NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 13, 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 (Week 5, 2018): 10-4-1 (+$1,415)
NFL Picks (Week 6, 2018): 6-7-2 (-$1,115)
NFL Picks (Week 7, 2018): 7-7 (+$430)
NFL Picks (Week 8, 2018): 6-8 (+$510)
NFL Picks (Week 9, 2018): 5-8 (-$1,445)
NFL Picks (Week 10, 2018): 5-8-1 (-$735)
NFL Picks (Week 11, 2018): 5-5-3 (+$950)
NFL Picks (Week 12, 2018): 7-8 (+$215)

NFL Picks (2018): 94-93-10 (+$290)
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 Dec. 2, 11:35 a.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Go to Week 13 NFL Picks - Late Games

New Orleans Saints (10-1) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
Line: Saints by 7. Total: 51.5.

Westgate Advance Point Spread: Saints -7.5.
Walt's Calculated Line: Saints -5.
Thursday, Nov 29, 8:20 PM

The Game. Edge: Saints.

WEEK 12 RECAP: This weekend was a good one, at least until Monday night. I was up $655 heading into the Texans-Titans contest, but Tennessee decided not to block the Texans, all while running the dumbest fourth-and-inches play of all time. I finished 7-8, +$215 for the week. Not bad, but it could've been much better.

I was able to hit both of my four- and five-unit wagers (Bills +3, Giants +6), but in addition to the Tennessee defeat, I lost two medium bets with the 49ers and Cardinals both failing to cover. The San Francisco game threw me off because Reuben Foster was arrested the night before. The Arizona pick was an awful one. As soon as it was announced that the Cardinals would be without left tackle D.J. Humphries against the Chargers' two dynamic pass rushers, I should've made it a non-wager.

My Week 13 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

WEEK 12 RECAP: This weekend was a good one, but it can be great if the Titans cover tonight. Heading into Monday Night Football, I'm 7-7 (+$655), so I'll either be up 10.55 or 2.15 units for the week, depending on what happens.

I was able to hit both of my four- and five-unit wagers (Bills +3, Giants +6), but I lost two medium bets with the 49ers and Cardinals both failing to cover. The San Francisco game threw me off because Reuben Foster was arrested the night before. The Arizona pick was an awful one. As soon as it was announced that the Cardinals would be without left tackle D.J. Humphries against the Chargers' two dynamic pass rushers, I should've made it a non-wager.

My Week 13 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: The Cowboys have an excellent defense. Their front seven is one of the best the NFL has to offer. And yet, it's hard to imagine Dallas slowing down the Saints' scoring unit.

Drew Brees seldom takes hits, thanks to his quick release and talented offensive line. The best blocker, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, should be able to neutralize DeMarcus Lawrence, so Brees will have plenty of time to expose the liabilities the Cowboys have in their secondary, which is the weak point of their defense. Byron Jones is excellent and should be able to slow down Michael Thomas, but Brees can just look elsewhere.

The Cowboys, at the very least, should be able to contain the Saints' runners a bit. I don't expect Mark Ingram to have much success running against Dallas' front, though Alvin Kamara is great enough to be able to burst for some big gains.

DALLAS OFFENSE: Amari Cooper isn't a No. 1 receiver despite what he did on Thanksgiving. However, his presence has impacted the Cowboys' scoring unit, as it's given Ezekiel Elliott more opportunities. Teams understandably can't focus entirely on Elliott now that the Cowboys have a viable receiver.

However, the Saints seem to have the personnel to deal with what the Cowboys are trying to do. Their No. 1 cornerback, Marshon Lattimore, will be able to handle Cooper without any help. This will provide a big boost for New Orleans' run-stopping efforts, and the Saints already happen to have one of the best run defenses in the NFL.

The Saints also generate a good deal of pressure on quarterbacks, thanks to Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins. The Cowboys used to have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, but they now have several liabilities up front. This might include left tackle if Tyron Smith isn't available. Smith didn't play last week and will be considered questionable heading into this contest. He may not be 100 percent even if he suits up, which is a big deal.

RECAP: The Saints will have a big advantage in the trenches when the Cowboys have the ball if Smith is either out or hobbled. That's a huge deal because New Orleans already possesses mismatches when it has the ball, thanks to Brees' prolific play at the moment.

I'll be picking the Saints, but I'm probably not going to bet this game. This spread is pretty inflated, so New Orleans provides no value. The Cowboys could easily get a back-door score at the end, especially if Smith is close to 100 percent. That said, if Smith is ruled out, I may consider a unit or two on the Saints.

THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The line moved to -7.5, and I considered switching my pick to the Cowboys. Sharp money hit Dallas at +7.5 Thursday morning, and now the spread is down to +7. I still wasn't sure, but Jane Slater broke the news that Tyron Smith will likely miss this game, perhaps with the infamous bulging disc. With Smith likely out, I'm going to stay with the Saints. I just don't want to go against Drew Brees again, although this is the toughest defense he'll be playing since Week 8.

FINAL THOUGHTS: There's still -7 available at Bookmaker, but most sportsbooks have moved this line to -7.5 or even -8. I wrote earlier that there was sharp action on the Cowboys. Some late sharp action has come in on the Saints, so the pros appear split. I don't blame them! This is a tough game to handicap. With Tyron Smith out, I'm on the Saints for zero. It's worth noting that there's heavy sharp action on the under, but I don't like betting totals.

The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.

The Vegas. Edge: Cowboys.
Everyone's betting the Saints.
  • Percentage of money on New Orleans: 67% (25,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Drew Brees is 52-30 ATS off back-to-back wins.
  • Saints are 8-14 ATS as road favorites of 4 or more since 2010.
  • The underdog is 82-55 ATS in Cowboys games since 2010.
  • Opening Line: Saints -7.5.
  • Opening Total: 52.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 13 NFL Pick: Saints 34, Cowboys 24
    Saints -7 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Over 51.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Cowboys 13, Saints 10

    Indianapolis Colts (6-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8)
    Line: Colts by 4. Total: 46.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Colts -2.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Colts -6.
    Sunday, Dec 2, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Colts.

    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!

    INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: The Jaguars were able to sweep the Colts last year for several reasons. One of the primary ones happened to be the state of the Colts' offensive line. Indianapolis couldn't block at all last year, so that made things impossible versus Jacksonville's elite defensive front. Things have changed, however, as the Colts block extremely well now. Andrew Luck barely takes hits, which will allow him to once again pierce through the Jaguars' defense.

    Luck, of course, battled the Jaguars a few weeks ago and was outstanding. He was 21-of-29 for 285 yards, three touchdowns and an interception against the Jaguars. Jacksonville didn't have its entire secondary healthy, but I don't think that'll matter. The Jaguars struggle mightily to defend tight ends, thanks to regression at linebacker and safety from last year, and we saw Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle dominate this matchup in Week 10. Doyle is out, so Ebron should have a big game.

    Something the Colts won't be able to do is establish the run. The Jaguars are still excellent versus the rush, and they limited Marlon Mack to 29 yards on 12 carries. Mack's inability to pick up yardage on the ground is the reason why the Colts couldn't put the Jaguars away despite owning a big lead, but there's a good reason to believe things will be different this time...

    JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: That's because the Jaguars have made a switch at quarterback, opting to start Cody Kessler instead of Blake Bortles. While Bortles has been terrible this year, thanks to his poor work ethic, he's still much better than Kessler. Bortles has a big arm and mobility, whereas Kessler can't move around as well and doesn't have an NFL-caliber arm. Kessler can't make routine passes, as he'll only be able to dink and dunk.

    That'll be a problem against any defense that isn't horrible, and the Colts certainly aren't horrible on this side of the ball. Rookie linebacker Darius Leonard has been a huge boon for Indianapolis, and he should be able to erase anything in the intermediate part of the field. That's a big deal, as Kessler can't really attack the Colts downfield, especially given the poor talent the Jaguars have at receiver.

    Oh, and Leonard Fournette is out. Fournette has been suspended for throwing punches in the Buffalo game. Fournette made his return from injury against the Colts the first time around, and we know there's a big drop-off from him to Carlos Hyde. Given that Hyde isn't nearly as potent of a threat, the Colts won't have to pay extra attention to the opposing ground attack.

    RECAP: This is one of my top picks of the week. I love the Colts.

    The Jaguars are in complete disarray. Every year, there's a veteran team that had high expectations going into the season, but turns out to be a major disappoint. They then turn out to be great fade material down the stretch because their overpriced players tend to mail it in most weeks. The Giants fit the profile last year. Off the top of my head, the 2013 Texans did as well. I was thinking it would be Tampa heading into this season, but it turns out I had the incorrect Florida team.

    I don't think the Jaguars will show their best effort in this game, especially with Kessler starting. How can a team get up for Kessler? He's terrible, and he happens to be one of the primary reasons I love Indianapolis. Kessler is not an NFL-caliber quarterback. There's a reason he's 2-6 against the spread as a starter in the pros. Fading horrible quarterbacks is very profitable.

    Making matters worse the Jaguars, Kessler will be playing behind an offensive line missing three starters. Jacksonville was already down its left tackle and center, and now talented left guard Andrew Norwell is out for the year. Teams with severe offensive lines issues like this can't function properly, especially when they don't have a mobile quarterback.

    The Colts should take care of business against the discombobulated Jaguars, who just fired a coach. I'm betting five units on them.

    WEDNESDAY UPDATE/PICK LOCKED IN: Jalen Ramsey missed practice Wednesday, and Doug Marrone expressed concern about his availability. Leonard Fournette's suspension was not overturned. Cody Kessler is starting at quarterback. Jacksonville's entire left side of the offensive line is out. All of these factors have caused the spread to rise to -4.5 or -5 in some books. It's still -4 at 5Dimes and the Westgate (if you're in Nevada), so I'm going to lock in -4 at 5Dimes for five units. There's always a chance this spread goes back down, but I think it's more likely that it approaches -6 by kickoff, and I don't want to miss out on a third-tier key number of four.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Doug Marrone apparently is a liar because Jalen Ramsey practiced Thursday. I still love the Colts, but I'm a bit frustrated that I locked this in so early because I won't be able to do anything about a surprise injury late in the week.

    SATURDAY NOTES: I've already locked this in, so there's no change here. Jalen Ramsey is listed as questionable after one limited practice on Friday (not Thursday.)

    FINAL THOUGHTS: It took a while, but the line moved up to -4.5, but sharp money pounced on Jacksonville. The sharps have a history of losing cash on Cody Kessler, so I expect that to once again be the case. Jalen Ramsey is active, which is a bummer, but Indianapolis should still get the cover.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Jaguars.
    Not enough money is on the Colts.
  • Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 75% (13,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Colts.
  • History: 21 of the last 33 meetings decided by 8 points or fewer (Colts 8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS last 12).
  • Andrew Luck is 17-8 ATS against divisional opponents.
  • Opening Line: Colts -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 48.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 77 degrees. Mild wind, 12 mph.

    Week 13 NFL Pick: Colts 30, Jaguars 10
    Colts -4 (5 Units) - 5Dimes -- Incorrect; -$550
    Over 46 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Jaguars 6, Colts 0

    Carolina Panthers (6-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)
    Line: Panthers by 3.5. Total: 52.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Panthers -4.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Panthers -3.5.
    Sunday, Dec 2, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: None.

    CAROLINA OFFENSE: Excluding the Steelers game, the Panthers have outgained their previous three opponents by at least 1.8 yards per play. They've dropped two of those three contests, thanks to horrible mistakes. They made countless gaffes in the red zone last week, as they should've beaten Seattle. Instead, they suffered a defeat despite outgaining the Seahawks by 180 net yards.

    The one team the Panthers beat in that span was the Buccaneers, so perhaps it's a good sign that they'll get to battle Tampa Bay again. The Buccaneers are atrocious defensively. They have so many problems in their back seven. Their linebacking corps is a mess, as they're starting guys named DeVante Bond and Adarius Taylor, while their cornerbacks haven't been able to cover anyone all year. This includes the Week 9 matchup against the Panthers when Cam Newton completed all but six passes, going 19-of-25 for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Christian McCaffrey, meanwhile, generated 157 total yards.

    The thing is, the Buccaneers had Lavonte David, their top linebacker, available in that game! Tampa's defense has gotten much worse with David out of the lineup, so I can't even imagine what Newton and McCaffrey are going to do to the Buccaneers' stop unit in the wake of their new injuries.

    TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: The Buccaneers aren't the only team in this matchup with major defensive problems. The Panthers were helpless last week against the Seahawks. Their already-poor secondary took a hit when top cornerback Donte Jackson exited with an injury, which allowed Russell Wilson to throw all over Carolina. Jameis Winston theoretically should be able to do the same thing, especially given the great talent he's surrounded with.

    I wrote "theoretically" specifically because Winston's output is always an unknown. Winston is aloof and doesn't seem fully invested into his pro career, and his teammates seem to feed off that. The Buccaneers are sometimes no-shows, especially at home, where Tampa provides a crazy party atmosphere. Winston could throw three touchdowns in the opening half of this game, but he could just as easily toss three interceptions if he and his teammates are unprepared for this matchup.

    Meanwhile, the Buccaneers won't run the ball very well. The Panthers may struggle mightily against the pass, but they can clamp down on the run very well. They limited Peyton Barber to just 31 yards on 11 carries in the prior meeting.

    RECAP: There are some major injury question marks heading into this game. Will the Buccaneers have David, as well as their top safety, Justin Evans, available? Will Carolina's top cornerback, Donte Jackson, play after getting knocked out early last week?

    It'll be interesting to see what the injury report unearths. If the Buccaneers are missing David again, I may bet a couple of units on the Panthers. Either way, I like Carolina here to end its losing streak, and we're getting the slightest bit of spread value with them because they were -4.5 on the advance line. I'll mark this down as "TBA Units" for now.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Tampa's best linebacker and safety, Lavonte David and Justin Evans, respectively, both practiced two days in a row. Dirk Koetter called it a "big boost for morale." I call it a "big boost for Tampa covering the spread." Given that both players are likely to return, I'm going to switch my pick to the Buccaneers.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Wow, the Panthers cleaned up pretty well. They have just one player on the injury report, Devin Funchess, who's questionable. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, will be without DeSean Jackson, cornerback Carlton Davis and right tackle Demar Dotson. Brent Grimes is also questionable after missing Friday's practice. Lavonte David should be back - he's questionable after practicing fully Friday - but Tampa is pretty banged up. If Grimes is ruled out, I'd switch back to Carolina if you have control of that. I'll stick with the Buccaneers because I don't want to change twice, especially this late in the process, but this is one of the tougher games to handicap this week, in my opinion.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This spread had been dropping earlier in the week, but it's now rising. Why? The Buccaneers are going to be without their right tackle and TOP FOUR cornerbacks. Oh boy. I'm upset I made the switch to the Buccaneers. It's too late in the process to switch back, but if you're in a pool where you can make changes right now, I'd go with the Panthers.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Buccaneers.
    The Panthers are seeing a considerable amount of action.
  • Percentage of money on Carolina: 76% (9,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Panthers.
  • History: Panthers have won 11 the last 15 meetings.
  • Road Team is 87-56 ATS in Buccaneers games since 2009.
  • Cam Newton is 24-18 ATS off a loss as long as he's not favored by 7+.
  • Buccaneers are 23-49 ATS at home in the previous 71 instances.
  • Buccaneers are 8-25 ATS as a home underdog since 2009.
  • Opening Line: Panthers -4.
  • Opening Total: 56.5.
  • Weather: Cloudy, 81 degrees. Mild wind, 15 mph.

    Week 13 NFL Pick: Panthers 26, Buccaneers 24
    Buccaneers +3.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 52.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Buccaneers 24, Panthers 21

    Baltimore Ravens (6-5) at Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
    Line: Falcons by 2.5. Total: 47.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: No Line (Flacco).
    Walt's Calculated Line: Falcons -1.
    Sunday, Dec 2, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: TBA.

    HATE MAIL: I will be posting hate mail here. I didn't get much this week, but here are a couple that don't make any sense:

    I guess GoldTag forgot that the Panthers beat the Seahawks in the divisional round of the playoffs a few years ago. Derp! And what's a mind pick? I'm seriously trying to figure this out.

    Here's someone overreacting to one win, which was barely a cover:

    Like mediocre receivers don't have a great game once per year. Wake me up when Amari Cooper becomes a consistent producer.

    Here's someone who agreed with my take that Eli Manning is not a Hall of Famer:

    Here's an idea, and it might blow your mind: Sometimes, when a team wins, the quarterback shouldn't get the credit. Whoa, whoa, whoa, calm down and don't click that X button at the top right. I just personally think that when a defense holds the best quarterback of all time to sub-20 points on two occasions, it should get the acclaim. Not a mediocre quarterback with a .500 career record.

    BALTIMORE OFFENSE: The Falcons are incredibly frustrating. I've been lauding them as this overrated team the past couple of weeks because they activated star linebacker Deion Jones off injured reserve recently. Jones, one of the best players at his position in the entire NFL, was supposed to transform an anemic defense into a capable one, but he hasn't been able to suit up. Despite practicing in limited fashion the past two weeks, Jones has been ruled out just prior to both games.

    To me, the most significant injury status isn't to Joe Flacco, whose availability is still up in the air. It's to Jones, who would give the Falcons a fighting chance. The Ravens have been pounding the ball extremely well the past two weeks, albeit against horrible competition (Bengals, Raiders). Rookie running back Gus Edwards has been an upgrade over Alex Collins, and it's not like teams can focus on him, given that Jackson could easily take off for a big gain. Thus, Atlanta having Jones is imperative, as the team is much better versus the run with him on the field.

    Jones also would allow the Falcons to cover the middle of the field much better. Atlanta's been gashed against tight ends and pass-catching running backs with Jones out of the lineup, and that will continue to be the case if Jones is sidelined again. Jackson isn't throwing much, but he made some third-down conversions with his arm and even found a wide-open tight end for a 74-yard gain last week. He'll hit a big play aerially if the Falcons don't have their best defender on the field because Atlanta will have to commit more players to the box.

    ATLANTA OFFENSE: The Falcons played evenly with the Saints on Thanksgiving, as far as the stats are concerned. New Orleans averaged just 0.4 more yards per play, while the Falcons happened to outgain the Saints. The problem was what transpired in the red zone. The Falcons committed three turnovers in the red area, which ruined their chances of keeping up with the best team in football.

    The Falcons should once again have some success moving the chains in between the 20s. Their offensive line should be able to neutralize the Baltimore pass rushers, for the most part, while the secondary won't have an answer for Julio Jones. Not that anyone does.

    There are some things the Falcons won't be able to do very well, such as run the ball or have Ryan connect frequently to Austin Hooper - Baltimore is strong against running backs and tight ends - but Ryan and Jones are too talented not to put together several promising drives. It's just a matter of converting in the red zone, which has been a problem in crucial games this year.

    RECAP: This is another game where I'll make an adjustment based on the injury report. Deion Jones being available for Atlanta will be a huge deal. The Falcons could pull the upset if Jones is able to play. If not, Atlanta will have major trouble stopping Baltimore's improved rushing attack.

    I'm going to mark down the Ravens as the pick for now, given that the Falcons are a public dog at the moment, but I may make a change here based on what occurs during the week.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Deion Jones has been practicing, but Dan Quinn was non-committal about his star linebacker playing against the Ravens. This is a frustrating situation, but I'm hoping Jones at least returns in Week 14 because the advance spread in the Falcons at Packers game is Atlanta +7.5! That's a potential Pick of the Month.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Deion Jones is "full go" and won't have snap limitations. The Ravens, meanwhile, won't have talented safety Tony Jefferson, which seems like a big deal against Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. I'm switching my pick to Atlanta.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Deion Jones is back, which is great. The Ravens will be missing star safety Tony Jefferson. It's no wonder the sharps have been betting the Falcons heavily over the past 24 hours.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Ravens.
    The Falcons were big-time public dogs, but now they're favored.
  • Percentage of money on Atlanta: 67% (13,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
  • Ravens are 15-25 ATS as road favorites since 2005.
  • Falcons are 25-13 ATS following a loss of 6+ in the previous 38 instances.
  • Opening Line: Ravens -2.5.
  • Opening Total: 49.
  • Weather: Dome.

    Week 13 NFL Pick: Falcons 23, Ravens 20
    Falcons -2.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Under 47.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Ravens 26, Falcons 16

    Cleveland Browns (4-6-1) at Houston Texans (8-3)
    Line: Texans by 6. Total: 47.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Texans -5.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Texans -3.5.
    Sunday, Dec 2, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Browns.

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    HOUSTON OFFENSE: The Texans are 8-3, thanks to their eight-game winning streak, but they're a highly overrated team. Dominant nationally televised performances tend to inflate teams, and that applies to Houston. However, the Texans were overrated to begin with because of one simple fact: They can't block.

    The Texans have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Despite winning, Deshaun Watson has taken too many sacks in recent weeks. This nearly resulted in a loss to Colt McCoy in Week 11, as a Watson strip-sack resulted in a Washington touchdown. Watson will continue to see tons of heat, especially in this game. The Browns are great at pressuring the quarterback, thanks to Myles Garrett. They made Andy Dalton's life miserable last week, and they'll do the same thing to Watson.

    Watson will connect on some throws to DeAndre Hopkins, but not as frequently as he would like. The Browns have a stellar rookie cornerback Denzel Ward, who will be able to slow down Hopkins a bit. This will force Hopkins to look elsewhere or to hand the ball off to Lamar Miller. The injury-prone back had a big Monday night performance, thanks to a 97-yard run, but the Titans were caught with their pants down on that play, as it occurred after that horrible call on fourth-and-1. I don't think it's a coincidence that two of their better defensive players missed tackles on that run. Miller's not a very good running back, and I don't think he'll be a huge factor in this game, though I don't hate his matchup.

    CLEVELAND OFFENSE: The Browns had issues blocking earlier in the season, but Baker Mayfield hasn't taken a single sack in the past two weeks. Granted, the Browns haven't played the best competition in the Bengals and Falcons, but it's still worth noting that the offensive line has improved. That applies to left tackle, Greg Robinson, who has been a revelation. Robinson is a former first-round bust, but the Browns have turned him into a viable blind-side protector.

    Of course, that opinion could change after this game, as Robinson has a tough task in blocking Jadeveon Clowney. Meanwhile, J.J. Watt will also generate pressure, so I doubt Mayfield will go sack-free another week. I don't think Mayfield will be constantly under siege either, but pressure will definitely ruin some drives.

    Fortunately for the Browns, they have an advantage on this side of the ball. While they won't be able to run successfully, they'll be able to use Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson effectively as receivers against a middling linebacking corps. The Texans struggle against tight ends as well, so David Njoku could have a big game as well.

    RECAP: I love fading teams that have a dominant performance on national TV. Remember when the Rams trashed the Vikings on a Thursday night? Everyone said the Rams were unstoppable, yet they've covered just one spread since that game! And how about the Steelers' 52-21 victory over the Panthers? How many times has Pittsburgh covered the spread since that win? Zero.

    The Texans looked great Monday night, but that was a completely misleading win. They played way above their talent level, while the Titans' fourth-and-inches gaffe killed them. Yet, everyone's buying the Texans as a Super Bowl contender right now, which is a huge mistake. Listen, I have a $100 ticket on Houston to win the Super Bowl at 22/1 odds, and I know they're not a Super Bowl contender because they can't block. I don't know how they're going to deal with Garrett.

    This spread is too high for a team that can't block. This spread also happens to be inflated. It was -5.5 on the advance line, and now it's -6.5. It's moved across six, which is one of the primary key numbers in football. That's a big deal, especially when considering that -5.5 was too high to begin with. I personally made this spread -3.5.

    I'm betting the Browns for five units. They should cover this spread and perhaps even win outright, as the Texans could be feeling a bit too good about themselves in the wake of their misleading Monday night win.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The sharps bet the Browns at +6.5, and they've been on them at +6 as well. CRIS, one of the sharper books, has already moved this down to +5.5, and it wouldn't surprise me if other books followed suit. So, with no pending injury questions, I'm going to lock this in at +6 -110 at 5Dimes for five units.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Most of the books did, in fact, follow suit. This spread has fallen to +5. That's good news for us Cleveland bettors.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Some books have moved back to -5.5, but not the sharpest one, Pinnacle, which is inviting action on the Texans with their line of -5.

    The Psychology. Edge: Browns.
    The Texans are coming off a big win on national TV.

    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    Slight lean on the host.
  • Percentage of money on Houston: 61% (12,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Opening Line: Texans -6.5.
  • Opening Total: 48.
  • Weather: Dome.

    Week 13 NFL Pick: Texans 24, Browns 21
    Browns +6 (5 Units) - 5Dimes -- Incorrect; -$550
    Under 47.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Texans 29, Browns 13

    Buffalo Bills (4-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-6)
    Line: Dolphins by 3.5. Total: 39.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: No Line (Tannehill).
    Walt's Calculated Line: Dolphins -4.5.
    Sunday, Dec 2, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: None.

    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 touched on this last week, but let's discuss how ridiculous it was that the Bears had to play the early Thanksgiving game after a Sunday night affair versus Minnesota. This was the first time in NFL history that a team played at noon on Thanksgiving following a Sunday night game.

    The NFL claims to care about player safety, but this is evidence that they really don't give a damn. If they did, they'd be mindful not to make an obvious scheduling gaffe like this. In fact, they'd alter how they schedule games so that teams don't play on Thursday unless they have a week off beforehand. The NFL could have scheduled the Lions, Bears, Cowboys, Redskins, Saints and Falcons for Week 11 byes ahead of their Thanksgiving contests. The same should be done for all Thursday night games.

    Instead, we get garbage games on Thursdays, and that was once again the case this Thanksgiving. I've been having nightmares of Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons committing turnovers in the red zone ever since Thursday night!

    2. I'm all for creative fantasy football strategies to screw over an opponent. That's what makes fantasy fun. Winning money is great, but talking trash and making friends feel bad is the best.

    Facebook friend Luke T. shared something this past week. His opponent in a 2-QB league had two of his signal-callers on bye. The opponent didn't pick anyone up on the waiver wire, so Luke, playing this guy this week, took notice and took appropriate action. The appropriate action in this case was picking up every available starting quarterback this week!

    Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I love it.

    The opponent, by the way, picked up Taysom Hill and started him at the QB2 spot.

    3. I need to talk about player celebrations. In the past, I've made it known that I dislike these new player celebrations because whether they're pretending to be a part of an orchestra, or pretend to play baseball, or pretend to be bowling pins, they're acting like mimes, and mimes are creepy as hell.

    I have a new hatred for a particular player celebration, and that would be when all of the players on the field pose for a group picture. I used to think that someone in the stands was taking an actual picture of these players, but I recently noticed that one of the players stands in front of the other 10 and holds the ball as if it's a camera and snaps a fake picture.

    This was absolutely infuriating. I hate posing for pictures, and I hate mimes, so this combined these two things that I loathe. It's so stupid. What's the point of posing for a fake picture? Posing for real pictures is aggravating enough, but these guys are doing it when no one's even taking a real picture! Why? This just seems so dumb.

    Forget reorganizing the NFL schedule for Thursday night games. Roger Goodell's first order of business is making fake pictures illegal. Either pose for real pictures, or stop being fake picture-taking mimes!

    BUFFALO OFFENSE: Jalen Ramsey may have called Josh Allen "trash," but the Bills are 3-3 in games Allen has started this year. And even that record comes with an asterisk, as Buffalo was leading Houston before Nathan J. Peterman entered the game for an injured Allen and screwed everything up with two consecutive interceptions.

    Allen struggles with his accuracy at times, and he gets no help from his receiving corps, but he is a great scrambler, and his rocket arm keeps defenses honest. His legs will be crucial in this contest, as the Dolphins struggle against the run. This primarily involves not being able to stop running backs, but the Dolphins have played just two full games against scrambling quarterbacks this year. They allowed an average of 35 points per game to the Texans and Bears, as Mitchell Trubisky generated his fourth-highest rushing total of the year against them.

    With Allen and LeSean McCoy running well, the Bills will be in enough third-and-manageable situations to avoid the Miami pass rush. The Dolphins are great at putting heat on quarterbacks on the edge, though not so much in the interior. This benefits the Bills, as they're better at blocking on the edge than on the inside, thanks to left tackle Dion Dawkins, the best member of the offensive line.

    MIAMI OFFENSE: Allen wasn't the only AFC East quarterback making his first start since the middle of October last week. Ryan Tannehill also returned from injury, and while he posted a solid stat line - 17-of-25, 204 yards, two touchdowns - those numbers are a bit misleading. One of Tannehill's scores, a 74-yard bomb to Leonte Carroo, could've been intercepted had the defending cornerback timed his jump better. Had that pass fallen incomplete, Tannehill would've been just 16-of-24 for 130 yards and a score, giving him a YPA of 5.42.

    Tannehill is much better than Brock Osweiler, but he still limits what the Dolphins can do offensively. Fortunately for the Dolphins, they'll be able to protect Tannehill against the Bills. Like Miami, Buffalo gets most of its pressure off the edge, so that shouldn't be a problem for the Dolphins because they have a pair of talented tackles. Their interior blocking is poor, but the Bills don't generate much heat up the middle.

    Also like the Dolphins, the Bills struggle against the run despite the fact that they paid Star Lotulelei $50 million this offseason (think they regret that purchase?) They were getting gashed by the Jaguars until Leonard Fournette was ejected for throwing punches. Frank Gore is obviously not the special type of runner Fournette is at this stage in his career, but he'll be able to pick up chunks of yardage against the Bills.

    RECAP: These teams seem close to even to me. The Dolphins are probably a little bit better, but the Bills are close if Allen is at the helm. With that in mind, it's not a surprise that sharp money has already bet this down from +6 to +5.

    The Bills may have been worth a small wager at +6, but +5 doesn't provide as much value. Still, I'm inclined to go with the visitor, as the Bills will probably keep this game close. Besides, who is Tannehill to cover the spread as a considerable favorite? He's 3-8 against the spread in his career when favored by at least five points. This can't be a surprise to anyone.

    I'm on Buffalo for zero units at the moment, but I may eventually bet them later in the week.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Wow, look at all of this professional money on Buffalo! The sharps have pounded the Bills like crazy. The line has moved all the way down from +6 to +4, and I still think it's correct to take the visitor at +4. I'm not sure I want to bet them though.

    SATURDAY NOTES: The sharps not only bet the Bills at +6, +5.5, +5 and +4.5, they also bet them at +3.5! Miami is going to be shorthanded at receiver, in all likelihood, which should limit its offense and allow the Bills to cover.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: There has finally been some buy-back on the Dolphins. The sharps have been betting them all week, but people finally bet Miami at -3.5. I like the Bills, but all the value is gone.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Miami: 55% (8,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Bills.
  • History: Bills have won 7 of the last 10 meetings.
  • Underdog is 82-59 ATS in the Dolphins' last 141 games.
  • Bills are 17-24 ATS since November 2011 as a road underdog.
  • Dolphins are 7-22 ATS as favorites of 3.5 or more since 2008.
  • Dolphins are 14-37 ATS at home against teams with losing records since 2003.
  • Ryan Tannehill is 3-8 ATS as a favorite of 5 or more.
  • Opening Line: Dolphins -6.
  • Opening Total: 40.5.
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 83 degrees. Mild wind, 13 mph.

    Week 13 NFL Pick: Dolphins 20, Bills 17
    Bills +3.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Under 39.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Dolphins 21, Bills 17

    Chicago Bears (8-3) at New York Giants (3-8)
    Line: Bears by 4. Total: 44.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Bears -4.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Bears -4.
    Sunday, Dec 2, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Bears.

    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. The latest college football playoff rankings come out in a few hours. I'm going to guess it'll look like this:

    1. Alabama
    2. Clemson
    3. Notre Dame
    4. Central Florida

    Whoops. I thought that college football was a fair sport for a second. How dumb of me.

    Here's how it'll really look:

    1. Alabama
    2. Clemson
    3. Notre Dame
    4. Georgia
    5. Ohio State
    6. Oklahoma

    The caveat here is that Alabama plays Georgia in the SEC Championship, so that is effectively the Bulldogs' play-in playoff game. If Georgia loses, it'll be between Oklahoma versus Ohio State for the fourth and final spot, and it really might come down to which team is more impressive next weekend. The fact that the playoffs contain just four teams is really punishing this whole process. How do you differentiate between Oklahoma and Ohio State at this point? If both win next week, the team that comes in fifth is going to feel absolutely cheated.

    2. Let's imagine for a second that the people running college football were remotely intelligent. I know, I know, that's like hypothetically wondering what it would be like if dogs could speak, but hear me out.

    It would be great if the college football playoff were comprised of 16 teams, but eight at this point would feel like a huge victory. This would solve lots of problems. First, close calls like Oklahoma versus Ohio State wouldn't exist. Sure, eight versus nine would be an argument, but both of those squads would likely have at least two losses, so no one should feel nearly as bad about being No. 9 instead of No. 8. Second, it would allow an undefeated mid-major like Central Florida to compete for the title so you wouldn't have them boasting that they're co-national champions, or anything. And third, it would make the college football presidents a s**t ton of money so they could buy eighth yachts and 12th mansions, which they sorely need.

    Here's what an eight-team bracket would look like:

    1. Alabama
    8. Central Florida

    4. Georgia
    5. Ohio State

    3. Notre Dame
    6. Oklahoma

    2. Clemson
    7. Michigan

    How fun would that be? Tons of people would watch, as people in offices would fill out brackets, just like they do for basketball. It would make college football much better, so I don't know how the inept college presidents don't seem to understand this.

    3. We just saw one of the longest college football games in history, as Texas A&M defeated LSU in seven overtimes. Everyone was talking it up on Twitter, and I imagine that the consensus was that this was one of the most thrilling football games ever.

    Call me a contrarian, but I didn't share that opinion. I thought it was tiresome.

    I don't like the college football overtime format. It's so easy to score, and that's why there were seven overtimes. I prefer the NFL model, though you could make it so that a touchdown on the opening possession doesn't automatically win the game (unless a team goes for two and gets it.) I'd like that much better because it would feel like real football. College football overtime reminds me of penalty kicks in soccer, except that soccer sucks in its entirety, so maybe that's not the best comparison.

    CHICAGO OFFENSE: There's no spread listed as of this writing because of Mitchell Trubisky's status. The latest word we have on Trubisky is the following tweet from Adam Schefter: "After missing the Thanksgiving game vs. the Lions, Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky is hopeful to play next Sunday vs. Giants but it is not certain he will and missing one more game is possible, per source. If he were to miss that one, he would be expected to return the following week."

    The Bears need Trubisky back for their final playoff push, as his scrambling ability makes defending the Bears rather difficult. However, Trubisky is safe to sit out this contest because Chase Daniel is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Daniel was very accurate in the Detroit game, and he should play similarly against the Giants, who can't defend the middle of the field. Daniel will be able to connect frequently to Tarik Cohen and Trey Burton, though it remains to be seen if Burton attempts to sabotage yet another possible victory.

    Besides, the Bears should be able to run the ball extremely well against the Giants. Jordan Howard has struggled in recent weeks, but has gone up against some tough run defenses. New York, however, doesn't stop the rush nearly as well in the wake of the Snacks Harrison trade. Howard could have his best game of the season, making things easier for Daniel.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: Even if Trubisky plays, the major matchup edge in this game is on this side of the ball. That would be Chicago's stellar defensive front versus the Giants' offensive line. New York can't block, and yet it'll have to worry about Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and company collapsing the pocket.

    This will completely disrupt New York's offensive rhythm. The Giants have enjoyed more offensive success lately because they've battled some horrible defenses. The Eagles, Buccaneers and 49ers are all poor defensively, so Eli Manning has been able to put together some decent performances. That will change in this game. Manning will be swarmed in the pocket, and this will lead to sacks and turnovers.

    Making matters worse for the Giants, the Bears have the personnel to take away Manning's weapons. The Bears have a terrific secondary, so Odell Beckham Jr. won't hit too many big plays. Meanwhile, Chicago is stellar versus ground attacks, so Saquon Barkley's running lanes will be limited. Barkley could still have a decent afternoon as a receiver out of the backfield, but he won't be too effective as a rusher.

    RECAP: There's no spread posted yet, so I can't really pick this game at the moment. I imagine that I'll be on the Bears, provided the line isn't obscenely high. However, Chicago could be in look-ahead mode with a battle against the Rams coming up on Sunday Night Football, so I'm probably not going to bet on this game.

    I'll have an update once the spread is posted. Check back, or follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Mitchell Trubisky is out, so Chase Daniel will start his second game. I love great teams playing with their backup quarterback for the first game, but not so much the second game onward. Still, I'm inclined to pick the Bears because of the massive advantage they have in the trenches. Their elite defensive front will dominate the Giants' weak offensive line. Unfortunately, there isn't much line value, so I'm not sure I'll be betting this game. I'll decide by Saturday night.

    SATURDAY NOTES: There was some question about Akiem Hicks' availability, which would hurt Chicago's chances a bit, but Hicks practiced fully Friday.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Akiem Hicks will play, which is good news for the Bears. I'd like to bet them, but they might be distracted with a game against the Rams coming up next week.

    The Psychology. Edge: Giants.
    The Bears play the Rams on Sunday night next week.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Chicago: 58% (9,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Giants.
  • Bears are 17-36 ATS in December road games the previous 53 instances.
  • Opening Line: Bears -4.
  • Opening Total: 44.5.
  • Weather: Foggy, 53 degrees. Light wind.

    Week 13 NFL Pick: Bears 23, Giants 16
    Bears -4 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Under 44 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Giants 30, Bears 27

    Denver Broncos (5-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-6)
    Line: Broncos by 4. Total: 45.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Bengals -2.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Broncos -3.5.
    Sunday, Dec 2, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Broncos.

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    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!

    CINCINNATI OFFENSE: The Bengals made two moves last offseason to upgrade their putrid offensive line. One was trading for Cordy Glenn. The former Buffalo left tackle has performed well for Cincinnati, but he wasn't available last week because of a back injury he suffered in practice. Glenn's absence prevented the Bengals from blocking the Browns effectively. Andy Dalton was pummeled as a result, and one of the hits caused him to injure his thumb. Dalton has since been placed on injured reserve.

    Jeff Driskel will start for Dalton moving forward. Anyone who looked at the box score or watched some highlights may have seen that Driskel performed well. Driskel threw some nice passes for sure. However, he was going up against a Cleveland prevent defense, and he happened to have two interceptions that were dropped. Driskel has a good arm and plus mobility, but his accuracy, field vision and football IQ are pretty poor.

    Oh, and his protection probably won't be good either. If Glenn is out or hindered by his bad back, the Bengals won't be able to block whatsoever. That'll be a big problem against teams with stellar defensive fronts, like Denver's. It'll help Driskel if he gets A.J. Green back from injury, but it's currently unknown if Green will return. The Bengals may have to funnel their offense through Joe Mixon, which could be difficult because the Broncos just put the clamps on James Conner.

    DENVER OFFENSE: The Bengals have had severe problems defensively because of injuries. It all started against the Steelers when Nick Vigil was lost in the early going. Vigil defended the middle of the field so well, and his absence has really been felt even though casual fans don't know who he is. Meanwhile, cornerbacks have been in and out of the lineup. Darqueze Dennard missed some action a few weeks ago, and now Dre Kirkpatrick is hurt. Cincinnati has had one of the worst pass defenses as a result.

    I'm not sure if Case Keenum can fully expose the Bengals' defensive liabilities, but we just saw Baker Mayfield throw four touchdowns despite having just one viable NFL receiver at his disposal. Keenum has two in Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton, and then there's Phillip Lindsay, who should be a potent receiving threat coming out of the backfield against Cincinnati's anemic linebackers.

    Speaking of Lindsay, he should have success running against the Bengals, who have recently surrendered big rushing performances to Nick Chubb and Gus Edwards. Lindsay has been an electrifying rusher, and his stellar rookie season should continue in this terrific matchup.

    RECAP: This spread is soaring. It opened -3.5, and it's already at -4.5. It wouldn't surprise me if it hit -6, as both the public and sharps are pounding Denver.

    I strongly agree with the line move. The Bengals, with Dalton, were struggling mightily, and now Cincinnati will be starting Driskel. As I wrote earlier, there's good money to be made by fading terrible quarterbacks, and Driskel qualifies as such. His poor accuracy and field visiion will get him into trouble, as the Broncos will be able to force countless turnovers.

    I'm going to be betting on Denver, but the injury report will have to come into play. The Bengals have some major question marks, namely Glenn, Green and Vigil. If all three are out, this will be a big bet. It'll be on Denver for two units at the very least, regardless.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Cordy Glenn has yet to practice for the Bengals. Not having a left tackle against Denver's great pass-rushers is a problem. You know what's worse? Having the second-string left tackle out as well! That's right, the Bengals will be down two tackles against Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Good luck, Jeff Driskel!

    SATURDAY NOTES: The Bengals will indeed be without their top two left tackles, which seems like a terrible proposition against the Broncos. There is good news for Cincinnati though, which is that Nick Vigil and A.J. Green are both off the injury report. I wish that weren't the case, but the Broncos still seem like a good bet for three units, given that Cincinnati won't be able to block for its backup quarterback.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: There's been sharp money on the Bengals on Sunday morning, which makes no sense to me. The Bengals are missing their top three tackles, so they have to start left guard Clint Boling on the blind side. That's not idea for Jeff Driskel's first start! Given the line drop and Cincinnati's injury issues, I'm bumping this up to four units. Bookmaker's -4 -105 is the best line I see.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Bengals.
    Both the public and sharps are betting the Broncos.
  • Percentage of money on Denver: 70% (9,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Bengals are 25-19 ATS at home since 2013.
  • Opening Line: Broncos -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 42.
  • Weather: Sunny, 61 degrees. Mild wind, 14 mph.

    Week 13 NFL Pick: Broncos 23, Bengals 13
    Broncos -4 -105 (4 Units) - Bookmaker -- Correct; +$400
    Under 45 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Broncos 24, Bengals 10

    Los Angeles Rams (10-1) at Detroit Lions (4-7)
    Line: Rams by 10. Total: 53.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Rams -7.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Rams -7.
    Sunday, Dec 2, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Rams.

    Video of the Week: Here's a documentary about a guy who is obsessed with a certain cereal (thanks, Luke T.):

    Is it that crazy to eat the same cereal every day? I've eaten Cocoa Puffs for breakfast every day the past five years! Why is no one making a documentary about me?

    LOS ANGELES OFFENSE: The last time we saw the Rams play, they eclipsed the 50-point barrier on Monday Night Football. They happened to be battling one of the worst defenses in the NFL, but that's exactly the type of opponent they'll be facing in this contest.

    The Lions have just a few positive aspects to their defense. Snacks Harrison has been a big addition as a run-stuffer. Ezekiel Ansah is a great edge rusher. Darius Slay can take away an opposing No. 1 receiver. That's about it, however, as the Lions have so many liabilities on this side of the ball. Their secondary outside of Slay is terrible, while their linebacking corps can't cover. I imagine that Sean McVay is well aware of this and has already figured out how to take advantage of these weaknesses. He'll be able to attack the linebackers with passes to Todd Gurley, while the receivers not being covered by Slay will be featured prominently.

    Gurley won't have a great game on the ground, but he'll dominate as a receiving threat. Jared Goff shouldn't have any sort of issues delivering the ball to him and his receivers. Ansah should be neutralized by left tackle Andrew Whitworth, while the rest of the offensive line will also because to keep Goff clean.

    DETROIT OFFENSE: The Rams have endured defensive issues of their own. They've been pretty horrific against the pass, as Marcus Peters clearly isn't healthy. However, there's hope for the Rams as they make their run toward the playoffs, and that would be the return of Aqib Talib.

    We last saw Talib in Week 3 when the Rams were beating the Chargers. He left with an injury and has been sidelined ever since. However, Talib has reportedly looked good in his rehab, and it sounds like there's a legitimate chance he'll play in this game. That'll be a huge boon for the Rams going forward, as well as this matchup, as the Lions only have one viable receiver in the wake of the Golden Tate trade and Marvin Jones' injury. Talib, if truly healthy, should be able to limit Matthew Stafford's attempts to find Kenny Golladay downfield.

    The Rams are also weak to tight ends and pass-catching running backs because of an underwhelming linebacking corps, so Stafford could have some success in that regard by throwing to Kerryon Johnson and Theo Riddick. However, Stafford may not have much time in the pocket on most occasions. His protection has been poor for the most part since the Tate trade, and I imagine that the Rams' prolific defensive line will create some major havoc for Stafford in the backfield.

    RECAP: I don't have a good read on every team, but I do with the Lions. I'm 7-4 against the spread in their games this year by following a simple rule set: If the Lions are playing a good team, fade them. If they're playing a bad team, pick them. That's it.

    The Lions simply don't play up to their competition. They don't play down to it either. They're predictable in that way. For some reason, they just always struggle against strong opponents, which would explain why they're 2-14 against the spread as underdogs of six or more since 2011. What a crazy stat!

    Unfortunately, I won't be betting this game. This line is -10 despite it being -7 on the advance spread. We lost all value with the Rams, and I could see Stafford putting together a back-door drive at the very end. However, I think the Rams are the right side, especially if Talib manages to return.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: It sounds like Kerryon Johnson will sit again, while Aqib Talib is going to play. This only strengthens my belief that the Rams will cover.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Kerryon Johnson is out, and Aqib Talib isn't even on the injury report. I like the Rams, but the spread is a touch too high to bet.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Aqib Talib is active, which will help turn around the struggling Rams' season. The Rams have covered just once since Week 3, but that could start changing if Talib is healthy. The Lions should continue to suck against good teams.

    The Psychology. Edge: Lions.
    Will the Rams get up for an early game versus a bad opponent after that crazy win on Monday night?

    The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
    Everyone is betting the Rams.
  • Percentage of money on Los Angeles: 76% (14,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Rams.
  • Lions are 16-10 ATS as a double-digit underdog since 2006 (5-9 since 2009).
  • Lions are 2-14 ATS as underdogs of 6 or more since 2011.
  • Opening Line: Rams -9.5.
  • Opening Total: 54.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 13 NFL Pick: Rams 41, Lions 24
    Rams -10 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Over 53.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Rams 30, Lions 16

    Arizona Cardinals (2-9) at Green Bay Packers (4-6-1)
    Line: Packers by 14. Total: 40.5.

    Westgate Advance Point Spread: Packers -11.5.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Packers -8.5.
    Sunday, Dec 2, 1:00 PM

    The Game. Edge: Packers.

    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!

    GREEN BAY OFFENSE: I don't understand people sometimes. For the past 48 hours, I've listened to talking heads on TV and various podcasters proclaim that Aaron Rodgers' career is coming to an end. They've all pointed out that Rodgers has looked poor by his standards in recent weeks. He's also appeared to be defeated. None of that is false. But why are people suddenly ignoring the fact that Rodgers tore up his knee in Week 1? Just because his knee brace is off doesn't mean that he's 100 percent! Rodgers isn't scrambling nearly as much, which is a big deal. Meanwhile, he's throwing to a bunch of bums outside of Davante Adams. Everything's gone wrong for the Packers, but that doesn't mean Roders' career is coming to an end soon. What an utterly stupid and overreactionary opinion to have.

    I expect we'll see Rodgers at 100-percent capacity in 2019. Oh, and this game, too. The Cardinals are atrocious defensively. We just what Philip Rivers did to them, as he broke the NFL record for most completions to start a game at 25. Rivers was able to attack the middle of the field because Arizona lost Josh Bynes to injury. Absolutely no one has talked about this because they'd like to focus instead on "herp derp Rodgers sucks" takes, but Bynes suffering an injury in the Charger game fundamentally changed Arizona's defense. Bynes was the Cardinals' best linebacker by far, and Arizona was actually doing a good job against the Chargers prior to him leaving the game. However, Bynes' absence made it impossible for the Cardinals to both stop the run and defend the middle of the field. He's Arizona's do-it-all linebacker, and we've seen defenses implode when they lose those players.

    I was hoping for Bynes to play in this game to create some great value on the Cardinals, but Bynes was placed on injured reserve. Rodgers, much like Rivers, will be able to attack the middle of the field. He'll have great success doing so. Meanwhile, Aaron Jones should be able to trample the Cardinals quite easily with Bynes out of the lineup.

    ARIZONA OFFENSE: Bynes wasn't the only major injury the Cardinals had in their blowout loss to the Chargers. Left tackle D.J. Humphries was ruled out 48 hours beforehand. I should've taken this as a clear sign not to bet the Cardinals because Arizona wouldn't be able to keep the Chargers' elite edge rushers at bay without Humphries.

    It's unknown if Humphries will be able to suit up. The Cardinals will need him in this contest as well, as the Packers have an emerging edge rusher in Kyler Fackrell, who will be able to pressure Josh Rosen frequently. Meanwhile, Green Bay's defensive line will have an easy time with the rest of Arizona's pedestrian blockers.

    Josh Rosen won't have enough time in the pocket, and this will force more turnovers and throw-aways. Rosen has gotten progressively worse as a starter, though it's not entirely his fault. It would help if he had much better blocking and a consistent rushing attack. The latter won't exist here, as the Packers are stout versus the run.

    RECAP: Remember how I said I wish Bynes were playing to create value with the Cardinals? Now, I wish we had good spread value with the Packers. All of this "Aaron Rodgers is done" talk is nonsense, and I wanted to bet Green Bay this week.

    Unfortunately, this spread makes it impossible. Asking a team cover two touchdowns with an injured quarterback is a tall order. That said, I think the Packers are the right side because of Arizona's injury woes. Humphries being available might change my opinion, but the Cardinals' defense is an absolute mess without Bynes.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Kenny Ortiz from the WF Podcast had an epic rant about how much Mike McCarthy sucks in our most recent episode, so check it out. Despite McCarthy's incompetence, I like the Packers to cover, though I'm a bit less enthusiastic about that given the negative David Bakhtiari news.

    SATURDAY NOTES: It's going to be 34 degrees in Green Bay this Sunday with a chance of snow. Will the 2-9 Cardinals put forth their best effort here? I doubt it. Arizona might have D.J. Humphries back, but is going to be down two linebackers, while the third, Haason Reddick, is questionable. Aaron Rodgers is going to abuse this liability. Meanwhile, it sounds like David Bakhtiari could suit up. The Packers have some injuries defensively, but that shouldn't matter against Arizona's pathetic offense. I'm going to increase my unit count on this game.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: D.J. Humphries is out! That's huge. It looked like he was going to play, but apparently not. Meanwhile, the Packers will have left tackle David Bakhtiari available. I'm going to move to three units.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Cardinals.
    Equal action for a while, but the public has come in on the Packers.
  • Percentage of money on Green Bay: 65% (10,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Packers.
  • Packers are 31-17 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Packers are 39-27 ATS at home since 2010.
  • Aaron Rodgers is 85-58 ATS since 2009.
  • Aaron Rodgers is 25-14 ATS after a loss (11-6 ATS as a favorite of 7.5+).
  • Opening Line: Packers -14.
  • Opening Total: 46.
  • Weather: Light snow, 34 degrees. Mild wind, 18 mph.

    Week 13 NFL Pick: Packers 34, Cardinals 17
    Packers -14 +105 (3 Units) - Bovada -- Incorrect; -$300
    Over 40.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Cardinals 20, Packers 17

    Week 13 NFL Picks - Late Games
    NY Jets at Tennessee, Kansas City at Oakland, Minnesota at New England, San Francisco at Seattle, LA Chargers at Pittsburgh, Washington at Philadelphia


    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 13 NFL Picks - Late Games

    2022 NBA Mock Draft - June 23

    Fantasy Football Rankings - June 15

    2023 NFL Mock Draft - June 14

    NFL Power Rankings - June 5

    NFL Picks - Feb. 13


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

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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: 11-7
    Bears: 11-5
    Bucs: 7-12
    49ers: 12-8
    Eagles: 10-8
    Lions: 9-7
    Falcons: 10-7
    Cardinals: 8-10
    Giants: 9-8
    Packers: 8-9
    Panthers: 9-8
    Rams: 13-8
    Redskins: 7-10
    Vikings: 9-8
    Saints: 11-5
    Seahawks: 11-6
    Bills: 10-9
    Bengals: 13-7
    Colts: 5-12
    Broncos: 9-8
    Dolphins: 7-10
    Browns: 8-9
    Jaguars: 8-9
    Chargers: 9-8
    Jets: 6-11
    Ravens: 10-7
    Texans: 3-14
    Chiefs: 11-9
    Patriots: 9-9
    Steelers: 8-10
    Titans: 11-7
    Raiders: 11-7
    Divisional: 54-43 (2011-20: 448-442)
    2x Game Edge: 57-62 (2011-20: 279-271)
    2x Motivation Edge: 47-48 (2011-20: 394-318)
    2x Spread Edge: 48-40 (2011-20: 105-89)
    2x Vegas Edge: 35-42 (2011-20: 346-357)
    2x Trend Edge: 16-18 (2011-20: 270-241)
    Double Edge: 23-27 (2011-20: 149-128)
    Triple Edge: 4-10 (2011-20: 27-22)

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