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 – Early Games








Oakland Raiders (1-3) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-2)
Line: Chargers by 5.5. Total: 51.5.

Westgate Advance Point Spread: Chargers -6.5.
Walt’s Calculated Line: Chargers -4.5.
Sunday, Oct 7, 4:05 PM


The Game. Edge: None.

Two years ago, 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. He followed that up by stopping Vladimir Putin from hacking the NFL. In doing so, however, Tom Brady was stuck in an evil dimension, and his evil counterpart has come into our world. No one is aware that Tom Brady is now Evil Tom Brady, which is great for Evil Tom Brady because he can begin devastating the world…



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

SAN ANGELES OFFENSE: I’m so sick of the Chargers. They’re very poorly coached and always seem to make things difficult for themselves. Like, would it kill Philip Rivers to throw the ball into the end zone once in a while in a goal-to-go situation? What’s with the short tosses to teammates hoping that they’ll cross the goal line? And why can’t Cal Sturgis make a freaking kick!?

I have double PTSD from the two Charger losses, if you couldn’t tell, but even I have to acknowledge that the Chargers look like they’ll have plenty of success on this side of the ball. Oakland’s defense is atrocious, so the Chargers should move the ball well. Melvin Gordon primarily has a great matchup. The Raiders stop the run fairly well – unless they have to defend Nick Chubb, apparently – but their linebackers can’t cover whatsoever in space, so Gordon will have a big day as a receiver out of the backfield.

Let’s not forget about the incompetence of Oakland’s secondary as well. The Raiders have plenty of liabilities in their defensive backfield for Rivers to exploit. They also lack a consistent pass rush, so Rivers should have plenty of time to scan the field.

OAKLAND OFFENSE: As truly horrific as the Raiders have been defensively this year, I’m not sure which stop unit is worse. The Chargers looked helpless in trying to stop Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff in Weeks 1 and 3, but that was at least understandable, especially after both signal-callers performed so well in other contests. What’s unforgivable is the Chargers’ inability to contain C.J. Beathard last week. Beathard is a no-talent quarterback, and yet the Chargers made him look like the second coming of Joe Montana.

The Chargers will continue to struggle, especially with Derek Carr playing well. Carr had a rough start to the Cleveland game, but caught fire as the afternoon progressed. Carr has thrown for at least 288 yards in every single contest this year, and I expect that trend to continue against the Chargers. San Angeles has one talented corner in Casey Hayward, and Derwin James is playing out of his mind, but that’s about it in the secondary. The rest of the defensive backfield is struggling, while the linebacking corps has been rancid. George Kittle just caught an 82-yard touchdown against them, so I shudder when thinking how the red-hot Jared Cook will abuse the Chargers.

I’ve made it sound like doom and gloom for the Chargers on this side of the ball, but there is one glimmer of hope, and that’s Corey Liuget returning from suspension. Liuget should help a defensive front that has been gashed against the run, though it might take Liuget a week or two to get into playing shape. If Liuget isn’t quite himself in his first game back, Marshawn Lynch will rumble for long runs again. Hopefully the officials don’t blow any of his plays dead prematurely!

RECAP: Who are the Chargers to be favored by this many points? They stink. They’re poorly coached, and their defense is horrible. The Raiders should be able to stay within the number.

That said, I’m not betting Oakland. The Raiders’ stop unit is just as bad, and the team is coming off an emotional overtime victory, so this isn’t an ideal spot for them.

THURSDAY THOUGHTS: A bit of sharp movement has caused this line to fall to +5, but that could be phantom action. Regardless, I’m not betting on this abomination of a game.

SATURDAY NOTES: It doesn’t look like Kelechi Osemele will play for the Raiders. I’d consider that a big deal if the Chargers had any sort of decent defense.

SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: I’m tempted to bet a unit on the Raiders. The more I think about it, the more absurd I think this spread is. The Chargers have played like hot garbage in three or four games. Still though, I don’t trust the Raiders either.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m having a good day thus far – as of 3:32 p.m. – so I thought about betting a unit on the Raiders. I just can’t do it. I don’t trust them, and we lost some good line value from the advance spread. I’ll still be zero on Oakland.






The Psychology. Edge: Chargers.
The Raiders are coming off an emotional overtime win.


The Vegas. Edge: None.
Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Oakland: 59% (17,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • History: Raiders have won 4 of the last 6 meetings (Raiders 11-7 ATS last 18).
  • Derek Carr is 5-2 ATS as an underdog of 6+ since 2015.
  • Raiders are 18-35 ATS after a win since 2009.
  • Opening Line: Chargers -6.5.
  • Opening Total: 52.
  • Weather: Sunny, 75 degrees. Light wind.


    Week 5 NFL Pick: Chargers 30, Raiders 27
    Raiders +5.5 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Over 51.5 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Chargers 26, Raiders 10




    Arizona Cardinals (0-4) at San Francisco 49ers (1-3)
    Line: 49ers by 4. Total: 40.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: 49ers -2.5.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Pick.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 4:25 PM


    The Game. Edge: Cardinals.

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    Make sure you get your pick in for the WalterFootball.com 2018 NFL Survivor Pool. You have until Sunday to register, so do it soon! Of the 1,225 starting players, we lost 723 because of the Saints and Lions. Unreal. The Vikings then knocked out a bunch of people, and we’re down to just 43 souls remaining.

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    SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: The 49ers have some major problems on this side of the ball, and I’m not just referring to C.J. Beathard starting in place of Jimmy Garoppolo. The offensive line took a beating in last week’s loss to the Chargers. Left tackle Joe Staley, center Weston Richburg and right tackle Mike McGlinchey all suffered injuries, and they’re all considered questionable heading into Week 5. They’re the three competent blockers San Francisco has up front, so if two are out – or if they’re not 100 percent – that will be a huge problem.

    The Cardinals don’t have a great front, but Chandler Jones and Markus Golden have the ability to generate a consistent pass rush, so they should have success getting to Beathard behind either absent or hobbled tackles. Beathard looked decent at times against the Chargers, but was playing one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The Cardinals aren’t great either, but they’re a step up, and if Beathard doesn’t have the appropriate protection, he could be forced into some turnovers.

    Matt Breida and George Kittle really helped Beathard last week, but I wouldn’t count on both dominating again. I wouldn’t say they’ll do poorly, but the Cardinals definitely have better linebacker play than the inept Chargers do. Meanwhile, Patrick Peterson will erase one side of the field, so Beathard’s options will be limited.

    ARIZONA OFFENSE: Josh Rosen also made his first start of the season this past week, and I thought he looked pretty good. The stats don’t show it – he was 15-of-27 for 180 yards and a touchdown – but he had numerous passes dropped, including a couple that should’ve been scores. Rosen did this against the Seahawks, who had Earl Thomas for more than half of the game. Seattle is a shell of its former self, but it still had some Pro Bowlers on its stop unit that had trouble slowing down Rosen.

    I bring up Thomas because unlike the Seahawks, the 49ers won’t have their best defensive back for the entire game. Richard Sherman is out, so San Francisco will have trouble covering Larry Fitzgerald and even Christian Kirk. Rosen should be able to locate them for considerable gains, and he figures to have the time in the pocket to do so because the 49ers lack a pass rush.

    I also like David Johnson’s outlook in this game. We just saw Melvin Gordon destroy the 49ers’ defense because of shoddy linebacker play – Reuben Foster isn’t in great shape yet – and Johnson could post similar results.

    RECAP: Neither this spread nor the movement from the advance line makes any sense to me. Prior to Week 4, the 49ers were -2.5, and yet they moved two points despite the Cardinals nearly beating the Seahawks. I know San Francisco nearly won as well, but the Chargers stink!

    The Cardinals have the better quarterback, stronger rushing attack and better defense, and yet they’re 4.5-point underdogs? What’s the logic behind that? And furthermore, the 49ers could potentially miss several starters on the offensive line.

    I have some concern with the public betting the Cardinals, but there should be fewer tickets on this game than most other contests, so that shouldn’t matter. At least I hope not; I’m putting five units on Arizona, as this spread is way off my number, which is pick ’em!

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I’m not sure if it was the sharps or the public, but someone bet this line down to +4. I still love the Cardinals, and I’m considering locking them in to avoid risking the drop to +3.5.

    SATURDAY NOTES/LOCKED IN: This spread has dropped to +3.5 or even +3 -120 in several books. The sharps and public have bet the Cardinals, perhaps because the 49ers may not have Joe Staley, which is huge in a matchup against Chandler Jones.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: This line has fallen to +3 -115. Crazy. The public and sharps have both pounded the Cardinals all week.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This line is now 49ers -3 -110 in most books. It’s insane how far this spread has fallen. I still love the Cardinals, but would drop this to 3-4 units at +3 -110.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.
    No one wants to bet on C.J. Beathard.
  • Percentage of money on Arizona: 71% (13,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • History: Cardinals have won 7 of the last 8 meetings.
  • Opening Line: 49ers -4.5.
  • Opening Total: 41.
  • Weather: Sunny, 77 degrees. Mild wind, 15 mph.


    Week 5 NFL Pick: Cardinals 20, 49ers 17
    Cardinals +4 (5 Units) – BetUS — Correct; +$500
    Under 40.5 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Cardinals 28, 49ers 18






    Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-2)
    Line: Eagles by 3. Total: 48.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Eagles -3.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Eagles -6.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 4:25 PM


    The Game. Edge: Eagles.

    Emmitt on the Brink Season 11 is underway! In Episode 4, Emmitt meets with his coaches to figure out how to come back from a blowout loss. Meanwhile, there’s another murder at Gillette Stadium.

    PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: Carson Wentz is making his third start since coming off his knee tear. He was better in his second game than he was in his 2018 debut, so it’s only logical to conclude that this trend will continue. I believe it will, though the pattern is not the only reason why I think that’ll be the case. Rather, Minnesota’s defense will have something to do with it.

    The Vikings are known for having a great defense, but that has not been the case this season. A one-legged Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen both had their best full games of the season against them, and then Jared Goff absolutely shredded them last Thursday. The Vikings have several things that are going wrong on this side of the ball. Primarily, they can’t cover in space. Their linebackers are abysmal in coverage, so Zach Ertz may have one of this best games of the season. I also expect Philadelphia’s pass-catching running backs to thrive, just as Todd Gurley did in Week 4.

    Elsewhere, the Vikings have issues at cornerback outside of Xavier Rhodes. I imagine Rhodes will smother Alshon Jeffery, so Philadelphia’s other receivers should succeed. Also, the edge rush is much weaker because of Everson Griffen’s absence. Wentz didn’t have much time to throw last week, but he’ll have more opportunities in the pocket in this matchup.

    MINNESOTA OFFENSE: The Eagles have one big defensive issue as well, as their secondary has been exposed throughout the season thus far. Matt Ryan (in between the 20s), Ryan Fitzpatrick and Marcus Mariota all torched them, and I imagine that Kirk Cousins will have similar success; if not more. Cousins has lived up to the mammoth contract the Vikings have given him this offseason, and it’s helped that both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have been terrific. I can’t see Philadelphia’s struggling corners staying with them.

    However, the Eagles have matchup edges elsewhere on this side of the ball. For instance, Minnesota’s struggling offensive line allows way too many pressures, and the Eagles have one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox have terrific matchups in particular. Cousins will have pressure in his face the entire afternoon.

    Also, the Vikings won’t be able to run the ball very well. Philadelphia’s front seven is fantastic against the rush, while the linebackers cover tight ends and pass-catching running backs well, so I don’t expect Dalvin Cook, who admittedly isn’t 100 percent, to perform on a high level.

    RECAP: I’m 4-0 against the spread in Eagles picks this year, and I believe I’ll be 5-0 after this game is over. I love Philadelphia, as it’s one of my two five-unit wagers this week.

    The Rams were seven-point favorites over the Vikings, yet the Eagles are just favored by three. That makes absolutely no sense to me. The Rams are not four points better than the Eagles. I know Minnesota has had extra time to prepare, but even if that’s worth a point, that still means this line is too low.

    I would make Philadelphia -6 or -6.5 in this situation. The Eagles are the far superior team. They’re just 2-2, but they’ve been complacent in most of their games. I figured they would be, as this is a challenge defending Super Bowl champions must overcome. However, I don’t expect that to be the case in this game. The Eagles are coming off a loss, and they’ve been looking ahead to this NFC Championship rematch for quite some time; it’s been their goal to have Wentz, Jeffery and Ajayi all healthy for this contest all along. This is effectively the beginning of the Eagles’ 2018 season. At least, that’s how they’ve been treating it.

    The Vikings, conversely, are in rough shape. Their defense can’t stop anyone, and that loss to Buffalo is beginning to look less and less like a fluke. They also have to be concerned that one of the best players on their roster has quite literally lost his mind. Griffen was one of the leaders on the Vikings, and they look like they’re ready to implode without him.

    Despite all of this, the Vikings are a public dog, which is mind-boggling to me. The Eagles easily could’ve won in Tennessee if it held the Titans on one of the three fourth-down conversions in overtime, and if that happened, what would this line be with the 3-1 Eagles hosting the 1-2-1 Vikings? I assume it would be more than three, which would be a more accurate spread.

    I think this game could be a blowout, and I’m willing to bet five units on it.

    LOCKED IN: I just saw this line move to -3 -125 at both Pinnacle and CRIS. Both are sharp sportsbooks, so other books may follow suit and move this spread to -3 -125, -3 -130, or even -3.5. Perhaps that won’t happen, but I don’t want to risk it. Bovada currently has a -3 -115 line, which I think is worth locking in. I’ll feel bad if this line drops to -3 -110, but I’ll feel worse if I miss out on -3 all together.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: It turns out I panicked for nothing. The juice was -3 -125 for a while, but it has since fallen back to -3 -115. Better to be safe than sorry. I’m still loving the Eagles.

    SATURDAY NOTES: I still love the Eagles for five units. I better, since I locked this in already, and all! The juice is back up to -120 or -125 in most places.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: Man, I’m glad I locked in the Eagles. They’ve moved to -3.5. There’s a ton of sharp money on Philadelphia.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps bet the Eagles at -3, but not -3.5. As with the Cardinals game, I would drop this a couple of units for a worse number, but I still would like Philadelphia.


    The Psychology. Edge: Eagles.
    The Vikings must be concerned about one of their fallen defensive leaders.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    The Vikings are a public dog.
  • Percentage of money on Minnesota: 56% (22,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
  • Mike Zimmer is 46-22 ATS as head coach of the Vikings.
  • Mike Zimmer is 9-3 ATS with extra time to prepare since 2015.
  • Carson Wentz is 18-12 SU, 18-12 ATS as a starter.
  • Eagles are 3-12 ATS before playing the Giants since December 2010.
  • Opening Line: Eagles -3.
  • Opening Total: 445..
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 83 degrees. Light wind.


    Week 5 NFL Pick: Eagles 34, Vikings 20
    Eagles -3 -115 (5 Units) – Bovada — Incorrect; -$575
    Over 48 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Vikings 23, Eagles 21






    Los Angeles Rams (4-0) at Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
    Line: Rams by 7.5. Total: 50.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Rams -7.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Rams -4.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 4:25 PM


    The Game. Edge: Rams.

    A reminder that Jerks of the Week for this week is up, so just click the link. This week’s jerks entry is about how much the Philadelphia International Airport sucks.

    LOS ANGELES OFFENSE: Patrick Mahomes is the leader in the MVP race right now, but Jared Goff’s name has to be up there as well. Goff was terrific against the Vikings, shredding their secondary with ease. Goff has tons of weapons at his disposal, and it makes me wonder how in the world the Seahawks are going to defend all of them with Earl Thomas sidelined.

    Historically, the Seahawks have been miserable defensively with one of Thomas or Kam Chancellor out of the lineup. Now, they’re both gone, as the entire Legion of Boom is scattered in the wind. With Goff airing out bombs to his talented receivers, the Seahawks needed Thomas to help defend those throws. Now, without Thomas, the Seahawks won’t stand a chance against the Rams’ lethal offense, especially when considering how bad their cornerbacks have been.

    The one thing the Seahawks have going for them on this side of the ball is Bobby Wagner. He’s the lone remaining player from Seattle’s once-fantastic back seven – at least until K.J. Wright returns from injury – and he should be able to limit Todd Gurley as both a runner and a receiver out of the backfield.

    SEATTLE OFFENSE: If the Seahawks only had defensive problems, they’d be OK because Russell Wilson is a great quarterback. Unfortunately for them, that’s hardly the case. The Seahawks can’t block, and their receiving options are limited.

    Given that the Seahawks can’t block, I can’t help but worry about Wilson’s safety against Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers and Ndamukong Suh. They’re all going to win their matchups very easily and place heavy heat on Wilson, who will be running for his life all afternoon. It would help Wilson if he had a reliable safety valve like Jimmy Graham, who could take advantage of the Rams’ pedestrian linebacker play, but no such player like that exists on Seattle’s current roster.

    The Rams are down a cornerback, so there’s some hope in that regard. However, Doug Baldwin is not 100 percent – he admitted that he won’t be completely healthy all year – and Tyler Lockett is just an inconsistent deep threat. Wilson will be able to scramble for some yards, but that’s about it.

    RECAP: This is a tough one to handicap. On one hand, Wilson has an amazing track record when getting lots of points. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, so if he’s an underdog by a wide margin, he’ll likely find a way to cover the spread. He’s 14-7 against the spread as an underdog in his career, and when getting six or more points, he’s 3-1 ATS.

    On the other hand, the Seahawks are a complete dumpster fire, especially without Thomas, while the Rams could be the best team in the NFL. The Rams haven’t exactly been challenged yet, but Sean McVay is a terrific coach whose energy is carrying over to his players. The Rams always seem like they’re going 100 mph, even in obvious flat or look-ahead situations, so it’s no surprise that they’re 4-0 against the spread this year.

    I don’t want to go against the Rams again, so I’m picking them. Maybe that’s wrong, and maybe I should take the Seahawks because Wilson is getting a ton of points, but I’m tired of losing when doubting the Rams.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I still have no opinion on this game. This spread is inflated, but I don’t want to go against the Rams, nor do I want to back a Seattle team missing Earl Thomas.

    SATURDAY NOTES: It sounds like Mark Barron will return for the Rams, which will help their ability to cover the middle of the field. The line has shifted up to -7.5, and yet I still would take the Rams. This just seems like way too much of a mismatch, and I don’t expect a Sean McVay-coached team to be flat.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: The public continues to pound the Rams, while the sharps haven’t weighed in on this game yet – and understandably so.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This is still a pass for me. The sharps still haven’t touched this either.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: Seahawks.
    Everyone and their evil step-mother is betting the Rams.
  • Percentage of money on Los Angeles: 75% (25,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Seahawks.
  • History: Rams have won 5 of the last 8 meetings.
  • Seahawks are 13-5 ATS as home underdogs since 2009.
  • Russell Wilson is 14-7 ATS as an underdog.
  • Opening Line: Rams -7.
  • Opening Total: 49.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 59 degrees. Light wind.


    Week 5 NFL Pick: Rams 34, Seahawks 24
    Rams -7.5 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Over 50 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Rams 33, Seahawks 31






    Dallas Cowboys (2-2) at Houston Texans (1-3)
    Line: Texans by 3. Total: 45.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Texans -4.5.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Texans -3.5.
    Sunday, Oct 7, 8:20 PM


    The Game. Edge: .

    I’m going to devote this section to Ross Avila. If this is your first time reading this, and you don’t know who Ross is, he’s a douche who harassed me on Facebook about my picks all last year. Here are some of the things he said:



    He wrote this to me during the Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl, where he bragged about being right about Atlanta. Oops.

    Ross constantly embarrassed himself throughout the year, including when he posted this, suggesting that he sold picks to people:



    I eventually unfriended Ross. He started going after women on my Facebook page, including my then-fiancee. I warned him, and he didn’t listen, so I unfriended him.

    Because I was a big part of Ross’ life, he sent me countless messages. I’ve shown you some already. Check this one out:



    Ah yes, the Google “corpirate ladder.” I’ve joked about Ross being an intern janitor before, but based on his spelling, I don’t even think he’s cut out for that job.

    DALLAS OFFENSE: The Cowboys have scored more than 20 points once all year because the only thing they do well offensively is run the ball. That, however, may not even be possible in this game for a couple of reasons. First, the Texans are pretty stout against the run. Second, and more importantly, it sounds like Ezekiel Elliott is banged up. Elliott was dinged at the end of the Detroit game. He’ll almost certainly play, but he may not be 100 percent.

    If Elliott’s not completely healthy, it’s going to be very difficult for the Cowboys to move the ball. Their offensive line isn’t nearly as good as it once was, as the team has three liabilities on the unit at left guard, center and right tackle. Houston’s front was ferocious against the Colts, and I expect Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt to dominate the trenches once again.

    Meanwhile, Dak Prescott will continue to struggle. Prescott just had his best game, but was battling a Detroit defense that couldn’t put any pressure on him or defend any facet of the offense. The Texans will be better in both regards. Their cornerbacks are anemic, but it’s not like Dallas has the receivers to take advantage of that liability.

    HOUSTON OFFENSE: The Cowboys have one major injury on each side of the ball. Sean Lee is that player on defense. I thought the Cowboys would be fine without him against the Lions because they spent their first-round pick on Leighton Vander Esch. The Boise State product played very well, but there were still plenty of communication breakdowns in the back seven, which is usually the case whenever Lee misses action.

    The Cowboys are going to have a difficult time defending Deshaun Watson’s weapons if they continue to have coverage breakdowns. Will Fuller may miss this game, but rookie receiver Keke Coutee was terrific as a replacement last week. I like him to get open versus a Dallas secondary that has struggled mightily outside of Byron Jones. We just saw Matthew Stafford shred the secondary without going Jones’ way, though Watson should have success no matter where he goes because it’s almost impossible to cover DeAndre Hopkins.

    Dallas’ primary edge on this side of the ball is in the trenches. The Texans block poorly, while the Cowboys’ already-stout pass rush will have David Irving back from suspension. Watson will be under siege quite often, but that has been the case all year. Watson will take some sacks, but he’ll also use his legs to either scramble or buy time to find his receivers downfield.

    RECAP: I listed the Cowboys as an overrated team on my NFL Overrated-Underrated Teams page after how much the announcers in the Dallas-Detroit game talked up the Cowboys. Another reason is the ridiculous movement from the advance spread. Houston was -4.5 prior to Week 4, but now the line is down to -3. That seems stupid, as the only thing that changed was the Cowboys beating the crappy Lions by two. Whoop dee freaking doo.

    I’d say Houston -3 is the right number if Lee is in the lineup. Lee, however, won’t be available, which means the Cowboy defenders will once again be out of position on numerous plays. Like Stafford, Watson will take advantage of this.

    Despite Lee being out, and the spread being suppressed compared to last week, the Cowboys are a public dog. This seems like a great opportunity to bet the Texans, which I’m going to do for four units. I may make it five if the juice drops to something more reasonable than -120.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This is another game where I’m hoping the juice will come down. I really like the Texans, but -3 -110 would be so much better than -3 -120.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Still waiting on better juice! And I still like the Texans. Sean Lee has been ruled out for Dallas, while No. 2 cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is banged up and happens to be listed as questionable. Being down a corner would be very painful against Houston’s receiving corps. I’m hoping for better juice than -120, which is what it’s listed at everywhere.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: I’m waiting for -3 -115 or better. It’s still -3 -120 at best. Hopefully the juice drops. If not, I make a unit adjustment like I did in Steelers-Falcons.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: We didn’t get -3 -115 or better. The options that stand out are -3 -120 (5Dimes), -3.5 +100 (Bookmaker, Bovada). The difference between -3 -120 and -3.5 +100 is pretty close. The line of -3.5 +100 is SLIGHTLY better, but I think I’d be more comfortable at -3 -120. As promised, I’m reducing this to three units because I’m not getting a great number. The sharps are on Houston.


    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    The Cowboys are a public dog.
  • Percentage of money on Dallas: 53% (34,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • The underdog is 77-54 ATS in Cowboys games since 2010.
  • Cowboys are 15-26 ATS when favored after a win since 2010.
  • Opening Line: Texans -3.
  • Opening Total: 45.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Week 5 NFL Pick: Texans 24, Cowboys 17
    Texans -3 -120 (3 Units) – 5Dimes — Push; $0
    Under 45.5 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Texans 19, Cowboys 16






    Washington Redskins (2-1) at New Orleans Saints (3-1)
    Line: Saints by 6. Total: 53.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Saints -7 +100.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Saints -6.5.
    Monday, Oct 8, 8:15 PM


    The Game. Edge: Saints.

    This week on ESPN, we’re going to have two people I don’t know calling the shots instead the great preseason homers like Kevin Reilly, Ron Wolfley and Don Tollefson, inept ESPN guys Emmitt, Herman Edwards, and aloof people like Dan Fouts and Jay Cutler. Here’s what it would sound like if these seven dudes (and some special guests) were calling this game:

    Reilly: Welcome to the city of Washington where the Washington stinky Redskins take on the New Orleans Hornets. Guys, I have to say that I don’t care about either team. The Saints couldn’t even beat Larry Fitzgerald in Week 1, and the Redskins still have Kirk Cousins, who sucks big time. I don’t even own any of his football cards.

    Emmitt: Cards, I think you very mistakenlying. Kurt Cousin no longer on the Redskin. He got traded to the Minnesota Twin. I wonder what Kurk Cousin cousin feeled about this because he a cousin, which mean he the brother sister of mother brother of other guy.

    Reilly: Kurt Cousins got traded to the Minnesota Twins? I don’t think so. He’s still on the Redskins. But who cares anyway. Guys, there’s something more important. Last week I announced that I got nominated for a Blemmy, but Tolly said there’s a letter from a girl who I insulted in high school. I talked to the Blemmy committee and they said I can have a hearing where you guys ask me questions, and if I give good answers, I can still be nominated.

    Tollefson: Kevin, I think we need to launch an FBI investigation into this. But don’t worry, it’ll all be fine. The FBI investigated me when I conned all of the old people into buying sports tickets and I went to prison for a bit, but the FBI missed the fact that I had lots of naked slave women locked up in my basement! Idiots!

    Reilly: You went to prison? Maybe the Blemmy committee should’ve done a background check on you before they nominated you. But do you have any questions for me that I can answer?

    Tollefson: Why yes. As you pointed out, I am nominated for a Blemmy as well but you can totally trust my agenda here. Here’s my question: I saw that in first grade, you wrote in your diary that girls have cooties. Why would we believe that you don’t insult women when you said girls have cooties?

    Reilly: What do you mean? It’s a fact. Girls do have cooties. Mother told me. That’s one of the reasons mother won’t let me have a girlfriend. She said cooties will make all of my Carson Wentz posters disappear!

    Wolfley: KEVIN, I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU, TOO. BUT FIRST, LET ME POINT OUT THAT GIRLS DO NOT HAVE COOTIES. FIRE HYDRANTS THAT DON’T HAVE LIPS ARE THE ONES WITH COOTIES. NOW, HERE’S MY QUESTION: IF A TREE FALLS IN THE FOREST, AND ONLY A FIRE HYDRANT WITHOUT LIPS IS THERE TO HEAR IT, DOES IT MAKE A SOUND?

    Reilly: What does that have to do with anything? Anyone else have questions for me?

    Herm: I HAVE A QUESTION! HERM HAS A QUESTION! HERM WANTS TO ASK A QUESTION! HERM HAS A QUESTION PREPARED! HERM’S GONNA ASK A QUESTION! HERM NEEDS TIME TO ASK A QUESTION! HERM WANTS THE FLOOR TO ASK A QUESTION! HERM WANTS THE FLOOR! HERM NEEDS THE FLOOR! NOT THE CEILING! OPPOSITE OF FLOOR! OPPOSITE OF FLOOR’S THE CEILING! I MEAN OPPOSITE OF CEILING! OPPOSITE OF CEILING’S THE FLOOR! NOT THE WALLS EITHER! WALLS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FLOOR OR CEILING! HERM KNOWS ABOUT CONSTRUCTION! HERM’S CONSTRUCTING! HERM’S BUILD… BUILDING… uhh… umm…

    Reilly: As usual, Herm is being stupid and annoying, and he needs to be exiled. Can someone just ask me a question, please?

    Fouts: And here’s what he means by question. A question is a sentence where someone is asking something. This question could be what the weather is today. The question could be what the weather is tomorrow. The question could be what the weather will be on the weekend. The question could be what the weather is next week. The question could be what the weather was yesterday. Now, you might be wondering if a question might be about weather. Can a question be asked that’s not about the weather? Well, guess what? I just asked a question that’s not about the weather, even though the weather was mentioned in the question!

    Reilly: Guys, this all seems like a giant waste of time. New daddy, will you ask me a question?

    Cutler: Nah.

    Reilly: Please, new daddy, please?

    Cutler: Come on man, I’m trying to not think too much tonight. You’re being a real buzz kill. I’m just trying to get paid and not try hard like I did in the NFL for a long time.

    Reilly: Oh OK, new daddy is taking a break from life like he does all the time. I guess that’s it. No one has any questions for me, so…

    Charles Davis: Kevin, let’s wait a second, Kevin, for I have lots of questions for you, Kevin.

    Reilly: Oh no, not Charles Davis! This is going to suck!

    Charles Davis: No, Kevin, this is not going to suck, Kevin. Kevin, I have some questions for you, Kevin. Kevin, do you agree with me that these proceedings are a waste of time, Kevin? Kevin, do you agree that Tolly probably wrote that note, Kevin? Kevin, do you know that I like pepperoni pizza, Kevin? Kevin, I had to get that last one in, Kevin. Kevin, I love pepperoni pizza, Kevin, Kevin.

    Reilly: Thanks, Charles Davis! You’re becoming a true friend. I can’t believe I wanted to torture and murder you before! We’ll be back after this!

    Charles Davis (inaudibly): Yes, Kevin, keep trusting me, Kevin, for when you have your guard down, Kevin, I will get my revenge, Kevin, muhahaha, Kevin.

    NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: Drew Brees has a chance to become the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yardage in this game. Brees is actually third right now, but he’ll be able to pass both Peyton Manning and Brett Favre with 201 yards. That definitely seems feasible against the Redskins.

    The Redskins have some liabilities in their secondary. Josh Norman usually isn’t one, but he hasn’t played up to his normal level this season. Janoris Jenkins erased Michael Thomas last week, but Thomas should rebound against Norman unless Norman’s play improves following the bye. Brees also plays better at home, so he’ll be able to have more success than he did in New York this past Sunday, when his team was stuck on 12 points for a while.

    Meanwhile, Mark Ingram will return to the lineup. It’s unclear if Ingram is in peak physical shape right now, but he’ll be an upgrade over the Saints’ other running backs not named Alvin Kamara. The Redskins stop the run well, but Kamara is always a threat to break some long gains.

    WASHINGTON OFFENSE: The Saints were torched in the first three weeks of the season, but the Giants weren’t able to generate much offense against them this past Sunday. The reason for this was Eli Manning, who threw five poor passes to open receivers. Odell Beckham Jr. was so frustrated that he ripped his helmet off on the sideline and yelled at no one.

    Alex Smith is the superior quarterback compared to Manning at this stage of both of their careers, as he’s way more accurate than Manning. He doesn’t have dynamic weapons, but the Saints’ secondary has surrendered huge performances to the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Antonio Callaway. I like Jamison Crowder to have a big game, and Jordan Reed seems to have a very favorable matchup as well, given the Saints’ struggles at linebacker.

    Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson will definitely have revenge on his mind. The Saints signed him last year, then got rid of him. Peterson will want major payback. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’ll get it. He’ll run with great motivation, but the Saints are actually good against the run. Also, something to consider is the health of the Washington offensive line. Trent Williams, one of the top left tackles in the NFL, is coming off minor knee surgery and didn’t practice Monday. He’ll need to be on the field because the Saints have two dynamic edge rushers.

    RECAP: The Saints began the year slowly, dropping a game to the Buccaneers and then nearly losing to Cleveland. They’re hitting their stride now, however, and I think they’ll be especially focused for this game because they have a bye after this. Brees will also be motivated to break Peyton Manning’s all-time passing record.

    I like the Saints for a couple of units. They tend to play very well in home night games, owning a 15-6 spread record in such contests in the Brees era. The Redskins could sneak into the back door, which has me a little worried, but we win on seven, so I think New Orleans is worth a two-unit play.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Pinnacle has a spread of -6 -110 posted, so that could be an indication that this line will drop. If you like the Saints, you should be able to obtain a better number if you’re patient.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Ted Ginn will be out, but that doesn’t affect my opinion on this game at all, especially with the decrease spread now being -6 -110.

    SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: The sharps bet the Redskins at +7 and +6.5, but not at +6 (yet).

    MONDAY AFTERNOON NOTES: This spread is Saints -6 -110 everywhere I look right now. As mentioned earlier, the sharps have bet on the Redskins at +7 and +6.5, but not +6. Nothing has changed for me, as I still plan on placing two units on New Orleans. I’m actually going to lock it in right now. There might be a -6 -105 at some point, but I would be shocked if -5.5 appeared. I don’t want to risk losing -6 -110.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m shocked. Most books still have -6 posted, but Pinnacle, CRIS and Bookmaker all have -5.5 available. That’s insane to me. The sharps love the Redskins, apparently. I’m still fine with my wager on the Saints for a couple of units.


    The Psychology. Edge: Saints.
    The Saints are a great team heading into a bye, so they’ll be very focused for this game.


    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Washington: 51% (78,000 bets)


    The Trends. Edge: Saints.
  • Saints are 41-32 ATS as a home favorite since 2007.
  • Saints are 15-6 ATS in night home games in the Drew Brees era.
  • Drew Brees is 45-30 ATS off back-to-back wins.
  • Opening Line: Saints -7.
  • Opening Total: 52.
  • Weather: Dome.


    Week 5 NFL Pick: Saints 35, Redskins 24
    Saints -6 (2 Units) – any sportsbook — Correct; +$200
    Over 53 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Saints 43, Redskins 19



    Week 5 NFL Picks – Early Games
    Indianapolis at New England, Tennessee at Buffalo, Miami at Cincinnati, Baltimore at Cleveland, Green Bay at Detroit, Jacksonville at Kansas City, Denver at NY Jets, Atlanta at Pittsburgh, NY Giants at Carolina


    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.


  • Teaser: Jets +7.5, Rams -1.5 (1 Unit, -120) — Correct; +$100

    I’m not crazy about this teaser, as I had to pay -120 to get a better number on the Jets (at Bookmaker). Still, it’s the best one I could find this week.





    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22


    2024 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 21


    Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19


    NFL Picks - Feb. 12




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    My Team-by-Team ATS Record
    This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.

    Cowboys: 8-9
    Bears: 11-4
    Bucs: 6-11
    49ers: 10-7
    Eagles: 7-7
    Lions: 9-8
    Falcons: 8-9
    Cardinals: 8-9
    Giants: 7-9
    Packers: 5-12
    Panthers: 8-9
    Rams: 8-9
    Redskins: 14-3
    Vikings: 6-9
    Saints: 10-7
    Seahawks: 7-9
    Bills: 9-7
    Bengals: 12-5
    Colts: 7-10
    Broncos: 9-6
    Dolphins: 6-11
    Browns: 11-5
    Jaguars: 13-4
    Chargers: 8-9
    Jets: 8-9
    Ravens: 11-6
    Texans: 5-12
    Chiefs: 5-10
    Patriots: 7-9
    Steelers: 11-6
    Titans: 9-8
    Raiders: 6-9
    Divisional: 50-35 (2011-22: 558-526)
    2x Game Edge: 36-24 (2011-22: 363-361)
    2x Motivation Edge: 32-36 (2011-22: 478-405)
    2x Spread Edge: 41-40 (2011-22: 197-168)
    2x Vegas Edge: 41-38 (2011-22: 407-406)
    2x Trend Edge: 15-13 (2011-22: 306-279)
    Double Edge: 17-13 (2011-22: 190-172)
    Triple Edge: 1-1 (2011-22: 32-36)

    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
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    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 |
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