NFL Picks (Preseason 2016):
NFL Picks (Week 1, 2016):
13-3 (+$1,735) full review
NFL Picks (Week 2, 2016):
9-7 (-$430) full review
NFL Picks (Week 3, 2016):
7-7-2 (+$880) full review
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7-8 (-$70) full review
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6-7-1 (+$115) full review
NFL Picks (Week 6, 2016):
7-7-1 (+$515) full review
NFL Picks (Week 7, 2016):
11-4 (+$1,560) full review
NFL Picks (Week 8, 2016):
8-4-1 (-$60) full review
NFL Picks (Week 9, 2016):
5-6-2 (-$1,170) full review
NFL Picks (Week 10, 2016):
9-4-1 (+$80) full review
NFL Picks (Week 11, 2016):
7-7 (+$225) full review
NFL Picks (Week 12, 2016):
5-10-1 (-$1,090) full review
NFL Picks (Week 13, 2016):
9-6 (-$205) full review
NFL Picks (Week 14, 2016):
7-8-1 (-$440) full review
NFL Picks (Week 15, 2016):
NFL Picks (2016):
130-103-9 (+$2,990) NFL Picks (2015):
133-138-10 (-$2,360) NFL Picks (2014):
143-133-7 (-$1,885) NFL Picks (2013):
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137-133-12 (-$1,925) NFL Picks (2010):
144-131-8 (+$6,080) NFL Picks (2009):
151-124-9 (+$3,370) NFL Picks (2008):
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Vegas betting action updated Dec. 24, 11:25 a.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball
Go to Week 16 NFL Picks - Late Games
New York Giants (10-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-9)
Line: Eagles by 1. Total: 42.5.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread:
Giants -3 +100.
Walt's Calculated Line:
Thursday, Dec 22, 8:25 PM
Comment on this game
The Game. Edge: None.
WEEK 15 RECAP:
I won my November NFL Pick of the Month, but still had a down week because I lost most of my other big bets. Week 15 was the exact opposite. I lost my December NFL Pick of the Month, but still finished in the black because I won all but one of my other multi-unit wagers. I finished 8-8 (+$55). That's not great or anything, but considering the utter bulls**t that happened in the Giants-Lions game, I'll take it.
I still can't believe what happened in that game. Matthew Stafford's finger was fine. The weather was a non-factor. The Lions outgained the Giants in total net yards and yards per play. This was despite Darius Slay's hamstring injury in the first quarter, which prevented the Lions from covering Odell Beckham Jr. on the one successful drive New York had in the second half. Oh, and then there was Zach Zenner's fumble inside the 5-yard line. I'm never going to forget that. It's going to haunt my dreams decades from now. If the Lions score a touchdown on that drive - it would've been almost impossible for them not to do so, as they would've had first-and-goal right at the goal line - they would've covered the spread, in all likelihood.
I have no regrets about the pick. I think we got a great number with the Lions. It just didn't work out. Fortunately, save for the Broncos +3, my other four- and five-unit picks (Colts +5, Titans +6, Buccaneers +7) all hit, which would explain how I got into the black.
That said, I have to admit that I'm disappointed by how this season has gone. I'm still up about 30 units or so, but I seriously thought that I could get to close to +100 units. I've had some bad luck, like in the Lions-Giants game, but poor decision-making on my part has also been prevalent. I've squandered too many units on bad teams like the Rams, Browns, etc. That's something I'm going to have to work on for 2017 and beyond.
The wait is finally over. Lane Johnson's suspension has ended. The last time Johnson was on the field, the Eagles were a Ryan Mathews fumble away from improving to 4-0 with a victory over the Lions. Things have fallen apart for them since, and part of the reason has been poor protection at right tackle. With Brandon Brooks being in and out of the lineup with anxiety issues as well, Carson Wentz's pass protection has been very poor.
That will no longer be the case, and the Eagles now match up pretty well with the Giants, at least in the trenches. Wentz will have way more time to throw than usual, but he'll still have issues finding players open downfield because his receivers suck. Zach Ertz doesn't, however, and I like his matchup versus the New York linebackers, who have struggled this year.
Johnson being available will allow Philadelphia to run the ball at a better rate as well. I expect Ryan Mathews to gash the Giants off right tackle, while Darren Sproles' return will also help give Wentz another weapon to abuse the Giant linebackers.
NEW YORK OFFENSE:
The Giants' blocking has improved lately as well, thanks to Justin Pugh's return to the lineup. Pugh strengthened the running game, as it wasn't completely useless against the Lions. The Eagles stop the run pretty well though, so I wouldn't expect Rashad Jennings and Paul Perkins to pick up chunks like they did in the opening half of the Week 15 contest.
Though Pugh is back, the Giants still have their issues up front. Their tackles are struggling, and one of the strengths of Philadelphia's defense is its edge rush. Pugh's return allows New York to have a slightly better right tackle, as Marshall Newhouse could move back outside. However, Newhouse (or Bobby Hart) will be overmatched against the prolific Brandon Graham, who is having a monstrous season.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, their pass rush hasn't meant all that much at times this year because their secondary has been putrid. The Giants hit some big plays against them in the first meeting, and I don't see why things would be any different this time.
The Giants are definitely not as good as people think they are. They remind me of the 2013 Chiefs, a team that began 10-0 by eking out slim victories against bad or middling teams, and getting lucky in some other victories against tougher foes. Eventually, Kansas City capsized, and the same thing will happen to New York.
I don't think it'll be this week, however. If this game were being played on a Sunday, I'd take the Eagles, whom I would make a slight favorite with Johnson and Sproles back on the field. This game won't be played on Sunday though; it's a Thursday night affair, and my rule for Thursday games is to pick the better team because the superior squad is going to prepare better on short rest. Thus, I'm taking the Giants on a non-wager.
I'll be posting NFL Picks all day Tuesday. Follow me at @walterfootball
This spread has fallen considerably today. It was Giants -2 when I walked into my office, and it's now -1.5. The sharps are pounding the Eagles. I would be as well if this game were on a Saturday/Sunday, but as stated before, the short preparation week benefits the better team. I think that's the Giants. Maybe.
Wow, this spread has hit Eagles -1 -115 at CRIS and -1 -110 at Pinnacle. 'Member when the Giants were field-goal favorites? Even if there was value with the Eagles, all of that is gone. The sharps have been betting Philadelphia like crazy, while the public is squarely on New York. My stance on taking the better team on Thursday night remains the same: The superior squad almost always prevails on a short work week because it'll prepare better on such a limited amount of time of rest. However, I've found myself thinking whether the Janoris Jenkins- and Jason Pierre-Paul-less Giants are even better than the Eagles with Lane Johnson and Darren Sproles. The Giants are extremely overrated, while the Eagles will be better with Johnson and Sproles, so I don't really know. I'm going to say the Giants are still superior, but I think this game could really go either way. I'm sticking with picking New York, but I have no confidence in this selection.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Eagles.
There's a ton of action on the Giants.
Percentage of money on New York: 84% (24,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: .
History: Road Team has won 13 of the last 19 meetings.
History: Eagles have won 13 the last 17 meetings.
Giants are 45-30 ATS on the road since 2006 as long as they're not favored by 3.5 or more.
Eagles are 21-35 ATS at home since 2010.
Opening Line: Giants -3.
Opening Total: 42.
Week 16 NFL Pick: Giants 24, Eagles 20
Giants +1 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Over 42.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Eagles 24, Giants 19
Washington Redskins (7-6-1) at Chicago Bears (3-11)
Line: Redskins by 3. Total: 48.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Redskins -3.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Pick.
Saturday, Dec 24, 1:00 PM
Comment on this game
The Game. Edge: Bears.
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...
Underrated NFL Teams:
Chicago Bears: Matt Barkley has somehow been pretty competent in his four starts thus far. In fact, he's been better than his stat lines indicate because of all the dropped passes he's incurred. Jordan Howard has been a forceful running back, while the defense has played very well. The Bears also now have a dynamic downfield play-maker now that Alshon Jeffery is back from injury. The Bears are miles better than the other two-, three- and four-win teams in the NFL.
Cincinnati Bengals: I downgraded the Bengals too much for their loss to the Ravens. They matched Baltimore in yards per play in that contest, and they've played very well since, though one of those games has been against the Browns. Still, Cincinnati's defense has been better following the bye, as it has surrendered just 16 points per game (prior to Pittsburgh) since compared to 23.6 beforehand. I'm not counting the Steeler contest because the Bengals lost Vontaze Burfict in the first half to a concussion. A major reason for the Bengals' improvement on defense has been Burfict's dynamic play. If he's not able to return for Week 16, I wouldn't consider them underrated anymore. Otherwise, they still are.
Denver Broncos: The Broncos have trended into underrated territory for the first time all year. They lost 16-3 to the Patriots, but that game wasn't as one-sided as the media is making it out to be. Denver played evenly with the Patriots for the most part; the yardage was close, while the Broncos outgained New England by 0.8 yards per play. The difference proved to be the Jordan Norwood fumbles and Trevor Siemian's back-breaking interception inside the 5-yard line. The Broncos also dropped countless passes.
Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens struggled earlier in the year, but they had so many injuries, it was ridiculous. They're mostly healthy now, so it shouldn't be a surprise that they've won and covered four of the five games prior to New England. The one exception was the loss at Dallas, but the Ravens hung around and even outgained the Cowboys by 0.9 yards per play. As for the New England game, losing Jimmy Smith was a huge deal, as the Ravens were putting the clamps on Tom Brady until Smith got knocked out. The Ravens barely beat the Eagles, but they were up 10 midway through the fourth quarter.
Overrated NFL Teams:
New York Giants: People were asking me if I changed my mind about the Giants being overrated in the wake of their victory over Detroit. No, I haven't. The Lions lost the player they planned on covering Odell Beckham Jr. with in the first quarter, and Zach Zenner fumbled inside the 5-yard line. The Lions outgained the Giants in total yards and yards per play. I'm not impressed, and now Janoris Jenkins may not be available for a while. This Giant team reminds me a lot of the 2013 Chiefs, who started 10-0. I called that Kansas City team vastly overrated, even when they were 10-0, and it lost its initial playoff game, which was hardly a surprise. Those Chiefs eked out close wins versus mediocre and bad teams and lucked out versus decent competition, and that's what this New York team has done.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons are just 1-2 in the previous three games they've played against real NFL teams. Atlanta nearly beat Kansas City, but was trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter against a team coming off a full overtime Sunday night game in altitude. I still can't get over how the Falcons were bullied in the trenches by a Philadelphia team that was stomped on by the Seahawks. I also can't get over how Bruce Arians refused to expose this liability by giving David Johnson only 13 carries. The Cardinals were outgaining the Falcons in yards per play throughout the afternoon. Even Atlanta's victory over Tampa wasn't overly impressive, as the Buccaneers were up, 14-13, prior to losing their starting center. Desmond Trufant is lost for the year, which will be huge against real NFL teams.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs may have beaten the Raiders, but they lost the heart and soul of their defense in the process. That's obviously a huge blow to their Super Bowl aspirations, and you can check out my Disaster Grades to see how I rated it. I have to say that I wasn't exactly impressed with the Chiefs. They won by just eight with the help of a punt return touchdown despite battling a quarterback who couldn't complete routine, 5-yard passes because of his dislocated finger. The loss to Tennessee could be a sign of things to come.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: It was utterly embarrassing how bad Washington's defense was Monday night. The unit couldn't stop the run whatsoever. They needed to force a final punt to get the ball back, down eight with a couple of minutes remaining, but Jonathan Stewart ripped off a 33-yard run on the very first carry of that drive. If the Redskins couldn't stop Stewart, how are they going to handle Jordan Howard?
Howard has been terrific ever since taking over the running back duties from Jeremy Langford, as he's averaged 4.5 yards per carry in all but one game dating back to Week 8. The Redskins have injury issues at inside linebacker that have prevented them from playing the run well, but it's not like their missing players are Pro Bowlers, or anything. Su'a Cravens and Will Compton being back would help, but I still think the Bears will be able to gash the Redskins pretty effectively, as the interior of their offensive line is just better than what the Redskins have up front, save for Chris Baker.
Howard's strong running will continue to give Matt Barkley favorable down-and-distance situations. Barkley has performed so much better than I initially expected. He was woeful as a rookie in Philadelphia, but that could've been because Chip Kelly tried to use him in a system that didn't fit his strengths. I wrote this back in August, but Barkley was the best quarterback on the field for Arizona during the preseason, and I was shocked that the Cardinals let him go in favor of the horrific Drew Stanton. I don't see why Barkley would suddenly regress against a Redskin secondary that has some major problems.
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: Chicago's defense has also performed above expectations, at least for most people, but outside of the secondary play, this isn't as much of a surprise. The Bears already had a potent pass rush, and they signed two dynamic linebackers this offseason. Both linebackers have been out recently, but Jerrell Freeman will be returning to the field to provide a boost that Chicago's stop unit didn't even need.
Freeman will allow the Bears to play better against tight ends, as he's one of the top covering linebackers in the NFL. Jordan Reed is laboring through an injury, so he wasn't even going to be overly effective, anyway. Kirk Cousins will have to go to his receivers to move the chains consistently, and while DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are performing on a high level, they have to deal with an underrated Chicago secondary that has clamped down on some noteworthy wideouts this season. Cousins, meanwhile, will feel the heat of an interior pass rush, as Akiem Hicks should abuse Washington's problematic left guard.
The Bears will be able to handle the run effectively as well, assuming Eddie Goldman returns. Ty Montgomery just gashed the Bears, but Goldman was out of the lineup with an ankle injury. Goldman was on the field in prior games, so this might have just been a one-week injury. Goldman is a stout nose tackle, and he'll make life very difficult for Robert Kelley.
RECAP: The advance spread was Redskins -3.5, and I assumed we'd have a far worse number after what happened last week. The Bears nearly beat the Packers, while the Redskins were upset on national TV. We're not getting +3.5 anymore, but Chicago is still +3.
I don't get it. Based on how these teams have played the past month, this spread should be pick 'em. It could be argued that Chicago should be favored! The Redskins have looked sluggish ever since Thanksgiving, losing at Arizona, barely beating Philadelphia and then getting crushed on national TV versus the 5-8 Panthers. The Bears, meanwhile, have been very competitive. The last time they lost against the spread was Week 10!
"But Walt, the Redskins need to win!" So what? Actually, teams that need to win in the final couple of weeks tend to struggle when favored over opponents that are eliminated from playoff contention. I've called this the Aurora Snowmo effect, named after Aurora Snow, a porn star who used to choke in her videos, and Tony Romo, who used to choke in late-season games. The Redskins definitely fit the profile, and they could be more concerned about next week's battle against the Giants, anyway.
I've been conservative with my Chicago wagers recently because I haven't fully trusted Barkley. I'm willing to throw my money in his direction now. Thus, I'm betting the Bears for four units.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The public is betting the Redskins at a substantial rate, but it doesn't appear as though the books want to give the sharps Bears +3.5. Still, the +110 juice on the Bears, available at Bovada, looks pretty good.
FRIDAY NOTES: The sharps are pounding the Bears right now. This spread is down to +2.5 +100 at CRIS and +2.5 +105 at 5Dimes. Pinnacle appears to be moving to 2.5 as well. BetUS and 5Dimes are still listing +3, so I would grab that before it vanishes.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a nice pick to lock in because the Bears are listed at +3 -120 in most places. With Jordan Reed out, the Bears' chances of covering and perhaps winning have increased. The sharps have bet the Bears a bit.
SportsLine's Micah Roberts is 22-6 in college football Over-Under picks this season (+1534 profit). He's also won his last 5 NFL Over-Under picks. You can get all of his plays by visiting SportsLine.com.
The Psychology. Edge: Bears.
The Redskins have to play the Giants next week. The Aurora Snowmo effect is also a factor.
The Vegas. Edge: Bears.
The public is betting the Redskins.
Percentage of money on Washington: 68% (8,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Bears are 18-9 ATS after losing to the Packers since 1992.
Bears are 9-18 ATS at home since 2013.
Opening Line: Redskins -3.
Opening Total: 45.5.
Week 16 NFL Pick: Bears 23, Redskins 20
Bears +3 (4 Units) -- Incorrect; -$440
Under 48 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Redskins 41, Bears 21
Miami Dolphins (9-5) at Buffalo Bills (7-7)
Line: Bills by 4.5. Total: 44.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Bills -3.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Bills -2.
Saturday, Dec 24, 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 five highest-bet sides, as of Tuesday morning last week:
Those teams went 3-1 ATS, bringing the overall record this season to 35-29-1. Once again, the sportsbooks took an absolute pounding. That's five losing weeks in a row. I can't remember anything remotely like this happening. At this rate, some sportsbooks will have to stop operating. And I'll say this: I'm genuinely concerned about the welfare of some bookmakers. I think the best-case scenario for them involves unemployment. Again, that's the best-case scenario.
Here are the highest-bet teams in Week 15, as of Tuesday morning:
I'm listing a fifth team because the Falcons are expected to be bet highly. I know sound like a broken record at this point, but I'd avoid these teams because the sportsbooks have to stay open.
I liked Matt Moore five years ago and believed that he should be a starter for an NFL team. If that sounds stupid, keep in mind that Ryan Fitzpatrick has somehow been an NFL starting quarterback for several season now. I have no idea how the league has allowed this to happen. Anyway, my concern with Moore heading into last week was that he hadn't played in five years. Now 32, Moore may have regressed. That, however, wasn't the case, as he looked pretty sharp Saturday night.
Granted, Moore had an easy matchup, but it's not like he'll be going up against the '85 Bears in this contest. The Bills, like the Jets, have some glaring issues in their secondary. Stephon Gilmore has regressed, while Aaron Williams' injury has created a huge hole at safety. Moore should be able to exploit this, though I am concerned about Lorenzo Alexander's matchup edge over left tackle Branden Albert, who clearly isn't healthy.
Still, the Dolphins have too many weapons not to be productive against a soft secondary. Jay Ajayi is also a threat coming out of the backfield. Ajayi has a tough matchup, which might surprise some because Le'Veon Bell gashed the Bills a couple of weeks ago. Kyle Williams was a last-second scratch for that contest, however, so his presence will make life difficult for Ajayi, whose run blocking has declined ever since Mike Pouncey was lost with an injury.
As for the Bills' running game, LeSean McCoy should be able to gash the Dolphins with ease. McCoy just ripped through Cleveland's horrible defense, so he'll be able to pick up where he left off, as the Dolphins haven't defended ground attacks well at all, which is surprising considering the talent on their defensive line. Bilal Powell just had a big game against them, for crying out loud.
As for the Bills' passing attack, it's a completely different story. Tyrod Taylor has been pretty inconsistent, despite getting Sammy Watkins back from injury. Taylor seems to be good for a couple of completed deep bombs and some long runs, but then numerous ineffective drives are sprinkled in between. I don't see why things would change in this matchup, considering that Taylor completed only half of his passes versus the Dolphins the first time the teams met.
I wouldn't bench Taylor, as the stupid media is suggesting. It's not his fault that the Bills can't block. Center Eric Wood has been out, while the right tackle spot has been a problem all year. Left tackle Cordy Glenn has missed the past two games as well, and he's currently considered questionable. The strength of the Miami defense is the pass rush, so the Dolphins will put plenty of heat on Taylor.
I have to say that I was utterly shocked to see this spread. I expected the Dolphins to be favored by a point or two. Not only are the Bills the ones laying points, but they're favored by more than a field goal!
I don't understand this at all. If I were setting this spread, I would've made the Bills -2, as the Dolphins are slightly better despite starting a backup quarterback. I mentioned this in my NFL Power Rankings
, but Buffalo's previous five victories have been against the Browns, Jaguars, Bengals (when A.J. Green got hurt), 49ers and Rams. Before that, they defeated New England - when an injured Jacoby Brissett was quarterbacking the Patriots. It's safe to say that Buffalo's 7-7 record is a bit of a farce.
With that in mind, I like the Dolphins a good deal. The weather shouldn't be much of a factor, as the conditions are expected to be the same as they were in New York last Saturday, when Miami prevailed against the Jets. Thus, I don't see any reason not to bet the Dolphins. This is going to be a three-unit wager.
This line moved to -4 around noon. I have the urge to lock the Dolphins in at +4, but I'm curious to see if this spread moves up any more because the sharps were the ones who took it to -4. It's possible that they could be attempting to get a better number on Miami.
Here's a pick I like that I won't be locking in quite yet. The spread has risen to +4.5, which I don't understand. The Dolphins seem like the right side to me, but the sharps like Buffalo. I'm going to keep waiting to see where this spread lands. I'll increase the unit count if I can get +6.
No Byron Maxwell for the Dolphins, but given how limited Buffalo's offense is, I don't think it's a big deal. This spread has remained +4.5 across the board, with Bovada offering -105 juice. CRIS has +5 -115 listed, but I'm not paying 10 extra cents on the dollar for a non-key number.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
A slight sharp lean on the Bills.
Percentage of money on Buffalo: 61% (14,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Dolphins.
History: Bills have won 6 of the last 9 meetings.
Underdog is 74-42 ATS in the Dolphins' last 116 games.
True home teams are 33-24 ATS in the last 57 Bills games.
Bills are 18-30 ATS in their last 48 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
Opening Line: Bills -3.5.
Opening Total: 42.
Week 16 NFL Pick: Bills 20, Dolphins 19
Dolphins +4.5 -105 (3 Units) -- Correct; +$300
Under 44 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Dolphins 34, Bills 31
Atlanta Falcons (9-5) at Carolina Panthers (6-8)
Line: Falcons by 3. Total: 51.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Falcons -2.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Panthers -2.
Saturday, Dec 24, 1:00 PM
Comment on this game
The Game. Edge: None.
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ATLANTA OFFENSE: There are two major injury questions heading into this game, one for each team. For the Falcons, it's obviously Julio Jones. The dynamic receiver hasn't been missed the past two weeks in Atlanta victories because the Falcons have taken on two of the worst teams in the NFL, the Rams and 49ers. Had they battled legitimate NFL competition, their offense definitely would've slowed down. The latest update on Jones is that the Falcons plan on working him out at full speed Wednesday. We'll see what happens.
Meanwhile, Carolina's injury concern is to Luke Kuechly, one of the top linebackers in the NFL. Kuechly cleared concussion protocol, but didn't play Monday. It was the right call, but Kuechly made decide to return or this contest, as the Panthers are making a concerted effort to end the year on a strong note; their goal is to finish 8-8, which could propel them to a hot start in 2017. Having Kuechly on the field would make a huge difference, as he'd be able to stop any shenanigans Atlanta likes to utilize with its running backs.
Regardless of Kuechly's presence, Matt Ryan still figures to have a strong outing if he has Jones at his disposal. The Panthers' struggles against the pass are well-documented, and Atlanta's stout offensive line should be able to keep the Carolina pass-rushers at bay.
CAROLINA OFFENSE: For the first time since Week 10, Cam Newton completed more than half of his passes. Of course, it helped that he wasn't facing a difficult defense like Seattle or San Diego. The Redskins have some major problems in their secondary, and the same can be said about the Falcons.
Atlanta's secondary took a big hit when Desmond Trufant was lost to a season-ending shoulder injury. Opponents haven't exploited this weakness recently because the Falcons have battled two fake NFL teams (49ers, Rams), and before that, they took on the Chiefs, featuring Alex Smith, who doesn't take many shots downfield. Cam Newton certainly will, and he'll be able to connect with Kelvin Benjamin, who finally doesn't have to deal with an elite cornerback like Josh Norman, Casey Hayward or Richard Sherman. Newton will have the most success targeting Greg Olsen, as the Falcons have struggled to defend tight ends this year.
What Atlanta has had the most issues with has been the power running game. We saw this when Ryan Mathews trampled the Falcons several weeks ago. Jonathan Stewart pummeled through Washington's defense Monday night, so he'll be able to pick up where he left off.
RECAP: I was frustrated by the Monday night game. I picked the Redskins, but I didn't care about that because it was a zero-unit selection. I was frustrated because I knew that Carolina winning would ruin this spread.
I loved the idea of getting three points with the Panthers at home against the Falcons, and it was a realistic possibility. The advance spread was +2.5, so in the wake of Atlanta's blowout over San Francisco, the line could've opened +3 had Carolina lost on national TV. Alas, that did not happen, and now we're stuck with an unfavorable figure of +1.5.
My personal number is Panthers -2. Considering Carolina's improved play and determination to finish .500, these teams are close. The Falcons might be the slightest bit better, hence my calculated -2 figure. Unfortunately, there's not much of a difference between -2 and +1.5.
That said, I'm still taking the Panthers for about a unit. They've awakened and are now extremely dangerous. The Falcons, meanwhile, are just 1-2 against the three previous real NFL teams they've battled. They beat the Cardinals and lost to the Chiefs, both of which made sense, but they also lost at Philadelphia. The Eagles were able to dominate that game by being more physical than the Falcons, and the Panthers thrive on that same sort of physicality.
The Panthers seem like the right side to me, especially with the Falcons bound to sustain some sort of Aurora Snowmo effect. I just wish we were getting a better number.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: We're almost at +3! Actually, some +3 -120s are available (CRIS, BetUS), so I'm going to increase the unit count to two. I'm going to hold out for a better number though. The public is pounding the Falcons like crazy, while the sharps haven't really touched this game yet.
FRIDAY NOTES: We finally have a +3! The juice is -115 (Bovada), but still, that's perfectly fine. I love the Panthers at +3. In fact, I'm increasing this to four units and locking it in. Carolina matches up extremely well versus Atlanta, and this spread is a whopping five points off where it should be. Edit: I'm an idiot because this line is now +3 -105 at Bovada and 5Dimes. Ugh.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Once again, I was an idiot for locking this one in. Bovada has the Panthers at +3 +105. Ultimately, it won't matter if the Panthers win or lose by fewer than four points, and I think they'll do that, as they match up so well against the Falcons. This spread is way off from where it should be.
The Psychology. Edge: Panthers.
A revenge game for the Panthers, who would love to knock the Falcons out of the NFC South lead. The Aurora Snowmo effect is a factor.
The Vegas. Edge: Panthers.
As expected, everyone is betting the Falcons.
Percentage of money on Atlanta: 67% (13,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
History: Falcons have won 3 of the last 5 meetings.
Opening Line: Falcons -1.
Opening Total: 52.
Week 16 NFL Pick: Panthers 24, Falcons 22
Panthers +3 -115 (4 Units) -- Incorrect; -$460
Under 51 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Falcons 33, Panthers 16
Minnesota Vikings (7-7) at Green Bay Packers (8-6)
Line: Packers by 7. Total: 44.5.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Packers -5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Packers -6.
Saturday, Dec 24, 1:00 PM
Comment on this game
The Game. Edge: Vikings.
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HATE MAIL: First things first, here's some hate I got from last Monday night when my Ravens pick pushed:
Derp. Unfortunately, this Stiff character was too much of a coward to register, so he can come back with another name. This won't be the last time I'll get premature hate.
Here's Ross Avila again, who was featured last week:
First of all, I love how I'm considered to be choking when I actually have no impact on how my picks fare, since it's all up to the players. It's not like I'm the one fumbling at the 5-yard line! Second, if you're going to send hate, do your research and know gambling lingo. Otherwise, you'll end up looking like a bozo like Mr. Avila.
More Ross Avila:
This actually wasn't what I was referring to when I cited premature hatred. Still, it was nice to see one of the troll accounts take notice:
Ross Avila, like the coward that he is, blocked the Marty Millen troll account.
Ross did actually send me private messages once again. Here they are:
It's so painfully obvious that Ross and his boyfriend are so desperate for my nudes, it's rather pathetic. I'm actually embarrassed for him.
Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention All-He-Does-Is-Lose's weekly post:
I can't tell if this is meant to be funny, or if this guy is just an idiot, but I'm not sure how you can lose money again if you're up $55 for the week.
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: We all knew that Minnesota's defense wasn't quite what it was in the beginning of the season, but the consensus among the talking heads is that it's puzzling how horrible the stop unit was against the Colts. It wasn't very shocking for those paying attention, given that the Vikings were missing Harrison Smith, one of the top safeties in the NFL. Smith is the centerpiece of the defense, so losing him was absolutely detrimental, just as it has been in the past. Smith could return this week or next, but it sounds like he's probably out for the rest of the regular season.
With that in mind, Aaron Rodgers figures to have great success against Minnesota's worsened secondary. He'll still have to worry about Xavier Rhodes, who will surely clamp down on Jordy Nelson, but as long as Davante Adams doesn't drop multiple passes again, the Packers should be fine. Rodgers isn't 100 percent, thanks to some leg injuries, but the Vikings don't have the matchups on the edges to pressure the Packer quarterback consistently.
Another reason the Vikings have underperformed on this side of the ball this year has been the absence of defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. Minnesota has been weak on the interior as a consequence, surrendering lots of long runs. With Ty Montgomery gaining more confidence each week as a runner, the Packers should be able to exploit that liability.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: It's going to be very difficult for the Vikings to stop the Packers if Harrison Smith is out again, and it's looking like that will be the case. Thus, the Vikings' offense will have to keep up with Green Bay on the scoreboard.
If that doesn't sound like a realistic scenario, keep in mind that the Matt Barkley-led Bears just did the same thing last week. Barkley has actually been better than Sam Bradford - I never imagined typing that - but the Vikings' struggles haven't really been Bradford's fault. His offensive line is definitely to blame, so Minnesota will be praying that Nick Perry will be out once again with a hand injury. That way, the Vikings only have to worry about Julius Peppers breathing down Bradford's neck. If so, Bradford will have some success moving the chains on a poor secondary.
My concern with the Viking scoring unit is what'll happen when it reaches the red zone. Minnesota has sputtered quite often deep in enemy territory this season, but perhaps that'll change in the wake of Adrian Peterson's return. Peterson carried the ball six times last week, with only one "successful" run that concluded in a lost fumble. Peterson's initial estimated return was this week, so I think he'll be better in this matchup. I don't expect him to have a good game, but I have more faith in him converting short-yardage situations than Matt Asiata.
RECAP: I'd like the Vikings quite a bit if Harrison Smith were able to play. However, they're just not the same team without him. There's been enough of a sample size that we know that Minnesota's defense is much worse when missing its star safety.
That said, I'm still leaning toward the Vikings. I think they'll be able to score on Green Bay's leaky defense enough to keep this game close. Unfortunately, there's not enough line value to bet Minnesota at all.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This spread has inched to Packers -7, thanks to a ton of public money coming in on Green Bay. The juice on the Packers is even +100 across the board (+105 at Bovada!) The books aren't getting any sharp money on the Vikings, and considering Harrison Smith's injury, that's not surprising in the slightest.
FRIDAY NOTES: Adrian Peterson is out for the Vikings, but the injury I'm waiting on is Harrison Smith's. If Smith can't go, the Vikings won't have a chance, and I may even change my pick to the Packers. If Smith plays, Minnesota could be the right side. The stud safety is currently considered questionable, so we'll just have to wait until tomorrow morning.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Harrison Smith is playing, so I'm definitely sticking with the Vikings. I'm going to join the sharps and throw a unit on Minnesota at +7 -115 (Bovada). This spread seems like it's too large, as Minnesota's defense has kept all of its games close this year when Smith has been in the lineup.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Vikings.
No surprise where the action is going.
Percentage of money on Green Bay: 81% (21,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Packers.
History: Packers have won 10 of the last 13 meetings (excluding 2013 tie).
Vikings are 8-25 ATS in their road finale since 1980.
Packers are 28-16 ATS in December home games since 2000.
Packers are 32-20 ATS at home since 2010.
Packers are 40-22 ATS in divisional games since 2006.
Aaron Rodgers is 75-48 ATS since 2009.
Opening Line: Packers -7.
Opening Total: 43.5.
Week 16 NFL Pick: Packers 27, Vikings 23
Vikings +7 -115 (1 Unit) -- Incorrect; -$115
Over 44.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Packers 38, Vikings 25
New York Jets (4-10) at New England Patriots (12-2)
Line: Patriots by 17. Total: 45.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Patriots -13.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Patriots -14.5.
Saturday, Dec 24, 1:00 PM
Comment on this game
The Game. Edge: Patriots.
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 discussed a naughty quote from Charles Davis last week when he said, "There's a new emphasis on guys piling on each other. They don't want anyone pulling anything." I theorized that this could prompt Matt Millen to try to murder Davis because Millen wants guys pulling stuff, but to my relief, Davis was safe and sound, analyzing the Falcons-49ers game. On second thought, I'm not sure if he died of boredom or not.
Here's a compilation of naughty or confusing quotes I heard from analysts the past couple of weeks. I'll list them as well as the five possible analysts who might have said them. Try matching who said what. The answer key will be at the very end of the Random NFL Notes segment:
"He whips it outside."
"Aaron Rodgers pulled out early."
"Put the big body on him, see if this works!"
"That may have forced the Ravens to go for it on third down."
"That's great ball-handling by Andy Dalton."
2. I didn't get to discuss Jeff Fisher much because I wrote about these notes last week before he was fired. Besides, I wrote about it on my NFL Coach Firing Grades page. What I didn't talk about there was my crackpot theory that I mentioned on the picks podcast last week.
If you hate me and didn't want to support the podcast, here's my crackpot theory in a nutshell: Jeff Fisher intentionally sabotaged the Rams.
If you bet on the Rams heavily like I did this year, you very well know that Fisher was mailing it in. His game plans were terrible for the most part; he didn't know that Danny Woodhead was no longer on the Patriots; and he didn't even bring his challenge flag to one of the games. Fisher was extended for two years this past summer, and he probably thought he didn't have to try at all.
So, how did he sabotage the Rams, outside of ruining a 2016 campaign that probably wasn't going to go anywhere anyway? The Jared Goff trade, of course. Every team we spoke to prior to the draft liked Carson Wentz more than Goff. There were people in the Rams organization that wanted Wentz over Goff. When the Rams moved up to No. 1, we assumed it was to take Wentz, but Michael Silver broke the news that Goff would be the pick, and he knew this because he's great friends with Fisher. While members of the Rams' front office and coaching staff wanted Wentz, Fisher chose to override all of them by taking Goff. Then, he absolutely destroyed Goff's confidence by putting him behind Sean Mannion on the depth chart for no explicable reason!
Not only did Fisher select Goff, but he also spent numerous resources to move up to No. 1. Now, it's going to take the Rams a very long time to recover from this horrible trade. Fisher will be laughing his a** off in the meantime because he destroyed the organization.
So, why did he do it? I think it has something to do with that strange 2-year extension he received this past summer. Fisher hadn't achieved a winning season in St. Louis in four years, so why the hell did ownership give him an extension? I think Fisher knew something or saw something or heard something he didn't like, and he was paid off. Whatever it was had to piss Fisher off because he quit on his team and orchestrated an asinine trade to ruin its future.
Now, I'm not saying this is 100-percent certain. It's a crackpot theory, after all. But Kenny said it was a good one, so I think there's definitely a good chance that I'm right!
3. Are you Christmas shopping for a football fan this holiday season? Don't know what to get them? Facebook friend Steve V. pointed this out to me:
What a great gift! And it's not fake, either. It's real - you can find it on Amazon!
I think it's awesome for a fan of any team. If you give this to a Browns fan, they'll obviously get the misery. However, it works for any other fan because they'll realize how lucky they are that they don't cheer for the Browns.
ANSWER KEY TO NAUGHTY/CONFUSING QUOTES:
"He whips it outside." - Charles Davis
"Aaron Rodgers pulled out early." - Phil Simms
"Put the big body on him, see if this works!" - Matt Millen (duh)
"That may have forced the Ravens to go for it on third down." - Dan Fouts
"That's great ball-handling by Andy Dalton." - John Lynch
NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: The Patriots had major problems with the Jets the first time they played them. They won, 22-17, but trailed for most of the game, as they just couldn't get anything going. Considering the problems the Jets have in their secondary, it was a surprise to most that Tom Brady couldn't generate consistent offense.
The trenches proved to be extremely important. The Jets have a terrific defensive line when all of the players are motivated, and they certainly were when going up against New England. The interior blocking for the Patriots isn't very strong, so that would explain why Brady had more success when Derek Wolfe was knocked out with an injury in Sunday's game. As long as the Jets put forth maximum effort and don't lose anyone to injury, they could limit the Rob Gronkowski-less New England offense again.
That said, I expect the Patriots to be more productive offensively this time around, as they have a weapon they didn't really possess in the first meeting. That would be Dion Lewis. The dynamic runner was on the field against the Jets, but saw just six carries, as he wasn't a big part of the game plan just yet because he was coming off an injury. Lewis saw 20 touches this past week, so I expect him to gash a New York defense that has been weak to the run recently.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: It's currently unclear who's going to start at quarterback for the Jets. Bryce Petty took a crushing blow when the offensive line "forgot" to block. Facebook friend Shaya F. theorizes that it was intentional because the players want Ryan Fitzpatrick to be the starter. I wouldn't put it past them to intentionally harm Petty, as the Jets have some serious malcontents on their team.
Regardless of who's under center, it's going to be difficult for the Jets to move the chains consistently. If it's Petty, I'm sure he'll generate some first downs by throwing passes to Robby Anderson and Bilal Powell again, but it's not going to be a reliable form of offense. Brandon Marshall is hurt, while the two offensive tackles can't block, so this sounds like a recipe for disaster against the Patriots, who have improved defensively lately.
New York's only hope on this side of the ball is if Powell breaks free for some big gains. Powell has been terrific the past two weeks, so that could happen. However, the chances of that are slim, given that the Patriots are pretty solid against the run.
RECAP: The Patriots are obviously going to win this game, but as far as covering is concerned, that's a different story. This number is insanely high. Favorites of 16.5 or more are just 18-33 against the spread in the past 25 years. In fact, there hasn't even been a favorite of 16.5 or more since 2013, when the Broncos were -26 over the Jaguars. Denver won by 16.
Now, it might be a no-brainer to some that New England will beat New York by three or four touchdowns, and that certainly could happen. However, without Gronkowski, the Patriots haven't won by more than 16 yet, and they've battled the 49ers, Jets and Rams. Why would that suddenly change? The Rams are awful, and New England had them at home, and yet the final score of that contest was 26-10.
I'm not betting this because the Jets are comprised of a bunch of quitters and could be no-shows once again. But if they put forth maximum effort, they'll hang around enough to cover this large spread.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The Jets' motivation is unclear at the moment, so I wouldn't be able to bet this game confidently. Some +17s are beginning to appear, by the way. Bovada has the Jets +17 -115, and 5Dimes lists the Jets at +17 -120.
FRIDAY NOTES: My stance remains the same. If the Jets show up and are willing to play hard, they'll cover. If they mail in yet another game, which they're wont to do because many of the players on the team are lazy, overpaid bums, then the Patriots will win by three or more touchdowns. I wouldn't bet this contest as a result.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There was a mild scare with Todd Bowles being hospitalized, but he's fine. Someone who's not fine is star Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who has been ruled out. If I had any sort of confidence that the Jets would show up, that would warrant a unit increase of some sort. I just don't trust them though.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on New England: 55% (16,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
History: Patriots have won 22 of the last 28 meetings.
History: Home Team has won 12 of the last 16 meetings.
Jets are 11-5 ATS as underdogs of 7+ since 2010.
Patriots are 47-37 ATS vs. AFC East opponents since 2001.
Patriots are 32-16 ATS in December & January home games since 2000.
Tom Brady is 203-65 as a starter (148-107 ATS).
Tom Brady is 28-31 ATS as a home favorite of -9 or more (17-24 ATS since November 2007).
Opening Line: Patriots -14.
Opening Total: 44.5.
Week 16 NFL Pick: Patriots 27, Jets 13
Jets +17 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Under 45 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Patriots 41, Jets 3
Tennessee Titans (8-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)
Line: Titans by 4.5. Total: 44.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Titans -3.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Titans -6.
Saturday, Dec 24, 1:00 PM
Comment on this game
The Game. Edge: Titans.
As with the random NFL notes, I'm going to have all of my Random College Football Notes on one page as well. Oh, and you can find my College Football Picks here.
Random College Football Notes:
1. There was never any doubt Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey would declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. The former is a possible top-five pick, while McCaffrey could be chosen in the first round. They are running backs to boot, so they're at greater risk of an injury. Their decisions to bolt for the NFL were no-brainers.
Their decisions to sit out their bowl games were no-brainers as well.
For those of you who haven't heard, Fournette opted to deactivate himself for his school's upcoming bowl game. He's gotten a ton of flak for this. And for no good reason, either. The same is happening to Stanford's Christian McCaffrey on Monday afternoon, as McCaffrey has opted to make the same decision.
First of all, non-playoff bowl games are meaningless. Even the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and Fiesta Bowl. Winning those games does nothing. If LSU loses because Fournette isn't on the field, so what? How will that change anything? Will Stanford suffer any repercussions because it won't have McCaffrey for the Sun Bowl? Absolutely not.
Second, it's the freaking Citrus Bowl and Sun Bowl, people. The Citrus Bowl isn't even good enough to be the Orange Bowl. It's the freaking Citrus Bowl. I didn't even know that was a real bowl until today! Seriously, if you're an LSU student, are you planning on telling your grandkids 50 years from now about the great Citrus Bowl game LSU played in? How about some perspective?
The Sun Bowl is even worse. At least you can put citrus fruits into a bowl. Try putting the sun into a bowl, and see what happens. The people who are angry about these decisions should be put into a rocket sailing toward the sun.
And finally, Fournette and McCaffrey were in school merely to go to the pros. If you're in school to be a newspaper writer, you take journalism classes. If you want to be a programmer, you take computer science courses. If you want to be someone who spends all your money at Starbucks, you'll be an art major. Fournette and McCaffrey are there to be NFL players, and they've done enough to be a early draft choices. Playing in the Citrus Bowl and Sun Bowl would put them at risk. What if they get hurt? What if it's such a major injury that they're knocked out of first-round consideration? Just ask Jaylon Smith how much playing in some stupid bowl game meant to him!
Fournette and McCaffrey are simply doing what every other hypocrite would be doing if they were in their shoes - they're looking out for their own best interests. If that means not playing in some stupid Citrus Bowl or Sun Bowl game, then so be it.
2. Speaking of players entering the draft, we have an Underclassmen Draft Tracker available. I post my thoughts on each prospect who announces he's staying or going to the pros. I also post various reports about prospects who are unsure.
Ohio State safety Malik Hooker doesn't think he's going pro. He had this to say:
"Right now it's 100-percent sure I'm coming back to Ohio State."
What a weird statement. It'd be one thing if he said, "Right now, I think I'm coming back to Ohio State," or "I'm 100-percent sure I'm coming back to Ohio State." But with his quote, could anyone be more wishy-washy? Right now, it's "100 percent," but what does "right now" have to do with anything? He doesn't have to decide right now, so what does it matter if he's "100 percent" right now? In this moment, he was 100 percent, but perhaps he ate spaghetti that night and dropped to 90 percent. What if he shot a game of pool afterward, scratched on the 8-ball, tore someone's guts open and then dropped to like 3 percent? It's impossible to gather anything concrete from his statement!
3. Seeing Washington head coach Chris Petersen raise the 12th Man flag in the Seahawks-Rams game last Thursday reminded me that I wanted to discuss him. Petersen is reportedly getting a 10-year contract extension to stay with the Huskies.
Now, don't get me wrong; I think Petersen is a very good head coach. He might even be great. But 10 years!? Are you kidding me? Why would any school give anyone a 10-year extension? A lot can happen in 10 years. Do you really want to be locked into someone for that long? Hell, most marriages don't even last 10 years. What if Petersen regresses and starts sucking Year 3 into his deal? That might not seem feasible right now, but look at Brian Kelly, who was beloved when he went to the national championship, and yet, he's now devolved into a major a**hole no one wants around. That period wasn't even half as long as Petersen's contract extension!
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: Gus Bradley was fired right after Sunday's loss to Houston, and rightfully so. Bradley was a poor coach, owning a 14-48 record with the Jaguars. If Bill Belichick went 0-16 for 17 consecutive years, he'd still have a better winning percentage. That's not a made-up statistic.
It wasn't all Bradley's fault, as general manager David Caldwell deserves his share of the blame for picking Blake Bortles over Khalil Mack in the 2014 NFL Draft. Bortles has been horrible, and he has regressed even more since Greg Olson was fired. Bortles, who doesn't care about his pro career, hasn't taken to coaching very well, which would explain why his mechanics keep getting worse. He has a positive matchup against a poor Tennessee secondary, but I don't think he'll be able to take advantage of it.
If Bortles were actually trying, I'd say it isn't fair to him because his supporting cast sucks. Allen Robinson is dogging it; the offensive line can't block; and the running game is very poor, despite Caldwell spending $35 million on Chris Ivory. The Titans will shut down Ivory and T.J. Yeldon, and they'll also put heavy pressure on Bortles with their dynamic pass-rushers.
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: The Titans run the ball extremely well. It didn't seem like their ground attack would have a good matchup in the first meeting with the Jaguars, but both DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry trampled Jacksonville. It didn't appear as though the Jaguars were trying very hard in that game, however, and they've been able to clamp down on the run since, thanks mostly to Malik Jackson, whom the Broncos desperately miss right now.
The Jaguars should do better versus Murray and Henry this time, though I don't think they'll completely stop them because Tennessee's ground attack is so potent. The offensive line is just that terrific, especially the tackles, who have done a great job of keeping Marcus Mariota upright.
Jacksonville doesn't have a threatening pass rush at all, so Mariota will have plenty of time to scan the field and find an open receiver. The time in the pocket will be crucial because the Jaguars have a terrific secondary, and their linebacking corps is great as well.
RECAP: The Titans moved way up my NFL Power Rankings this week, shooting to No. 6. They've been one of the most impressive teams in the NFL lately, beating the Broncos and winning at Kansas City. They also dismantled the Packers in Week 10. The Titans are on fire, and they could win this game easily.
However, there are psychological factors involved. The Titans just had two games against top-level opponents, and now they have to battle the lowly Jaguars before taking on Houston in a must-win game. Tennessee could have a low energy level, while the Jaguars will likely be up for this game in order to avenge the Week 8 blowout on national TV.
That said, Jacksonville will find some way to blow this game. Bortles is just that bad. He could also be horrible for 55 minutes and then find a way to get a back-door cover.
This game just isn't appealing from a betting perspective. I'm going to pick the Titans, but for zero units.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There's a ton of public money coming in on the Titans. Considering that this is a trap game, I wouldn't touch Tennessee. Then again, Jacksonville is equally unappealing.
FRIDAY NOTES: As is usually the case with the Jaguars, I'd be afraid of a back-door cover when betting against them. Considering what happened in the Titans-Bears game a few weeks ago, something similar could occur. Then again, Jacksonville could always implode. I'm not touching this game with a 50,000-foot pole.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps haven't touched the Jaguars at all this week. This game is not appealing to me, but the public disagrees.
The Psychology. Edge: Jaguars.
A big-time revenge game for the Jaguars after the Titans embarrassed them on national TV.
The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
Everyone and their evil stepmother is betting the Titans.
Percentage of money on Tennessee: 81% (12,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Jaguars.
History: These teams have split meetings the past seven years.
Opening Line: Titans -3.5.
Opening Total: 44.5.
Week 16 NFL Pick: Titans 23, Jaguars 17
Titans -4.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Under 44 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Jaguars 38, Titans 17
San Diego Chargers (5-9) at Cleveland Browns (0-14)
Line: Chargers by 5. Total: 46.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Chargers -4.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Chargers -6.
Saturday, Dec 24, 1:00 PM
Comment on this game
The Game. Edge: Chargers.
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!
SAN DIEGO OFFENSE: The major injury news everyone is currently waiting on regarding this game is that of Melvin Gordon. The dynamic running back has been projected to return this week, but Mike McCoy wouldn't commit to his status just yet.
Gordon's return is quite crucial to San Diego's aspirations of winning this game. The offense has barely done anything in the near-two games that he's been out. Sure, Philip Rivers has generated an impressive drive or two, but the Chargers have otherwise been very lethargic on this side of the ball. Poor play from the offensive line hasn't helped matters either.
Fortunately for the Chargers, they happen to be battling the Browns, a team mostly devoid of talent on defense. They have some solid players, but they can't stop the run, rush the passer for the most part, or cover, thanks to horrible safety play and Joe Haden's injuries. The Browns won't be able to stop the Chargers whatsoever, especially if Gordon plays.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: I think it's quite apparent that Hue Jackson is trying to go 0-16. He at least wants the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft (I have them picking Myles Garrett in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft.) Why do I believe this? Because Jackson keeps starting Robert Griffin; he announced that Griffin would once again get the nod this week.
Starting Griffin over Cody Kessler is one of the most asinine decisions in NFL history, unless, of course, the goal is to lose. Griffin is an abomination; perhaps the worst quarterback in the NFL. And I'm not just talking starters. In fact, there might be some punters better at quarterbacking than Griffin right now. I sure as hell would trust Johnny Hekker over Griffin. I'm not joking. Hekker, the Rams' punter, is 6-of-11 as a passer in his career. That's a completion percentage of 54.5. Griffin's completion percentage this year is 50, and that's not taking into account his horrible interceptions and fumbling capability. OK, OK, I guess Griffin can scramble pretty well, so maybe, just maybe, he's a slightly better quarterback than Hekker. Maybe.
I'd say all kidding aside as a segue, but I really wasn't kidding. At any rate - that works - the Browns won't do much against San Diego's defense, which is quite good. The Chargers are tough to run on, and they pressure quarterbacks extremely well on the edge. Joey Bosa is going to have a huge game against Austin Pasztor. Meanwhile, Casey Hayward will put the clamps on the injured Terrelle Pryor, though Griffin isn't capable of getting the ball to his top receiver anyway because he's too incompetent. Hekker, on the other hand...
RECAP: The Browns play at Pittsburgh next week, so this is their only remaining chance of winning a game, unless, of course, the Steelers have nothing to play for in Week 17 and sit their starters. Even then, it might be a challenge for Cleveland.
That's why it's a shame the Browns aren't using Kessler. I know, they're aiming for 0-16, but it would be nice if Kessler could help them at least be competitive. If Gordon suits up, this will be a blowout. I'm not betting this game because of the public money on San Diego, but there's no way in hell I'm taking Cleveland.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: It appears as though the Browns are once again getting some consideration from the sharps, as this spread hs dropped to -5.5 at Pinnacle and 5Dimes. Despite this, you couldn't pay me to bet Cleveland.
FRIDAY NOTES: There's some big money coming in on Cleveland, and it's not from the public. Whether it's the sharps or shraps remains to be seen, but considering it's the Browns they're betting on, probably contrarian shraps who have been murdered this year because all they do is fade the public. Anyway, Melvin Gordon is out, so the Chargers don't look very appealing, especially with lots of money coming in on them.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It may seem easy to say the Chargers are going to win by five or more, and that's exactly what the public is thinking. But I'm not going to back publicly bet teams after the books have endured five consecutive losing weeks. Besides, King Dunlap is out, and we all know what happens when Philip Rivers has terrible pass protection.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
A good chunk of money is on the Chargers.
Percentage of money on San Diego: 77% (11,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: .
Philip Rivers is 34-25 ATS as a starter after Nov. 30.
Opening Line: Chargers -6.5.
Opening Total: 45.5.
Week 16 NFL Pick: Chargers 24, Browns 13
Chargers -5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
Under 46 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
Browns 20, Chargers 17
Week 16 NFL Picks - Late Games
Indianapolis at Oakland,
Arizona at Seattle,
Tampa Bay at New Orleans,
San Francisco at Los Angeles,
Cincinnati at Houston,
Baltimore at Pittsburgh,
Denver at Kansas City,
Detroit at Dallas
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 16 NFL Picks - Late Games
NFL Picks - Jan. 22
2021 NFL Mock Draft - Jan. 20
Fantasy Football Rankings - Jan. 11
2022 NFL Mock Draft - Nov. 15
NFL Power Rankings - Nov. 14
2020 College Football Recruiting Rankings - April 14
2020 NBA Mock Draft - Sept. 27
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 19, 2020): 3-1 (+$285)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 19, 2020): 2-1 (+$285)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 19, 2020): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 19, 2020): 3-1 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 19, 2020): $0
2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-2, 50.0% (-$135)
2020 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 135-124-6, 52.1% (+$3,565)
2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-43-3, 51.1% (-$2,365)
2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-22-1, 62.7% (+$5,515)
2020 Season Over-Under: 140-120-6, 53.9% ($0)
2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$375
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%)
2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%)
2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%)
2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%)
2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%)
2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%)
2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%)
2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%)
2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$3,585)
2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$6,105)
2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$4,235)
2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,880)
2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,335)
2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$7,445)
2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$7,825)
2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885)
2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$3,215)
2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$780)
2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$4,300)
2018 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 140-134-14, 51.3% (+$845)
2019 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 149-128-9, 53.6% (+$1,200)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%)
2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%)
2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%)
2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%)
2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%)
2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110)
2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510)
2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260)
2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180)
2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715)
2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130)
2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890)
2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820)
2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475)
2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395)
2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-41-2, 55.9% (+$2,670)
2019 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-36-2, 55.0% (+$655)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%)
2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%)
2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%)
2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%)
2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%)
2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420)
2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055)
2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330)
2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790)
2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260)
2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650)
2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970)
2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120)
2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465)
2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595)
2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 27-32-1, 45.8% (-$4,735)
2019 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-27-2, 57.8% (+$2,185)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%)
2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%)
2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%)
2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%)
2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%)
2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%)
2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900)
2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860)
2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195)
2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5)
2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135)
2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30)
2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340)
2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0)
2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95)
2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640)
2018 Season Over-Under: 118-128-3, 48.0% (-$225)
2019 Season Over-Under: 126-133-4, 48.6% (-$50)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035
2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775
2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865
2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200
2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590
2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685
2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245
2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275
2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510
2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,495
2019 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,715
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%)
2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400)
2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720)
2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640)
2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810)
2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870)
2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560)
2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900)
2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350)
2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780)
2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040)
2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-3, 57.1% (-$640)
2019 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3-1, 50.0% (-$625)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,992-2,761-179, 52.0% (+$13,870)
Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 955-859-49 (52.7%)
Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 452-396-23 (53.3%)
Career Over-Under: 2,462-2,414-66 (50.5%)
Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%)
Career NFL Picks of the Month: 44-29-1 (60.3%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record
This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.
Cowboys: 11-5 (2014-19: 47-50)
Bears: 6-11 (2014-19: 45-48)
Bucs: 7-10 (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: 13-4 (2014-19: 54-46)
Panthers: 13-3 (2014-19: 47-52)
Rams: 6-12 (2014-19: 53-41)
Redskins: 7-8 (2014-19: 47-48)
Vikings: 9-7 (2014-19: 51-45)
Saints: 7-11 (2014-19: 49-50)
Seahawks: 8-9 (2014-19: 43-56)
Bills: 11-7 (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: 8-9 (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: 6-11 (2014-19: 48-47)
Texans: 10-5 (2014-19: 48-47)
Chiefs: 13-4 (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: 43-48 (2011-19: 405-394)
2x Game Edge: 64-60 (2011-19: 213-210)
2x Motivation Edge: 46-30 (2011-19: 347-288)
2x Spread Edge: 43-34 (2011-19: 61-55)
2x Vegas Edge: 25-22 (2011-19: 320-335)
2x Trend Edge: 19-13 (2011-19: 250-228)
Double Edge: 27-21 (2011-19: 122-107)
Triple Edge: 5-4 (2011-19: 21-18)