Los Angeles Rams (1-1) at San Francisco 49ers (0-2) Line: Rams by 3. Total: 40.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Rams -2.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Rams -3.
Thursday, Sept 21, 8:25 PM
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The Game. Edge: Rams.
WEEK 2 RECAP: Despite losing both of my five-unit picks (Browns +7.5, Eagles +6), I finished in the black with the Lions covering Monday night. I was 9-7 (+$45) in Week 2.
That said, I'm still extremely disappointed in the result. The Browns nearly covered - they had a first-and-goal on the Baltimore 3-yard line in the fourth quarter to cover - but couldn't get it done. DeShone Kizer getting concussed/suffering a migraine didn't help, and things only got worse when Hue Jackson put him into the game because Kizer made some questionable decisions after that.
Meanwhile, the Eagles not covering was a travesty. They held a lead as six-point dogs at the end of the third quarter, but a slew of mistakes - Torrey Smith's dropped touchdown, Darren Sproles' fumble recovery, Jake Elliott's missed 30-yard field goal, Vinny Curry's missed sack of Alex Smith to force a punt, Carson Wentz's weird deflection interception in a tie game - absolutely capsized them. Of the two losses, I'd say Browns-Ravens was probably a deserved loss, but the Eagles definitely should've covered.
I'll be posting these NFL Picks all day Tuesday. Follow me at @walterfootball for updates.
LOS ANGELES OFFENSE: The Rams' failure to consistently score on the Redskins was a huge disappointment. Not that I was expecting another 47-point output, or anything, but posting just 20 against a defense with some serious safety issues was disheartening.
Jared Goff, while still much better than he was in 2016, took a step backward. He held the ball in the pocket way too long, and unlike in Week 1, he was punished for it. Goff needs to process information quicker because he looks like a bad version of Drew Bledsoe right now. That said, he may not be punished for it in this game, as San Francisco's only consistent pass-rusher is DeForest Buckner. The former first-rounder abused Seattle's front, but the Rams have a better blocking unit. Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan should be able to neutralize him. Meanwhile, Solomon Thomas, who has shown nothing yet, will be a non-factor versus Andrew Whitworth.
Goff will have more time in the pocket this week to expose another team with a bad safety situation. Eric Reid is out for a few weeks, meaning Jaquiski Tartt gets to start again. Meanwhile, I like Todd Gurley as a receiver out of the backfield, as he should be able to run circles around a Reuben Foster-less linebacking corps that has struggled ever since the first-round rookie was knocked out with an injury.
SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: While the Rams' blocking will hold up, I can't say the same thing about San Francisco's. Joe Staley should be able to handle Robert Quinn, but what about Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers in the interior? The middle of the 49ers' offensive line is terrible. Both Brockers and Donald figure to have dominant performances.
Brian Hoyer won't have much time to find his receivers downfield, which has been a theme for the 49ers' offense thus far. I'm sure Hoyer is anticipating a matchup against a weaker pass rush at some point, but he'll have to wait. He'll try to target Pierre Garcon, but his No. 1 wideout will have a tough matchup against Trumaine Johnson, an excellent cornerback.
It seems like the only way the 49ers will be able to move the chains is via the occasional long Carlos Hyde run once again. It's not a surprise that Hyde is playing well, as he's in the best shape of his career right now. Unfortunately for Hyde, he doesn't have good blocking in front of him to be consistently dominant.
RECAP: My rule for Thursday Night Football is to just take the better team unless the spread is obscenely large. We didn't have that opportunity last week because I had the Texans and Bengals ranked pretty evenly. That's not the case with these two teams.
The Rams are better than the 49ers. They'll actually be able to block San Francisco, while the 49ers won't have success in that regard versus Los Angeles. The Rams losing Week 2 put a bad taste in my mouth, especially since it didn't appear as though they were putting forth maximum effort, and I have not forgotten San Francisco's domination over the Rams in the season opener last year. However, I think the Rams weren't giving it their all against the Redskins because they had to play in four days, and on a short week, the superior team should have the advantage.
I'm going to take the Rams for a couple of units. Except for the running game, which is about even, they're just better across the board, and I think this spread should be -3; not -2.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This line has risen to Rams -3. I thought about dropping the unit count to one, but I still like the Rams, as the 49ers are very banged up right now; Reuben Foster is out and Jimmie Ward is questionable. Plus, you can get -3 +100 in multiple books, which is better than -2.5 -130 or whatever.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Rams -3 +100 is no longer available, but you can get -3 -105 at BetUS, which is what I'm going to take for two units. The Rams are the stronger team, and they'll benefit from a short week. I wish we were getting more value with them, but I think they'll be able to score just enough against San Francisco's injury-ravaged defense to win by more than a field goal. The 49ers, meanwhile, shouldn't be able to score much because of their poor offensive line. I'm going to also put half of a unit on the under.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.
The public loves the Rams.
Percentage of money on Los Angeles: 75% (25,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: 49ers.
History: 49ers have won 17 of the last 23 meetings, excluding the 2012 tie.
Baltimore Ravens (2-0) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) Line: Ravens by 3.5. Total: 38.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Ravens -4.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Ravens -3.
Sunday, Sept 24, 9:30 AM
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The Game. Edge: Ravens.
My overrated-underrated feature will return in this spot, and I'm going to emphasize injuries (particularly those on the offensive line)...
Underrated NFL Teams:
Arizona Cardinals: Calling the Cardinals underrated when they nearly lost to the Colts may sound strange, but hear me out. We've seen Arizona at its worst so far. The team has always sucked in early East Coast games, and those are the only sorts of contests the Cardinals have played thus far. They haven't been at home yet, and they'll be better offensively when Mike Iupati, D.J. Humphries and Jermaine Gresham return from injury, which could be in Week 3. They still have some outstanding play-makers on defense as well.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles won their season opener and battled the Chiefs extremely tough, yet they still aren't recognized as one of the better teams in the NFL despite having no weaknesses outside of the secondary. The defensive backfield is an issue because Ronald Darby and Rodney McLeod have both suffered injuries. However, the Eagles could have beaten the Chiefs had a series of unfortunate events not have happened; Torrey Smith dropped touchdown, Darren Sproles fumbled punt return, Jake Elliott missed 30-yard field goal, Carson Wentz late interception off a deflection, Vinny Curry's missed sack of Alex Smith to force a punt in a tie game in the middle of the fourth quarter. I think if the Eagles and Chiefs battled each other 10 times, each team would win on five occasions.
Overrated NFL Teams:
Baltimore Ravens: The general public doesn't understand how important offensive line play is, hence why the Falcons didn't cross -3 when it was announced Packers tackle David Bakhtiari was out. Marshal Yanda is one of the top guards in the NFL, and now he's out. Baltimore's offense will take a major step backward without Yanda, who is irreplaceable. His backup, Tony Bergstrom, really struggled in relief versus the Browns.
Carolina Panthers: Everyone is going gaga for Christian McCaffrey, but can the Panthers even block for him? They still have their issues up front, and I'm not convinced Cam Newton is healthy; he was woefully inaccurate in the opener and not much better the following week. Meanwhile, the defense still isn't the same without Josh Norman. Thus far, the Panthers have battled Brian Hoyer and Tyrod Taylor, but the 49ers have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, while the Bills couldn't block either because Cordy Glenn was hurt.
Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys were definitely legitimate in 2016, but I think they'll take a step backward this season. They lost two members of their fantastic offensive line - anyone who still says they have one of the top lines in the NFL is very misinformed - while three key players in their secondary have departed as well. Now, Orlando Scandrick is banged up. Things won't go as smoothly for the Cowboys in 2017.
New York Giants: The Giants have done nothing to improve their blocking. I have a tough time seeing them earning another playoff spot this year, especially now that Brandon Marshall is on the roster (clearly, subtraction by addition). They were actually extremely lucky last season, as they easily could've finished 7-9 or so. They trailed the Rams in London; they barely beat the pedestrian Bengals; they got to battle the Ravens when they were missing three blockers, and they still barely won that game. I can go on and on, but luck may not be on the Giants' side this year. They had a poor debut, but people will attribute that to Odell Beckham's absence, rather than the Giants' ineptitude.
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: Most casual bettors don't pay attention to offensive line injuries, so many may not have even heard of Marshal Yanda, who was lost for the year with a fractured ankle. This is an absolutely enormous loss for the Ravens. Yanda was perhaps the top guard in all of football, and his replacement, Tony Bergstrom, is just a journeyman who barely survives final cuts every year. Bergstrom played poorly in brief action last week, and that was against the Browns. What's going to happen when he, and the rest of Baltimore's pedestrian interior offensive line, have to go up against Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson?
Jacksonville's defensive line is going to dominate this game. Not only do the Jaguars hold a huge edge in the interior, I also like Yannick Ngakoue going up against Austin Howard. The right tackle wasn't tested last week, but he'll certainly have his issues against Ngakoue, who is blossoming into a star.
The running game will be a non-factor. Joe Flacco will constantly be under siege, so he'll have to rely on short passes to Jeremy Maclin, Ben Watson and Buck Allen to move the chains. This worked occasionally against the Browns, but Jacksonville's linebacking corps is better than Cleveland's. Maclin is the only player of the trio who has a positive matchup. Meanwhile, Jalen Ramsey will blanket Mike Wallace, though it's not like Wallace was doing anything anyway.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: The Jaguars don't have a great offensive line situation either. Rookie left tackle Cam Robinson has struggled mightily thus far, and now he has to battle Terrell Suggs. That's not going to end well for him. Jacksonville's interior blocking isn't much better, and that unit faces a difficult challenge as well. Stud defensive tackle Brandon Williams could be out with a foot injury, but the Ravens have other talented defensive linemen who will give Blake Bortles some problems.
Speaking of Bortles, he was finally exposed last week. Those who were proclaiming the Jaguars to be a surprise playoff team following their Week 1 victory over the Texans forgot how awful Bortles is. Bortles didn't have to do much in Houston, but once the Jaguars failed to establish a huge lead against the Titans, he was forced into mistakes. Bortles will be throwing into a talented secondary with no Allen Robinson at his disposal, so that's just asking for trouble.
The Jaguars will need to keep the ball out of Bortles' hands as much as possible, so that means establishing Leonard Fournette. The stud rookie was terrific against a distracted Houston team, but he found no running lanes versus the Titans. He may suffer a similar fate in London. Williams' absence would help, but I still don't think Fournette's blockers can push around Baltimore's defensive front without Williams.
RECAP: Both of these teams are going to have major problems scoring, which means two things: 1) I'm leaning toward the underdog, and 2) I like the under.
The underdog, however, is a Bortles-led Jaguar team. If Jacksonville had even a below-average quarterback, I would place three or even four units on it, as a Yanda-less Baltimore team doesn't deserve to be favored by four on a neutral field against an opponent with a terrific defense. However, I'm terrified of Bortles. The Jaguars will be very competitive in this game, and then Bortles could just ruin it with an untimely pick-six. He's an abomination, and Doug Marrone's decision to start him over Brandon Allen was appalling. It made more sense to just cut Bortles outright, yet Marrone simply handed Bortles the job even though Bortles didn't earn it. I guess Marrone related to Bortles because he didn't earn Jacksonville's head-coaching gig either after undermining Gus Bradley all last year.
Anyway, I'm going to take the points. This should be a defensive grinder, and I like the fact that the Jaguars have experience playing these silly 9:30 a.m. games. Unfortunately, I can't bet heavily on Bortles. It's a shame because this would be a three- or four-unit bet even if Chad Henne were starting, but I can't support a multi-unit wager on Bortles.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The sharps have bet this down to +3.5 in most books, but you can still get +4 at Bovada. That's the good news if you like the Jaguars. The bad news, aside from betting on Bortles, is that Jalen Ramsey is missing practice. It's not as big of an injury as Yanda, but it still hurts Jacksonville's chances.
SATURDAY NOTES: There is a ton of sharp action on the Jaguars, which is understandable, as the Ravens are missing both their top offensive and defensive linemen. However, I just can't stomach betting more than a unit on Blake Bortles. The thought of rooting on Bortles while half-asleep Sunday morning doesn't seem like a great situation. This line has dropped to +3 in most books, but is still +3.5 -115 at Bovada.
FINAL THOUGHTS: As I said last night, all of the sharp money is on the Jaguars, and Jacksonville's claim to cover this game was strengthened by the announcement that Jalen Ramsey is going to start. An e-mailer reached out to me and made a plea for me to increase my wager, and that's what I'm going to do. I'm putting a second unit on the Jaguars. I'll probably be kicking myself for doing so, but I don't think Blake Bortles will have to do much. With Brandon Williams out, Jacksonville should be able to run effectively with Leonard Fournette. The defense, meanwhile, will swarm Joe Flacco, who won't have Marshal Yanda protecting him. This is the Jaguars' home away from home, and they know how to play (and win) in these ridiculous 9:30 a.m. games, which aren't even on TV, apparently. What the f*** is the NFL doing?
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
The public is on the Ravens; the sharps are taking the Jaguars.
Percentage of money on Baltimore: 63% (16,000 bets)
Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Indianapolis Colts (0-2) Line: Browns by 1. Total: 42.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Browns -3.
Walt's Calculated Line: Browns -1.
Sunday, Sept 24, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Browns.
VEGAS UPDATE: I'll be posting how the Vegas sportsbooks have done the previous week in this spot. Here were last week's most-bet sides:
A 1-4 result was horrible for the public in Week 1, but they rebounded with a 3-2 record. The public is now 4-6 on the year with these picks. As for this week, here are the five highest-bet sides, as of Tuesday morning:
Three of these teams are road favorites, while the other two are laying more than a touchdown at home. How predictable that the public would bet on these teams!
INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: First things first, Andrew Luck was already ruled out this week, which doesn't bode well for his chances of returning soon. Jacoby Brissett will start again, and he'll actually allow the Colts to be competitive against mediocre or worse teams because he isn't horrible like Scott Tolzien is.
Unfortunately for Brissett, he doesn't get much help from his blocking. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo and right guard Jack Mewhort are his only viable linemen with center Ryan Kelly and right tackle Denzelle Good both injured. The Browns haven't placed much pressure on opposing quarterbacks thus far because they've battled a couple of teams with quality offensive lines. That won't be the case here, so I could see Danny Shelton and Nate Orchard applying some pressure on Brissett. That said, Shelton doesn't appear to be completely healthy, so he could struggle a bit in that regard.
Brissett will have to resort to throwing short passes again like he did against the Cardinals. He had some success doing this, and I think the same thing might happen in this game, as Cleveland's linebacking corps isn't playing up to its abilities. Christian Kirksey, Jaime Collins and Joe Schobert all have talent, but they've struggled thus far. Ben Watson had a huge game against them last week, so Jack Doyle could pick up where the veteran left off.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: The biggest mismatch in this game is the Browns' offensive line against the Colts' pass-rushers. Indianapolis was able to pressure Carson Palmer last week because of Arizona's blocking woes. The Browns don't have such issues. Cleveland has one of the better offensive lines in the NFL, so I can't see John Simon and Jabaal Sheard putting much heat on DeShone Kizer.
The Browns' advantage in blocking could also mean that Isaiah Crowell will be established. Nose tackle Johnathan Hankins is a nice run-plugger, but considering all of the issues Indianapolis has defensively, Crowell should finally have a solid performance for the first time this year.
With that in mind, I expect the Colts to play closer to the line of scrimmage, considering the issues the Browns have with their aerial attack. DeShone Kizer took a major step backward against the Ravens, though his concussion/migraine didn't help. What also doesn't help is Corey Coleman's broken hand. Without Coleman, all the Browns have as downfield threats are Rashard Higgins and two other receivers who don't give a f**k in Kenny Britt and Sammie Coates. The alarming lack of effort they showed against Baltimore was appalling.
RECAP: The public is supporting the Colts, as they might seem surprised that Cleveland is favored on the road. However, I think this line is right where it should be. The Browns have battled two tough opponents thus far (Steelers, Ravens), so they're going against an inferior foe for the first time all year. Meanwhile, the Colts' close game versus the Cardinals was a mirage, as Arizona outgained Indianapolis by 123 yards and averaged 2.2 more yards per play.
I think the Browns are the right side, as they have the superior blocking. While they're a bad team, the Colts happen to be horrible. That said, I can't bet on Kizer and his lazy receivers as favorites.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I have nothing new to add here. Jamie Collins is looking like he'll be out, but I don't think that'll matter because he hasn't been playing well.
SATURDAY NOTES: This game is very unappealing, as I have no interest in betting on it. I have nothing new to add, and I doubt that'll change Sunday morning.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The same e-mailer who made a plea for me to bet more on the Jaguars (based on my own analysis) also recommended that I put a small wager on Cleveland. Given that this number is just -1 now (-105 at CRIS), and Vontae Davis has been officially declared inactive, I think I'm going to follow the advice. The Browns have played two tough teams thus far (the Ravens had Marshal Yanda and Brandon Williams in Week 2), while the Colts were blown out by the Rams and then outgained by 2.2 yards per play versus Arizona.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
People are wondering why Cleveland is favored on the road.
Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 56% (18,000 bets)
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Chicago Bears (0-2) Line: Steelers by 7. Total: 44. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Steelers -6.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Steelers -4.5.
Sunday, Sept 24, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Steelers.
HATE MAIL: I will be posting lots of hate mail this season. Here's something from the comments section on this page:
Seriously, this "Olive Strawberry" individual should really be in school rather than a football comment board. I appreciate the page view, but he seems to be on the fast track to siphoning money from the federal government if he doesn't learn anything. And what kind of a name is Olive Strawberry, anyway? Could you be more of a sissy?
Of course, Ross Avila had to check in:
It's worth noting that part of that exchange was deleted because Ross posted a fake betting slip, claiming that he won a parlay. I asked Ross where on the Internet he found that picture, and he deleted his post almost instantly. You can't make this stuff up!
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: The only reason I didn't predict the Steelers to win the Super Bowl this year was Ben Roethlisberger's motivation. Roethlisberger contemplated retirement this offseason, so I wondered if his head would completely be into the game. Thus far, the returns aren't so great. Sure, the Steelers are 2-0, but Roethlisberger hasn't seemed quite the same. As it stands now, his YPA of 7.1 would be the worst it's ever been, save for 2008, the worst year of his career. Given that one of his two games happened to be against the Browns, it's fair to wonder if Roethlisberger will snap out of his funk this year.
Roethlisberger has enjoyed great blocking thus far as well, so it's not like he can blame his substandard play on the offensive line like Eli Manning can. The Bears can get after the quarterback pretty well, especially with Akiem Hicks in the interior, but Hicks should be stonewalled by David DeCastro, who might just be the best guard in the NFL now that Marshal Yanda is out for the year. However, I don't expect Le'Veon Bell to find much running room, as the Bears have other talented players on the defensive line who should be able to hold their own in their matchups.
Roethlisberger will have plenty of opportunities downfield. Unlike last week, he'll be going up against a secondary that can't cover at all. Chicago's cornerbacks are bad, while the safeties are somehow even worse. Meanwhile, the linebacking corps is missing two of the top three players on the depth chart, so Bell should have a nice performance as a receiver.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: It sucks that John Fox is so unnecessarily cryptic with his injuries because it would be nice to have updates on Kyle Long and Josh Sitton. The two talented guards both have injury concerns. Long hasn't played yet at all, while Sitton was knocked out of last week's contest with a rib injury. It will be important to have at least one on the field to combat Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, who might return to action this Sunday.
The one piece of good news for the Bears is that they might have a bit of a reprieve with T.J. Watt being banged up. Watt suffered a groin injury versus the Vikings, so his absence (or limitation) would be huge for left tackle Charles Leno, who would have trouble with the talented rookie otherwise. Perhaps this will grant Mike Glennon some time in the pocket, and if so, Glennon will need to avoid turnovers, unlike last week. Glennon, of course, is not very good, but he won't be going up his former head coach this week. Dirk Koetter knew all of Glennon's tendencies, so that may have been the primary reason why Glennon committed so many errors versus Tampa Bay.
To be fair to Glennon, he doesn't have much to work with. His top two receivers are out, so he'll have to throw to rely on Kendall Wright as his top downfield threat. Of course, the Bears will attempt to get Tarik Cohen involved as much as possible. I think Cohen could have some nice gains in this game, but Chicago's offense will be sporadic.
RECAP: As long as Glennon doesn't turn into a turnover machine again - I think he'll have more success at home without having to go against Koetter - I think the Bears can stay competitive. They nearly defeated the Falcons in Week 1, so why couldn't they give Pittsburgh all it can handle?
This spread is too high. The Steelers don't play nearly as well on the road as they do at home, yet the public never seems to realize it. The lines are always inflated, which would explain why Pittsburgh has such a horrible record as a large road favorite (see trends below).
I'm definitely on the Bears, but the question is for how many units? I think I'm going with three for now. If it's announced that Long and/or Sitton will play, I will almost certainly increase my wager, so stay tuned for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The Bears are looking like they'll have some reinforcements back this week. Kyle Long might play, while Prince Amukamara has returned to practice. Meanwhile, Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert is missing practice. I might move this up to four units soon.
SATURDAY NOTES: Kyle Long and Prince Amukamara are listed as probable. Meanwhile, Marcus Gilbert is out, which is huge, as the Bears will be able to pressure Ben Roethlisberger. I'm increasing the unit count to four, and there's a +7 -105 available at both BetUS and CRIS.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I can no longer find a +7 -105 line, but I like the Bears even more now with Stephon Tuitt being ruled out. Pittsburgh is missing its top offensive tackle and second-best defensive lineman, whereas the Bears are getting back their top blocker and best cornerback.
The Psychology. Edge: Bears.
The Steelers battle the Ravens next week, so they may overlook the Bears.
The Vegas. Edge: Bears.
The public is on the Steelers; sharps on Chicago.
Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 70% (27,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bears.
Steelers are 4-14 ATS on the road as favorites of -8 or more since 1990. ???
Steelers are 22-32 ATS as road favorites since 2007.
Steelers are 11-23 ATS as road favorites coming off a win under Mike Tomlin.
Miami Dolphins (1-0) at New York Jets (0-2) Line: Dolphins by 5.5. Total: 43. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Dolphins -5.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Dolphins -6.5.
Sunday, Sept 24, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Dolphins.
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MIAMI OFFENSE: So far, so good from Jay Cutler. The former FOX NFL analyst was 24-of-33 for 230 yards and a touchdown in his debut with the Dolphins. He was solid against a pretty strong Charger defense, so he should be much better in this matchup, given that he'll be going up against a far inferior defense compared to the one he just battled.
The Jets don't have many viable players in their stop unit. Muhammad Wilkerson used to be one, but he hasn't played well since 2015. As it stands now, Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Williams are the only threats New York has in its front seven, and Ja'Wuan James should be able to handle the former quite well. Williams will win his matchup, but if he's the only person the Dolphins have to worry about, they can scheme around him.
Besides, it's not like the Jets can cover anyway. Their cornerbacks are terrible and stand no chance at defending DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry. Meanwhile, New York could have the worst linebacking corps in the NFL. Jay Ajayi should have a big game as both a runner and a receiver out of the backfield.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: The Jets can't pass protect or run the ball. That much is clear, and I don't see why things would change in this game, especially considering the firepower the Dolphins have on the other side of the line of scrimmage. I have no idea how the Jets are planning on blocking Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and William Hayes. They just don't have the personnel to do this.
The running game won't work whatsoever, so it'll be the same old story for the Jets. Josh McCown will have to settle for checkdowns to Matt Forte, Bilal Powell and Jermaine Kearse. Oh, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He's returning from his suspension. How silly of me to almost forget him, since he's going to have such a big impact on this offense.
I think the Jets will actually be able to maintain some drives like they did against the Raiders. Miami's linebacking corps is a major question mark because Lawrence Timmons is dealing with some sort of personal situation. Mike Hull is seeing major snaps as a result, and he sucks. However, I don't expect New York to score often, or anything.
RECAP: As I've stated repeatedly, the 2017 Jets are the worst team I've ever graded. Even the 0-16 Lions had higher ratings. I'm not going to pick the Jets at all this year unless I'm getting a ton of points. Five-and-a-half is not a ton of points.
I want to bet the Dolphins, and I think under normal circumstances, I would. However, Miami has to fly out to London following this game, and teams have had a poor track record in pre-London affairs. I expect the Dolphins to be very sloppy in this game. I am picking them, however, and the Jets are so terrible that I may change my mind later in the week about placing a unit on the visitor.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Muhammad Wilkerson is missing practice with a shoulder problem. He hasn't played well this year, but he's still much better than the backups the Jets have. That could open things up for Jay Ajayi, who should have a big game.
SATURDAY NOTES: If you're interested in betting the Dolphins, there are -5.5 lines at Pinnacle and 5Dimes. The Jets, meanwhile, can be had at +6.5 -115 at Bovada, but I'd rather go with +6 -110. I'm not betting this game, as the Jets are only going to cover 2-4 times this year, and I don't want to pick the worst team in football. Unfortunately, the Dolphins are heading into London and may not be focused. I like the under more than anything.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Nothing has changed for me here. I'm not taking the Jets at all this year. The sharps are on them, but I don't care.
The Psychology. Edge: Jets.
The Dolphins fly out to London after this game.
The Vegas. Edge: Jets.
Most of the money is on the Dolphins.
Percentage of money on Miami: 66% (22,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Jets.
History: Road Team has won 13 of the last non-London 18 meetings.
Teams are 11-21-2 ATS prior to London.
Underdog is 76-44 ATS in the Dolphins' last 120 games.
Jets are 11-7 ATS as underdogs of 7+ since 2010. ???
Jets are 10-18 ATS in September home games since 2000 (6-7 since in 2009).
Denver Broncos (2-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-1) Line: Broncos by 3. Total: 40. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Bills -1.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Broncos -3.
Sunday, Sept 24, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: .
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'm ashamed of myself that I didn't talk about Tony Romo last week. If you somehow missed it, Romo did his best impression of Miss Cleo in the Raiders-Titans game:
It's a shame Romo suffered so many injuries over the years. He has a brilliant football mind, and he could've won a Super Bowl had he been able to stay healthy.
Also, why doesn't a team hire Romo to be a defensive coordinator? He knows everything that's going on, so he could be the next Wade Phillips or Dick LeBeau. I think that's better than being the next Miss Cleo.
2. While on the subject of broadcasters, I can't let this Sergio Dipp thing go. Not yet, anyway. If you somehow missed it, here's the greatest sideline reporter of all time:
I've been racking my brain, wondering how the hell ESPN allowed him to get on national TV. E-mailer Joe B. provided an explanation that I finally could get behind:
I can explain the Sergio Dipp fiasco for you. The actual sideline reporter for that game was supposed to be a guy named Harvey, but sticking to their company policy, ESPN didn't let him work the game because of his name offending Hurricane Harvey victims. Dipp must have been the highest-ranking intern they had.
I could totally buy that. The amount of talent ESPN has allowed to leave is astonishing, and there are reports that more employees will be let go soon. I think Sergio Dipp might be the future of ESPN. Even though he bombed, I could see Sergio Dipp getting promoted. In fact, if Jon Gruden takes a coaching job, Sergio Dipp could be the analyst in the Monday Night Football booth. I bet he'd have the time of his life broadcasting with the bald guy whose name I can never remember!
3. Speaking of ESPN, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Jemele Hill. Again, if you've been living under a rock, Hill got into some hot water for referring to Donald Trump as a white supremicist on Twitter.
I don't think Hill should've gotten fired for this. However, I didn't think Curt Schilling should've been fired for his comments either. And the same goes for the one tennis announcer who said one of the Williams sisters was using guerrilla (not gorilla) tactics. The latter was unbelievably ridiculous. WTF is "gorilla tactics," anyway? Throwing feces? Eating bananas? Why would anyone think that this was what he was referring to?
ESPN axed both of those men, yet didn't even suspend Hill, which is just mind-boggling. I just think it sends a bad message about bias, and it undoubtedly offended half of the audience. ESPN can't afford to do that because of its declining ratings, yet it foolishly continues to engage in politics anyway because the company's leadership is comprised of dumb men who have no idea what they're doing. It's like ESPN would rather be morality police than turn profits, which doesn't make any sense.
BUFFALO OFFENSE: The Broncos just completely shut down the Cowboys, so how in the world are the Bills going to score against them? That's a legitimate question, especially with Cordy Glenn's lingering ankle problem. Glenn played only a handful of snaps against the Panthers, as he didn't look too good when he was on the field.
Not having Glenn at full strength is a huge problem. Shaq Barrett has been tremendous for the Broncos, and he should be able to win his matchup versus a hobbled Glenn (or his backup). Meanwhile, Von Miller has a putrid right tackle to go up against in Jordan Mills. Derek Wolfe also presents a big problem; he'll take on guard John Miller, who has struggled as well.
The Bills have no downfield weapons to threaten the Broncos, so Denver will be able to play closer to the line of scrimmage to concentrate on LeSean McCoy. I'd like McCoy otherwise, as Denver has some shaky linebacker play, but the Broncos are just going to be too dominant on this side of the ball.
DENVER OFFENSE: The Broncos also have some major blocking concerns. Their line had been better, thanks to the additions of rookie Garett Bolles and Ronald Leary, but the former is out for a few weeks. Allen Barbre will start in his place, and that's just asking for trouble against Jerry Hughes. Meanwhile, Shaq Lawson figures to win his matchup on the other side against inept right tackle Menelik Watson.
Trevor Siemian has been tremendous thus far, but both of his victories have come at home, and one happened to be against a horrible defense. The Bills have a much better secondary, as safety Jordan Poyer is performing on a Pro Bowl level right now. I think Siemian could take a step backward this week, especially considering how much pressure he's going to see.
C.J. Anderson, meanwhile, has been another reason why the Broncos dominated both of their games. Anderson is in the best shape of his career, though it could be difficult for him to run on a stout Buffalo defense. The Bills have some quality play at linebacker as well, so Anderson and Jamaal Charles figure to be limited as receivers out of the backfield.
RECAP: Both teams are going to have major problems scoring in this game, so I like the under more than anything. As for the actual side, I think this spread is set exactly right. There's a ton of action on the Broncos - the most money any one side has received this week - but I don't like buying into hype. I think the Broncos are a very good team - I slotted them sixth in my NFL Power Rankings - but they'll be without their talented left tackle, and they haven't played on the road yet.
The Bills, meanwhile, may seem like a good play from a contrarian perspective. Look at all the line value, after all. The Bills were -1.5 prior to Week 2! However, I don't trust them. Their offense sucks if Glenn isn't healthy, and he doesn't seem to be anywhere close to 100 percent right now. Buffalo is a one-dimensional offense going up against perhaps the top defense in the NFL. Not good.
I think there's a good chance the Broncos win by exactly three, so I'm definitely not betting this game. I'm going to pick the Bills, but only because I'm fading all of this public action.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I wrote earlier that I was concerned about Cordy Glenn. It looks like Glenn will play, but he probably won't be 100 percent. Meanwhile, Marcell Dareus is missing practice. I think this would be a good spot to bet against Denver, but the Bills seem to be too banged up right now.
SATURDAY NOTES: This seemed like it would be a great betting opportunity on the Bills, but they're missing left tackle Cordy Glenn and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. With that in mind, I'm going to switch my pick to the Broncos, but I'm not going to wager on this game either way, save for the under.
FINAL THOUGHTS: In a shocking turn of events, Garett Bolles will play for the Broncos, which will be a huge boon for them in protecting against Buffalo's edge rush. I like the decision I made by going to the Broncos, but I still don't want to wager on them in this spot.
The Psychology. Edge: Bills.
The Broncos just beat up on the Cowboys. Next week, they battle the Raiders. In between, they get the Bills in an early game.
The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
So much money is on the Broncos.
Percentage of money on Denver: 76% (42,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
True home teams are 35-26 ATS in the last 61 Bills games.
Bills are 18-31 ATS in their last 49 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
Houston Texans (1-1) at New England Patriots (1-1) Line: Patriots by 13.5. Total: 44.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Patriots -12.
Walt's Calculated Line: Patriots -13.5.
Sunday, Sept 24, 1:00 PM
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1. If you haven't seen it, USC said in their media guide that they've never lost to Texas, owning a 4-0 all-time record against the Longhorns. So, apparently the national championship with Vince Young never happened? Well, according to USC, because the team vacated all the wins from that season, it has also vacated its losses as well.
Can I tell you how lame this is? Vacating wins has always been a stupid concept for me, but doing so is meant to be a punishment. You don't get to soften the punishment by vacating losses, too! That would be like going to prison for committing robbery, but also being able to keep the money you stole.
USC, you lost to Texas. Vince Young ran all over your defense, and Pete Carroll f***ed up by running LenDale White on fourth down. Get over it.
2. Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding something here, but I thought when fans had a "white out," it was supposed to be for a big game. Like, when Penn State had a "white out" versus Ohio State back in 2005, it was when the Nittany Lions were undefeated, and it happened to be a huge game.
TCU had a "white out" this past weekend. Except, it wasn't a big game at all. In fact, TCU was favored by 19, and the team was extremely sloppy in the first half, making so many mistakes. It didn't even seem like the fans were very interested:
It's nice of these girls to show up to the game in fancy white dresses, but would it kill them to actually pay attention to what's going on, rather than playing with their phones? Two of these three chicks aren't even facing the right direction!
3. Speaking of lame college football fans, these two women were at least dressed appropriately for an upcoming game, but they hung up some very stupid signs:
I thought this was funny for a second until I realized how dumb it was. I guess they're trying to say that Lamar Jackson is better than Deshaun Watson, which is incredibly stupid because, well, Clemson won the f***ing national championship because of Watson!
Who the hell cares who won the Heisman? I even forgot Jackson won last year. The Heisman is nonsense. So many winners have failed in the NFL, and they don't even give the award to the right people; Alabama's Jonathan Allen should've won last year.
Girls, I appreciate the proper attire, but you really need to step up your game with these signs.
NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: If you read Twitter, you may have seen countless people calling for Bill Belichick to bench Tom Brady in favor of Jimmy Garoppolo during the opening game. And this is exactly why no one should pay attention to idiots who whine and complain 140 characters at a time. Brady was tremendous against the Saints, though, to be fair, Sam Bradford was as well.
Houston's defense is obviously much better than New Orleans', but Brady will have plenty of holes to exploit. Johnathan Joseph could miss this game, so Brady will be able to attack both sides of the field. Rob Gronkowski will be a major threat as well, as long as he's healthy. Gronkowski is dealing with a groin problem, but it doesn't seem to be overly serious.
The Texans will need to get to Brady without blitzing to slow him down. The problem is that Brady is pretty well protected, though right tackle Marcus Cannon has been a liability thus far. Whitney Mercilus should win that matchup, and J.J. Watt will naturally do some great things. However, I don't think the Texans will be able to consistently rattle Brady, as I think Nate Solder will be able to handle Jadeveon Clowney on the other side.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: Unlike the Patriots, the Texans don't protect their quarterback very well. In fact, Houston may have the worst tackle situation in the NFL right now. That'll change once Duane Brown ends his holdout, but Chris Clark and Breno Giacomini are utterly awful.
The good news for the Texans is that New England doesn't have a very good pass rush. The bad news is that the Patriots will still get to Deshaun Watson consistently anyway. Trey Flowers won't have an issue with Clark, while Deatrich Wise Jr., who had a nice showing versus New Orleans, will easily blow past Giacomini.
Watson will once again have to use his mobility to get out of trouble. The problem for Watson, however, is that unlike the Bengals, the Patriots may have their star linebacker. Vontaze Burfict was suspended last week, but it sounds like Hightower may return to the lineup this Sunday. Hightower will take away some opportunities Watson would otherwise normally have, especially with DeAndre Hopkins having to deal with Stephon Gilmore.
RECAP: I don't like betting big spreads, as something fluky could derail the wager. If the Texans recover a fumble for a touchdown, or get a pick-six off a fluky tip, or run in a special-teams score, it'll be unlikely that New England covers.
That said, I'm taking the Patriots, as I think they win by 14-17 or so points. I'd like the Texans if they had better blocking, but I don't think they'll be able to keep up because of their horrible blocking issues.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: It's looking like Rob Gronkowski, Dont'a Hightower and Danny Amendola will all play in this game. This spread is too high for me to bet on, but I would take the Patriots if I had to.
SATURDAY NOTES: The public has bet the Patriots up to -14, but the sharps haven't indicated that they're interested in betting the Texans yet. Perhaps that will change at +14, but I don't like either side.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I was wondering if the sharps would pounce on the Texans at +14, and they did, perhaps because Dont'a Hightower is out. This game could go either way, and I don't want to wager on New England or Houston.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Texans.
Who wants to bet Houston?
Percentage of money on New England: 75% (16,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Tom Brady is 208-66 as a starter (153-108 ATS).
Tom Brady is 30-32 ATS as a home favorite of -9 or more (19-25 ATS since November 2007).
New Orleans Saints (0-2) at Carolina Panthers (2-0) Line: Panthers by 5. Total: 46. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Panthers -5.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Panthers -6.
Sunday, Sept 24, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Panthers.
If you've followed this site for a while, you might remember that I like to respond to my spam mails. It all started six years ago, when 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've been messing around with spammers ever since, pretending to be Aaron Hernandez, Tom Brady and Walter White. I'll have new answers to Spam Mails here, so check them out if you want to see me screw with spammers!
CAROLINA OFFENSE: The Panthers squeaked out a win against the Bills last week, but that happened to be a very Pyrrhic victory. Newton didn't miss action, but got hurt during the affair. Meanwhile, Greg Olsen broke his foot and will be out 6-8 weeks.
The Panthers didn't need this, as they already had major problems on offense, primarily with the line. The blocking unit can't shield Newton or open up running lanes for Jonathan Stewart. You'd think the tide would turn for the Panthers against New Orleans' putrid defense, but the Saints' one strength on this side of the ball is the front. Cameron Jordan is a stud, while Alex Okafor had a strong performance on the other side against New England. Both will hound Newton, as his poor tackles won't be able to block the duo.
Unfortunately for the Saints, they're weak everywhere else, though I still like Marshon Lattimore. I think Lattimore can do a good job on Kelvin Benjamin, but all of New Orleans' other defensive liabilities will be exposed. Christian McCaffrey, in particular, should have a huge game as a receiver versus the Saints' awful linebackers.
NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: The Saints have the same problem the Panthers do on this side of the ball. They can't block. At least, not right now. Both Terron Armstead and Zach Strief have been out the past game-and-a-half, though it sounds like they could return soon. I don't expect that to happen this week, however, meaning Mario Addison and Charles Johnson will be able to tee off of Drew Brees. The interior is also a problem, as Kawann Short is off to a Pro Bowl-caliber start to his season. I like him against New Orleans' middling interior.
The poor line play is why the Saints have averaged fewer than 20 points per game thus far. Things will change once Armstead and Strief return to the field, but at the moment, the Saints can't run the ball whatsoever. It doesn't help that the play-calling is predictable, as a run is signaled every time Adrian Peterson takes the field. I highly doubt Peterson will do much of anything, given that Carolina's defense just clamped down on LeSean McCoy.
Without much help, it'll be difficult for Brees to complete drives. I have no doubt he'll move the chains versus the Panthers, but the Saints may once again settle for too many threes instead of sevens. Brees won't have much success finding Michael Thomas amid James Bradberry's excellent coverage. Meanwhile, Carolina's outstanding linebackers will take care of Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara and Coby Fleener.
RECAP: Six is way too many points for two sluggish offenses. I think the Saints will cover the spread here, even if it's via the help of a back-door score. Brees didn't get through the back door against the Vikings or Patriots, but this line is higher than the Minnesota spread, while Carolina is obviously inferior compared to New England.
The one concern I have about the Saints is that they have to fly out to London after this game. Teams heading into London are just 11-21-2 against the spread all time for a reason. Besides, the Saints are not at full strength because of their offensive line, so they're difficult to bet on right now.
I may change my mind here if it's announced that Armstead or Strief will be available, but for now, I'm going with no units on the Saints. I also like the under because both teams suck at blocking.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There's a ton of sharp action coming in on the Saints, perhaps because center Ryan Kalil will likely miss this game. I like the Saints to cover, but I'm concerned about their blocking issues, plus Marshon Lattimore is concussed and may not play.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Saints, as expected are missing both tackles and their top cornerback. The Panthers, meanwhile, are missing Cam Newton's most-reliable weapon and center. Neither team appears to be in good shape right now. I believe the Panthers will be leading by 7-10 points in the fourth quarter, and Drew Brees will have a chance at a back-door cover. I don't want to bet on that, especially with the +6 -110s gone. Bovada is the only book that still has +6, but their juice is -115.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps continued to bet the Saints, even at +5.5. The line is now +5 everywhere. I still have no interest in this game.
The Psychology. Edge: Panthers.
The Saints fly out to London after this game.
The Vegas. Edge: Panthers.
The Saints are a public underdog. The sharps are on them as well.
Percentage of money on New Orleans: 65% (19,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
History: Panthers have won 7 of the last 10 meetings.
Sean Payton is 3-0 ATS as a divisional underdog of 7+. ???
Drew Brees is 49-31 ATS as an underdog.
Drew Brees is 40-26 ATS after a loss with the Saints (13-7 ATS as an underdog).
Drew Brees is 8-1 ATS as an underdog of 6.5 or more with the Saints. ???
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1) Line: Pick. Total: 40.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Vikings -3.
Walt's Calculated Line: Vikings -2.5 (Bradford) or Buccaneers -3.5 (Keenum).
Sunday, Sept 24, 1:00 PM
Comment on this game
The Game. Edge: Vikings.
Video of the Week: Ever wonder what popular American songs sound like overseas? Here's the Indian version of Thriller? (Thanks, Jody S.)
I'd have to think that Michael Jackson is rolling in his grave right now. As are the five corpse kids he's having a sleepover with.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: There's no line on this game right now because of Sam Bradford's status. There have been reports saying that Bradford is expected to play Week 3, but no one even thought he would be out against the Steelers until late Saturday night. Bradford is made of glass, so even if he suits up, there's no guarantee that he'll last the entire afternoon.
Meanwhile, the question I had last week still remains: How good is Minnesota's offensive line, exactly? The Vikings blocked the Saints extremely well in the opener, but it's difficult to tell how they performed last week. Case Keenum was under center, after all, and Stephon Tuitt was out. The Vikings will certainly be tested in this game, as tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers will have their hands full with Noah Spence and Robert Ayers. I like guard Joe Berger better than the tackles, but he'll be tasked with keeping Gerald McCoy out of the backfield, and that's not going to happen.
The Buccaneers figure to be decent against the run again, so it'll be important for Bradford to have time in order to find Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Both receivers should be able to get open against the opposing cornerbacks, both of whom struggled against the Bears.
TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: I had some questions about the Buccaneers' blocking as well going into last week. I wanted to see if left tackle Donovan Smith would improve at all after two pedestrian campaigns. The early returns aren't very promising. Smith struggled against the Bears' edge rushers, and he figures to have a tougher time versus Everson Griffen, who has been monstrous thus far. Griffen beat up on Alejandro Villanueva last week, and Villanueva is a much better tackle than Smith.
Jameis Winston was able to overcome this blind-side pressure last week because he was able to throw to his talented receivers against a horrible secondary. He won't have that luxury here, as the Vikings were able to limit Ben Roethlisberger this past Sunday. Xavier Rhodes did a great job of shadowing Antonio Brown, and he could have similar success against Mike Evans. I don't think Evans will get shut down, or anything, but Rhodes should be able to keep Evans from dominating. The Viking linebackers and Harrison Smith will prevent Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard from going off.
The Buccaneers won't be able to run the ball either. Minnesota clamped down on Le'Veon Bell pretty well, so it won't be difficult to stop Jacquizz Rodgers. I just don't see Ali Marpet and J.R. Sweezy getting much of a push against Linval Joseph to open up lanes for Jacquizz Rodgers.
RECAP: I'll be able to offer a definitive pick for you once it's clear if Bradford will play. There's no spread posted right now, but I believe it'll be Vikings -2.5 if Bradford gets the nod. If not, the Buccaneers will be short favorites.
This would be a tough call at -2.5, but I think I would choose the Vikings, as they have the superior defense and running game. Stay tuned for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Two lines have been posted: Vikings -1.5 at CRIS and -1 at 5Dimes. It sounds like Sam Bradford will play. I'm leaning toward Minnesota at -1/-1.5. I'll have more analysis in a day or two once we know if Bradford will suit up for sure.
SATURDAY NOTES: Sam Bradford is out, and the Buccaneers are 2.5-point road favorites. I think they should be -3.5 versus the Bradford-less Vikings, though I think the most likely result is Tampa winning by a field goal. There's not enough margin of error for me to bet this game, but I am taking the Buccaneers for pool purposes.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This spread is now a pick 'em. I'd bet the Buccaneers if they weren't so banged up. They are missing Brent Grimes, Chris Baker and Kwon Alexander. I still think they'll win, but it won't be easy.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Vikings.
No one wants any part of the Vikings with Sam Bradford out.
Percentage of money on Tampa Bay: 79% (19,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: TBA.
Road Team is 76-45 ATS in Buccaneers games since 2009.
Buccaneers are 4-8 ATS as road favorites since 2004. ???
Mike Zimmer is 33-16 ATS as head coach of the Vikings.
Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at Detroit Lions (2-0) Line: Falcons by 3. Total: 51. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Falcons -3.
Walt's Calculated Line: Pick.
Sunday, Sept 24, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: None.
Last year, on the Adventures of Tom Brady's Haircuts, Tom Brady was elected as the President of the United States, as it was revealed that he was the only candidate running because both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were figments of his imagination. In doing so, Tom Brady saved his organization, the Two-Handed Gang, from the Latin Kings. Everything was going swimmingly for Brady while in the White House, until he received a telegram from Bill Belichick, requiring his presence in Foxboro...
ATLANTA OFFENSE: Matt Ryan won the MVP award last year, but the primary reason for the Falcons' success was the improvement of their offensive line. Alex Mack was the top center in the NFL, and he and the other four blockers gave Ryan all the time in the world to find Julio Jones downfield. However, things may not be as fruitful for the Falcons in this game, as they could be without right tackle Ryan Schraeder.
Schraeder is going through concussion protocol, and early opinions suggest he won't play. If he's out, it'll be absolutely enormous for the Lions, as it'll give Anthony Zettel another easy matchup. Zettel has looked like the second coming of Bruce Smith because of the bad tackles he has gone up against this season. Meanwhile, Ziggy Ansah, who is coming off a three-sack performance, should be able to win his matchup against Jake Matthews, who is a middling left tackle.
Mack and Andy Levitre should still be able to push around the Lions to open some holes for Devonta Freeman, but that aspect of Atlanta's offense will be less consistent. The same goes for Ryan's connections with Jones. Darius Slay is an outstanding cornerback, and he'll provide Jones with a tougher challenge than anything the Pro Bowl wideout faced against Green Bay and Chicago's putrid secondaries. The one opportunity the Falcons could have is with Freeman as a receiver out of the backfield if Jarrad Davis is out with a concussion, but considering that Davis was waving at people and high-fiving fans on the way to the locker room, he might be OK for this game.
DETROIT OFFENSE: The Lions are missing a tackle themselves. Taylor Decker, their outstanding blind-side protector, has been out, so it's saying a lot they've been able to start 2-0 without him. Greg Robinson hasn't been very good in his place, but considering he's gone up against Chandler Jones and Olivier Vernon thus far, I won't say he's been horrible. Robinson has an easier matchup this week against Adrian Clayborn, while stud right tackle Taylor Decker should be able to take care of Takk McKinley, who will be starting for the injured Vic Beasley.
It'll be important for Stafford to have more protection this week than he enjoyed Monday night because the Falcons have some nice matchups elsewhere on this side of the ball. Desmond Trufant is back to being a dominant cornerback, so he should be able to smother Marvin Jones pretty well. Brian Poole, meanwhile, is an outstanding slot corner who should be able to handle Golden Tate. The Falcons were able to clamp down on Martellus Bennett last week, so defending Eric Ebron shouldn't be a problem.
One area Stafford could exploit is the cornerback spot across from Trufant. The Falcons really miss Jalen Collins, as Robert Alford is pretty brutal. Kenny Golladay could shine as a result. I also think Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick could have solid outings as receivers out of the backfield, mirroring what Ty Montgomery accomplished Sunday night.
RECAP: Early in the offseason, I called the Lions a Super Bowl contender, but soured on them once Taylor Decker and Kerry Hyder suffered injuries. I announced last week that I was back on the bandwagon, taking Detroit against the Giants. I am once again picking the Lions.
This spread seems like it's way too high. I don't think the Falcons should be favored over Detroit if Schraeder is out. Atlanta's offense will be much worse without Schraeder because his replacement, Ty Sambrailo, is so bad. Beasley's absence will help Detroit as well, though it's not as impactful because McKinley is a great talent. Still, I feel like we're getting very good value with the Lions as three-point home underdogs, as everyone seems reluctant to believe in them. I do, and I want to take advantage with a large wager.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: An injury popped out to me today. Travis Swanson is dealing with an ankle. That's a huge injury, as Swanson's absence was a major reason why the Lions struggled late last year. Stay tuned for updates, as I'm not going to bet highly on the Lions if Swanson is missing.
SATURDAY NOTES: There's still some question about whether or not Travis Swanson will play, but upon further analyzing the situation, I believe that it's not a huge issue because Swanson has not played well at all this year. He was clearly banged up Monday night, yet the Lions were still able to dominate the Giants. I think the Falcons losing Ryan Schraeder is the bigger issue, and perhaps that's why the sharps are betting the Lions. Detroit is available at +3 -105 at Bovada right now, and I am going to lock that one in. The Lions will also be one leg of my teaser.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I missed out on a better number, as the Lions are +3 +100 at Bovada. It's a bummer to see Travis Swanson be ruled out, but given that he performed poorly last week, I think the Lions will be OK without him (famous last words).
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
The public loves the Falcons. The sharps are on the Lions.
Percentage of money on Atlanta: 65% (25,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
Lions are 4-14 ATS after a double-digit win since 2011.
New York Giants (0-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) Line: Eagles by 6. Total: 43. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Eagles -3.
Walt's Calculated Line: Eagles -6.5.
Sunday, Sept 24, 1:00 PM
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The Game. Edge: Eagles.
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NEW YORK OFFENSE: The Giants were extremely sluggish Monday night, but this was nothing new. They struggled to score all last year as well because their offensive line couldn't pass protect for Eli Manning. That proved to be the case against the Lions, and now they'll face an even fiercer pass rush. Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Fletcher Cox are all excellent at getting to the quarterback, and they should have no trouble punishing Manning.
The difference this year for the Giants is Odell Beckham Jr.'s injury and Brandon Marshall's presence. Beckham clearly wasn't himself Monday night. He'll be better this week, but given that he was initially ruled out with a 6-8 week injury, Beckham might be 100 percent until Week 4 or 5. Meanwhile, Marshall was subtraction by addition. He was done last year, and now he can't catch anything. The Eagles have some pretty terrible corner play with Ronald Darby out, but they won't have much of an issue dealing with Marshall, or Beckham, for that matter, if he's still not completely healthy.
The Giants obviously won't be running the ball well at all, so their only chance of generating consistent offense is for Manning to connect with Evan Engram again. The impressive rookie had a nice performance against the Lions, and he should be able to repeat that in Philadelphia. I don't know what happened to the Eagles linebackers, but they've played terribly thus far. Jordan Hicks has been brutal, which is shocking because he had performed so well in the past.
PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: The Eagles obviously have better blocking than the Giants do. It's obvious because almost every team can say that, but Philadelphia has a pretty stout front. Jason Peters didn't have his best game versus Justin Houston last week, but he was dealing with a groin problem. He should be healthier this week, so he figures to have an even matchup with Olivier Vernon. Lane Johnson, meanwhile, is favored to win more often than not against Jason Pierre-Paul. Neutralizing the strength of the Giants' defense, their pass rush, will be enormous because New York doesn't do many other things very well.
The Giants were missing Janoris Jenkins and B.J. Goodson on Monday night, and both figure to return to the lineup. However, how healthy will they be? Can Jenkins cover Alshon Jeffery effectively? Will Goodson be able to deal with Zach Ertz and Darren Sproles? These are all legitimate questions.
The Eagles should be able to maintain consistent drives, despite the lacking running game. However, they'll need to keep from making sloppy mistakes, which they were guilty of in Kansas City. Philadelphia could've upset Kansas City outright, but shot itself in the foot too many times.
RECAP: I loved the Eagles on the look-ahead line. They were -3 versus the Giants heading into Week 2. Unfortunately, we lost all spread value because everyone finally understands that the Giants are not a good football team. They're not horrible, but they're just below average. That was the case last year when they lucked into numerous wins, but things aren't going their way now.
Eagles -6 obviously isn't nearly as appealing as -3. I would've taken Philadelphia for a huge bet at -3, but six is close to the line I made, which was -6.5. I'm still picking Philadelphia, but I'm not wagering on this contest.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Janoris Jenkins and B.J. Goodson were expected back for this game, but neither has practiced yet. If both are out, I may put a unit or two on the Eagles after all.
SATURDAY NOTES: I said I'd consider betting the Eagles if Jenkins and Goodson were out. Goodson will be sidelined, while Jenkins is a game-time decision. Check back Sunday morning, as I may place a unit on the Eagles, especially if the line drops. The sharps, however, have not indicated that they're going to take the Giants.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm not putting a unit on the Eagles. They're going to be missing Rodney McLeod, whose absence was instrumental in the Chiefs' offense getting sparked last week. Meanwhile, Janoris Jenkins will play for the Giants. The sharps are betting New York.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Philadelphia: 58% (20,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Giants.
History: Road Team has won 13 of the last 20 meetings.
History: Eagles have won 14 the last 18 meetings.
Giants are 46-33 ATS on the road since 2006 as long as they're not favored by 3.5 or more.
Eli Manning is 39-31 ATS as an underdog since 2007.
Week 3 NFL Picks - Late Games
Seattle at Tennessee,
Kansas City at LA Chargers,
Cincinnati at Green Bay,
Oakland at Washington,
Dallas at Arizona
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.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 18, 2020): 1-5 (-$1,430)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2020): 0-2 (-$575)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2020): 0-2 (-$855)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 18, 2020): 2-3-1 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 18, 2020): $0
2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-2, 50.0% (-$135)
2020 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 132-123-6, 52.6% (+$3,280) 2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 43-42-3, 50.6% (-$2,650) 2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-22-1, 62.7% (+$5,515) 2020 Season Over-Under: 137-119-6, 53.5% ($0) 2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$375
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$3,585) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$6,105) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$4,235) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,880) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,335) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$7,445) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$7,825) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$3,215) 2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$780) 2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$4,300) 2018 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 140-134-14, 51.3% (+$845) 2019 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 149-128-9, 53.6% (+$1,200)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475) 2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395) 2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-41-2, 55.9% (+$2,670) 2019 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-36-2, 55.0% (+$655)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465) 2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595) 2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 27-32-1, 45.8% (-$4,735) 2019 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-27-2, 57.8% (+$2,185)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95) 2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640) 2018 Season Over-Under: 118-128-3, 48.0% (-$225) 2019 Season Over-Under: 126-133-4, 48.6% (-$50)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855 2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275 2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510 2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,495 2019 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,715
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100) 2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780) 2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040) 2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-3, 57.1% (-$640) 2019 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3-1, 50.0% (-$625)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,989-2,760-179, 52.0% (+$13,585) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 953-858-49 (52.6%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 452-396-23 (53.3%) Career Over-Under: 2,459-2,413-66 (50.5%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 44-29-1 (60.3%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.