NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 5, 2018

NFL Picks (Preseason 2018): 11-10 (+$445)
NFL Picks (Week 1, 2018): 8-7-1 (+$150)
NFL Picks (Week 2, 2018): 8-7-1 (-$80)
NFL Picks (Week 3, 2018): 8-8 (-$730)
NFL Picks (Week 4, 2018): 8-6-1 (+$280)

NFL Picks (2018): 43-38-3 (+$65)
NFL Picks (2017): 137-147-10 (-$3,790)
NFL Picks (2016): 148-127-10 (+$1,055)
NFL Picks (2015): 133-138-10 (-$2,360)
NFL Picks (2014): 143-133-7 (-$1,885)
NFL Picks (2013): 144-131-8 (+$5,580)
NFL Picks (2012): 130-145-8 (-$5,760)
NFL Picks (2011): 137-133-12 (-$1,925)
NFL Picks (2010): 144-131-8 (+$6,080)
NFL Picks (2009): 151-124-9 (+$3,370)
NFL Picks (2008): 136-125-6 (+$4,330)
If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.

Vegas betting action updated Oct. 7, 11:25 a.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Go to Week 5 NFL Picks - Late Games

Indianapolis Colts (1-3) at New England Patriots (2-2)
Line: Patriots by 10. Total: 50.

Westgate Advance Point Spread: Patriots -7.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Patriots -9.5.
Thursday, Oct 4, 8:20 PM

The Game. Edge: Patriots.

WEEK 4 RECAP: I finished 8-6-1, +$280. Being in the black is nice and all, but Week 4 was frustrating. I had the Cowboys -3 for four units, but they lost against the spread by one point. In the late afternoon, the Chargers played like crap and beat C.J. Beathard by just two points, costing me five units. However, the coup de grace was the Browns +1.5 +100 failing to cover because some of the worst officiating you'll ever see. The Browns appeared to win the game by getting a first down, but the replay review said that the runner was short of the line to gain. There was no evidence that this was the case, yet the play was still inexplicably overturned. It was a horrible beat, so it's a good thing the loss was just for two units for the sake of my sanity. Still, going 9-5-1, +$680 would look so much better.

Meanwhile, my overrated-underrated feature was posted in this spot the past couple of years. I thought it would be better if there was less clutter on this page, so I set up a new NFL Overrated and Underrated Teams page that will be updated every Monday. I have three overrated and underrated teams listed there, and some may shock you!

My Week 5 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: The Colts are in a rough spot on this side of the ball. That may seem odd if you've been following the Rob Gronkowski injury news, though I'd say Julian Edelman's return from suspension and Josh Gordon's further integration into the offense can help offset that. What I'm referring to is the injury to Darius Leonard.

Leonard, the Colts' star linebacker, has been one of the favorites for Defensive Rookie of the Year thus far, but he tweaked his ankle Sunday and may not be able to play on such short rest. If he's out, that'll severely downgrade Indianapolis' defense. Leonard is one of those do-it-all leaders at linebacker who is always everywhere on the field. His absence will allow Tom Brady to have his way with the Colts' defense.

Furthermore, the Colts lost some cornerbacks to injury in Sunday's loss to Houston. That will also make things more difficult in stopping Brady. They couldn't even stop someone named Keke Coutee, so how are they going to defend New England's revamped receiving corps?

INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: The Patriots had severe issues stopping opponents during their two-game road skid, and a big reason for that was the absence of Trey Flowers. New England's top pass rusher, Flowers was knocked out of the Jacksonville game after seven snacks snaps, and the Patriots couldn't put pressure on Blake Bortles or Matthew Stafford as a result. Flowers returned to battle the Dolphins, so it's not any sort of coincidence that New England generated plenty of heat on Ryan Tannehill.

I expect Andrew Luck to have similar problems. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo will likely be out again, which means Flowers can take advantage of Indianapolis' second-string left tackle. Jadeveon Clowney tortured Luck throughout the afternoon in Week 4, and Flowers will have similar success.

Making matters even worse for Luck, it doesn't sound like he'll have T.Y. Hilton or Jack Doyle at his disposal. Hilton, who has a balky hamstring, is going to be a huge absence. Luck will have to rely on the likes of Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers and Zach Pascal while having lots of pressure in his face. He'll dump off some balls to Nyheim Hines with some success, but Luck is unlikely to generate too many scoring drives - at least not until garbage time.

RECAP: Speaking of garbage time, it's highly possible that Luck will secure a back-door touchdown in the fourth quarter, given this spread is so high. Giving Luck 10 points is just begging to take the underdog.

And yet, I'm not going to do it. I'm a proponent of picking the best team on Thursday Night Football, as the superior squad has the advantage with both teams having so little time to prepare. The Patriots obviously have the superior roster, especially if Hilton and Leonard are out.

Also, there's the issue of fatigue. The Colts are coming off a grueling overtime loss. If that doesn't seem like a big deal to you, consider this: Teams playing on Thursday Night Football coming off overtime are 6-25 against the spread, all time. Underdogs of more than seven in that situation have NEVER covered. I hate trends, but this is just logic; playing with just three days of rest is hard enough as it is, so doing so following overtime is extremely difficult.

I'm siding with the Patriots, but this will be a non-wager. Despite what I said about the Colts coming off overtime, Luck is very live to throw a back-door touchdown late in regulation.

THURSDAY THOUGHTS: T.Y. Hilton is out. Marlon Mack is out. Jack Doyle is out. Darius Leonard, Anthony Castonzo and Ryan Kelly are questionable. Meanwhile, it sounds like Rob Gronkowski will play. If you like the Patriots, bet them at -10 now because this spread will likely rise.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The Colts are a mess. In addition to T.Y. Hilton, Marlon Mack and Jack Doyle, the Colts will be missing star rookie linebacker Darius Leonard, as well as their top three cornerbacks. Anthony Castonzo will play, but Tom Brady is going to shred Indianapolis' secondary. I like the Patriots, but I'm wary of the back-door cover. The best number for New England I see is Patriots -10 -114 at Bookmaker or -10.5 -105 at BetUS.

The Psychology. Edge: None.
The Colts are exhausted coming off an overtime defeat, while the Patriots have to take on the Chiefs next week.

The Vegas. Edge: Colts.
There's increasing money on the host.
  • Percentage of money on New England: 71% (25,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Colts.
  • Andrew Luck is 22-6 ATS off a loss.
  • Andrew Luck is 13-6 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 or more since 2013.
  • Tom Brady is 224-70 as a starter (166-115 ATS).
  • Tom Brady is 34-34 ATS as a home favorite of -9 or more (23-27 ATS since November 2007).
  • Opening Line: Patriots -10.5.
  • Opening Total: 53.
  • Weather: .

    Week 5 NFL Pick: Patriots 30, Colts 16
    Patriots -10 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 50 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Patriots 38, Colts 24

    Baltimore Ravens (3-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-2-1)
    Line: Ravens by 3. Total: 45.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Ravens -1.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Browns -1.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Ravens.

    My overrated-underrated feature was posted in this spot the past couple of years. I thought it would be better if there was less clutter on this page, so I set up a new NFL Overrated and Underrated Teams page that will be updated every Monday. I have three overrated and underrated teams listed there, and some may shock you!

    BALTIMORE OFFENSE: Throughout the latter portion of the summer, I noted that I liked the Ravens to have a bounce-back season because Joe Flacco put lots of effort into his offseason training for the first time since signing his big contract. Now that we're four weeks into the season, we can definitively say that it has paid off. Through four games, Flacco has accumulated 1,252 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. That puts him on pace for 5,008 yards, 32 touchdowns and just eight picks. All would be career-best figures.

    That said, Flacco hasn't been tested by a tough defense yet. The Bengals were missing Vontaze Burfict, while the Broncos, prior to their Monday night effort, had underachieved to start the year. The Browns just surrendered 45 points to the Raiders, but they have some terrific personnel on this side of the ball. Their defensive line is tremendous and should put some heat on Flacco, while the secondary has also improved from last year, thanks to Denzel Ward's presence. Ward will erase one of Flacco's receivers, limiting his options.

    The Browns can be beaten in the middle of the field, thanks to shoddy linebacker play. That was evident when Jared Cook torched them this past Sunday. The Ravens don't have a dynamic tight end like Cook, however, though there's a chance that first-round rookie tight end Hayden Hurst could make his NFL debut. Buck Allen should also have some nice gains after catching the ball.

    CLEVELAND OFFENSE: I must have heard the trend about No. 1 overall pick quarterbacks always failing to cover in their first start from 20 people leading up to the week, but that's not why the Browns lost. Baker Mayfield played very well for the most part. The Browns were simply screwed by an incompetent officiating crew. I still don't know how they overturned the run that definitely achieved the first down. In fact, upon watching that game again, I'm convinced the Cleveland runner landed even farther than what was initially ruled! I'm convinced that there was a miscommunication between New York and the crew in Oakland. I have no evidence to support that belief, but it's the only thing that makes sense!

    At any rate, Mayfield has a much more difficult matchup in this game. Of course, that could be said by default, given how putrid Oakland's defense is, but the Ravens are excellent. They just limited the Steelers to only 14 points, and that was without their top cornerback, Jimmy Smith, who returns from suspension this week. It'll be difficult for Mayfield to attack with his young receivers downfield, though he should have success targeting Jarvis Landry in the slot.

    Making matters worse for Mayfield, the Ravens happen to be stout against the run. They just put the clamps on James Conner, and they'll limit Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb as well.

    RECAP: The advance spread on this game was Baltimore -1. Now, the line has shot up to three because the Ravens beat the Steelers on national TV. Anyone who has been reading this site the entire season thus far knows that I think very little of teams beating Pittsburgh because the Steelers stink. There's no reason any line should move two points because of a victory over Pittsburgh's poor defense.

    My personal line for this, both before and after Week 4, was Cleveland -1. I love getting four points with the Browns, especially considering that this is a big game for them. This is their Super Bowl, as it's an opportunity to make a statement that they can be competitive in the division with Mayfield. Conversely, the Ravens just had a big win on national TV and could have low energy. It's highly doubtful that as a veteran team, they'll bring the same intensity that the Browns will to this game.

    I wish we were getting +3.5 to be awarded a win in the wake of a Baltimore by three result - which is a very likely outcome - but Cleveland +3 is still worth a three-unit play. I think the Browns could win this game outright, and to quote my friend and fellow bettor Mark, "The NFL owes the Browns after that call in Oakland."

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I'm still hoping for +3.5. There are some books that have +3 +100 posted. That's a solid number, but I don't mind waiting.

    SATURDAY NOTES/LOCKED IN: The juice on the Browns is now +3 +105 at Bovada. I was looking for a +3.5 with good juice, and +3.5 -110 is available at BetUS, so I'm locking this in.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps never came in on the Browns, which is disappointing. I imagine they're worried about a rookie quarterback going up against Baltimore's defense. The Browns will have a big-time emotional advantage, however. Also, the Ravens will be missing nose tackle Michael Pierce, which should help Cleveland's running game.

    The Psychology. Edge: Browns.
    This is the Browns' Super Bowl.

    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    The public just saw the Ravens crush the Steelers on national TV.
  • Percentage of money on Baltimore: 78% (19,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Browns.
  • History: Ravens have won 18 of the last 20 meetings (Road Team has covered 11 of the last 16 non-pushes).
  • Ravens are 14-23 ATS as road favorites since 2005.
  • Opening Line: Ravens -2.5.
  • Opening Total: 47.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees. Light wind.

    Week 5 NFL Pick: Browns 23, Ravens 20
    Browns +3.5 (3 Units) - BetUS -- Correct; +$300
    Under 45 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Browns 12, Ravens 9

    Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)
    Line: Chiefs by 3. Total: 49.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Chiefs -3 -120.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Chiefs -5.5.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Jaguars.

    VEGAS UPDATE: I'll be posting how the Vegas sportsbooks have done the previous week in this spot.

    The highest-bet sides were 43-40-4 last season, a year that was pretty painful for the books. Perhaps the pendulum will swing the other way...

    Here were the teams getting the most bets last week:

  • Eagles -4
  • Chiefs -4
  • Seahawks -3
  • Colts -2.5
  • Saints -3.5
  • Lions +3

  • The heavily wagered teams were just 2-2-2 in Week 3, but Vegas had a rough Monday night because the Chiefs-Broncos game middled. The overall record of heavily bet teams is now 8-10-2. Here are the teams getting the most bets this week:

  • Titans -3.5
  • Rams -7
  • Ravens -3
  • Packers -1.5
  • Panthers -7
  • Broncos +2.5

  • Nothing here surprises me, as the public will always bet road favorites with reckless abandon. Broncos +2.5 is an outlier, but that seems so easy after how Denver looked Monday night.

    KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: Patrick Mahomes passed his first major test with flying colors, as he led the Chiefs on two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to come back from a 23-13 deficit in front of a screaming crowd in Denver. The Broncos' pass rush came alive and hounded him, yet he overcame that and commanded his team to victory.

    This will be another difficult test for Mahomes, and for obvious reasons. The Jaguars have the best defense in the NFL, so things will be even more taxing for Mahomes. Granted, he won't have issues barking out the plays in his home stadium, but Jacksonville's pass rush is tremendous. The Jaguars have major edges all over the place in the trenches, as Mahomes' front won't be able to hold up. Meanwhile, the dynamic Jalen Ramsey figures to take away one of Mahomes' weapons.

    The Broncos had some weaknesses Mahomes was able to exploit, namely the shoddy linebacking corps. The Jaguars don't have such a liability. Their linebackers are outstanding, so I can't imagine Kareem Hunt duplicating his rushing success.

    JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: Blake Bortles has been incredibly inconsistent this year. He began the season by nearly ruining a victory at the Giants by getting away with some potential interceptions. He followed that up by dissecting the Patriots, albeit with Trey Flowers sidelined. Bortles was horrible against the Titans after that, but he reverted to being great this past week, as he enjoyed major success against the Jets.

    It's never easy to guess how Bortles will perform because he's so erratic and doesn't really care about playing football, but I have to imagine that we'll see more of Good Bortles than Bad Bortles. The Chiefs have some major liabilities on defense, particularly at cornerback and off-LOS linebacker. The Jaguars don't have the greatest receiving corps, but they have quick players who should be able to get open, and Bortles has shown a penchant for getting them the ball in space when he decides to try. This also includes T.J. Yeldon, who has done a good job in place of the hobbled Leonard Fournette.

    The Chiefs do have an advantage on this side of the ball, and that would be the edge rush. In Bortles' two positive performances, he hasn't worried about getting rushed in the pocket very much; as mentioned, the Patriots didn't have Flowers. The one thing Kansas City does well defensively is put pressure on opposing passers on the edge with Justin Houston and Dee Ford, and the Jaguars don't have the best tackle situation. The blind side is particularly a liability in the wake of Cam Robinson's injury.

    RECAP: This is a rough matchup for Mahomes; one that he could certainly lose. However, he's a great talent, and I believe he can overcome the Jaguars and will his team to victory again. I certainly like him much more than Bortles, so I would make Kansas City -5.5 in this contest under normal circumstances.

    This, however, doesn't qualify as a normal circumstance. The Chiefs are coming off a grueling, last-minute victory over a hated divisional rival in altitude, and now they have to play a tough team on short rest. The Chiefs are in a horrible spot, so I definitely cannot bet them. However, my personal line value says that they're the right side, so I'll be picking them again this week.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Unit change! I've been thinking about it, and I like the Chiefs considerably. A couple of things: First, I'm wrong about the Chiefs being flat. This is a big game, as it could be a tie-breaker for home-field advantage in the AFC. Kansas City will be focused. And second, a big injury no one is talking about is D.J. Hayden's absence. Hayden was supposed to play slot corner in the wake of Aaron Colvin's departure. He's out, so the inept Tyler Patmon will start there instead. This presents a big problem because Tyreek Hill plays out of the slot. The Chiefs will be able to expose this liability. It's worth noting that the Jaguars have played just one non-crappy quarterback thus far in Tom Brady - Marcus Mariota was injured - and the Patriots did move the ball on Jacksonville. I believe Mahomes will be able to as well, so I'm putting three units on Kansas City.

    SATURDAY NOTES: I still like the Chiefs for the reasons I described in the Thursday Thoughts. However, I think I was a bit too enthusiastic in going from zero to three units. I'm going to settle for two. The best juice available for me is Chiefs -3 +100 at Bovada.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm glad I bet the Chiefs at -3 +100 because a bit of sharp action has moved it to -3 -110. I like my wager for two units, and three units could be fine as well.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Kansas City: 52% (17,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Chiefs.
  • Jaguars are 38-67 ATS against non-divisional opponents since 2008.
  • Opening Line: Chiefs -3.
  • Opening Total: 48.5.
  • Weather: Rain, 62 degrees. Light wind.

    Week 5 NFL Pick: Chiefs 27, Jaguars 20
    Chiefs -3 +100 (2 Units) - BetUS -- Correct; +$200
    Under 49 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Chiefs 30, Jaguars 14

    Tennessee Titans (3-1) at Buffalo Bills (1-3)
    Line: Titans by 6. Total: 38.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Titans -3.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Titans -4.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Titans.

    HATE MAIL: I will be posting hate mail here. Lester Biggs e-mailed me back. If you didn't see it, here were his e-mails from last week:

    Here's Lester's latest reply:

    Yeah, what the hell is he doing bringing up child abuse? Like, either he's joking, and it seems wrong to joke about child abuse, or he's serious and really thinks I've been abused as a child, which is a horrible thing to bring up. What a scumbag!

    Anyway, here's some hate I didn't have to respond to:

    Hot tip: If you post stuff on the Internet, don't say something inaccurate that can be easily debunked via a quick 30-second Google search.

    If you're going to post hate, just call people names. Including new ones people have never heard of:

    I don't look forward to the cold sweats I'll get from being called a "degenerate loose."

    And finally, this guy is just wrong.

    Hey, hey, hey. Call me a scam palm-reader all you want, but don't you dare doubt by impeccable charm and humor.

    TENNESSEE OFFENSE: So, I'm guessing Marcus Mariota is healthy again? Head coach Mike Vrabel is doing a great job, and I'd even consider him to be the leading candidate for Coach of the Year, but he's turning out to be quite the liar. He previously said that Mariota and Blaine Gabbert would both play in Week 2, and they did not. Leading up to Week 4, Vrabel told the media that Mariota can't make all of his throws, and that also turned out to be untrue. At this point, Vrabel could tell us that the sun rises in the east, and I don't think I'd believe him.

    Mariota had a thrilling performance against the Eagles, particularly in the second half. Philadelphia's secondary has some major issues, but the same can be said of the Bills. They already had cornerback depth problems, and now star safety Micah Hyde will miss at least one game with a groin injury. Mariota should also be well protected, as stud left tackle Taylor Lewan will keep Mariota's pocket clean against Buffalo's best pass rusher, Jerry Hughes.

    The Bills will at least be able to take away Mariota's best receiver, Corey Davis, thanks to top cornerback Tre'Davious White. However, Buffalo has some liabilities Mariota can exploit. While the Bills are strong versus the run, their linebackers struggle to cover, so Dion Lewis can be used as a dynamic, pass-catching threat out of the backfield. Perhaps tight end Jonnu Smith will also contribute, though I imagine the Titans wish they had Delanie Walker for this matchup.

    BUFFALO OFFENSE: The Titans were able to steal some victories with an absent or injured Mariota because of their defense, which is playing terrific football. Tennessee is placing plenty of heat on opposing passers with Brian Orkapo, Jurrell Casey and rookie Harold Landry all playing very well. Derrick Morgan isn't quite 100 percent yet, but he'll get there as well. With that in mind, the Bills figure to be in plenty of trouble because they can't block. Buffalo arguably has the worst offensive line in the NFL, so Tennessee will be able to take advantage of that.

    The Bills will have to compensate for their shoddy blocking by having rookie quarterback Josh Allen either escape the pocket or find LeSean McCoy and Charles Clay in space. I believe the Bills will be successful in both facets because Tennessee's best linebacker, Wesley Woodyard, will miss a few games with a shoulder injury. Woodyard is the leader of the defense, and the only true, three-down linebacker Tennessee has on its roster. His absence will be enormous.

    That said, the Titans should be able to survive without Woodyard this week. The Bills don't have many options beyond McCoy and Clay, as their lackluster downfield threats won't have much success getting open versus a talented secondary.

    RECAP: The Titans are in a tough spot, and I'm not just referring to Woodyard missing action. They're coming off a taxing victory over the defending Super Bowl champions as home underdogs in overtime, and now they have to travel to play a Buffalo squad that will be eager to redeem itself after being shut out. We've seen the Bills catch another sleepy team off-guard and prevail, and it could certainly happen again.

    That said, the Titans are a very well-coached team, and I believe they'll triumph. Whether they'll cover or not is the most important question, and I'm not going to pick them to do so. I think the most likely result of this game is Tennessee winning by exactly three points. The spread is +3.5. Thus, Buffalo seems like the right side, though a half point definitely doesn't give us a margin for error. This will be a non-wager.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Wow, this line just shot up from -3.5 to -5. I'm wondering if an injured occurred on the Bills that no one is mentioning yet. I wasn't able to find anything, but the sharp bettors are often ahead of the media on stuff like this. I'm still on Buffalo, but would not recommend wagering on this game.

    SATURDAY NOTES: I'm staring at the final injury report, and I don't see a reason why this line should've shot up two points. The public is on the Titans, and it looks like there's some sharp action on Tennessee as well.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Both the public and sharps continue to pound the Titans, as they've moved up to -6. That's great line value for Buffalo, but I don't really want it.

    The Psychology. Edge: Bills.
    This seems like a bad spot for the Titans; they were a home underdog that won in overtime, and now they're road favorites.

    The Vegas. Edge: Titans.
    No one wants to bet on Buffalo.
  • Percentage of money on Tennessee: 67% (11,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Titans.
  • Bills are 19-33 ATS in their last 52 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Opening Line: Titans -3.
  • Opening Total: 39.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 60 degrees. Light wind.

    Week 5 NFL Pick: Titans 16, Bills 13
    Bills +6 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 38.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Bills 13, Titans 12

    New York Giants (1-3) at Carolina Panthers (2-1)
    Line: Panthers by 6.5. Total: 43.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Panthers -6.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Panthers -7.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Panthers.

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    CAROLINA OFFENSE: I hope the Panthers were able to use their week off to integrate rookie receiver D.J. Moore into the offense. Carolina has been lacking a dynamic, downfield threat, and Moore seems like the obvious choice to remedy those woes. Moore had a promising start to his training camp, but since being ticketed for going 113 mph in a 65-mph zone, he's been in Ron Rivera's dog house. Moore will have the potential to break out in the second half of the season, and perhaps even this game, especially if star cornerback Janoris Jenkins is busy smothering Devin Funchess.

    However, the Panthers don't need Moore to go off to beat New York. The Giants have issues on this side of the ball, including their lacking edge rush. That'll be cured if Olivier Vernon returns to action, but he's missed the entire year thus far. Even if he plays, he may not be 100 percent. This is huge for the Panthers, who have well-publicized blocking problems.

    The Giants' greatest area of weakness on this side of the ball happens to be their linebackers, who struggle to cover. This was very evident last week, when Alvin Kamara went off. Kamara is obviously a special talent, but it's been years since the Giants have defended tight ends and pass-catching running backs well. Christian McCaffrey has exposed some shaky linebacking corps thus far this season, and he should have another great performance.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: The Giants had a chance to keep pace with the Saints, but Eli Manning made five poor throws when he had time in the pocket. In fact, Odell Beckham Jr. was so frustrated with Manning's incompetence that he took off his helmet and yelled at no one on the sideline. Manning had a nice matchup versus a New Orleans secondary that had allowed big outings all year, yet he couldn't take advantage of it.

    With that in mind, I don't see why things would suddenly change for Manning in this matchup. The Panthers have poor cornerback play, so Beckham and Sterling Shepard should get open easily. It's just a question of whether Manning will be able to get the ball to them. It's also seems doubtful that Manning will receive the appropriate amount of protection. The Panthers have a tremendous front seven, while the Giants have offensive line woes.

    It could be difficult for Saquon Barkley to get going as well. Barkley had a nice matchup last week versus the Saints' shaky linebacking corps, but the Panthers have some fantastic linebackers who should be able to limit Barkley when he gets in space.

    RECAP: The Panthers are much better than the Giants, whose only victory has come against the poorly coached Texans. They've otherwise been vastly outplayed this season. Carolina is coming off a bye and could definitely beat the Giants by more than a touchdown.

    That said, this game doesn't look appealing from a betting perspective. This line is exactly what I made it, and Manning could throw a back-door touchdown, which is what he almost did in the first two weeks of the season. Manning is 18-8 against the spread as an underdog of seven or more in his career. And sure, he's not the same player he once was, but he's 5-1 ATS when getting a touchdown or more in the past two years, with the one loss being on Thanksgiving against the Redskins in which Washington had a bogus front-door cover. Despite being a shell of his former self, Manning is still covering as a large dog, and he'll have opportunities to get within the number versus Carolina's shoddy corners. I'll pick him to do it again, but I won't bet on it.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The sharps have bet the Giants, bringing this line down to +6.5. I already had no interest in betting this game, so it's even less appealing now.

    SATURDAY NOTES: The sharps bet the Giants heavily at +7, and slightly at +6.5. I'm still going with no units on New York.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Again, there was sharp money on the Giants at +7, but only a little bit at +6.5. If you liked New York, you missed out on the best number. That said, +7 -120 is available at Bovada. It's worth paying 10 cents on the dollar for the key number of seven.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Giants.
    Who wants to bet on the Giants right now?
  • Percentage of money on Carolina: 70% (18,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Giants.
  • Eli Manning is 18-8 ATS as an underdog of 7 or more.
  • Opening Line: Panthers -6.5.
  • Opening Total: 44.5.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 80 degrees. Light wind.

    Week 5 NFL Pick: Panthers 23, Giants 17
    Giants +6.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 43.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Panthers 33, Giants 31

    Denver Broncos (2-2) at New York Jets (1-3)
    Line: Pick. Total: 42.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Jets -2.5 -120.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Jets -1.5.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Jets.

    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 have a page where I predict which teams will sign or trade for certain players. For example, I have a link with the teams that will trade for Le'Veon Bell. I've listed Dez Bryant on this page for a while, but Bryant has remained unsigned for months.

    Bryant posted a cryptic tweet about it over the weekend, but the key element to it is the first reply:

    If Dez has a chance to sign with The Walking Dead, I think he should take it. Bryant can no longer separate from NFL players, but he's fit enough to separate from zombies. Also, Rick announced that this will be his last season - what a dick! - so the show will need a new lead actor after this year. I can think of no one better than Dez Bryant to fill that role. Literally, no one.

    2. Speaking of players who were the subject of changing teams, Earl Thomas won't be dealt in the wake of his broken leg. I mentioned this in the Disaster Grades page. What I didn't discuss is the utter stupidity of this whole thing from both parties.

    Thomas, as you may have seen, gave the Seattle sideline the middle finger for ruining a potential pay day of his, but he's partly to blame. Had he held out like Bell, he wouldn't have risked injury like this. I hope this serves as a lesson to future disgruntled players. Hold out if you feel as though you're severely underpaid, and if you don't hold out, at least practice so you're in better shape come game day.

    I would blame the Seahawks as well. Why would they even use him if they planned on trading him? They risked his health, and now they won't get any compensation in the stacked 2019 NFL Draft. They'll receive a third-round compensatory pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but that pales in comparison to a second-rounder this next April, which really could've helped the rebuilding process. Now, the Seahawks are down an asset because of sheer stupidity.

    3. Can we talk about this?

    OK, so Keenan Allen's knee is hurting him, but tooth? TOOTH!? What does Allen have, gum disease? A cavity? Why would any of this prevent him from playing football? I can only imagine Anthony Lynn's press conference.

    "Keenan may not play. He might have a cavity. It might also be gum disease. We do not know. We're listing him as questionable, but if he brushes his teeth and flosses twice per day, he'll be probable."

    Call be unsympathetic for one man's tooth problems, but before you chastise me, you must know that I once had SEVENTEEN cavities in one dental visit. Yes. SEVENTEEN. If anyone knows about tooth problems, it's this guy.

    DENVER OFFENSE: The Broncos paid Case Keenum lots of money this offseason, but he hasn't lived up to it. He had a terrific fourth quarter against Oakland's horrible defense to lead his team to victory, but that's been about it. Keenum allowed the Seahawks to hang around in Week 1 with some horrible interceptions. He, along with inept left tackle Garett Bolles, made some poor red-zone miscues at Baltimore in Week 3. Then, on Monday night, Keenum had an open Demaryius Thomas screaming down the sideline for the game-winning touchdown, but floated the ball over his head.

    Keenum is better than the bums the Broncos possessed at quarterback following Peyton Manning's retirement, but he's been a major disappointment. I don't see why things would suddenly improve against the Jets, who have some talented defensive backs. New York didn't defend the pass well at Jacksonville last week, but I think the 85-degree heat and humidity had something to do with that, as the Jets seemed to have very low energy in the second half. I expect New York's defense to perform on a higher level in this contest, though Emmanuel Sanders has an obvious matchup edge over Buster Skrine in the slot.

    The Jets should also be able to handle the run well. Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay were able to burst up the middle with huge gains against Kansas City's poor defense, but the Jets stuff the run well with their talented defensive front. Meanwhile, linebacker Darron Lee is playing on a high level for the first time in his career, and he'll help the Jets make sure Lindsay doesn't break for many big gains as a receiver out of the backfield.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: Sam Darnold had a great debut to his career, but has progressively gotten worse each week. However, perhaps it's not a coincidence that his matchups have gotten harder every time. The Lions have a poor defense; the Dolphins are below average on that side of the ball; Cleveland's defense is above average; while Jacksonville's is elite. Darnold turning into an ineffective checkdown machine has only been natural.

    The Broncos may seem like a tough test for Darnold as well, but I would disagree with that. I imagine that may sound strange considering that the Broncos rattled Patrick Mahomes in the opening half of Monday night's loss, but high energy and a rabid crowd played a big part. Prior to the loss to the Chiefs, Denver's defense hadn't been playing very well this season. The Broncos were torched by both Derek Carr and Joe Flacco in preceding weeks.

    With that in mind, I don't think it's inconceivable that Darnold has a rebound performance. The Broncos have some major liabilities on this side of the ball. Their linebackers can't cover, so Bilal Powell and Quincy Enunwa should have some big gains over the middle of the field. Meanwhile, Denver's run defense was exposed Monday night, so Powell and Isaiah Crowell should do well on the ground.

    RECAP: The public is all over the Broncos, but I strongly disagree with their betting tendencies in this game. I love the Jets. New York hasn't played well lately, but that hasn't been a surprise. The Jets had to prepare for a Thursday night game in Week 2, which would explain the loss to Miami. They looked like they were going to beat a solid Browns team that Thursday, but Baker Mayfield went nuts in the second half. Last week, they wilted in the 85-degree heat and humidity while wearing their dark jerseys in Jacksonville.

    The Jets aren't as bad as they seem, while the Broncos certainly aren't as good as they looked Monday night. Denver has played one good game this year. The team nearly lost to the terrible Seahawks and Raiders at home, and it would've been blown out at Baltimore if it weren't for two blocked kicks. Keenum, as mentioned, has been a big disappointment, while the defense has been underwhelming as well.

    Now that we've dispelled the notion that the Broncos are better than the Jets, let's consider the emotional implications of this contest. Denver is coming off an absolutely draining Monday night loss to the Chiefs. That was the Broncos' Super Bowl, and they lost. Now, they have to travel to play an early game on a short week versus a New York team that will be eager to end its three-game losing streak. The Jets have a serious psychological advantage in this matchup.

    Also, consider that the Broncos are heavy public dogs. Everyone on the pre-game shows will be picking Denver. The host will say, "Will anyone pick the Jets to pull the upset?" and I'll shout at the TV, "The Jets are favored, you idiots!"

    I have five picks this week that are either four or five units, and this is the first of them. I'm on the Jets for four units.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This spread has dropped to pick 'em, and I expect Denver to be favored soon. It seems silly that there would be such an adjustment to the advance line, all because, what, the Broncos played tough in their Super Bowl? That the Jets lost in 90-degree heat and humidity?

    SATURDAY NOTES: The Broncos are now favored, which makes no sense. This line has now moved 3.5 points from the advance spread, and for what? Because the Broncos played their Super Bowl? Because the Jets wilted in 90-degree heat and humidity? The Jets might be down two cornerbacks, but I'm sure Case Keenum will throw some careless interceptions regardless. The best spread is actually the Jets moneyline +100 at Bookmaker.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The public bet the Broncos all week, then the sharps came in on the Jets on Sunday morning. I'm happy with my locked-in four-unit wager on the Jets.

    The Psychology. Edge: Jets.
    The Broncos are coming off an emotional loss against a divisional rival and now have to play on short rest.

    The Vegas. Edge: Jets.
    Lots of money on the Broncos.
  • Percentage of money on Denver: 66% (16,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Opening Line: Jets -2.
  • Opening Total: 43.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 77 degrees. Light wind.

    Week 5 NFL Pick: Jets 20, Broncos 13
    Jets PK +100 (4 Units) -- Correct; +$400
    Under 42.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Jets 34, Broncos 16

    Atlanta Falcons (1-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2-1)
    Line: Steelers by 3. Total: 57.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Steelers -3.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Steelers -3.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Steelers.

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

    Random College Football Notes:

    1. I'd be remiss if I didn't address one of the top stories this week, which was Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence getting knocked out of the game with a concussion. This wouldn't have been a big deal a couple of weeks ago because Clemson had a stellar backup in... umm... Trevor Lawrence. Incumbent quarterback Kelly Bryant was the starter then, but the Clemson coaching staff correctly identified that Lawrence was the superior talent, so it named him the starter. This pissed off Bryant, who decided to transfer. Thus, he was unavailable when Lawrence was knocked out of the game.

    Clemson trailed Syracuse 23-13 and seemed in danger of losing. The Tigers managed to put together a great comeback, however, and they eked out a victory.

    ESPN's telecast criticized Bryant for transferring, calling him selfish for abandoning his team. I thought this was absolutely ridiculous. So, because Clemson thought it needed an upgrade at quarterback, Bryant was just supposed to sit on the bench? That seems extremely unfair. Think about it this way: If you had a job, and you were very good - not great - at it, and your boss decided to hire a young hot shot to take your place, do you not try to get another job? Or do you just sulk and remain jobless?

    Bryant made the right choice, and he shouldn't have considered the Tigers whatsoever. His coaching staff abandoned him; not the other way around. Bryant was 16-2 as a starter. It's not like he failed the Tigers. He gave them 16 wins, with only two losses. He gave his team a terrific record, but the coaching staff didn't think it was good enough. So, why was he required to stick around?

    If dumb ESPN people want to blame anyone, why not the Clemson boosters? If the Clemson boosters paid Bryant enough to stay on the team, the Tigers could've had a great option in the wake of Lawrence's injury. I'm sure they wouldn't have had to pay him as much as they give to Lawrence, but more funds should've been considered. The Clemson boosters should've recognized how important having a strong backup quarterback is in the wake of the Philadelphia Eagles' Super Bowl run. They did not, and they nearly paid the price as a result.

    2. The bad beats continue for the college football picks. Alabama looked like it was going to cover, up 49-0 and 56-7 in the fourth quarter, but lost the spread because of an insane series of events. The Alabama kicker missed a 24-yard field goal to start, which clearly pissed off Nick Saban. The Alabama coach yelled angrily, and he was even more furious when his kicker whiffed on his next try. He missed from 32 yards, doinking it off the right upright. This happened right after an Alabama player dropped a touchdown.

    Still, this looked like it was going to be a push at -49 - I never thought I'd push on 49 before - but Alabama's defense gave up, leaving a Rajun Cajun player wide open in the end zone for the back-door touchdown.

    So, with four minutes remaining Louisiana snuck inside the spread. I assumed Alabama would just kneel down, but Saban called plays, and Alabama got down to the Louisiana 15-yard line. Unfortunately, time expired. If there were a minute or two remaining on the clock, Alabama would've scored again, barring another drop or missed field goal.

    People ask me why I don't post more than five college football picks per week. It's because I think betting on 18-, 19- and 20-year-old kids is a foolish thing to do. I don't even trust 18-, 19- and 20-year-old kids to shovel the snow on my driveway properly, yet I'm going to invest my hard-earned money on them to cover the spread in a football game? Get the f**k out of here. The Alabama kicker still has his pubes growing in; no wonder he missed two chip-shot field goals!

    3. It's been 12 years since I used to cover Penn State football for the Centre Daily Times. If I were still penning the Walt's World of Sports column, I'd probably discuss how Penn State blew a game it absolutely should have won. The Nittany Lions led for most of the evening, owning a 12-point lead at one point in the second half. However, a lost fumble turned into a touchdown, a missed field goal and some horrible tackling helped Ohio State take a one-point lead. Penn State, however, still had a chance to pull the upset, but had one of the worst play-calls I've seen in a long time. Confronted with a fourth-and-5, Penn State ran the ball on a read option despite Ohio State stuffing the run the entire night. Quarterback Trace McSorley had been terrific all evening, so how could Penn State take the ball out of his hands?

    I'd probably discuss how the person who was responsible for that horrible run should be fired, but I'm now preoccupied by other things. Much earlier in the game, there was an instance in which there were four personal foul penalties on one play: one on Penn State, three on Ohio State. Yet, all the penalties offset, so nothing happened.

    How the hell does that make any sense? I know that's how most offsetting penalties are conducted, but why should something offset if one team has two more personal fouls than the other? Shouldn't the team with fewer personal fouls benefit? Why doesn't that happen?

    It's so stupid and it makes no sense. I feel like I'm losing my mind about this. Maybe the Penn State play-caller was preoccupied with the same thoughts, and if so, that would totally excuse that zone-read run.

    PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: Is there going to be any defense in this game? If so, it won't be on this side of the ball. The Falcons have a skeleton crew stop unit, as they're missing their best linebacker, Deion Jones, and two starting safeties. They had no hope of stopping the Bengals last week. They only time they forced Cincinnati into a punt was when the Bengals were a bit rattled after losing Tyler Eifert to a season-ending injury. Cincinnati otherwise did whatever it wanted on Atlanta's home turf.

    When Jones went down, it was clear the Falcons were done. Their defense has fundamentally changed with Jones out, and the two safeties missing certainly isn't helping. Ben Roethlisberger should pick up where Andy Dalton left off by torching Atlanta. Roethlisberger was off against the Ravens, but he was battling a great defense with two starting offensive linemen who just returned from injury in David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert. Both DeCastro and Gilbert should be better with another week to heal.

    Roethlisberger may not even need to do all that much, as I like James Conner to have a rebound performance. The Falcons have been poor against the run, so Conner should have a big game.

    ATLANTA OFFENSE: If there's going to be any defense in this game, it'll be when the Falcons have possession. Pittsburgh's stop unit has some major problems. The team can't cover in space, as it never replaced Ryan Shazier this offseason, while there are plenty of miscommunications in the secondary, which Matt Ryan has to be eager to exploit.

    However, the Steelers have a couple of things going in their favor. First, they have a stellar defensive line, with Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt playing very well. The Falcons are missing their starting left guard, so Heyward could have a nice performance by pressuring Ryan in the interior. Meanwhile, cornerback Joe Haden should be healthier this week, and he could slow down one of Atlanta's receivers. The Steelers also happen to be solid against the run, so Atlanta's ground attack won't accomplish very much.

    That said, the Falcons still should be able to score plenty of points, especially if Devonta Freeman plays. Tevin Coleman is as good of a runner as Freeman, but Freeman gives the Falcons a dynamic receiving threat out of the backfield. Given that the Steelers can't defend pass-catching running backs, Freeman's availability will be enormous.

    RECAP: The Falcons just lost two of three consecutive games at home, beating only the Panthers, who seemed distracted by Hurricane Florence. Their offense isn't as good on the road, which is one of the reasons why I'm betting the Steelers for four units.

    Pittsburgh also seems to have good matchup edges in this contest, as the Falcons won't be able to exploit all of the Steelers' greatest weaknesses unless Freeman plays and happens to be 100 percent. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh plays much better at home historically. The team has lost twice as a host this year, but the Falcons aren't nearly as good as the Chiefs and Ravens.

    Something else to consider is that the Steelers at -3, down from -3.5 on the advance line, are being faded, with the Falcons being public dogs. Most TV analysts will be picking Atlanta to win outright despite the Falcons owning the worse defense and playing outside the comfort of their dome.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I didn't notice the juice creep up to -3 -125. The line is even -3.5 +105 in some places. I wonder if this movement is a reaction to the Falcons also missing Grady Jarrett, which is huge. I don't like -3 -125 as much, so I think I'd go to three units if the juice doesn't move back. We'll see.

    SATURDAY NOTES: The juice is still unfavorable, though that's because there's been a bit of sharp action on the Steelers. The public is on Atlanta.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The juice still hasn't been very good, thanks to sharp money on the Steelers. The best number I see is -3 -125 at Bovada. I'm dropping this to three units because we couldn't find a clean -3 -110 or even a -3 -115.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Atlanta: 53% (13,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Opening Line: Steelers -3.
  • Opening Total: 57.
  • Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees. Light wind.

    Week 5 NFL Pick: Steelers 38, Falcons 31
    Steelers -3 -125 (3 Units) - Bovada -- Correct; +$300
    Over 57 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Steelers 41, Falcons 17

    Green Bay Packers (2-1-1) at Detroit Lions (1-3)
    Line: Lions by 2. Total: 51.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Pick.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Lions -1.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Lions.

    If you've followed this site for a while, you might remember that I like to respond to my spam mails. It all started seven 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, Ramsay Bolton and Walter White. I have brand new Spam Mails this year, so check them out if you want to see me screw with spammers. I'll have new ones every week!

    GREEN BAY OFFENSE: If Aaron Rodgers were healthy, he'd probably be my No. 1 fantasy quarterback this week. Detroit's defense is so bad that it allowed the Cowboys to score more than 20 points for the first time this year. The Lions did well against Tom Brady, but the Patriots had very low energy in that game. Detroit doesn't really have the personnel to stop most teams.

    However, Detroit might actually do well defensively again because Rodgers clearly isn't himself. He actually moved around better than expected against the Bills, but his throws were off. He missed several receivers, and he had three interceptions dropped, two of which looked like they would've gone back for six. To be fair, the Packers had plenty of drops as well. It was the worst 22-0 shutout victory in NFL history, apparently.

    With the passing attack struggling, the Packers would be better served running the ball as much as possible. Aaron Jones has looked explosive since coming back from suspension, so he should have some nice gains against Detroit's woeful run defense, which was just steamrolled by Ezekiel Elliott. Jones obviously is no Elliott, but Elliott did just set a career high for yards from scrimmage in a single game.

    DETROIT OFFENSE: The Lions have improved each week on this side of the ball since their woeful opening-night loss against the Jets. It turns out that New York somehow knew Stafford's hand signals, so this would explain why Stafford struggled so much in Week 1.

    Stafford was able to exploit the Cowboys last week, as Sean Lee's absence created some communication issues in the back seven. The Packers don't have such problems, but they do have liabilities in the secondary. Stafford has plenty of dynamic threats at his disposal, so he should be able to move the ball consistently.

    It would help the Lions if they used their running backs appropriately. Kerryon Johnson is looking like a special talent, and yet the Lions keep splitting the carries evenly between him and LeGarrette Blount, which is incredibly stupid. Johnson could have a nice game, especially if given the ball in space, while Blount will plod for two yards per carry.

    RECAP: I regret not betting against the Packers when they were playing in Washington back in Week 3. At the time, I wrote something like, "My hot take for this game is that an injured Aaron Rodgers shouldn't be favored on the road against a competent team." Based on how Rodgers performed against the Bills, that still applies.

    Now, there might be some question as to whether or not the Lions would qualify as "competent," and that's a fair point to make, given how bad their defense is. However, Detroit upset the Patriots, and another home win could be in the works. I'm going to bet two units that they can get it done.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This line was Lions +1.5 for a hot second, but the sharps have been pounding Detroit throughout Thursday, perhaps because all of Green Bay's receivers are injured. I'm sticking with the Lions for two units for now, but I'm considering a third unit.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Aaron Rodgers was taken off the injury report, which is curious. Is he suddenly healthy again? We'll see. His receiving corps is very banged up though, and I still don't think Green Bay should be favored here. That said, I'm not going above two units with Ziggy Ansah and T.J. Lang missing for the Lions. Bookmaker has -2 +100, which is better than -1 -110.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Davante Adams will play for the Packers, but he may not be 100 percent and could get knocked out early. So, a hobbled quarterback throwing to a banged-up receiving corps is expected to win on the road? I don't see it. The sharps agree, as they've bet the Lions. I wouldn't mind a third unit on this game, but I'll stick with two.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
    All the Packers have to do is win? Sounds easy.
  • Percentage of money on Green Bay: 65% (11,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Packers.
  • History: Packers have won 19 of the last 25 meetings.
  • Packers are 46-25 ATS in divisional games since 2006.
  • Aaron Rodgers is 83-54 ATS since 2009.
  • Aaron Rodgers is 35-29 ATS on the road as long as he's not favored by 6.5 or more points.
  • Opening Line: Packers -1.
  • Opening Total: 51.
  • Weather: Dome.

    Week 5 NFL Pick: Lions 26, Packers 23
    Lions -2 +100 (2 Units) - Bookmaker -- Correct; +$200
    Under 51 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Lions 31, Packers 23

    Miami Dolphins (3-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)
    Line: Bengals by 6. Total: 47.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Bengals -3.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Bengals -6.5.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Bengals.

    Video of the Week: If you missed it, we had plenty of NBA free agency coverage, and I posted NBA Free Agent Grades this summer. Grades are fun, but this video, quickly summarizing all of the fans' feelings throughout NBA free agency, was much more hilarious:

    That last part is so true. There really is no point of having an NBA season this year.

    CINCINNATI OFFENSE: The Dolphins have looked helpless on defense against the Raiders and Patriots the past two weeks, but I think it's important to understand why after Miami's defense played well in the first two weeks of the season. Tougher quarterbacks obviously played a factor, but the biggest problem for the Dolphins has been the absence of star safety Reshad Jones.

    Jones being out of the lineup has been enormous because the Dolphins have had coverage breakdowns and communication issues in the secondary without him. There's good news, however, and that would be Jones possibly returning to action this week. Jones practiced fully both Thursday and Friday, yet was a last-second scratch at New England. If Jones was close to returning, he should play Week 5. He'll be needed against a hot Andy Dalton, who has plenty of dynamic weapons at his disposal. The Dolphins don't have the cornerbacks to stop A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, so Jones and Minkah Fitzpatrick will need to prevent many long plays from happening.

    The Bengals would be in better shape for this contest if Tyler Eifert were healthy, but the snakebitten Eifert suffered a season-ending injury in Atlanta. The Dolphin linebackers struggle in coverage, so Eifert had a great matchup. Cincinnati doesn't have a tight end to take advantage of that, though Giovani Bernard (or Joe Mixon, if he plays) will benefit.

    MIAMI OFFENSE: The Dolphins' offensive line was an abomination against the Patriots, as starting center Daniel Kilgore suffered an injury, while usually stout right tackle Ja'Wuan James was benched. It was an awful showing, so Miami's blocking unit will have to bounce back with a better effort to redeem itself.

    The problem, however, is that the Bengals have a ferocious defensive line. Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Carl Lawson are all playing well, and they all have matchup edges in the trenches. It'll be difficult for Ryan Tannehill to have time in the pocket to locate his receivers downfield, as Matt Ryan was easily able to do last week.

    The Dolphins may not have much success running the ball either, though that really depends on one player. The Bengals have been weak versus running backs to start the year, but that'll change soon with Vontaze Burfict returning from suspension. Burfict is one of the top linebackers in the NFL, though it remains to be seen if he's in top playing shape or not. It might take Burfict a week or two to get there. If he's a bit sluggish to start, Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore should be able to help the Dolphins move the chains a bit.

    RECAP: The advance spread on this game was Cincinnati -3.5. Because the Bengals beat the defensively challenged Falcons, and the Patriots crushed Miami, this line has popped all the way up to -6.

    Was what happened last week worth a 2.5-point adjustment? Well, the Falcons stink, so Cincinnati winning in Atlanta wasn't a huge deal. Meanwhile, I explained why the Dolphins struggled so much in New England. Jones' absence played a huge part in that blowout loss, and it sounds like Jones will return.

    Assuming Jones plays, I like the Dolphins to cover this inflated spread. They'll be eager to bounce back from a blowout loss, while Cincinnati could have low energy following its last-second victory in Atlanta. That said, I don't love Miami or anything, so this will be just a one-unit play. The spread may rise, and if it does, I'll increase my unit count.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Here's another side the sharps are pounding. They've been betting the Dolphins heavily despite the news that Joe Mixon should return. It sucks to lose the key number of six, but I'm sticking with Miami for a unit.

    SATURDAY NOTES: There was sharp money on the Dolphins at +6.5, then this line went down to +5.5, and then there was sharp action on Cincinnati at -5.5. This spread has settled at +6 as a result. I like the Dolphins for a unit at +6, and I may go to two units depending on how I feel Sunday morning. Reshad Jones' availability will be huge.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This line has continued to be +6 in most places, though +6.5 has popped up at Pinnacle and the Westgate. I'm sticking with one unit on Miami.

    The Psychology. Edge: Dolphins.
    There's a chance that the Bengals, coming off a last-second win, could overlook the Dolphins with Pittsburgh coming up next week.

    The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
    The Bengals are predictably getting lots of support.
  • Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 63% (15,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Underdog is 81-55 ATS in the Dolphins' last 136 games.
  • Bengals are 24-15 ATS at home since 2013.
  • Opening Line: Bengals -5.5.
  • Opening Total: 50.
  • Weather: Sunny, 83 degrees. Light wind.

    Week 5 NFL Pick: Bengals 24, Dolphins 23
    Dolphins +6 (1 Unit) - 5Dimes -- Incorrect; -$110
    Under 47.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Bengals 27, Dolphins 17

    Week 5 NFL Picks - Late Games
    Oakland at LA Chargers, Minnesota at Philadelphia, Arizona at San Francisco, LA Rams at Seattle, Dallas at Houston, Washington at New Orleans


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

  • Prop/teaser/parlay picks posted in Week 5 NFL Picks - Late Games

    NFL Picks - Dec. 1

    2022 NFL Mock Draft - Dec. 1

    NFL Power Rankings - Nov. 30

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 8


    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 12, 2021): 7-7-1 (-175)
    Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 12, 2021): 3-2 (-$50)
    Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 12, 2021): 2-2 (-$175)
    Last Week Over-Under (Week 12, 2021): 5-9 ($0)
    Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 12, 2021): -$50

    2021 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-1, 66.7% (+$800)

    2021 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 94-95-2, 49.8% (-$4,555)
    2021 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-31, 50.8% (-$895)
    2021 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-23-1, 43.9% (-$3,385)
    2021 Season Over-Under: 89-88-2, 50.3% ($0)
    2021 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$925

    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)
    2020 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 138-124-7, 52.7% (+$9,350)

    2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%)
    2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%)
    2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%)
    2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%)
    2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%)
    2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110)
    2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510)
    2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260)
    2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180)
    2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715)
    2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130)
    2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890)
    2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820)
    2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475)
    2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395)
    2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-41-2, 55.9% (+$2,670)
    2019 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-36-2, 55.0% (+$655)
    2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-43-3, 52.2% (-$1,965)

    2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%)
    2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%)
    2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%)
    2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%)
    2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%)
    2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420)
    2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055)
    2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330)
    2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790)
    2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260)
    2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650)
    2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970)
    2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120)
    2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465)
    2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595)
    2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 27-32-1, 45.8% (-$4,735)
    2019 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-27-2, 57.8% (+$2,185)
    2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-22-1, 62.7% (+$5,515)

    2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%)
    2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%)
    2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%)
    2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%)
    2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%)
    2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%)
    2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900)
    2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860)
    2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195)
    2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5)
    2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135)
    2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30)
    2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340)
    2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0)
    2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95)
    2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640)
    2018 Season Over-Under: 118-128-3, 48.0% (-$225)
    2019 Season Over-Under: 126-133-4, 48.6% (-$50)
    2020 Season Over-Under: 141-122-6, 53.6% ($0)

    2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035
    2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775
    2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865
    2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200
    2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590
    2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685
    2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245
    2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
    2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275
    2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510
    2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,495
    2019 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,715
    2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$4,975

    2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%)
    2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400)
    2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720)
    2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640)
    2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810)
    2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870)
    2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560)
    2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900)
    2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350)
    2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
    2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780)
    2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040)
    2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-3, 57.1% (-$640)
    2019 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3-1, 50.0% (-$625)
    2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$665)

    Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 3,083-2,851-180, 52.0% (+$15,450)
    Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 989-887-49 (52.7%)
    Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 470-419-23 (52.9%)
    Career Over-Under: 2,552-2,504-68 (50.5%)
    Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%)
    Career NFL Picks of the Month: 45-29-1 (60.8%)

    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: 6-5
    Bears: 8-2
    Bucs: 4-7
    49ers: 5-6
    Eagles: 8-4
    Lions: 5-5
    Falcons: 7-4
    Cardinals: 6-5
    Giants: 7-4
    Packers: 5-6
    Panthers: 5-7
    Rams: 7-4
    Redskins: 3-8
    Vikings: 7-4
    Saints: 8-3
    Seahawks: 7-4
    Bills: 6-5
    Bengals: 5-5
    Colts: 3-9
    Broncos: 6-5
    Dolphins: 4-8
    Browns: 5-7
    Jaguars: 5-6
    Chargers: 6-5
    Jets: 5-6
    Ravens: 7-4
    Texans: 3-8
    Chiefs: 4-7
    Patriots: 5-7
    Steelers: 3-8
    Titans: 7-5
    Raiders: 6-5
    Divisional: 26-20 (2011-20: 448-442)
    2x Game Edge: 39-40 (2011-20: 279-271)
    2x Motivation Edge: 36-30 (2011-20: 394-318)
    2x Spread Edge: 22-27 (2011-20: 105-89)
    2x Vegas Edge: 25-26 (2011-20: 346-357)
    2x Trend Edge: 7-15 (2011-20: 270-241)
    Double Edge: 16-17 (2011-20: 149-128)
    Triple Edge: 4-8 (2011-20: 27-22)

    2003 Preseason: 3 | 4 | 5
    2003 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 20 | XXXVIII
    2004 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2004 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XXXIX
    2005 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2005 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XL
    2006 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2006 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLI
    2007 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2007 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLII |
    2008 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2008 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIII |
    2009 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIV |
    2010 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2010 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLV |
    2011 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2011 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLVI |
    2012 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2012 Season:
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    2013 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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    2014 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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    2015 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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    Super Bowl 50 NFL Pick
    2016 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
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    2017 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
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    2018 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
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    2019 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
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    2020 Season:
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    2021 Season:
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