren't very good and will continue to struggle against teams with strong edge rushers. Their secondary, which wasn't tested at all versus San Francisco, isn't nearly as good as it was last year. I also didn't appreciate how Carolina struggled in the early going versus the 49ers. The Panthers are still a top-10 team, but they're no longer the squad that went 15-1 last year.

  • Arizona Cardinals: I was down on the Cardinals entering the season, so this is not an overreaction to their Week 1 loss to the Patriots. They crushed Tampa, but that score was misleading, thanks to Jameis Winston's shockingly sloppy play. Something wasn't quite right about Carson Palmer in the preseason, and so I wasn't surprised that he struggled at times Sunday night. Palmer's stat line wasn't bad, but he could've easily thrown four interceptions; three were dropped, while another was just barely out of bounds. Against the Buccaneers, a big chunk of Palmer's yardage came on a short toss to David Johnson, and he was lucky not to throw an interception in the end zone. That said, Arizona's defense looked better with Marcus Cooper replacing the incompetent Brandon Williams.

  • Seattle Seahawks: More people are realizing this now, but the Seahawks have some major offensive line issues. In fact, they might just possess the worst blocking unit in the league. This is a major problem, and it's something barely anyone is talking about. They were double-digit favorites against the Dolphins, for crying out loud. How can a team that can't block whatsoever be favored by 10 over any competent opponent? Now, Russell Wilson is banged up and no longer has his mobility. This was apparent in the loss to the Rams, a team that was blown out, 28-0, at San Francisco! The defense will still put the Seahawks in position to win some games, but they're going to struggle.

  • New York Giants: All I heard on TV after Week 1 was how the Giants were overwhelming favorites to win the NFC East. Why is that? Because they beat the Cowboys and their rookie backfield and skeleton-crew front seven? Dallas dropped so many passes in the sunlight during the opener, and it could have won the game. New York's offensive line is still a mess. It gave Eli Manning plenty of protection against Dallas, but all of the Cowboys' top pass-rushers weren't available because of drug suspensions. This past week, the Giants had issues putting away the Saints, who couldn't block at all for Drew Brees. They made numerous mistakes - the same type of blunders they were guilty of under Tom Coughlin. They're 2-0, but could easily be 0-2 right now.

    CINCINNATI OFFENSE: There was a spread posted on this game - Bengals -3.5 - but it has since been taken off the board. I assume it's for Andy Dalton, who was limping around pretty badly at the end of the Pittsburgh game. If Dalton can't go, it'll be time for A.J. McCarron, who actually battled the Broncos last year. He performed well in the first half and ended up finishing 22-of-35 for 200 yards and one touchdown in a 20-17 overtime loss. Those stats may look relatively decent, but McCarron self-destructed following halftime, going just 10-of-18 for 81 yards after the break. Wade Phillips made the appropriate adjustments, and Denver's elite defense bottled him up.

    I have to imagine that the Broncos would just pick up where they left off, especially with Cincinnati's offensive line struggling in the early going. The Bengals surrendered seven sacks in the season opener at the Jets, and Dalton had a shaky showing against the Steelers as well. The Broncos will be missing DeMarcus Ware, but 2015 first-rounder Shane Ray performed well in his absence this past week. Plus, Denver still has Von Miller and Derek Wolfe to rush the quarterback. The last time I checked, they were pretty good.

    I can't imagine the Bengals running the ball well either. Jeremy Hill mustered almost nothing against Pittsburgh, and Denver's run defense is even better than that. If McCarron starts, most of Cincinnati's offense will feature McCarron tossing short checkdowns to Giovani Bernard out of the backfield, which is not going to be particularly effective against the Broncos.

    DENVER OFFENSE: While Hill will struggle to run the ball, the same can't be said for C.J. Anderson, who has been tremendous through two games. Anderson appears to have a plus matchup in this contest, as the Bengals failed to contain Matt Forte and DeAngelo Williams the first two weeks. They'll be better when Vontaze Burfict returns from suspension, but Burfict Strangers will be out one more game.

    Anderson's effective running will continue to make life easier for Trevor Siemian, who made numerous precise throws against the Colts last week. The key words there, however, are "against the Colts," who have the worst secondary in the NFL. The Bengals obviously have a much better defensive backfield, although it's not as good as it was last year, as Shawn Williams has been a major downgrade from Reggie Nelson thus far. With two dynamic receivers at his disposal, Siemian should be able to make the necessary throws to advance the chains at least somewhat consistently.

    The Bengals will have to pressure Siemian to keep that from transpiring, and they do happen to have a promising matchup in the trenches. Right tackle Donald Stephenson, who has played surprisingly well through two games, is sidelined with a calf injury, so Cincinnati's top edge rusher, Carlos Dunlap, figures to abuse Stephenson's backup.

    RECAP: I planned on taking the Broncos +3.5 before the line went off the board. I liked the hook in a seemingly even matchup, and I also considered that the Bengals play in four days.

    That short rest period might be a reason to keep Dalton out. If Dalton isn't 100 percent, why risk him against one of the best defenses in football when he'd have to play again in such a short period of time?

    I'll have a more definitive pick when the spread is re-released, but for now, I'm taking Denver. Check back later or follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I've been posting these Thursday thoughts in the evening, but I've been asked to do them earlier during the workday for people looking to get their pick-em pools in. So, here it is. Now that this spread has been posted, I can issue a definitive selection, and I'm laying the three with the Bengals, albeit for no units. Andy Dalton is reportedly practicing fully, which is good news. The Broncos, meanwhile, have some injury concerns with DeMarcus Ware, Virgil Green and Donald Stephenson being out. This is also Trevor Siemian's first road start. It remains to be seen how he'll perform in a hostile environment, and I think the Bengals are slightly better than the Broncos.

    SATURDAY NOTES: The Bengals have moved to -3.5 everywhere, save for Bovada, where you can still get -3 -120. If you want to bet Cincinnati, I'd prefer that number over the standard -3.5. The Bengals seem like the right side to me, as the banged-up Broncos will be playing their first road game, and Cincinnati is a bit better than Denver.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a slight public-pro split, with a minor public lean on the Broncos and a minor sharp lean on the Bengals. It's telling that this line went from -3 to -3.5 and wasn't bet down. I don't want to lay the hook, however.

    The Psychology. Edge: Broncos.
    The Bengals play in four days, though their opponent is Miami.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Denver: 56% (17,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Bengals.
  • Bengals are 16-8 ATS at home since 2013.
  • Opening Line: Bengals -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 41.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Bengals 20, Broncos 13
    Bengals -3.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Under 42 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Broncos 29, Bengals 17

    Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Tennessee Titans (1-1)
    Line: Raiders by 1. Total: 47.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Raiders -1.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Titans -2.
    Sunday, Sept 25, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: None.

    VEGAS UPDATE: I'll be posting how the Vegas sportsbooks have done the previous week in this spot in coming weeks. Here were the six highest-bet sides, as of Tuesday morning last week:

  • Jets PK
  • Ravens -7
  • Packers -2.5
  • Jaguars +3

  • Those teams went 1-3 ATS, bringing the overall record this season to 3-7. The books were really bailed out when the Vikings covered and won Sunday night. Both the public and sharps were on the Packers.

    Here are the four highest-bet teams this week, as of Tuesday morning:

  • Cardinals -4
  • Dolphins -10
  • Buccaneers -4.5
  • 49ers +9.5 (!!)

  • I can't believe the 49ers are part of the group. Wow. I guess people have finally caught on to Seattle, huh?

    TENNESSEE OFFENSE: Speaking of the Seahawks, outside of their offense, has there been a more disappointing unit this year than Oakland's defense? The Raiders spent tons of money on big-name players this offseason, bringing in Bruce Irvin, Reggie Nelson and Sean Smith to huge deals. This was expected to give the team balance, but the opposite has transpired. Irvin has performed well, but Smith and Nelson have been putrid, as have the other members of that secondary. The pass rush, meanwhile, hasn't done anything yet. The Raiders failed to place any pressure on Drew Brees even though the Saints possess a poor blocking unit, and Khalil Mack has been a ghost through two games.

    The Titans have blocked well for Marcus Mariota thus far, although there is one glaring liability up front, which is guard Chance Warmack, who may play through an injury. I don't think the Raiders have the personnel to expose him, however, so I think Mariota will have a big game. He'll connect early and often with talented rookie Tajae Sharpe, while Delanie Walker will expose a linebacking corps that had trouble containing Atlanta's pedestrian tight ends.

    Of course, Mike Mularkey will try hard to establish DeMarco Murray, who has gained 5.2 yards per carry thus far, proving that he can still be effective if playing for a coach who actually knows what he's doing. Murray figures to trample the Raiders, who had problems tackling the Falcon runners last week.

    OAKLAND OFFENSE: If the Raiders weren't so effective on this side of the ball, they'd be 0-2 with a pair of ugly, blowout losses. Derek Carr has been very sharp, however, and it helps that he has two very talented receivers at his disposal.

    I don't see how the Titans will be able to contain Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Their secondary is atrocious, particularly Perris Cox, who missed what seemed like a dozen tackles at Detroit. Part of the problem was a lacking puss rush. Save for Jurrell Casey, no one put any pressure on Matthew Stafford this past Sunday, thanks to Derrick Morgan being out. Brian Orakpo was on the field, but he has been a disappointment thus far.

    The one area in which the Titans will be able to succeed on this side of the ball is run support. The Raiders don't rush the ball particularly well, and Tennessee has clamped down on he ground game thus far. That said, I don't know how much it'll matter, given the advantage Carr has versus Tennessee's secondary.

    RECAP: I don't really see an edge here. I figured the Titans would be favored by a couple of points, and that's pretty much exactly where we stand. This could just be a tight game that goes down to the wire, making this a 50-50 wager.

    I went back and forth on this, but I've decided to go with the Raiders. We're getting a tiny bit of value with them in terms of the advanced spread, and they happen to be coming off a loss. Plus, they do have more talent in their weak spots, so there's always a chance their underperformers begin playing up to their ability.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I don't have much of an opinion on this game, but I will point out that sharp action has been moving this line in Tennessee's favor. Use that information however you would like.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Public money has moved the spread in Oakland's favor. There's some sharp action on the Titans, but not very much. The Raiders won at New Orleans, and Tennessee has less of a homefield advantage, so I don't see why Oakland couldn't win this contest, especially with Delanie Walker potentially out.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Delanie Walker is out, which hurts the Titans. I'm still zero units on the Raiders, but if you like Tennessee, they're +2 at Bovada.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Raiders.
    A bit of sharp money coming in on the Titans.
  • Percentage of money on Oakland: 62% (18,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Opening Line: Pick.
  • Opening Total: 48.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Raiders 24, Titans 21
    Raiders -1 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 47.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Raiders 17, Titans 10

    Arizona Cardinals (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-2)
    Line: Cardinals by 4. Total: 48.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Cardinals -3.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Cardinals -6.
    Sunday, Sept 25, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: .

    HATE MAIL: I will be posting lots of hate mail this season. I actually did get some hate mail for my picks this week:

    I didn't notice this before Chuckster replying, and he said all I needed to say. I've never had anyone complain about my scores before, so this GarfL98 guy is a douche. Seriously, there's so much parity in the NFL now that a large majority of games will be close.

    Oh, and the BCE loser is back:

    The "2 FADES" he's referring to, I assume, were my Bills +1 and Under Bills-Jets selections, though I can't be quite sure, given that BCE is a brain-dead loser who lives in his mom's basement. That's why I asked. But even if he's referring to those picks, both were for zero units, so it's not like I or anyone else should care. I had no opinion on the game, so I'm being criticized for my take on something I had no opinion on. That's cool.

    Here's a good one:

    Yeah, I don't get this one at all. Scrub's comments made no sense, and he was so illogical in his thinking that I eventually trolled him into believing that he has multi-personality disorder:

    You can find the entire exchange in the comments below. Definitely worth reading!

    And finally, someone criticized me for liking his team too much. Seriously. Take a look:

    First of all, this makes no sense. He wants me to continue saying something wrong? I don't understand. And second, I only criticized Jameis Winston's potential character concerns. I never thought he'd be a bad quarterback.

    So, in summary, this guy is both illogical and factually wrong. Typical for a hate-mailer!

    ARIZONA OFFENSE: Ryan Fitzpatrick looked like the second coming of Joe Montana last Thursday. The Bills couldn't contain him whatsoever, prompting the organization to fire... their offensive... coordinator... Yeah, I don't get it either, and it appears as though Buffalo fans are in for a horrific time with new owner Terry Pegula, who has already proven to be a meddlesome owner. If anyone were to be fired, it should've been someone responsible for that train wreck of a defense.

    I haven't been the biggest Carson Palmer supporter this year - I'm pretty sure he leads the league in dropped potential interceptions, and he just doesn't look the same - but if a pedestrian quarterback like Fitzpatrick had been able to destroy Buffalo's secondary like that, I'm sure Palmer will have similar success. The issue, of course, isn't really the Bills' defensive backfield; it's that Buffalo can't pressure the passer without sending the house, thanks to all the injuries in the front seven. The Cardinals pass protect well enough to shield Palmer from Buffalo's ineffective blitzes.

    Of course, Palmer may not have to throw that much, as David Johnson has a tremendous matchup against a Bills team that had all sorts of problems containing Matt Forte. Johnson is infinitely more talented at this stage of his career, so he'll go off unless the Cardinals sit him again in the second half because the game's once again out of hand.

    BUFFALO OFFENSE: I'm not sure what the Bills' new coordinator will be able to do differently than Greg Roman. Buffalo has problems on this side of the ball as well, after all, including the fact that Sammy Watkins is not 100 percent. Watkins wasn't even able to finish last week's game. Meanwhile, left tackle Cordy Glenn's status is up in the air. Glenn missed last week's game, and his replacement, Cyrus Kouandjio, was abysmal. Chandler Jones has to be licking his chops in anticipation of perhaps being able to go up against Kouandjio.

    Tyrod Taylor also hasn't played well. He's connected on some deep bombs, but he hasn't read the field particularly well. That will be very problematic against the Cardinals, who confused the hell out of Jameis Winston last week. Arizona's secondary looked much better with Marcus Cooper replacing Brandon Williams, by the way. Williams was a huge liability in the opener, but Cooper performed pretty admirably versus Tampa.

    The Bills will need to run the ball effectively with LeSean McCoy to give themselves a chance to maintain consistent drives, but I don't really see that happening either, especially if Glenn is out. Given that Buffalo has no healthy receivers, the Cardinals will be able to play closer to the line of scrimmage in an effort to put the clamps on McCoy.

    RECAP: The Bills were humiliated on national TV. The public is pounding the Cardinals, who are making a cross-country trip and playing in an early start time. A BILLION UNITS ON THE BILLS!

    OK, maybe not. Actually, this may surprise you, but I'm picking the Cardinals. There's a good chance the Bills are the worst team in the NFL right now - they were close in my NFL Power Rankings - and given the turmoil surrounding the team, things could just implode in Buffalo.

    I'm not betting on Arizona because laying points on the road with a team in an unfavorable situation such as this doesn't sound like a great idea. Plus, I could be wrong; perhaps the Bills will prove everyone wrong and bounce back. I'm having a difficult time seeing that happen though.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: If the Bills didn't have enough injuries, it now sounds like Sammy Watkins may miss this game. I actually don't think that's a big deal because Watkins was hobbled and ineffective anyway. The bad news is that Cordy Glenn hasn't practiced yet. The Bills are the contrarian pick of the week, but I can't get behind them with only four points. This would have to be +7 for me to think about Buffalo, though I wouldn't advocate a wager on Arizona either.

    SATURDAY NOTES: The public money is all over the Cardinals, as you'd might expect. There's some sharp action on the Bills, but not an overwhelming amount. This line just seems oddly low; the Cardinals should be -6 or so. However, there's just something strange about this line, and I don't want to wager on a publicly backed road favorite like this.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This spread shot up in the wake of the Sammy Watkins news. If you're crazy enough to like the Bills, they're +5 at Bovada. I'm not touching them until they prove that they're not one of the worst teams in the NFL.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    The Bills were embarrassed on national TV, but then again, they could be in turmoil because of the coaching shake-up.

    The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
    The public is pounding the Cardinals, but the sharps are keeping this money down.
  • Percentage of money on Arizona: 73% (25,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Bruce Arians is 32-20 ATS as head coach of the Cardinals.
  • Bruce Arians is 4-1 ATS in 1 p.m. East Coast games.
  • True home teams are 29-16 ATS in the last 44 Bills games.
  • Opening Line: Cardinals -5.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Cardinals 34, Bills 24
    Cardinals -4 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Over 48 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Bills 33, Cardinals 18

    Baltimore Ravens (2-0) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
    Line: Ravens by 2. Total: 45.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Pick.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Ravens -2.5.
    Sunday, Sept 25, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Ravens.

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    JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: Let's begin by talking about the Ravens' defense, which surrendered 20 points to Josh McCown early in last week's game. The Browns didn't score after that, but only because McCown separated his shoulder and wasn't the same after that. McCown, who may have already clinched this site's annual blue-collar award, was able to torch a poor Baltimore secondary that isn't getting great play from anyone besides Eric Weddle and Jimmy Smith. The other factor, however, was that Terrell Suggs wasn't able to get by Joe Thomas.

    Suggs won't have any sort of misfortune in this game, as the Jaguars lost left tackle Kelvin Beachum to an injury last week. It doesn't appear as though Beachum will play, which will represent a huge issue for Jacksonville. Beachum had solidified Jacksonville's offensive line, but the team will have to shift multiple players around to compensate for his absence. Whoever is stationed on the blind side won't be able to block Suggs. I'm sure the Jaguars will double-team Suggs, which will open things up for Timmy Jernigan. It would also help if Elvis Dumervil were able to suit up, but he's considered to be very questionable.

    Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns have easier matchups this week, as San Diego's secondary is much better than Baltimore's. However, Blake Bortles won't have much time in the pocket to find his dynamic receivers downfield, and he also won't have much support from his rushing attack, as the Ravens can stop the run pretty well.

    BALTIMORE OFFENSE: It took the Ravens a while, but they finally got on track against the Browns, scoring 23 points following a 20-2 deficit. It could be argued that this only occurred because the Browns have a poor defense, but then again, so do the Jaguars, especially if Prince Amukamara continues to miss time with a hamstring. Amukamara is the team's top defensive back, and his absence last week was huge. Even if he suits up in this contest, there's no guarantee he'll be 100 percent coming off his injury.

    Another problem for Jacksonville's secondary is the lacking pass rush. The Jaguars failed to get any heat on Philip Rivers, and the same figures to happen in this contest, as Baltimore's tackles have held up well thus far. Joe Flacco should have enough time to hit his receivers for significant gains throughout the afternoon.

    The Jaguars will at least be better against the run this week. They had issues with Melvin Gordon this past Sunday, but the Ravens don't have a potent threat in the backfield. That could change once Kenneth Dixon returns from injury, but Justin Forsett and Terrance West are not quality runners.

    RECAP: The Jaguars got everyone excited following their Week 1 showing against the Packers, but based on what we saw Sunday night, Green Bay might not be the same team. Jacksonville also has some major injury issues, with Amukamara and Beachum banged up. It's difficult to win without your best defensive back and top offensive lineman!

    The Ravens are the better team, and they'll be playing an opponent with no homefield advantage. Also, something to consider is that the Jaguars are flying out to London. Teams heading into London games are a woeful 6-18 against the spread, and I don't think this Jacksonville squad will be able to buck that trend.

    This is going to be a two-unit play for me. I don't think the Ravens are very good, and I was hoping to bet against them this week because they're a fraud at 2-0, but I like them a lot better than the Jaguars, considering the injury situation and the pre-London dynamics.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The public is on the Jaguars; the sharps are on the Ravens. This is not a surprise at all, as the Jaguars are dealing with numerous injuries and have to fly out to London. The Ravens, meanwhile, appear as though they'll be getting Elvis Dumervil back.

    SATURDAY NOTES: There's been some sharp money on the Jaguars that made them a favorite Saturday morning. However, the pros have gotten burned on Jacksonville so many times over the years, so I wouldn't read much into it. The Jaguars have some glaring injury issues with Tashaun Gipson joining Kelvin Beachum and Prince Amukamara as players who will miss this game. The Ravens are not the caliber of a 2-0 team, but they're better than Jacksonville.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Hello, sharp money on Baltimore. The professionals hit the Ravens pretty strongly Sunday morning, which isn't too much of a surprise. This line is up to -2.5 in most places, but I doubt they go to -3, since I'm sure other pros would take Jacksonville at +3, setting up a horrible middle.

    The Psychology. Edge: Ravens.
    The Jaguars fly out to London after this game.

    The Vegas. Edge: Ravens.
    For the second week in a row, the money is on the Jaguars.
  • Percentage of money on Jacksonville: 66% (15,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Jaguars.
  • John Harbaugh is 9-5 ATS in his second consecutive road game.
  • Ravens are 11-22 ATS as road favorites since 2005.
  • Jaguars are 26-56 ATS against non-divisional opponents since 2008.
  • Opening Line: Pick.
  • Opening Total: 47.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Ravens 24, Jaguars 16
    Ravens -2 -115 (2 Units) -- Push; $0
    Under 45 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Ravens 19, Jaguars 17

    Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Miami Dolphins (0-2)
    Line: Dolphins by 10. Total: 42.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Dolphins -7.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Dolphins -3.5 (McCown) or Dolphins -6 (Kessler).
    Sunday, Sept 25, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Dolphins.

    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 haven't discussed ESPN's new pre-game show just yet. If you haven't heard, ESPN has jettisoned everyone, even Tom Jackson, whom they forced into retirement, in exchange for the quartet of Trent Dilfer, Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss and Charles Woodson, all joining Chris Berman, who is spending his final year at the "world-wide leader."

    This show, in summary, is an abomination. First of all, I never understood the point in having former players as analysts. Some of them are knowledgeable, but most of them don't do any research and provide nonsensical opinions. For instance, Charles Woodson declared that Terrelle Pryor will gain 1,800 yards this year. He's lucky to get 1,800 feet!

    Anyway, I bring this up because Berman introduced all four of his new co-hosts by citing stats and the accomplishments they achieved as players. This just seemed to irrelevant to me. What does Randy Moss' career touchdown total have to do with his ability as an analyst? Why would it matter at all? I've said it before: I'd rather have side analysts who specialize in the fantasy and picking aspects of football rather than NFL players who know nothing more than the names of plays they used to run.

    There's also some major tension between Dilfer and Moss. Take a look at Moss staring down Dilfer when Dilfer criticized Communist Kaepernick for creating a distraction:

    Looks like Moss supports the sickle and star like his 49er buddy.

    The only good part about the debut of Sunday NFL Countdown was Berman saying a tearful goodbye to Tom Jackson. I'm going to miss Jackson, and from the way Berman talked about him, it felt like he was eulogizing him.

    ESPN's never going to be the same. I used to love the duo of Berman and Jackson, especially when they did NFL Primetime together, but those days are long gone. I think I'm going to stick with ESPN for one more year, but once Berman officially retires, I'll be moving to NFL Network on a permanent basis.

    2. Speaking of which, I wanted to post this message I received from one of my better e-mailers. It was about the players kneeling during the national anthem, and I thought he made great points, so I asked him if I could post this anonymously. He agreed, so here it is:

    I felt like I wrote something similar in my Jerks of the Year entry, but I included fat jokes and a video of me getting slapped by a hot nurse, so it wasn't nearly as effective.

    3. E-mailer Zack D. sent this site over, and I thought I would share it with all of you because I found it hilarious. It's the Browns performing the music of Les Miserables. I mean, this picture says it all:

    Definitely check it out if you get the chance!

    CLEVELAND OFFENSE: When I saw that the look-ahead line on this game was Browns +7, I planned on betting Cleveland heavily again. I was confident that Josh McCown would prove to be a big upgrade over Robert Griffin - and he predictably was - so I thought McCown could expose the liabilities the Dolphins have in their secondary, namely Byron Maxwell, who has been atrocious thus far. No one can be surprised by that.

    Unfortunately, McCown is out with a separated shoulder, so it'll be Cody Kessler's turn to start. Kessler was chosen in the third round this past April, but many teams had him graded as a seventh-rounder or even an undrafted free agent. Kessler has absolutely no arm strength. If you thought Alex Smith was bad, wait until you get a look at Kessler. Two-yard passes are difficult for him!

    All of this is a shame because Corey Coleman appeared as though he'd be able to have a breakout season. I'm sure he'll catch a few decent passes in this game, but his potential is certainly capped by Kessler's limitations. The Dolphins, who couldn't stop the run this past Thursday, will be able to play closer to the line of scrimmage as a result and smother Isaiah Crowell in the process.

    MIAMI OFFENSE: The Dolphins couldn't pass protect at all for Ryan Tannehill in the first half, allowing the Patriots to build up a 31-3 lead. Things changed after that, as the blockers improved. This is good news for Tannehill's outlook; he won't face any sort of pass rush from the Browns, who won't even have promising Carl Nassib, thanks to a broken hand.

    The Browns have some decent players in their linebacking corps and secondary, but with no pass rush, it'll be very difficult for them to cover Jarvis Landry and the emerging DeVante Parker. Tannehill should have all afternoon to stand in the pocket and pick them apart.

    The one area where Cleveland is favored on this side of the ball is in run support. Arian Foster is expected to be out, meaning the lackluster Jay Ajayi is expected to handle at least half the workload. He'll split touches with other players, but the Browns have clamped down on the rush thus far, thanks to Danny Shelton and stud linebacker Christian Kirksey.

    RECAP: The Dolphins are obviously the better team in this matchup, but even with Kessler on the field, 10 points is way too many. There's just no room for error. If the Browns score on a return touchdown or take back a turnover for six, they'll stand a good chance of covering double digits, and given that the Dolphins play in four days, they could be sloppy. Laying 10 or more should only be reserved for taking one of the top teams in the NFL versus a truly horrible opponent (i.e. Panthers vs. 49ers last week). That's not the case here. The Browns are horrible, but the Dolphins are definitely not ranked amongst the NFL's elite.

    I'm selecting the Browns on principle, but there's no way in hell I'm placing my not-so-hard-earned money on Cody Kessler.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The Browns sustained another blow when Corey Coleman was lost for 4-6 weeks. They're in terrible shape, and I understand why the sharps were betting the Dolphins heavily when this line was in the -7.5 to -8.5 range. They've laid off since.

    SATURDAY NOTES: The sharps aren't taking the Browns at +10 - at least not yet. They bet up the Dolphins earlier in the week. I don't really see the appeal of this game. Cleveland is abysmal, but Miami isn't good enough to be laying 10 against anyone.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The Browns are in shambles, as Joe Haden has been ruled out as well. How can they possibly cover? That's what the public is asking, given that there's so much action on the Dolphins. I still think this line is too high, but I wouldn't want to put any not so hard-earned money on Cody Kessler.

    The Psychology. Edge: Browns.
    The Dolphins play on Thursday night against the Bengals, so they might be looking ahead to that.

    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    Sportsbooks might have to give out free meals to those who want to bet on Cleveland at this point.
  • Percentage of money on Miami: 79% (20,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Browns.
  • Underdog is 67-38 ATS in the Dolphins' last 105 games.
  • Dolphins are 7-19 ATS as favorites of 3.5 or more since 2008.
  • Dolphins are 3-12 ATS in September home games since 2006.
  • Dolphins are 10-32 ATS at home against teams with losing records since 2003.
  • Opening Line: Dolphins -7.5.
  • Opening Total: 42.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Dolphins 20, Browns 12
    Browns +10 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 42.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Survivor Pick (2-0)
    Dolphins 30, Browns 24

    Washington Redskins (0-2) at New York Giants (2-0)
    Line: Giants by 3.5. Total: 47.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Giants -4.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Giants -4.
    Sunday, Sept 25, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Giants.

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

    Random College Football Notes:

    1. I found Nick Saban's tirade on Lane Kiffin to be very interesting. If you somehow missed it, Saban yelled incoherently at Kiffin for what happened at the end of Alabama's second game, which was the opponent scoring a meaningless touchdown following a turnover. Alabama still had the game well in hand, so what was Saban's deal?

    One could guess Saban was doing this because he was an a**hole. I had a different take on it. Well, Saban is an a**hole, but there must be another reason.

    Well, the one significant thing about this touchdown was that Alabama failed to cover the spread because of it. Call me crazy here, but what if some high-rolling booster, or perhaps someone in the mob, asked Saban to cover the spread this particular week? It sounds crazy at first, but is it? Why else would Saban be so upset about this? Because he's an a**hole? OK, well, yeah, but there might just be a greater reason for it.

    2. Much was made of Penn State honoring Joe Paterno prior to the Temple game this past Saturday. The talking heads on MS-ESPN, the network that murdered Paterno, were obviously opposed to this. Rachel Nichols' hair was practically on fire when she was ruining an episode of Pardon the Interruption on Friday afternoon.

    I don't see what the big deal is. The guy's been dead for five years now, and he was being honored as a football coach. What happened with Jerry Sandusky was very unfortunate, but I don't see what that had to do with Paterno as a football coach. People love to write #JoePaKnew on Twitter and whatnot, but he did report it to the police, and he was told nothing foul was going on. So, it's not like he turned a complete blind eye to it. Sure, he could've done more, but as Emmitt once said, hindsight is 50-50. There's nothing that can be done about it now, since all guilty parties are either dead or incarcerated, so people just need to calm the f*** down about it and get over themselves.

    3. I'd be remiss if I didn't discuss the game at Bristol Motor Speedway between Tennessee and Virginia Tech. ESPN made a big deal about this, of course, because ESPN is ESPN. OMG A GAME AT A CAR RACE TRACK OMG SO COOL EVERY1 COME WATCH ITS GONNA BE GREAT CUZ ITS A CAR RACE TRACK OMG OMG TIM TEBOW OMG CAR RACE TRACK FOOTBALL GAME TIM TEBOW OMG!!!

    Who the hell cares? Sure, there were a ton of people at the game, but it looked like the seats were so far away that it didn't matter. I'm pretty sure the people in the front row had to use binoculars to see what was going on. It was ridiculous and stupid. Then again, we were at a place where people congregate to watch cars drive fast and turn left, so it's not like I had much hope for this in the first place.

    WASHINGTON OFFENSE: If the report by the skeleton guy with hair on NBC's pre-game show is accurate - and it's fair to be skeptical, given the history - there are players in the Redskins locker room who prefer Colt McCoy over Kirk Cousins. I find that hard to believe, but then again, some NFL players aren't the smartest individuals. Kirk Cousins is struggling, sure, but I'd take this version of Cousins over the noddle-armed McCoy in a heartbeat. What's McCoy going to do, threaten defenses with 5-yard passes? Oooh, sooo scawey!

    Cousins will have an opportunity to rebound in this game, as New York's pass rush could have a tough time getting by Washington's line. Cousins will need the protection, as he'll be throwing into a back seven that has played very well thus far, particularly Janoris Jenkins. I expect Cousins to continue to target Jordan Reed early and often.

    Cousins must do a lot in this matchup, however, as the running game won't work at all. Matt Jones won't find any running room this upcoming Sunday, as the Giants' two mammoth defensive tackles will continue to make sure that no one rushes successfully against them.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: This is the matchup we've all been waiting been waiting for. Odell Beckham versus Josh Norman! It's going to be awesome! I can't wait... uhh... hold on a second. I forgot Washington has a brain-dead defensive coordinator who doesn't realize that NFL rules state that a top corner, particularly one who's paid lots of money, can shadow an opposing No. 1 receiver.

    It's ridiculous. Norman proved that he could handle Beckham based on what happened in last year's matchup. Instead, the Giants can make it so the utterly inept Bashaud Breeland is matched up on Beckham, leaving Norman to blanket Victor Cruz.

    This all sounds very favorable for the Giants. However, they had a chance to blow the Saints out of the water, but made numerous mistakes like they've been guilty of over the past several seasons. They always seem to have this lackadaisical attitude, especially when favored at home, so I don't think they'll be extremely sharp.

    RECAP: Prior to the season, the Giants would not have been favored by more than three in this matchup. A lot has changed in two weeks. The Redskins appear to be in turmoil for numerous reasons.

    However, the media has a habit of over-dramatizing things. Perhaps the Redskins will fold, but I have to think that they'll put maximum effort into this game to avoid an 0-3 start. And they've been in both games; they moved the chains well against the Steelers before self-destructing in the red zone multiple times, and they had a chance to beat Dallas at the end. Meanwhile, the Giants, as mentioned, tend to be lazy in spots like this. They also have the Vikings and Packers coming up following this 0-2 opponent, so I have a tough time believing that they'll be completely focused.

    I'm betting the Redskins for two units. I'm tempted to go higher on this, but there definitely is a chance - albeit a small one - that Washington will completely capsize.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There's some sharp money on the Giants right now, but that could be an effort to make the line rise in order to grab a great value line like Redskins +6. I'm not sure we'll see that though. I still like the Redskins for two units, as the supposed Kirk Cousins story could be another example of the media blowing things out of proportion.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Wow, look at this line movement. The sharps pounded the Redskins so much that this line dropped to +3 in most places. It's available at +3.5 -115 at Bovada right now. We'll see what happens Sunday morning, but you may want to consider taking Washington +3 +100 at CRIS and some other books. The Redskins seem like the right side, as the Giants could easily be 0-2 right now.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I guess people found value in Giants -3 because the line has moved back up to -3.5. It's actually Redskins +3.5 +100 at Bovada, which I'm fine with.

    The Psychology. Edge: Redskins.
    The Giants, coming off a late win, have the Vikings and Packers after this game against an 0-2 opponent.

    The Vegas. Edge: Redskins.
    A good amount of action on the Giants.
  • Percentage of money on New York: 69% (14,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Redskins.
  • History: Giants have won 15 of the last 20 meetings.
  • Redskins are 14-6 ATS after losing to the Cowboys since 1997.
  • Opening Line: Giants -4.
  • Opening Total: 47.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Giants 23, Redskins 20
    Redskins +3.5 +100 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
    Under 47 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Redskins 29, Giants 27

    Detroit Lions (1-1) at Green Bay Packers (1-1)
    Line: Packers by 7. Total: 47.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Packers -7.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Packers -6.
    Sunday, Sept 25, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: .

    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.

    Last year, Tom Brady and his deflated footballs were involved. You can see those Spam Mails here with my responses to avoid clutter. I'll have brand new spam mail responses every week!

    GREEN BAY OFFENSE: There's something wrong with the Packers. That was the case last year, but you could point to Aaron Rodgers' shoulder, Jordy Nelson's absence, Randall Cobb's health, Eddie Lacy's weight and the offensive line's instability due to injury. It made sense that the Packers struggled at times. Now, I'm not so sure. The Packers were going up against one of the top defenses in the NFL last week, sure, but they averaged just 4.9 yards per play against the Jaguars, who were torched by Philip Rivers this past Sunday. Through two games, Green Bay's scoring attack is averaging about 4.5 yards per play, which is well below the league average.

    That said, things could change against the Lions. I liked Detroit's defense heading into the season, but some injuries have ruined things for them. Their top pass-rusher, Ziggy Ansah, was lost on the first drive last week to an ankle injury. Stud linebacker DeAndre Levy was out with a quad. It remains to be seen if Levy will play in this contest, but even if he does, he could be limited.

    With that in mind, I suppose we'll find out if there's something really wrong with the Packers in this contest. Rodgers has always played better at home, and the Lions only have a few quality healthy players in their back seven (Darius Slay, Glover Quin) to deal with his weapons.

    DETROIT OFFENSE: Even if the Packers' scoring unit rebounds in this contest, the defense could still be a problem. Through two weeks, Green Bay has struggled to stop Blake Bortles, who did nothing versus San Diego, and Sam Bradford, who was on the Vikings' roster for about two weeks.

    The Packers have some major issues in their secondary, particularly Damarious Randall, and it doesn't help that Sam Shields is injured either. Meanwhile, Clay Matthews has been ineffective because he's been injured. Matthews appears to be greatly bothered by his ankle and isn't really doing anything as a consequence. Without much of a pass rush, this is putting more stress on Green Bay's secondary.

    I like Matthew Stafford to continue what Bortles and Bradford have started and torch the Packers' secondary. The Lions won't be able to run the ball very effectively, especially with Ameer Abdullah missing, but I don't really see that impacting Detroit's ability to score very much.

    RECAP: I watched in pure agony Monday morning as the sharps bet the Lions down as soon as this spread was posted. This line opened +8.5 in most places (+9 at Bovada!) and the pros brought the spread down to +7.5 within a half hour. And with my picks set to release Tuesday, there was nothing I could do about it!

    I still love the Lions, however. In fact, this is one of my top two plays this week - a five-unit wager. This line is just way too high, and I love getting the Lions through a huge key number of seven. There's something wrong with Green Bay's offense, so the Lions should be able to hang around by scoring on a beleaguered secondary. I could even see this underrated Detroit squad pulling the upset, so I'll have some action on the moneyline.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This spread is high, but I wish the sharps didn't ruin things for us by betting it down earlier in the week. There's still professional money coming in on Detroit, but I don't see the books moving this line below +7, as they'll be in danger of getting middled.

    SATURDAY MORNING ALERT: It appears as though both of my favorite picks this week are being bet through seven. Minnesota has already fallen through to +6.5 at the Westgate. The Lions aren't there yet, but they are +7 -120 or -125 in most places. Bovada, however, still lists both at +7 -110, so I'm going to lock both of these in.

    SATURDAY NOTES: I panicked a bit, it turns out. This line is still +7 at Bovada, but it hasn't gone up either. The Lions seem like the obvious side, as the Packers have issues on both offense (Aaron Rodgers doesn't seem right) and defense (tons of injuries). The Lions seem to have Green Bay's number recently, and they'd be Pick of the Month-worthy if Ziggy Ansah and DeAndre Levy were healthy.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: OK, turns out I didn't panic. This line has dropped to +6.5 in most places, and even +6 at Pinnacle, the sharpest book on the Web. It's enormous that the books have shown that they don't care about getting middled. I think they know that they set a bad line, as they are begging for any sort of action on the host.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Green Bay: 55% (21,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Packers.
  • History: Packers have won 17 of the last 21 meetings.
  • Packers are 29-18 ATS at home since 2010.
  • Packers are 39-21 ATS in divisional games since 2006.
  • Aaron Rodgers is 70-43 ATS since 2009.
  • Aaron Rodgers is 21-8 ATS after a loss (just 9-5 ATS as a favorite of 7.5+).
  • Opening Line: Packers -8.5.
  • Opening Total: 48.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Packers 24, Lions 23
    Lions +7 (5 Units) -- Push; $0
    Under 47.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Packers 34, Lions 27

    Minnesota Vikings (2-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-1)
    Line: Panthers by 7. Total: 43.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Panthers -5.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Panthers -4.
    Sunday, Sept 25, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: None.

    Video of the Week: The Madden video game franchise has brought people much joy over the decades. Well, not this guy. Make sure you have your headphones on if you're at work or school because there are many F-bombs here (thnaks Brennan S.):

    Hilarious. I had no idea that there was a Replacement Referee Mode in Madden.

    MINNESOTA OFFENSE: Much is being made of Sam Bradford's performance against the Packers, and rightfully so. What he did was impressive, considering that he was on the roster for about two weeks. That said, the Packers have some glaring issues in their secondary, as they couldn't contain a Blake Bortles-led offense that was completely shut down in San Diego.

    So, will Bradford regress in his second game? Perhaps a bit, but it also needs to be considered that the Panthers' defensive backfield has some issues as well. Josh Norman's absence is huge, as it'll impact the defense greatly this season. The safeties, meanwhile, haven't been performing well. Trevor Siemian didn't have much of an issue moving the chains in the season opener until he made some mental errors in the red zone. Bradford is more careful with the football, and I have to believe that he'll engineer some successful drives, once again targeting Stefon Diggs heavily. Diggs is blossoming into one of the league's better receivers, but he wouldn't be a huge issue if Norman were still on the roster.

    Of course, things would be easier if Adrian Peterson were available. Mike Zimmer actually refused to rule Peterson out for this game, but it would be a surprise if Peterson were able to suit up, even though he is a medical marvel. The Panthers had issues with C.J. Anderson in the opener, but I don't really see Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata duplicating that success.

    CAROLINA OFFENSE: The Panthers finally got on track last week after sputtering in the opener. However, their struggles at Denver were predictable, as their offensive tackles are a liability and couldn't protect against Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Miller and Ware were silenced in the first half, but they eventually came alive following intermission and managed to seal the victory for Denver.

    This is yet another problematic matchup. The Vikings have a couple of dynamic edge rushers in Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter who will be able to pressure Newton. It'll also help if Sharrif Floyd is available to help push the pocket in the interior, but he's dealing with a knee injury and his availability is unknown.

    Regardless, the Vikings possess one of the top defenses in the NFL and should be able to limit the Panthers for the most part. Remember, Carolina won't have Jonathan Stewart, and I can't see Fozzy Whittaker having a great game going up the middle versus Linval Joseph and Eric Kendricks. Newton will pick up a handful of first downs with his legs, but I can't imagine Carolina's offense being overly consistent.

    RECAP: This was the other part of my agonizing Monday morning. As with the Packers-Lions line, this spread plummeted upon its release. Minnesota was +8.5, but fell to +7 within a half hour because of sharp action. I'm literally crying right now.

    I still love the Vikings though, and as with the Detroit pick, this is a five-unit selection for me. This spread is just absolutely absurd. These teams are evenly matched, and my projected line for this game would've been Vikings +3 if Peterson were in the lineup. I'm only willing to move it a point for Peterson though, so we're getting three points of value through two key numbers!

    I think this line is an overreaction to Peterson. The Vikings still have arguably the best defense in the NFL, while the Panthers won't be the same without Norman. Besides, Carolina's 46-27 win over San Francisco wasn't that convincing. The 49ers were coming off a big victory in a late Monday night game and had to travel across the country to play a 1 p.m. game, and yet San Francisco hung around while the Panthers made some sloppy errors early on. I don't think that bodes well for this matchup, as Carolina will lose outright if it commits the same sort of mental mistakes.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Another high spread that doesn't make much sense to me or the sharps who bet this down. There hasn't been much pro action on Vikings +7, but again, I don't think this drops below +7, as the books will get middled. I think it's also worth noting that the Charlotte riots could impact this game. The Panthers could be distracted by everything that's been happening. I'm not going to go above five units, however.

    SATURDAY MORNING ALERT: Once again, I'm locking this in. It's crazy that this line has dropped to +6.5. That means the books are not afraid of getting middled, which is a great sign for us Minnesota backers.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Nothing has changed here either, as the spreads in my locked-in early games haven't moved at all. Perhaps they will Sunday, but either way, I still love the Vikings, who are getting way too many points in this matchup. Plus, as I said before, the senseless riots in Charlotte could cause a distraction if some of the players' family and friends have been affected by it.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I can copy-paste what I wrote in the previous game, because the exact same thing applies here: Turns out I didn't panic. This line has dropped to +6.5 in most places, and even +6 at Pinnacle, the sharpest book on the Web. It's enormous that the books have shown that they don't care about getting middled. I think they know that they set a bad line, as they are begging for any sort of action on the host.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Carolina: 59% (22,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: .
  • Vikings are 18-26 ATS in outdoor road games since 2008.
  • Opening Line: Vikings -7.5.
  • Opening Total: 43.
  • Weather: .

    Week 3 NFL Pick: Panthers 21, Vikings 17
    Vikings +7 (5 Units) -- Correct; +$500
    Under 43 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Vikings 22, Panthers 10

    Week 3 NFL Picks - Late Games
    San Francisco at Seattle, Los Angeles at Tampa Bay, NY Jets at Kansas City, Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, San Diego at Indianapolis, Chicago at Dallas, Atlanta at New Orleans


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

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

    NFL Picks - Nov. 30

    2021 NFL Mock Draft - Nov. 25

    2022 NFL Mock Draft - Nov. 15

    NFL Power Rankings - Nov. 14

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 9

    2020 College Football Recruiting Rankings - April 14

    2020 NBA Mock Draft - Sept. 27


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

    Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 11, 2020): 3-11 (-$1,935)
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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: 8-2 (2014-19: 47-50)
    Bears: 3-7 (2014-19: 45-48)
    Bucs: 4-6 (2014-19: 44-45)
    49ers: 5-5 (2014-19: 53-44)
    Eagles: 4-6 (2014-19: 55-46)
    Lions: 4-5 (2014-19: 53-42)
    Falcons: 7-3 (2014-19: 55-45)
    Cardinals: 6-4 (2014-19: 45-50)
    Giants: 2-8 (2014-19: 52-41)
    Packers: 6-4 (2014-19: 54-46)
    Panthers: 10-1 (2014-19: 47-52)
    Rams: 3-7 (2014-19: 53-41)
    Redskins: 4-4 (2014-19: 47-48)
    Vikings: 5-5 (2014-19: 51-45)
    Saints: 3-7 (2014-19: 49-50)
    Seahawks: 5-5 (2014-19: 43-56)
    Bills: 5-5 (2014-19: 52-42)
    Bengals: 5-3 (2014-19: 42-52)
    Colts: 5-5 (2014-19: 50-45)
    Broncos: 4-6 (2014-19: 45-48)
    Dolphins: 9-1 (2014-19: 47-46)
    Browns: 6-3 (2014-19: 46-44)
    Jaguars: 4-6 (2014-19: 41-55)
    Chargers: 3-5 (2014-19: 46-49)
    Jets: 6-4 (2014-19: 50-40)
    Ravens: 3-6 (2014-19: 48-47)
    Texans: 7-3 (2014-19: 48-47)
    Chiefs: 6-4 (2014-19: 56-50)
    Patriots: 3-7 (2014-19: 55-53)
    Steelers: 4-6 (2014-19: 56-43)
    Titans: 6-4 (2014-19: 49-47)
    Raiders: 5-5 (2014-19: 43-52)
    Divisional: 24-25 (2011-19: 405-394)
    2x Game Edge: 37-41 (2011-19: 213-210)
    2x Motivation Edge: 20-18 (2011-19: 347-288)
    2x Spread Edge: 30-20 (2011-19: 61-55)
    2x Vegas Edge: 16-14 (2011-19: 320-335)
    2x Trend Edge: 12-8 (2011-19: 250-228)
    Double Edge: 13-13 (2011-19: 122-107)
    Triple Edge: 4-3 (2011-19: 21-18)

    2003 Preseason: 3 | 4 | 5
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