New York Giants (2-3) at New England Patriots (5-0) Line: Patriots by 16.5. Total: 43. Thursday, Oct. 10, 8:20 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Patriots.
Week 5 Recap: Week 5 was another great one, as we went 8-7 (+$1,665), thanks to our three correct five-unit picks (Steelers +3.5, Broncos +6.5, Packers +3.5). The only multi-unit wager we lost was Giants +6, which was a dumb move on my part (more on that in a bit.)
We've now had three $1,000-plus results in a row. This was the first time we've had three-consecutive four-figure weeks since Weeks 2-4 in 2009, back in the good old days when I handicapped well. I hope I'm truly back to that state with all of the adjustments I've made.
NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: I was unsure of Tom Brady's outlook entering the game against the Redskins because he injured his calf in Week 3 and didn't look quite right versus Buffalo. Aside from an overthrow toward Josh Gordon for a deep touchdown, Brady was accurate for the most part in Washington. He took one too many sacks for my liking in the first half, but he did a good job of moving the chains after a bit of a slow start.
With that in mind, Brady should have a strong performance despite being on a short week. The Giants don't do anything well defensively. They were hilariously incompetent versus the Vikings. They blew coverages, missed tackles and took bad angles when moving toward the ball carriers. It was embarrassing how terrible they were.
The only way Brady won't torch the Giants is if Sony Michel and the other backs do all of the damage on the ground. This could certainly happen, as the Giants struggle at stopping the run as well.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: I had three units on the Giants last week, but I began to question the selection as the week progressed because I was worried about how Daniel Jones would fare against Mike Zimmer. If I was concerned about Jones' outlook against Zimmer, imagine how fearful I am with him slated to go against Bill Belichick.
Belichick will certainly use schemes to confuse Jones, just as Zimmer did. Making matters worse, there's a good chance Sterling Shepard will miss this game with a concussion. Stephon Gilmore was slated to cover Shepard, and now he'll erase someone else. That won't be Evan Engram, because he's out, too!
The one bright spot for the Giants is that Saquon Barkley might return this week. However, there's a very slim chance of that happening. Belichick is the expert of erasing one aspect of an opposing offense, so I imagine he'll focus on Barkley if the stud back returns.
RECAP: The Giants are a MASH unit, offensively. If Barkley is out - which sounds like that'll be the case - they'll be down their top two running backs and two of their best three pass-catchers. How will Jones move the chains without his best players, all while going up against Belichick? And how will one of the league's worst defenses contain Brady?
The answer to both questions is that they won't. I like the Patriots to cover this enormous spread, and I'll even bet a couple of units on them to do so. My worry is that this high line will invite a back-door cover of sorts, and weird things could happen (fumble return for touchdown, special teams touchdown, Jarrett Stidham pick-six), but the Patriots shouldn't have any issues with New York otherwise.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: All of the Giants are out except for Golden Tate. I don't see how they keep up with the Patriots. The only concern is some weird touchdowns that cover the spread, but I'm still willing to bet two units on New England. I wonder if we'll see a -16.5. You can get that on Pinnacle now if you live outside the U.S.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I found a -16.5. It's available on Bookmaker. I don't see why this game would be close, save for something very strange happening. I'm betting two units on New England despite the public action on the host.
My Week 6 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
Carolina Panthers (3-2) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) Line: Panthers by 2. Total: 47.5. Sunday, Oct. 13, 9:30 AM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
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 overrated and underrated teams listed there, and some may shock you!
CAROLINA OFFENSE: The Panthers do one thing well offensively, and that's having Christian McCaffrey break long gains. That's pretty much all the Panthers did to score on Jacksonville, though they also managed to turn two fumbles into a pair of touchdowns. It was nothing but big plays versus the Jaguars.
With that in mind, the Panthers are going to have a difficult time against the Buccaneers once again. Tampa Bay has a stellar defensive line that specializes in shutting down running backs. They've already done this against Alvin Kamara, Saquon Barkley and even McCaffrey himself in Week 2. McCaffrey had his worst game of the year by a wide margin while trying to run against Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh.
If McCaffrey is limited once again, it'll be up to Kyle Allen to throw it to his young receivers. Allen has done a decent job as Carolina's quarterback, but ball security has been a major issue. It's unclear if left tackle Greg "Mr. Reliable" Little will be on the field - he missed Week 5 - but if he isn't, that's a huge matchup advantage to current Defensive Player of the Year leader Shaq Barrett, who could force Allen into committing more turnovers. Allen will have to be quick to release the ball, so Greg Olsen could have another nice performance.
TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: The Buccaneers were able to move the chains against the Panthers in Week 2, primarily through Chris Godwin. The young receiver has been enjoying a terrific year, and I expect him to have another strong performance. The Panthers have an improved secondary, but their one liability is at slot cornerback. The Jaguars and Texans couldn't take advantage of that weakness, but the Buccaneers will be able to. Godwin torched Carolina for that reason in the second game of the season, so I expect that to happen again.
This should help Jameis Winston avoid turnovers. Winston was brilliant in Week 4, but absolutely dreadful this past Sunday. The stat box didn't show it, but Winston was very fortunate that he didn't commit five turnovers in New Orleans. Interceptions were dropped and called back, while a fumble of his was recovered by a teammate. It's always unclear which Winston we'll see, but having Godwin in a terrific matchup is at least favorable for him.
The Buccaneers rushed the ball well against the Panthers in Week 2 as well, as Peyton Barber had a surprisingly nice evening. That's not likely to happen again, as the Panthers have a stellar front.
RECAP: This spread is ridiculous. Not that it's off - my calculated line is Carolina -2.5 - but I wanted to get Tampa Bay +3 after the Panthers' recent surge and the Buccaneers' blowout loss in New Orleans. Instead, this number was set correctly, which is a shame.
I would've liked the Buccaneers considerably at +3. They match up very well against the Panthers because they can take away the one thing they do extremely well on offense. Unfortunately, the lack of line value means that we won't have a large wager on the game.
I'll still have a small bet on the Buccaneers, provided that they're missing some of their offensive linemen again. We'll see what the injury report looks like later in the week.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I would love to see a +3 available, but I imagine the sportsbooks will be hesitant to move the line to that number because there could be tons of sharp action on the "home team."
SATURDAY NOTES: There's a lot to unpack here. The Panthers will be down two offensive linemen once again, but the same can be said of the Buccaneers. The right side of Tampa's offensive line will be out, which is a huge deal. Meanwhile, Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson could be out again, which would be harmful versus Tampa's receiving corps. Jackson may not be the only defensive stud to miss this contest, as Shaq Barrett popped up on the injury report with an oblique. I had TBA units listed here, but this is a non-wager as of this moment. That could change if a +3 appears, but I'd be surprised if that happens.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Screw you, NFL, for making us wake up so early on a Sunday. Those are my final thoughts.
Actually, there seems to be a bit of late sharp action on the Buccaneers, but I'm not going to follow. I still would take Tampa, but it's not ideal that the Buccaneers will be missing two starters on the offensive line. The Panthers have the same problem, however, and Donte Jackson's absence will hurt their chances of stopping Tampa's passing attack.
The Motivation. Edge: Panthers.
A revenge game for the Panthers; they lost to the Buccaneers in Week 2.
The Spread. Edge: None.
WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Panthers -2.5.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Pick.
Computer Model: Panthers -2.
DVOA Spread: Panthers -1.5.
The Vegas. Edge: Buccaneers.
Percentage of money on Carolina: 62% (25,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
History: Panthers have won 11 the last 17 meetings.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) at Baltimore Ravens (3-2) Line: Ravens by 10.5. Total: 48. Sunday, Oct. 13, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
VEGAS UPDATE: I'll be posting how the Vegas sportsbooks have done the previous week in this spot. The highest-bet sides were 38-44-3 last season, a year that was pretty painful for the books. Perhaps the pendulum will swing the other way...
Here were the teams getting the most bets last week:
The books went 5-1 in Week 4, but dropped to 2-3 in Week 5, as the public got some revenge. Sportsbooks are now now 15-14-1 on lopsided bets this year.
Here are the teams getting the most bets this week:
There are six lopsided-bet games this week. Two are public dogs, with one being the Dolphins!
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: It's become clear that Lamar Jackson's five-touchdown performance against the Dolphins was all a mirage. He's had some nice moments since, but in his past three weeks, he has been blown out by the Chiefs and Browns, and he nearly lost to Pittsburgh's third-string quarterback. Jackson was intercepted thrice at Pittsburgh. One pick wasn't his fault, but Jackson struggled as a passer, especially when Marquise Brown was knocked out of the game.
There are two pieces of good news for Jackson: First, Brown is not expected to miss any action, so Jackson will have his best downfield threat once again. Second, he'll be battling the Bengals, who are completely inept defensively. Cincinnati does nothing well on this side of the ball, save for having Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap get to the quarterback occasionally. It hasn't nearly been enough, however.
The Bengals are especially weak at linebacker. I believe that they have the worst linebacking corps in the NFL, so they'll have trouble defending both Jackson and his running backs when they catch passes out of the backfiled.
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: The Ravens don't have a very good defense either. I think that might surprise some casual fans, who recognize Baltimore's stop unit based on name recognition alone. This is why the Ravens were constantly being one of the first defenses chosen in fantasy drafts this summer.
The Ravens had no pass rush to speak of, which has to be music to Andy Dalton's ears. Dalton has struggled mightily for the most part since his bizarre 400-yard performance in Seattle in Week 1, but this might be an instance in which he has another nice outing. His offensive line is a train wreck, but the Ravens don't really have the personnel to take advantage of this. Meanwhile, Baltimore has some major issues in the secondary. Baker Mayfield, who was abysmal Monday night, even threw for 342 yards on 20-of-30 passing against them!
The one thing the Ravens still do well on this side of the ball is stop the run. This is not good news for Joe Mixon, who has not gotten any help from his offensive line this year, save for the opening drive against Arizona. Cincinnati's blocking unit leads the NFL in run-stuff percentage, which does not bode well for Mixon.
RECAP: This spread is way too high. I made this line Baltimore -6, which might be confusing if you have somehow forgotten that the Ravens beat the Cardinals by that exact margin in Week 2. The Bengals and Cardinals are even - hence, their game going down to the wire last week - so I don't see why the Ravens would suddenly destroy the Bengals.
The Ravens haven't even covered the spread since their misleading Week 1 victory against the Dolphins. Take that win away, and Baltimore is 2-2, with its victories being a six-point home win versus dreadful Arizona and an overtime victory against Pittsburgh's third-string quarterback. Their two losses were blowout defeats against the Chiefs (with an absurd back-door cover I'm not even counting as leigitmate) and the Browns at home (wow!) It's quite possible that this 2019 Ravens squad might be the most overrated NFL team of all time, thanks to the extreme Week 1 outlier.
I like the Bengals to cover this absurdly high number, especially when considering that the Ravens, coming off an overtime victory, might have their eye on Seattle next week.
The unit count will once again depend on Cordy Glenn's availability. I'm hesitant to bet very heavily on a team whose offensive line is in shambles, but Glenn's return to the field would help immeasurably.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Tony Jefferson is out for the year, which is yet another blow to an injury-ravaged secondary. The Bengals should be able to keep up with the Ravens, but I'd love to see Cordy Glenn clear concussion protocol.
SATURDAY NOTES: Cordy Glenn is out again. Sigh. There is good news for the Bengals, however, which would be that Marquise Brown missed practice all week, so he could be sidelined as well. Brown's absence would be a huge boost to a Cincinnati defense that will be without top edge rusher Carlos Dunlap. Despite Glenn and Dunlap's absences, I still like the Bengals for three units.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Marquise Brown is out, which is great news. This line is +10.5 -110 in most places. It's +10.5 -108 at Heritage, which is a new sportsbook that has been recommended to me, so I'm trying that out. For simplicity, I'm going to keep this at -110 here, but I wanted to let you know that there's a slightly better option out there.
The Motivation. Edge: Bengals.
The Ravens are coming off an overtime game against an arch rival, and they have to take on the Seahawks next week.
Seattle Seahawks (4-1) at Cleveland Browns (2-3) Line: Seahawks by 1. Total: 45.5. Sunday, Oct. 13, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
HATE MAIL: I will be posting hate mail here. Here's some hate mail from last week:
Brettkkk, despite the three "K" letters at the end of his name, seems to be a nice fellow. He was kkkind enough to call me a sharp. Thanks, bro!
Here's something else from our resident white supremacist:
Here's a radical concept: Maybe teams react differently to injuries at the same position!
How about a guy who says I live a worthless existence?
I'm sure this guy is always the life of the party with his negative vibes.
Here's hate mail targeting someone else in the comment board:
People like this absolutely suck at life. They're not contributing anything except to make people feel bad about themselves. They're like emotional leeches. Luckily, I can answer people like this because I lack emotion!
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: My friend BCB, who lives in Ohio, told me that he's 5-0 against the spread in Browns games this year. His formula is simple: Bet on them if the opposing team has no pass rush; bet against them when the opponent has a good pass rush. This strategy makes sense, as the Browns have a dreadful offensive line, thanks to the Kevin Zeitler trade, as well as their decision to go into the 2019 season with Greg Robinson as their starting left tackle.
So, the question is if the Seahawks have the pass rush to take advantage of Cleveland's greatest liability on this side of the ball. I'm really not quite sure. Jadeveon Clowney has been his usual, stellar self after a bit of a slow start, but Ziggy Ansah has been a middling player, at best. I'd say the Seattle pass rush is average, so perhaps that means Baker Mayfield will have an average game.
The Seahawks do two things very well, defensively. First, they can stop the run effectively, so Nick Chubb will be a bit limited, though it's very difficult to stop him completely. Second, they can take away No. 1 receivers because cornerback Shaq Griffin is having a great season. However, Seattle doesn't defend slot receivers well, so Jarvis Landry could once again be Cleveland's leading receiver.
SEATTLE OFFENSE: Russell Wilson is one of the top two MVP candidates thus far, with Patrick Mahomes being the other. I'd include Christian McCaffrey in the discussion as well, but that talk might disappear after this week's game versus Tampa. Nevertheless, Wilson has been unbelievable this year despite his offensive line struggling once again.
The Seahawks don't have the worst blocking unit in the NFL anymore - I would rank it around No. 20 in the NFL - but Wilson will see tons of pressure from Myles Garrett and the rest of the Browns' talented defensive line. However, this was the case last week versus the Rams, and Wilson was able to buy time as usual to connect with Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf and the emerging Will Dissly. Lockett and Metcalf potentially have great matchups if the Browns' two starting cornerbacks are out again, while Dissly should do well versus a Cleveland defense that doesn't defend tight ends well.
Then again, Wilson may not have to do much if Chris Carson dominates. We just saw Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman trample the Browns on Monday night, so Carson's outlook is very bright.
RECAP: Everyone and their evil step-mothers are betting Seattle. More than eighty percent of the action is on the Seahawks, who have gone from +2.5 on the advance spread to -1 following the Monday night disaster.
Barring injury, spreads shouldn't move two or more points based on one week of action, so this is a major overreaction. Under normal circumstances, this would set up a nice play on the Browns.
Unfortunately, these are not normal circumstances. This is an awful scheduling spot for the Browns. Consider:
1. Cleveland is coming off a short work week, so there might not be enough time to make the appropriate adjustments.
2. Not only are the Browns playing on a short work week; they're playing in an early Sunday game after flying back from the West Coast.
3. The Seahawks have had extra time to prepare for this game.
This makes the Browns unbettable, in my opinion, unless a +3 line becomes available. I'm actually going to be on Seattle, but the prospect of betting into the crazy line movement and all of this public action is not appealing.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This spread hasn't hit +3, and I don't expect it to. It actually seems to be trending downward to Cleveland, so it seems as though there's some sharp action on the Browns.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Seahawks are suddenly the team with offensive line problems. Left tackle Duane Brown and guard D.J. Fluker will both be out. It's never a good thing when two offensive linemen are missing, especially against a talented defensive front. Meanwhile, it sounds like at least one of Cleveland's starting cornerbacks could return for this game; both are listed as questionable after being limited in practice all week. I'm switching my pick to the Browns, and I may even bet them Sunday morning if either Denzel Ward or Greedy Williams are confirmed to be active.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Wow, Cleveland's top two cornerbacks are out, after all. I needed one of them back to think about betting the Browns, so this is going to remain at zero units.
The Motivation. Edge: Seahawks.
The Browns are playing an early game after a West Coast trip on a short work week.
Houston Texans (2-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) Line: Chiefs by 4. Total: 54.5. Sunday, Oct. 13, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Texans.
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KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: The Chiefs murdered many who picked them in survivor pools this past week. We had nearly 400 individuals lose on them when they went down as double-digit favorites Sunday night. Of course, there was no way to predict the insane number of injuries they would suffer in that game. Sammy Watkins was knocked out early, while left guard Andrew Wylie left the game, creating a major void on the left side of the offensive line, as Eric Fisher was already missing.
Of course, the most prominent injury was to Patrick Mahomes, who injured his ankle. Mahomes' lacking mobility plus the offensive line's inability to block on the left side was a horrible combination. This resulted in many failed drives. Now, Mahomes will have to somehow survive against a Houston front featuring J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. If his ankle is still bothering him, and the offensive line is missing two starters, it'll be very difficult for the Chiefs to move the chains.
Running the ball won't be very fruitful against the Texans who have a great rush defense. The only hope is Tyreek Hill's possible return. Hill should be able to abuse the Texans' poor secondary, but will a hobbled Mahomes have the time to find him downfield for deep strikes?
HOUSTON OFFENSE: Deshaun Watson has been incredibly inconsistent this year. He has torched his opponents in Weeks 1, 3 and 5, yet has struggled immensely in Weeks 2 and 4. This is not the byproduct of zig-zagging, but rather the caliber of opponent Watson has battled. Watson's spread losses were to the Jaguars and Panthers, two of the better defenses in the NFL. Conversely, he has beaten up on the Saints, Chargers and Falcons. The Saints are notorious for starting slowly, while the Chargers and Falcons have dreadful stop units.
I'd say the Chiefs fit into the same category as the Chargers and Falcons. Their pass rush is non-existent, so Watson will have way more time in the pocket than he did versus Carolina and Jacksonville to find his dynamic receivers for big gains. Kansas City's cornerbacks stink, so they won't be able to cover DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller.
Meanwhile, we've seen how dreadful the Chiefs run defense was Sunday night when Xavier Williams and Chris Jones left the field. Carlos Hyde stinks, but he might even be able to put together a nice game versus an already-porous run defense missing two of its top defensive linemen.
RECAP: This is one of my top plays of the week. I'm betting at least five units on the Texans, assuming I like what I see on the injury report.
The Chiefs are a mess. They could be missing two starters on both the offensive and defensive lines. They might be down a couple of receivers if Hill doesn't return and Watkins is out again. And, of course, Mahomes is banged up.
If that wasn't bad enough, the Chiefs have to worry about playing an AFC West rival in four days! They may decide that they can win just one of these games, and beating a divisional opponent could prove to be more valuable for tie-breakers and such.
Unfortunately, all of the great lines are gone. This spread opened +7.5, but the sharps bet the Texans very heavily, and rightfully so. This would be a Pick of the Month at that number, but I still love Houston at this reduced +4.5.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Sammy Watkins has yet to practice yet, but Tyreek Hill could be back. Still, the Chiefs' offensive line is ravaged by injury, which is not a good combination with Patrick Mahomes' ankle injury. The sharps have been pounding the Texans all week, which is why this line is down to +4.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Chiefs have problems on the offensive line, as Eric Fisher is out and Andrew Wylie is doubtful. The Chiefs have problems on the defensive line, as Chris Jones and Xavier Williams are both out. The Chiefs may have problems at receiver, as Sammy Watkins is doubtful and Tyreek Hill is questionable. The Chiefs also may have problems at quarterback if Patrick Mahomes isn't quite himself because of an ankle injury. The fully healthy Texans should be able to take advantage of this.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps continue to pound the Texans, with this spread falling to +3.5 in most books. It's still +4 at 5Dimes, so I'd lock that in ASAP.
The Motivation. Edge: Texans.
The Chiefs have to play the Broncos in four days.
New Orleans Saints (4-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3) Line: Jaguars by 2.5. Total: 43. Sunday, Oct. 13, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Saints.
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. The NFL caught tons of flak for airing just two games in the 4 p.m. window last week. From afar, it was a stupid decision. Why broadcast just two games? What if both are blowouts (which turned out to be the case?) If the NFL had all the say in this, it should be criticized.
However, from I'm hearing, this was a FOX decision. I can't exactly say why, but FOX requested this for ratings purposes. It wanted Packers-Cowboys to have enormous ratings to sell as much advertising as possible.
If you think about it, it makes sense that the NFL wouldn't do this. It's not in the league's best interest to have an obvious gaffe like this, so this was FOX's doing.
2. This doesn't completely have to do with football, but there is a connection, so I wanted to discuss it in this spot. Going into Sunday, I hadn't been able to win an NFL showdown slate on DraftKings to save my life. I was within four points of the victory in last week's Seahawks-Rams game, but a ridiculous 1,178 people tied for the win. It's common to see some people tie for the victory, but never anything like 1,178 people. That was ridiculous.
I'm mentioning my ineptitude when it comes to NFL Showdown slates because I played my first-ever NHL Showdown last Friday when the Blackhawks battled the Flyers. I entered in six lineups. Here's how one of them did:
First place on my first try. Unreal.
What's crazy is that I barely know who these guys are. I was just playing because I'm a degenerate. I showed my dad this lineup, and he was critical of it.
"You shouldn't have played those two guys," my dad said.
I don't even remember who he was talking about, but I tried to argue that I won $1,000 by finishing in first, but he wouldn't have it. My lineup was just not good enough!
3. I mentioned I hadn't won a Showdown slate going into Sunday because I actually won on Sunday! I split the top prize with one other guy in the Falcons-Texans Showdown:
Thank you, Will Fuller! I wrote on Facebook that I was going to buy a Fuller jersey. I went to NFLShop.com that night and was appalled to see that NFL jerseys for adult men are $100!
I'm sorry, but that's absolutely ridiculous. I eventually found a deal on Lids.com for $75, but that's still too much. I think $40-$50 is the correct price for a jersey, but $100 is just absurd. The NFL really needs to do something about this because most people who don't luck into winning DraftKings Showdown slates can't afford to buy them.
NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: Teddy Bridgewater was stellar against the Buccaneers. He began slowly, but ended up with four touchdowns in what was a blowout victory, despite what the final score says. Bridgewater was able to tear apart Tampa Bay's poor secondary with ease, but he may have trouble doing the same against the Jaguars.
It's unlikely that Jalen Ramsey will play, but the Jaguars still have A.J. Bouye to limit Michael Thomas when the two are matched up against each other. They also cover tight ends well, so it's unlikely that Jared Cook will have a repeat performance from his solid Week 5.
Rather than it being a Bridgewater-Thomas game, I expect this to be an Alvin Kamara-centric performance. We just saw Christian McCaffrey zoom by the inept Jacksonville safeties and linebackers, so Kamara should be able to do the same thing. It's clear that the Jaguars really miss Telvin Smith.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: I also expect Leonard Fournette to have a big performance. I like the Saints' defense, but their linebackers haven't really been tested against an elite pass-catching running back yet. They battled Todd Gurley in Week 2, but Gurley has a limited snap count. There was Ezekiel Elliott in Week 4, but the Cowboys constantly shot themselves in the foot. Elliott caught six passes in that game anyhow.
Fournette has been a bigger factor as a receiver out of the backfield this year, so I like his chances versus the New Orleans linebackers. Running the ball will be a challenge, but Fournette is the sort of player who can break a long gain against anyone.
Gardner Minshew will need Fournette to do well because his top option, D.J. Chark, will likely be blanked by Marshon Lattimore. Mike Evans and Amari Cooper had no chance against Lattimore, so I don't expect Chark to do anything. However, Dede Westbrook has a nice matchup, as the Saints aren't very good versus slot receivers.
RECAP: The Saints may have entered overrated territory. I think they're one of the top Super Bowl contenders with Drew Brees, but Bridgewater is not very good. He was great versus the Buccaneers, but Tampa can't stop the pass at all. He was very pedestrian the week before against the Cowboys, and yet both of these games were at home! We've yet to see Bridgewater do anything substantial on the road. Sure, he beat the Seahawks, but the defense and special teams did all of the work in that game.
It's no secret that the Saints are a different team outside of the Superdome, and these conditions figure to be very unfavorable. I usually don't look at the weather report until Friday, but I had to take a peek at what's going on in Jacksonville, and it'll be about as bad as I imagined. It's projected to be about 90 degrees, sunny and very humid. The Saints, in their black uniforms, will be frying in the Florida sun, which could cause some serious fatigue in the second half.
The Jaguars have dominated teams over the years in these conditions, even upsetting the Patriots in Week 2 last year. I like them here, especially with all of the public money coming in on the Saints. About three-quarters of the action is on the visitor, making New Orleans a very heavy public dog. Betting against heavy public dogs is a very lucrative strategy, so it's yet another reason to favor the Jaguars.
Assuming the weather doesn't change drastically, I'm going to bet a healthy amount on the Jaguars. I'm thinking three units or so.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: It sounds like there's a chance Jalen Ramsey will return. Either way, I really like the Jaguars. The Saints continue to be a large public dog.
SATURDAY NOTES: Alvin Kamara popped up on the injury report on Thursday with a limited practice, then missed Friday's practice entirely. The spread has jumped to -3, which is not ideal. Also, this is not going to be a very hot game - the Jaguars are foolishly allowing New Orleans to play in white! - so I'm not even sure I'm going to be betting on this game.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This spread shot up to -3, thanks to sharp action on the Jaguars. The sharps may have thought that Alvin Kamara would be inactive, but Kamara would be playing. I don't think it's crazy to bet the Saints at +3, though this line has moved back down to +2.5 in some books. I'm not betting this one.
The Motivation. Edge: Jaguars.
The Saints are a public dog, so the Jaguars will feel disrespected.
1. The NCAA is going insane. Check out this new story I saw on Twitter the other day:
From my understanding, all players are going to have to shave their beards and mustaches, and also remove all rings and tattoos so that they can't profit off their likeness in response to these pay-to-play laws that just passed.
How ridiculous is all of this? I can't believe the NCAA is so greedy. Unreal.
2. Speaking of the pay-to-play laws, I was asked how it will affect the California schools. The result is simple: As with everything else in California, the rich will get richer, while the poor will get poorer. All of the rich schools that can afford to pay the elite players will have an even greater advantage, while the schools struggling to stay afloat will get even worse. There will be no middle class, which, coincidentally, is something that no longer exists in the state of California.
With that in mind, I'm not sure what to make of this. Athletes should be paid in some way, though I think that should be via sponsorships and whatnot. The schools paying the players directly seems weird, even with the insane amount of money they make. However, seeing parity vanish in college football is not very appealing.
Oh, and by the way, that story above about players having to shave their beards and mustaches was from the Onion. If I fooled you, sorry!
3. Is Oklahoma overrated? It might be weird to say this, given that the Sooners are coming off a 45-20 victory and have a quarterback everyone is saying could win the Heisman Trophy.
However, the Sooners were very close to being down 21-7 at Kansas. A Jayhawk player dropped a pass on fourth down in Oklahoma territory when the game was tied at seven, and then another Kansas player dropped a pick-six. There's a very good chance the Jayhawks could have been up 14, which may have caused Oklahoma to panic and press.
Then again, perhaps the Sooners were a bit flat because they were looking ahead to battling Texas next week. I suppose we'll discover how good they are in the Red River Rivalry.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: Kirk Cousins is back! Yeah! Cousins was outstanding against the Giants, slicing and dicing the opposing stalwart defense with ease. The Giants provided a very difficult challenge on paper, but Cousins was an unstoppable force, ripping through the reincarnation of the 1985 Bears with the utmost precision.
Oh, wait, hold on. I confused the 2019 Giants defense with the 2007 Giants defense. They were so awful that Cousins could have posted a stellar performance with one hand tied behind his back. However, Cousins struggles against good teams, especially in big moments. Conventional wisdom says he'll regress versus the Eagles, who happen to be one of the best teams in the NFL. However, I'm not sure that will be the case because the Eagles have some major injury issues at cornerback. They're missing multiple players at the position, which bodes very well for Cousins. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs will be able to get open easily, and Cousins should be able to deliver the ball to them despite some pressure.
Dalvin Cook, meanwhile, has a tougher matchup than he did last week against the hapless Giants. However, he's an electric player and can break a big gain at a moment's notice. I especially like him as a receiver out of the backfield versus an Eagles linebacking corps that hasn't performed very well this year.
PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: The Eagles were so incredibly sloppy last week. Whether it was all of the penalties they committed, careless fumbles or botched snaps, they repeatedly shot themselves in the foot. Had they battled a team with a viable NFL quarterback, they may have lost.
They won't be able to get away with that sort of nonsense against the Vikings. Minnesota has a stellar secondary that will be able to take away Carson Wentz's options at receiver, especially if DeSean Jackson is out once again. Zach Ertz could do well, however, given that the Vikings aren't very great at defending the middle of the field.
Speaking of which, it'll be in the Eagles' best interest to get Miles Sanders in space against the Viking linebackers. Jordan Howard won't be able to do anything on the ground, but Sanders has a nice matchup he should be able to exploit.
RECAP: This is the second game in a row in which there's a massive public underdog. As I wrote earlier, betting against these teams has been very lucrative over the years. In fact, if you know absolutely nothing about the NFL and want to bet on a game, your best bet is to fade a public underdog like this.
I think most people are wagering against the Eagles because they expect Cousins to once again lose to a good team. However, he beat the Eagles last year, and this Philadelphia squad is in worse shape as far as the secondary is concerned. The Eagles being down two starting cornerbacks versus Thielen and Diggs is a huge deal that most casual bettors aren't taking into account.
There are two other things the public isn't factoring in when making their bets. First, the Vikings are so much better at home. Second, the team is still salty about the loss to the Eagles in the NFC Championship. I know they technically claimed revenge last year, but they still despise Philadelphia and will be more motivated to win this game than the Eagles, who could be looking ahead to battling Dallas next week. The Eagles, as mentioned, were very sloppy versus the Jets. If they play like that this week, they will get blown out.
I like the Vikings enough to make a sizable wager on them, especially if we get a -2.5 -110 (or even -115) at some point.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The Eagles continue to be a big public dog as well, and yet there seems to be some sharp action coming in on the Vikings. Adam Thielen sat out practice Thursday, but it sounds like he'll be able to play.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Eagles will, in fact, be without their top three cornerbacks against a team with two dynamic receivers. However, they're not a public dog anymore, as the action has evened out. I still like the Vikings, but not nearly as much.
SATURDAY NIGHT UPDATE: This spread has jumped to -3.5 in many places. It's still -3 -125 at Bovada, so I'll lock that in for two units.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Professional bettors moved the Vikings to -3.5. If you missed the boat on -3 -125, you can still get -3 -130 at 5Dimes.
The Motivation. Edge: Vikings.
Revenge for the NFC Championship for the Vikings. The Eagles play Dallas next week.
Washington Redskins (0-5) at Miami Dolphins (0-5) Line: Redskins by 3.5. Total: 42. Sunday, Oct. 13, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: TBA.
If you've followed this site for a while, you might remember that I like to respond to my spam mails. It all started seven years ago, when a man named Jon Wire from the "United Bank of Africoan" promised me an ATM card of some sort, so I responded as a man named Mister Compassion Chuck Norris, who was raised by wolves. The following season, I received e-mails from Richard Held and Loon Bruce, who told me I won a Facebook Award, which comes with a "lump sum pay out of (750,000.00 GBP)." Pretending to be Matthew Millen Kim, I sent out my application and fake money.
I've been messing around with spammers ever since, pretending to be Harvey Weinstein, 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!
ONE-SIDED MATCHUP: As I've written before, I'm not providing analysis for the Dolphins. They're the worst team in NFL history, and they're not trying to win. There's no point in writing a breakdown for their games.
RECAP: I've seen some people discuss that it's absurd that the Redskins are favored by more than a field goal on the road. Personally, I find it absurd that this spread isn't at least seven. How in the world is the worst team in NFL history within seven points of anyone? What a joke.
What's even funnier is that the public is betting the Dolphins. I don't understand why these gamblers would waste their money like this. People, THE DOLPHINS ARE TRYING TO LOSE ON PURPOSE! PLEASE DO NOT BET ON THEM!!!
Though we're getting some nice line value with the Redskins - both my numbers and the computer model say this spread should be Washington -7 - I'm not going to put a heavy wager on them unless we A) get some clarity regarding their quarterback situation (i.e. not Colt McCoy) and B) learn that their offensive line is healthy.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This line is down to -3, which makes the Redskins more appealing. Even more so is the fact that Case Keenum is slated to start. I imagine I'll be wagering a couple of units on the Redskins.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Redskins' offensive line is fully intact once again, save for Trent Williams. That's good news for their chances of beating the worst team in NFL history. This spread dropped to -3 on Thursday, but the sharps jumped on Washington, bumping the line back up to -3.5. I'm going to bet two units on the Redskins at -3.5 (at FanDuel), though I'd like them a lot more at -3. The -3 is not coming back, however, as this spread has hopped up to -4 in some books.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Sharp bettors have moved this line to -5.5, perhaps because Xavien Howard is out. Had I known Howard would be out, I would've wagered three units on the Redskins at -3.5. Unfortunately, -5.5 is too much to increase this bet.
The Motivation. Edge: None.
The Dolphins are trying to lose, but the Redskins fired their head coach.
Week 6 NFL Picks - Late Games
49ers at Rams, Falcons at Cardinals, Titans at Broncos, Cowboys at Jets, Steelers at Chargers, Lions at Packers
A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenever winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 18, 2020): 1-5 (-$1,430)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2020): 0-2 (-$575)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2020): 0-2 (-$855)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 18, 2020): 2-3-1 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 18, 2020): $0
2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-2, 50.0% (-$135)
2020 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 132-123-6, 52.6% (+$3,280) 2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 43-42-3, 50.6% (-$2,650) 2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-22-1, 62.7% (+$5,515) 2020 Season Over-Under: 137-119-6, 53.5% ($0) 2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$375
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$3,585) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$6,105) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$4,235) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,880) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,335) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$7,445) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$7,825) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$3,215) 2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$780) 2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$4,300) 2018 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 140-134-14, 51.3% (+$845) 2019 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 149-128-9, 53.6% (+$1,200)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475) 2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395) 2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-41-2, 55.9% (+$2,670) 2019 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-36-2, 55.0% (+$655)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465) 2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595) 2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 27-32-1, 45.8% (-$4,735) 2019 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-27-2, 57.8% (+$2,185)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95) 2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640) 2018 Season Over-Under: 118-128-3, 48.0% (-$225) 2019 Season Over-Under: 126-133-4, 48.6% (-$50)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855 2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275 2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510 2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,495 2019 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,715
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100) 2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780) 2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040) 2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-3, 57.1% (-$640) 2019 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3-1, 50.0% (-$625)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,989-2,760-179, 52.0% (+$13,585) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 953-858-49 (52.6%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 452-396-23 (53.3%) Career Over-Under: 2,459-2,413-66 (50.5%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 44-29-1 (60.3%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.