Chicago Bears (5-6) at Detroit Lions (3-7-1) Line: Bears by 6. Total: 39. Thursday, Nov. 28, 12:30 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Bears.
Week 12 Recap: I was glad to rebound from that hideous Week 11. I went 9-5 (+$1,015), and I was happy with all of my decisions, save for betting the Packers on Sunday night. That was a stupid pick. Otherwise, Week 12 was a great one. Hopefully we get more easy choices like fading Jeff Driskel as a four-point favorite once again!
By the way, if you want to support this site, check out my new book!
In this book, I talk about the top NFL Draft busts, and what would've happened had each team gone a different route. Also, I discuss why Roger Goodell has banned us from the NFL Combine.
CHICAGO OFFENSE: Mitchell Trubisky was terrible to begin last week's game, but caught fire in the second half. He played very well following intermission, aside from a stupid interception that he threw up for grabs. The Bears, who need to win to stay alive in the playoff race, will be hoping that Trubisky can pick up where he left off in the second half versus the Giants.
Granted, New York's secondary is awful, but the Lions aren't much better. Had Dwayne Haskins been more accurate last week, particularly in the red zone, he would have lit up Detroit's injury-ravaged defensive backfield. Haskins missed open receivers for three touchdowns. Trubisky could always do the same, but he's somehow way ahead of Haskins in his development at the moment.
The Bears should be able to run on the Lions as well. Detroit's run defense has struggled throughout the season, so I expect David Montgomery to rebound. Tarik Cohen, meanwhile, will continue to pick up chunks of yardage, as it appears as though the Bears have finally figured out how to use him.
DETROIT OFFENSE: I still can't believe Jeff Driskel was a four-point favorite last week. What's crazier is that people were betting on him! I had a good laugh about it Monday afternoon. I bet five units on the Redskins, and my only regret is that I didn't make it a bonus pick of the month!
Driskel is terrible. He's not accurate, and he makes bad decisions in the pocket. He can scramble well, but that might not even be the case this week because he's dealing with an injury. Driskel has some sort of hamstring problem, which could limit his running ability. That could eliminate his best attribute, which would be quite problematic against the Bears' defense.
The one hope the Lions have is to run with Bo Scarbrough, who has looked solid the past couple of weeks. The Bears have struggled against the run ever since losing Akiem Hicks, but I'm sure the Chicago defense will be playing closer to the line of scrimmage because it won't respect Driskel's throwing ability, and rightfully so.
RECAP: Can't Driskel be favored by four points again with public action backing him? That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, unfortunately, and this spread isn't as friendly. Now, Trubisky is the crappy quarterback being favored on the road with tons of casual money supporting him.
I'm going to be on the Bears, however. I expect Trubisky to perform well against Detroit's defense, while the horrible Driskel will continue to struggle against the best defense he'll have faced thus far. Driskel is also injured, so that's another strike against him.
I hate betting into all of this public money with a team that's not very good, especially with this spread hitting -3. All of the value we had on Chicago is long gone - the advance line was Detroit -1.5! - so I won't be wagering on this contest.
Our Week 12 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I'm writing up Thursday Thoughts for the Thanksgiving games early, and the rest of the Thursday Thoughts will be posted throughout Thanksgiving.
This spread is bordering on absurdity. The Bears opened as mere one-point favorites and looked appealing back then. Now, they're favored by at least 4.5 points in all sportsbooks and as much as six at Bovada. Tons of money is pouring in on the Bears, all because Jeff Driskel has been replaced by someone named David Blough. I imagine casual bettors are thinking, "Bears are ez money, I don't even kno how to pronounce the Detroit QB's name lulz."
Well, unless the Browns preseason announcers were mistaken, it's pronounced like "plow," except with a "B" instead of a "P." I know this because I watched every single preseason snap of Blough's Wednesday night because of how ridiculous the spread has gotten. My take is that if Blough can be remotely competent, the Lions will be a good play at the very least because Mitchell Trubisky is a publicly backed six-point favorite. It's not the lock that fading Driskel as a publicly backed four-point road favorite was last week, but it still seems like a decent play or better.
So, how did Blough fare? Let's break him down, game by game:
The first thing that stood out to me was that Blough showed terrific ball placement on two back-shoulder throws, one of which was a touchdown pass. The announcers were impressed, though Blough made one big mistake when he had a pick-six that was dropped when he heaved a pass into tight coverage.
Blough would have been 10-of-13, but he had two passes that were dropped, and he also drew a pass interference flag near the goal line. Blough threw some impressive strikes otherwise. Take a look at what one of the preseason announcers said of him:
"I've been very impressed with Blough on this drive. He's thrown a nice couple of passes over across the middle."
The preseason announcers were even more impressed with Blough this time:
"David Blough can read these coverages. His sense of timing is impeccable."
Blough didn't get to see much action, but he was praised for his intelligence. He appeared to throw a touchdown on one play, but the receiver was able to get just one foot inbounds after replay review. Blough made one mistake where he panicked a bit under pressure and released a pass off his back foot. The ball sailed out of bounds.
Preseason Week 4: 11-of-17, 115 yards, 2 INTs
Only one of Blough's interceptions was on him. His first pick occurred when a defender hit his arm as he released the ball. The second pick was an underthrown floater down the sideline.
Blough was able to bounce back from this however, making a nice throw on third-and-9 to move the chains. The pass was right on the money.
I liked what I saw from Blough overall. He's an accurate, smart quarterback. His arm strength sucks, but he could emerge as a viable No. 2 quarterback in the NFL because of his intelligence, ball placement, timing and positive pocket awareness. He can also scramble somewhat well. He's not going to rush for 50 yards in a game, but he can break away for a decent scramble once every quarter.
I know the preseason can be a dog-and-pony show for quarterbacks, but I was similarly impressed with Nick Mullens when watching him play ahead of his NFL regular-season debut. This game actually reminds me of that one. The crappy Raiders were favored at San Francisco on a Thursday night because some guy named Nick Mullens was starting. And despite the Raiders being terrible, there was a ton of money coming in on them. The 49ers, as you may recall, destroyed Oakland.
Now, the Bears are better than the 2018 Raiders, but not by very much. Their defense is much better than Oakland's was, but their offensive line and quarterback both suck. Does a very flawed team deserve to be getting about 80 percent of the money when favored by as many as six points? I really don't think so.
I'm going to be betting the Lions if this spread keeps increasing. I'm already thinking about a two-unit wager, and I may go to three if a +6 -110 appears.
FINAL THOUGHTS: We have a +6 -110 at Bovada (edit: just went to +6 -115). I'm willing to bet three units on that. It sucks that Snacks Harrison is out for Detroit, but the Lions will be getting back Da'Shawn Hand. With that in mind, I think three units is a nice wager on Detroit. It could be possible that David Blough crashes and burns. However, I think that betting on the Lions at this number is much better than laying 5.5 or six with Mitchell Trubisky as a heavily publicly backed favorite. Betting on the Bears is such a herd mentality, so going with the unknown Blough is the better option.
The Motivation. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Spread. Edge: Lions.
WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Bears -2.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Lions -1.5.
Computer Model: Bears -2.
DVOA Spread: Pick.
The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
Everyone just lost money on Detroit, so they don't want to bet them anymore.
Percentage of money on Chicago: 80% (5,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bears.
History: Lions have won 9 of the last 13 meetings.
Lions are 5-9 ATS as a Thanksgiving host since 2002.
Buffalo Bills (8-3) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5) Line: Cowboys by 6.5. Total: 45. Thursday, Nov. 28, 4:30 PM
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!
DALLAS OFFENSE: The Cowboys didn't look fully prepared to battle the Patriots. Dak Prescott didn't even know that he had to wear a glove in rainy conditions until the second half. It was if the players had never seen rain before, which is a testament to how poorly they are coached by Jason Garrett. They'd have the division wrapped up by now if they even had mediocre coaching.
It's difficult to imagine Garrett preparing a good game plan for a tough opponent in just four days. It doesn't help that Amari Cooper isn't quite himself. Cooper is laboring through an injury, which is part of the reason why he didn't catch a single pass last week. The other would be Stephon Gilmore's amazing coverage. Cooper won't see Gilmore this week, but he'll have to battle Tre'Davious White, who is another excellent cornerback. Prescott has struggled when he hasn't been able to rely on Cooper's services, so he could have a mediocre game.
Fortunately for Prescott, he may not have to rely so much on Cooper because he'll be able to hand the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott. The Bills have a run-funnel defense, so even though Elliott hasn't been quite himself this year, he should still thrive in this positive matchup.
BUFFALO OFFENSE: Josh Allen has played well in most games this year, though it must be noted that he has enjoyed the luxury of cruising through the easiest schedule in the NFL. This may seem like a difficult matchup, but the Cowboys were just 20th in defensive DVOA rating entering Week 12. I'm sure that number will improve when the new ratings are released, but Dallas' defense has some flaws for Allen to exploit.
The Cowboys don't have a very good secondary, excluding Byron Jones. They didn't need to worry about New England's outside receivers because the starters were out and the backups constantly dropped passes. John Brown, Isaiah McKenzie and Cole Beasley aren't the most exciting trio in the world, but they've been effective this year, particularly Brown. If Jakobi Meyers could get open against Dallas, I imagine these three will have similar success.
Dallas is excellent versus ground attacks, but the Leighton Vander Esch-less linebacking corps can be beaten with running backs used as receivers, and Devin Singletary can take advantage of that. I'm sure Allen will as well with his scrambling ability.
RECAP: I just pointed out that the Bills have navigated through the easiest schedule in the NFL, which is the reason they're 8-3 at the moment. However, it must also be noted that the Cowboys haven't beaten a team with a winning record this year.
I get the sense that a victory would mean more to the Bills than the Cowboys. Because Buffalo isn't regarded as a good team, Dallas wouldn't be proving itself by beating the Bills. The Cowboys are favored by about a touchdown, after all, and they're coming off a grueling loss at Foxboro. Conversely, this is Buffalo's chance to make a statement on a national stage, as it'll be eager to showcase itself in a national spotlight.
I like the Bills from a motivational angle, and I also like the fact that the sharps have been wagering on them, which would be why this spread moved down from +7 to +6.5. I'll be betting Buffalo as well for about two units.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I mentioned that the sharps were on the Bills at +7, but they haven't touched this game at +6.5. I'm going to be on Buffalo for a unit or two, and I'll be looking to bet up to +7 at a reasonable price.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Don't ever underestimate a team's desire to prove that they are a legitimate team on a national stage. This is Buffalo's first chance to do so this year. The Cowboys, meanwhile, are coming off a tough loss and are banged up, as Amari Cooper is not 100 percent, while Leighton Vander Esch is out. I would bet the Bills up to +7 because Dallas winning by seven is a likely result, and you can do that at Bookmaker at -122 juice. I'm betting Buffalo +7 -122 for two units.
The Motivation. Edge: Bills.
The Bills will be eager to prove themselves, and they'll be hyped to play on Thanksgiving. The Patriots, meanwhile, are coming off a tough loss at New England.
New Orleans Saints (9-2) at Atlanta Falcons (3-8) Line: Saints by 7. Total: 49. Thursday, Nov. 28, 8:20 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Saints.
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 this week:
The books absolutely destroyed the public in Weeks 9 and 10. Conversely, Week 11 was for the squares. The books rebounded in Week 12, at least before Monday night. The Ravens slaughtered the house. Lopsided bets are now 26-28 ATS on the year.
Here are the teams getting the most bets this week:
There are so many lopsided bets this week. The public might be confident after that Baltimore gift, so it better be careful.
NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: It's hard to believe that Drew Brees struggled so much against the Falcons a few weeks ago. Brees threw for 287 yards on 32-of-45 passing, but much of that came in garbage time, as the Saints couldn't move the chains in the opening half. Based on what the Falcons did in that contest, and the following week at Carolina, it looked like they made vast upgrades to their defense during the bye week.
As we discovered this past Sunday, however, that was not the case. The Buccaneers dismantled the Falcons' defense, as most teams did prior to the bye. Jameis Winston threw two bad interceptions, but torched them otherwise. If Winston can have that sort of success, I don't see why Brees won't be able to, especially in a revenge spot. It must be noted that Brees won't have his Pro Bowl left tackle, Terron Armstead, around to shield him in this contest, but considering that the Falcons haven't pressured the quarterback well outside of their two-week surge, I don't think Armstead's absence will be too much of a factor.
Something that also must be considered is that Alvin Kamara was not 100 percent the last time the Saints battled the Falcons. He was given just four carries, as he was returning from a multi-week injury. Kamara is now completely healthy, and I have to imagine that he'll dominate Thanksgiving night.
ATLANTA OFFENSE: Just as Kamara's health changes the dynamics of the Saints' offense, the Falcons' scoring unit will be different in this game than it was in the previous meeting as well. The last time these teams played, Matt Ryan had Austin Hooper and Devonta Freeman at his disposal. Both players are injured now, which played a part in Atlanta's inability to move the chains versus Tampa Bay's horrible secondary last week.
Ryan suddenly had to rely on throwing passes to Jaeden Graham, and handing the ball off to Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison. The results weren't very positive, to say the least, and now Ryan will have to navigate through a defense that is far superior than Tampa's. Without having to worry about Hooper or Freeman as a receiver out of the backfield, the Saints will be able to focus on Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Making matters worse for the Falcons, Marshon Lattimore has a legitimate chance to play in this contest following a two-game absence, so that will make things even more difficult for Jones.
Not only does Ryan have to deal with a diminished supporting cast, he'll have to endure his offensive line's poor protection. His blocking was horrible this past Sunday, as Ryan was under siege on most snaps. The Saints have a better pass rush than the Buccaneers, which doesn't bode well for Ryan.
RECAP: A short week greatly benefits the superior team, assuming that squad will be motivated to play hard. I'd say this qualifies for the Saints, who will be eager to avenge their blowout loss to the Falcons a few weeks ago. Also, Atlanta's stands were not very full in the Tampa game, so I believe that there will be plenty of Saints fans in the crowd. They'll be making noise when Ryan has the ball, which would be ideal for Atlanta.
I hate that this spread moved two points from the advance line, and I'm not eager to bet into all of this public money, but I think we have good reason to do so. The Falcons are missing two key play-makers, and their offensive line is dreadful. The Saints will be out for revenge, and they'll want to embarrass their arch rival on their home field on a national stage. I'd say that's worth a two-unit wager.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I might lock this one in early in the day if I see a -6.5 -110. I could see this spread soaring by kickoff, especially if Julio Jones is ruled out.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Julio Jones is out, causing this spread to firmly reach -7. Some books even have a -7.5 posted. Luckily, there are some quality -7s available. Bookmaker and FanDuel have -7 -110 available, while Heritage currently lists New Orleans at -7 -108. I'm going to bet that for two units. I hate all the public action on the Saints, but they should be able to avenge their blowout defeat from a few weeks ago, especially with Marshon Lattimore active to defend a Jones-less receiving corps.
The Motivation. Edge: Saints.
The Falcons' winning streak and outside chance of making the playoffs has come to an end. The Saints will be seeking revenge, and they'll have many fans in the stands.
Green Bay Packers (8-3) at New York Giants (2-9) Line: Packers by 6.5. Total: 43. Sunday, Dec. 1, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
HATE MAIL: I will be posting hate mail here. Here's some hate mail from last week:
Motivation is one of the four pillars of NFL handicapping that I've established, and it's played a big role in me being up nearly five figures on the year, but I guess it doesn't work because of one incorrect instance. Hmm...
OK, here's the good stuff. A deranged psycopath has emerged on the comment board. He is making personal attacks, posting nonstop, upvoting his own comments and even telling me to kill myself:
I don't even know if I should respond directly to him. Mental illness is a serious matter, after all.
Here's more from this insane individual:
I've found that miserable and/or sick people tend to accuse you of things they're guilty of themselves, so it's no surprise to me that he upvoted himself 20 times while accusing me of having 20 different aliases. He's also accused me of being a homophobe and a racist, so I imagine that he's the one who's homophobic and racist.
Then again, who knows? It's impossible to determine the psyche of a psychopath. I'll stick to trying to read the psyche of NFL teams!
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: I'm sure Aaron Rodgers is relieved that he won't have to battle the 49ers again. San Francisco completely dismantled his offense. He saw lots of pressure, while his receivers were smothered by the 49ers' elite secondary. The results were horrible, as the Packers' starting offense didn't convert a single first down, while Rodgers barely eclipsed the century yardage mark.
Obviously, things will be far different this week. Rodgers will have the luxury of battling one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. The Giants have two replacement-level cornerbacks playing for them, and they just lost their top safety, Jabrill Peppers, to injury. The pass rush isn't aiding the defensive backfield at all, as New York doesn't have anyone to get after the quarterback. Mitchell Trubisky was on fire against this defense during the second half of last week's game, so how will the Giants stop Rodgers at all?
The Packers' ground attack won't be as potent as their aerial assault - the Giants have been stout against the run ever since acquiring Leonard Williams - but Aaron Jones still figures to have a great game as a receiver out of the backfield. The Giants' linebackers are terrible and won't be able to stay with Jones.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: I don't know what's wrong with Saquon Barkley. He doesn't appear to be healthy, so perhaps his high ankle sprain from earlier in the season is still bothering him. Barkley had a great matchup against Chicago's poor run defense last week, yet couldn't do anything with it.
The Packers have been gashed in the ground game several times this year, but the Barkley we've seen over the past several weeks won't be able to capitalize on that liability. Perhaps he'll have a sudden surge - he's certainly talented enough to do so - but we have to be skeptical at this point.
Daniel Jones is struggling without an effective Barkley, and it won't help that he may not be able to throw to Golden Tate, who has entered concussion protocol. Furthermore, I like Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith against the two New York tackles, so we could continue to see Jones lose more fumbles.
RECAP: Everyone and their evil stepmother is betting the Packers, and I can understand why. This is a lopsided matchup, and Rodgers will be angry off a loss. This seems like a smash spot for the Packers.
Actually, let me rephrase something I wrote in the previous paragraph. The aforementioned evil stepmother may not be on the Packers if she's a sharp. The pros have bet the Giants already, which is why this spread dropped from +7 to +6.5. In fact, one of the smartest sportsbooks, Bookmaker, is inviting public action on Green Bay with a -6.5 -105 line.
Why is this? I wonder if the pros are betting on talent and think that Barkley can revert to his previous form. Maybe they believe that there's a good chance of a back-door cover, which seems very possible. Or, perhaps they just think that the Packers are overrated, and I completely agree with that, per what I wrote on my NFL Overrated-Underrated Teams page.
I'm not going to follow the sharps, however. I'll stick with the Packers, as something I don't think the pros are considering is that the stands could be flooded with Green Bay supporters. That'll be a huge boost for the Packers, so perhaps that'll push them over the top. That's not something I'm willing to bet on, however, as I was very close to selecting the Giants.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Neither Evan Engram nor Golden Tate has yet to practice this week, so that obviously bodes well for the Packers. I don't think their absences would get me to bet on Green Bay.
SATURDAY NOTES: There's so much money on the Packers, it's difficult to bet them, even with Golden Tate and Evan Engram ruled out. Despite all of the action on Green Bay, this spread has moved down because of sharp money on the Giants. I don't understand why they like the Giants, but I wouldn't want to bet into all of this public money either.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There apparently was some concern that Bryan Bulaga would sit, but he's active. I don't think I was ever concerned about his status. Was this the reason the sharps were on the Giants? This spread is up to -7, so that may have been it. Either way, I'm not betting this game, which will be played in windy conditions.
The Motivation. Edge: Packers.
Green Bay fans will likely take over the Meadowlands.
Washington Redskins (2-9) at Carolina Panthers (5-6) Line: Panthers by 10.5. Total: 39. Sunday, Dec. 1, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
Contest Announcement time!
Our weekly fantasy football contest has returned. It's like DFS, but weekly and free, and there are cash prizes! There's no reason not to enter, and you can submit up to five lineups per week! Click the link here for our new Weekly Fantasy Football Contest!
Our Survivor Contest has returned as well. It's free to enter, and you can win $350!
We're partnered with Draft Kings this year. Sign up at Draft Kings and use promo code "Walterfootball" for a bonus with your first deposit. Seriously, it's free money - go sign up!
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: Dwayne Haskins just won his first game in the NFL, but he didn't play remotely well. He missed three touchdowns and overshot his receivers throughout the afternoon. He showed bad mechanics in the pocket and displayed zero pocket awareness. He was lucky to be battling one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and Jeff Driskel's incompetence allowed Haskins to eke out a victory.
Haskins doesn't have as great of a matchup in this contest. The Panthers are excellent against the pass, thanks to improved cornerback play and a strong pass rush. The Redskins' offensive line is far better than it was earlier in the year when Haskins made his first pro appearance against the Giants, but there are still liabilities on the left side of the front. This is an area the Panthers should be able to attack, all while James Bradberry does an effective job of limiting Terry McLaurin.
The Panthers' defense can be beaten on the ground. They've become a run-funnel defense ever since losing Kawann Short to an injury. Now, Dontari Poe is out as well, which will make things even worse. The Redskins should be able to pound Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice with high levels of success this Sunday.
CAROLINA OFFENSE: Of course, the Panthers will do even better with Christian McCaffrey. The dynamic back was in MVP discussion when his team had a winning record for good reason. He's unstoppable, so even though the Redskins are better versus the run than the pass, they'll have major problems containing him.
McCaffrey will be especially potent as a receiver out of the backfield. The Redskins have poor linebackers, so McCaffrey could eclipse the century mark as a receiver. Greg Olsen should also thrive for the same reason, as the Redskins are known for leaving tight ends wide open.
If you couldn't guess, I expect Kyle Allen to enjoy a strong performance. D.J. Moore has become a monster No. 1 receiver this season, so even though the talented Quinton Dunbar will be covering him, I still expect Moore to get open because of his elite route-running ability. Meanwhile, Washington's secondary is an abomination, excluding Dunbar, so Curtis Samuel should be able to rebound from last week's lackluster performance.
RECAP: There's one thing about this game that I can't quite figure out. I don't know what mental state of the Panthers will be. Consider that they just endured a heart-breaking loss against one of the greatest rivals. This loss knocked them down to 5-6, putting them three games out of the wild card. If the players believe they don't have a chance of making the playoffs anymore, they'll be a no-show in this game, and I don't want to bet into that.
Conversely, I could see Ron Rivera motivating the troops and telling them that they'll reach the postseason if they run the table and finish 10-6. I think the Panthers will get into the postseason at 10-6, especially given Kirk Cousins' choking tendencies. Thus, we could see one more rally cry from Carolina.
I'm 50-50 on these scenarios. I'm going to try my best and look into this, so I'll have updates later in the week. I'm going to side with the Panthers for now, but that could definitely change as the week progresses.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Nothing on Carolina yet, so I can't advocate a bet on either side quite yet. I doubt I'll end up betting either side.
SATURDAY NOTES: Ron Rivera said his team can still make the playoffs, but I don't know if his players believe that or not. There's a chance there might be some quit in the Panthers, but I don't know if the Redskins will try hard either. It's worth noting that Ryan Kerrigan will miss this game, so Washington's pass rush won't be as potent.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This spread has hopped up to -10.5, as the sharps haven't touched the Redskins (and rightfully so.) If the Panthers are focused, they'll win this game easily. If, however, they're deflated because they realize they can't make the playoffs, they'll struggle and win by 3-7 points.
The Motivation. Edge: Unknown.
It's difficult to tell if the Panthers will be deflated from their last-second loss in New Orleans.
San Francisco 49ers (10-1) at Baltimore Ravens (9-2) Line: Ravens by 6. Total: 45. Sunday, Dec. 1, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Ravens.
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. Let's begin with the ongoing Myles Garrett drama, where Garrett accused Mason Rudolph of saying a racial slur - presumably, the "N" word - which he used as an excuse for bashing Rudolph over the head with a helmet.
First of all, even if Rudolph had used the "N" word, it doesn't excuse Garrett for endangering Rudolph's life. Garrett easily could have just said something back. No matter what someone says to you, there isn't anything that justifies giving that person potential brain damage.
Second, I'm not even buying that Rudolph said that. I wouldn't completely rule it out, but why would he used the "N" word when his head coach, top receivers, running backs and two offensive linemen are all black? Plus, the NFL found no audio of this, so it sounds like complete nonsense.
2. As for a lighter topic, I'd like to discuss a pet peeve of mine in regard to betting. This is something Colin Cowherd is often guilty of. When Cowherd rattles off a few reasons why he likes a team, if they're playing as hosts, he'll say, "They're at home."
I've heard others on TV cite this as well. It's happened in real life, too. I've mentioned before that I watch Thursday Night Football with my dad. He asked me who I liked in the Texans-Colts game - he doesn't know how to use the Internet and thus can't access this Web site - and when I told him that I was on Indianapolis, he said he disagreed with me.
Dad: I like Houston.
Dad: They're at home.
They're at home. I do all of this research with my picks, and I write 500-750 words on each game, but none of that matters because one team is at home.
People, teams being at home doesn't matter whatsoever. I did the quick research, and I asked my dad how often he thinks teams cover at home. He guessed 60 percent of the time.
He wasn't even close. Did you know that going into Week 12, home teams were 41.8 percent against the spread this year? That's 64-89-5. And yes, this is a small sample size, so let's look at how home teams have performed since the new CBA in 2011. Hosts since then are 49 percent to cover at 1,077-1,120-66.
I won't blame my dad for not knowing this, but the people on TV - those like Cowherd who do this for a living - should know better. The next time you hear them suggesting a team will cover because they're at home, either send them this link or completely ignore them.
3. Speaking of my dad, he's said some interesting things over the season. He called Ezekiel Elliott the most-hated player in the NFL because he's "disgusting" and then said everyone hates Andy Reid because he's a "pig." He then took issue with Baker Mayfield's girlfriend in that one commercial where she asks for a straw for her lemonade. "How about you put my dick in your mouth?" he yelled, pretending to be Mayfield.
This week, my dad was angry at FOX sideline reporter Kristina Pink. I'm not sure why, but he yelled the following when she was talking:
"She's a whore!"
My mom, who was watching with us, asked why. His response:
"Because she has sperm on her lips!"
I don't know why he thought there was sperm anywhere, but that's apparently why Pink is a lady of the night.
BALTIMORE OFFENSE: Lamar Jackson was unstoppable in the Ravens' Monday night victory over the Rams, but his team suffered a loss when center Matt Skura was carted off the field. Baltimore is now weak at left guard and center, so this is an area San Francisco should be able to exploit. The 49ers have the best defensive line in the NFL, and DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead could have nice performances in favorable matchups. The same could be said for Dee Ford if he returns from injury to face right tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
Facing great pressure from San Francisco's front, Jackson could hurry some throws to his mediocre receiving corps. This will be an issue against San Francisco's elite secondary, which received a boost in the wake of Ahkello Witherspoon's return from injury last week.
Of course, Jackson will pick up chunks of yardage as a scrambler. However, if any defense can slow him down, it's the 49ers, so it'll be interesting to see how effectively San Francisco can limit Jackson's rushing ability.
SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: The Ravens don't have any elite pass rushers, and they really possess just one good one in Matthew Judon. Yet, they've been able to place tons of heat on opposing quarterbacks with their great blitzing schemes. Combine that with a terrific secondary, and Baltimore's defense has been tremendous ever since Marcus Peters was acquired and other defensive backs returned from injury.
I imagine that Kyle Shanahan will be well prepared for the Ravens' blitz. He's an elite offensive play-caller, so he'll find a way to scheme open some of his players. The 49ers' offense sputtered versus Seattle and Arizona, but George Kittle was out and Emmanuel Sanders left both games early. Now that both are healthy, it'll be very difficult for most teams to stop San Francisco's aerial assault.
While I expect the 49ers to move the chains aerially, I'll be shocked if they run well. The Ravens have a tremendous ground defense, so Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida will be stymied on the ground.
RECAP: I've swallowed the red pill on Jackson, but I still think this spread is too high. The advance line was Baltimore -4.5. Now, because of what the Ravens did to the vastly overrated Rams on Monday night, they're six-point favorites over one of the other top teams in the NFL.
The key number of six is huge, as it's one of the most likely results of this contest. I'd say the other highly likely results are Ravens by three, four and seven, so we can go 2-1-1 with those if we take San Francisco +6.
The 49ers, when fully healthy, are too good to be six-point dogs against anyone, so I'm siding with them. However, I really don't want to bet against this Baltimore buzzsaw, so I'll save my money for other games.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The sharps have bet the 49ers, which is why the spread has dropped to +5.5. You can still get +6 at -120 juice at Bovada.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Ravens have a couple of players who are questionable: Bradley Bozeman and Matthew Judon. The latter is the team's top pass rusher, while a Bozeman absence would mean that the Ravens will be missing two starters on the offensive line. However, both players practiced fully on Friday, so it doesn't sound as though they'll miss this game. If they do, the 49ers will be mildly appealing at +6, a spread that is available at a couple of sportsbooks (Bookmaker, Bovada).
FINAL THOUGHTS: Something I forgot to mention is that the Ravens are playing on a short week after flying across the country. This could cause them to be flat, especially following a statement win on national TV. I have a slight urge to bet the 49ers, but I've lost too much money on Lamar Jackson, so I'll pass on this. Besides, I already have a stake on this game because some of the people in front of me in the Supercontest Gold are on San Francisco.
1. Something that's always frustrated me about college football was something I saw on the bottom of the screen while watching Ohio State versus Penn State:
Alabama 59, West Carolina 3
It was Nov. 23 when I saw this - as in Week 13 of the college football season. Why in the world is Alabama playing West Carolina this deep into the season?
I hate this, and I think the NCAA should outlaw nonsense like this. We don't have much of a sample size to determine how good college football teams are in the first place, so for there to be a wasted opportunity to see Alabama go up against a viable opponent is ridiculous. I can understand scheduling West Carolina for the season opener as a pseudo preseason game, but after Week 1, no power-conference team should be able to play an opponent of the caliber of West Carolina.
In fact, if I were the college football playoff committee, I would count this as a loss, which would pretty much disqualify Alabama from the playoffs. If the committee begins assigning losses to teams battling I-AA opponents, we'll quickly see power-conference schools scheduling tougher opponents, and thus creating more entertaining games.
2. And yes, it's I-AA. I hate these new acronyms that college football uses to make the lesser Division I segment feel better about itself. These are grown men, and thus they should not have feelings.
I suppose there's a negative connotation to I-AA - it's the only reason I can think why they changed it - but I refuse to call these Division I segments by their acronyms, in part because I can't remember what the hell they are. Is it FSC? FSB? FBC? BFC? I can't remember what the hell to call these stupid things, so it's Division I-A and Division I-AA for me, no matter what anyone else says.
3. Speaking of dumb NCAA things, I thought the following headline on Twitter was ridiculous:
Memphis star freshman James Wiseman must sit out 12 games total and will be eligible to return to the Tigers on Jan. 12, the NCAA announced Wednesday.
Wiseman will also have to donate $11,500 to a charity of his choice.
Wait, what? How can a college player donate five figures to the charity of his choice when they're not paid? I understand that the NCAA has accused him of receiving this amount of money from a former coach, but how can the NCAA force a player to give any sort of money away, no matter where it came from? There was nothing illegal about the sum of money Wiseman received; it just violated an NCAA rule. Thus, the NCAA forcing a player to give money away just so that he can play sounds dicey to me. I wonder if Wiseman can have a legal case against the NCAA.
Either way, Wiseman should tell the NCAA to f**k off. So what if he can't play for Memphis? He should just focus n the pros, and I would advise all college players to do the same until the NCAA changes its archaic and barbaric rules.
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: "What's not to like?" This is something an NFL TV analyst said of Ryan Tannehill when asked about the prospect of Tannehill becoming Tennessee's franchise quarterback.
Along with Jeff Driskel being publicly backed as a four-point road favorite, I felt as though I was in the Twilight Zone last week. Tannehill has taken advantage of some bad opponents, and he had an easy time throwing against a Jacksonville defense that gave up in the second half last week, but we've seen enough of him over the years to know that he's not the long-term answer. Tannehill was able to benefit from Derrick Henry's great running last week, but there's good reason to believe that Henry won't be as successful this time, given that Indianapolis' run defense has improved markedly since getting Darius Leonard back from injury.
Tannehill will be asked to do more this week, which might look good on paper because Indianapolis' cornerbacks have given up some big gains to receivers this year. However, A.J. Brown and Corey Davis still aren't particularly consistent, and I don't fully trust the Tennessee tackles to protect against a solid Colts pass rush.
INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: We saw Jonathan Williams gash both the Jaguars and Texans in recent weeks, but like Henry, he could see a downtick in production. The Titans have been stellar against the run all year, and that should continue in this contest.
However, the Titans haven't been nearly as successful against the pass because of their secondary. They have a major liability on one side of the field, thanks to Malcolm Butler's injury, while Logan Ryan hasn't fared very well in the slot. T.Y. Hilton has enjoyed being able to get healthy over the nine-day rest period, so he should be able to take advantage of the Titans' defensive backfield.
Tennessee's secondary hasn't been fully exposed in all games this year because Cameron Wake, Harold Landry, Jurrell Casey and Jeffery Simmons can all get after the quarterback. They made Nick Foles' life a nightmare last week, as they all overwhelmed Jacksonville's horrible offensive line. Jacoby Brissett, conversely, is protected extremely well, so he'll have enough time to find Hilton and his other receivers.
RECAP: You may have noticed that I haven't gone above two units on any game yet thus far. That's about to change. I love three games this week, and this is one of them.
This spread is way too short. The advance line was Indianapolis -3.5, and now it has fallen to -2.5 because of what the Titans did to the dreadful Jaguars in Week 12. One point isn't usually a big deal, but the spread has moved across the key number of three. The Colts winning by three is probably the most likely result of this game, so getting that with the -2.5 number is huge.
However, even if this line were -3, I'd still love Indianapolis. My calculated line is -6. DVOA says it should be -4. Either way, we're getting tremendous line value with the Colts.
There are two other factors to consider as well. First, Frank Reich is one of the better coaches in the NFL, and any time you give a terrific coach extra time to prepare, you better have a good reason to take the other side. Second, the Titans are a public dog, which makes them an automatic fade.
The Colts are a five-unit selection, as their domination over the Titans should continue.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There's some horrible news, as T.Y. Hilton has been ruled out for this game. I loved the Colts beforehand, but I'm not going to bet them nearly as heavily without Hilton.
SATURDAY NOTES: It really sucks that T.Y. Hilton is out, but Frank Reich having extra time to prepare for this game makes me still like the Colts. It seems as though the spread is a bit low, as the most likely result of this game is Indianapolis winning by three. The Titans have built their resume off home victories against bad teams like the Jaguars, Titans and Buccaneers, and their sole "impressive" home victory came in fluky circumstances against the Chiefs. The last two times Tennessee traveled, it was throttled by the Broncos and Panthers. Indianapolis, even without Hilton, is better than both squads. It's also worth noting that the Titans are 0-2 without Cameron Wake, who was just placed on injured reserve. I don't like the Colts as much as before, but I'm still willing to make them a three-unit play.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Ryan Tannehill is now favored in Indianapolis. Wow. Considering that all of Tennessee's success has come at home, mostly against crappy opponents, this is quite the overreaction. T.Y. Hilton's absence will keep me from betting five (or more) units on the Colts, but I still really like Indianapolis. I'm just going to take the moneyline, which is available at +105 at Bookmaker.
The Motivation. Edge: Colts.
The Titans are public dogs.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) at Miami Dolphins (2-9) Line: Eagles by 10. Total: 44.5. Sunday, Dec. 1, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Eagles.
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!
PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: The Eagles couldn't score a single point following an early field goal last week until garbage time. Anything that could have gone wrong went wrong for the Philadelphia Murphy's Law scoring unit. Already without Alshon Jeffery (a late scratch), DeSean Jackson and Lane Johnson, the Eagles lost All-Pro guard Brandon Brooks to anxiety issues. And if that, as well as the unlucky bounces weren't enough, Carson Wentz hurt his hand late in the game.
The good news for the Eagles is that this is an easier matchup. Miami's defense is terrible in every regard. Plus, there's a chance that Jeffery and Johnson will return, which is huge. Wentz's record with those players in the lineup is drastically better than it is otherwise. The bad news, however, is that Wentz may not be 100 percent because of what happened to his hand.
MIAMI OFFENSE: Despite the utter incompetence of the Eagles' offense last week, they still had a chance entering the fourth quarter because of what their defense was doing. The front pressured Russell Wilson heavily, which disrupted some drives. Philadelphia was lucky that Wilson missed an easy touchdown and had another potential score dropped, but the Eagles' stop unit did a terrific job otherwise.
The Eagles have a far easier matchup in this contest. Miami's offensive line can't block anyone, so the Eagles' front should absolutely dominate in the trenches. This could force Ryan Fitzpatrick into several turnovers, so we could see Fitzpatrick completely implode.
RECAP: The Eagles were -7.5 on the advance line, yet they are -9.5 or -10 now despite their loss to the Seahawks. Thus, it's reasonable to determine that this line movement has way more to do with the Dolphins, who were throttled at Cleveland last week. The Dolphins had a couple of very lucky wins and covers in late October and early November, but they're finally beginning to play like the worst team in NFL history again. The public has realized this, causing them to jump on the Eagles. That's why the sportsbooks have inflated this spread.
I'm not going to bet a publicly backed Philadelphia team with an injured quarterback, but I will select them for office pool purposes. They'll get some of their key players back from injury, and it'll help that their fans will flood the stadium. Mostly, however, this is a fade of the dreadful Dolphins.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: It seems as though Alshon Jeffery and Lane Johnson will play, which would make the Eagles appealing if I knew that Carson Wentz were completely healthy.
SATURDAY NOTES: Alshon Jeffery and Lane Johnson are off the injury report, which is great news for the Eagles. There's a chance Zach Ertz could sit, but with Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia should be OK. The one concern for the Eagles is Carson Wentz's hand, but he practiced fully all week. An Eagles reporter said that Wentz's spirals looked "crisp "at the start of Wednesday's practice, so there's probably nothing to worry about in that regard. Thus, with the Eagles lacking any concerns, I'm willing to bet on them.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Zach Ertz is active, meaning Carson Wentz has all of his weapons available. This spread rose to -10.5 in some places, which prompted the sharps to bet on Miami at +10.5. Luckily, there are some -10s available. I see it at Bookmaker right now. Heritage even has -10 -108 available.
The Motivation. Edge: Eagles.
Philadelphia fans will flood the Dolphins' stadium.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) Line: Buccaneers by 3. Total: 46.5. Sunday, Dec. 1, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Buccaneers.
Video of the Week: With the election coming up in about a year, it's time for another video to demonstrate the sad state of our country:
Thank goodness some people knew Richard Nixon wasn't running for president. Still, some of those who knew who Nixon was didn't seem like the brightest cookies in the toolbox.
TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: Jameis Winston was guilty of two hideous interceptions last week, but played extremely well otherwise. He was very precise on his throws, as he was able to thread the needle on a long touchdown to Chris Godwin on one occasion. Winston was able to take advantage of an easy matchup, and the result was a Tampa blowout.
The Jaguars are better against the pass than the Falcons are, but they have some flaws. They have a major void at one of the cornerback spots because of the Jalen Ramsey trade. Their linebackers and safeties are awful, so Winston should have an opportunity to hit Godwin and/or Mike Evans with some deep passes.
Jacksonville happens to be far worse against the run than the pass, as evidenced by Derrick Henry's explosive performance last week. Ronald Jones is not the same caliber of runner that Henry is, but he has played well of late, so he could have a solid performance against the Jaguars. That, of course, will only make things easier for Winston.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: Nick Foles also had an easy matchup against a soft pass defense last week, but he couldn't take advantage of it. The Titans' pass rush swarmed him, and he never had a chance. The Jaguars' offensive line stinks, which doesn't bode well for this matchup. The Buccaneers hounded Matt Ryan last week, and they'll do the same thing to Foles.
If, for some reason, the Buccaneers don't apply good pressure on Foles, their secondary could be beaten. Ryan struggled against it this past Sunday, but only because he was pressured heavily. It doesn't seem as though Tampa has the personnel to slow down D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook.
Meanwhile, Leonard Fournette will have to do all of his damage in the passing game. The Buccaneers have an elite run defense, thanks to Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh, so they should be able to limit Fournette on the ground.
RECAP: When I first saw this spread, I thought I was ging to wager heavily on the Jaguars. The Buccaneers are a massive public dog, and the advance spread was Jacksonville -4.5. Based on that, we're getting tons of line value with the host.
However, I realized something: By losing to the Titans and dropping to 4-7, the Jaguars have effectively been eliminated from the playoffs. It's still possible that they could get there, but they'd have to run the table with a quarterback who hasn't even won a game for them yet this year, and even then, they might have to rely on tie-breakers.
If I'm right, and the Jaguars believe their playoff hopes are finished, we could see a quit factor from them this week. I'm going to side with the Buccaneers as a result, but I won't be betting this game because there's a chance Jacksonville might think it still has a chance.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The Buccaneers are no longer a public dog because, well, they're favored now. There's a good chance Jacksonville will quit this week because it has effectively been eliminated from the playoffs.
SATURDAY NOTES: Money continues to pour in on the Buccaneers, who might be favored by a field goal by kickoff. The betting action is making it difficult to bet the Buccaneers, but Jacksonville could be without Myles Jack, who barely practiced this week.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Myles Jack is officially inactive. I imagine this is one of the reasons why this spread has moved to -3 across the board. I'd still take the Buccaneers in a pool at that line, but I wouldn't bet this game.
The Motivation. Edge: Buccaneers.
The Jaguars were effectively eliminated from the playoffs in the wake of their latest loss, so we could see a quit factor from them in this game.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: This is the Jets team I expected when I made them my sleeper Super Bowl team entering the year. Sam Darnold has played much better of late. It seems as though he and Adam Gase are finally clicking, as Gase is doing a great job of scheming open receivers for his quarterback. Meanwhile, left tackle Kelvin Beachum's presence on the field has been very helpful, as the Jets are now 4-1 when he and Darnold have played together this season.
The Bengals don't have the personnel to provide any resistance. Their secondary sucks, and they have the worst linebacking corps in the NFL. Their pass rush isn't very good either, so Darnold should have all day to find his receivers. Le'Veon Bell, meanwhile, will have an easy time dancing around the inept Cincinnati linebackers.
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: The Ryan Finley era is over. Finley has mercifully been benched in favor of Andy Dalton, and rightfully so. Finley did not look like he was ready to play professional football. The game was going way too fast for him, so he'll be better off learning on the sidelines for now.
Dalton isn't a great quarterback by any means, but he can be a mediocre option when protected well. Dalton struggled in the first half of the year because his offensive line was horrible. It's still not very good, but it got a boost last week when Cordy Glenn finally returned from his concussion to start at left tackle. Glenn didn't look like he was in the best shape, but he was still much better than John Jerry, a natural guard who was forced to start on the blind side.
Protected by Glenn, Dalton could have a decent game. The Jets' secondary has improved tremendously in the wake of Blessuan Austin's emergence, but the linebacking corps is still very weak with C.J. Mosley out of the lineup, so Dalton could take advantage of this by targeting his running backs in the passing game.
RECAP: The Jets looked very appealing when the spread opened. Surely, they'd be able to defeat Finley by four or more points. Finley is an abomination, and he'd stand no chance against the Jets' improved defense.
Everything except one thing changed, however, when the decision was made to bench Finley. Now, the Bengals look very appealing. The one thing that didn't change was the spread, which only moved from +4 to +3.5 in the wake of the announcement, which is just crazy. Dalton is not great, but he's a viable starter in the NFL. Finley, conversely, was the worst starting quarterback we've seen since Luke Falk. He gave the Bengals no chance. Dalton, on the other hand, is capable of leading his team to their first victory of the year.
Given that the spread didn't move very much in the wake of the Dalton news, we're getting great line value with the Bengals. They should be +1 per the computer model and DVOA, which means we're getting the key number of three. Also, by taking Cincinnati, we're able to fade all of this public action on the Jets, as casual bettors don't seem to realize what has occurred with Cincinnati's quarterback situation.
I like the Bengals to cover and potentially earn their first victory. I'm willing to bet three units on them.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The sharps bet this down to +3. I might bet a fourth unit on the Bengals, as there should've been way more than one point of movement when transitioning from Ryan Finley to Andy Dalton.
SATURDAY NOTES: I still can't get over how there wasn't more of a line movement on this game in the wake of the quarterback switch. I was thinking about it, and I believe it's because the books don't want to get middled with the Jets winning by three. Thus, I think we have an advantage we can exploit with Cincinnati. I'm bumping this up to four units.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There's lots of sharp money coming in on the Bengals. The juice is rising on Cincinnati +3. Luckily, BetUS still has +3 -110 available.
Cleveland Browns (5-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) Line: Browns by 2.5. Total: 40. Sunday, Dec. 1, 4:25 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
If you're unaware of this, you can publish your own articles on this Web site and have them promoted via Twitter, Facebook and this page! Check out our Open Rant feature, where articles get promoted all the time. Some readers' articles have gotten more than 3,000 views (one even had 100,000!), so if you want to get your opinion heard, here's a great way for you to do so!
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: The Steelers have made it official. They've benched Mason Rudolph in favor of America's favorite duck caller, Duck Hodges. I say he's America's favorite duck caller, by the way, because America doesn't know of any other duck callers. In fact, Hodges might be the only one, which would explain all of his championships in that sport. Perhaps I can become a champion raccoon caller by being the only one, and then everyone can call me Raccoon Cherepinsky.
At any rate, the move was a smart one. Rudolph is a terrible checkdown artist who was killing his team with mental blunders. Hodges at least is willing to take some shots, as demonstrated by his deep touchdown throw to James Washington and the two pass interference flags he drew on the defense following that score. Hodges will be going up a better secondary this week, but the Browns won't provide much pressure on him with Myles Garrett suspended.
The Steelers will have more success running the ball against the Browns in this rematch. Last time, James Conner suffered an injury after five carries. Conner is still expected to be out, but Benny Snell made his return from injury last week and was a much better rusher than both Jaylen Samuels and Trey Edmunds.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: We should have a good idea of how Baker Mayfield will perform, given that we just saw it two weeks ago. Mayfield barely completed half of his passes against Pittsburgh, going 17-of-32 for 193 yards. Mayfield didn't have quality pass protection, and he had to throw several passes away. That said, he didn't play very well overall, as he missed some open receivers.
Keep in mind that this was at home. Mayfield now has to go into Pittsburgh and battle the crowd noise while taking on Pittsburgh's stellar defense. He'll continue to get pressured heavily, and that could result into some turnovers this time.
The Browns' best strategy to move the chains will once again be via Kareem Hunt receptions. Hunt was stellar Thursday night, and if Freddie Kitchens were capable of a logical thought process, he'd figure out how to put Hunt into more situations to thrive.
RECAP: I don't understand this spread. Two weeks ago, the Steelers were three-point dogs to the Browns in Cleveland. The advance spread on this game was Pittsburgh -3, which was a logical number, given that Cleveland was -3 at home. Yet, thanks to the Browns' "impressive" win against the Dolphins, Cleveland is now favored by two in Pittsburgh. In other words, this spread moved FIVE points because of Cleveland's win over the worst team in NFL history!
What's crazy is that there's such a big shift from the previous Steelers-Browns matchup even though Garrett won't play this time. That's a huge deal. We can also make the case that Hodges is better than Rudolph.
So, with that in mind, what are the Browns doing being favored in Pittsburgh? That makes zero sense to me. In fact, I made this spread Pittsburgh -5, so if I'm correct, we're getting a ridiculous amount of line value with the home dog.
This will be a five-unit play for now. If Pittsburgh +3 becomes available, I'll consider making this my December NFL Pick of the Month.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The spread continues to rise, so I'm hoping that a reasonable +3 appears. The Steelers should be able to win this game, so this will remain a five-unit wager.
SATURDAY NOTES: There's still no +3, but I'll keep looking! Hopefully we see a reasonable +3 prior to kickoff.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I was hoping for a +3, and there was some optimism when I saw a +2.5 on Sunday morning, but sharp money has come in on the Steelers, dragging this line down to +1.5. At this rate, I'm fine with selling a point, which can be done on Bookmaker and 5Dimes. I'm going to wager five units on +1.5 -105 at 5Dimes.
Week 13 NFL Picks - Late Games
Rams at Cardinals, Chargers at Broncos, Raiders at Chiefs, Patriots at Texans, Vikings at Seahawks
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 21, 2019 & Preseason): 1-0 (-$975)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2019): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2019): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2019): 0-1 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21, 2019 & Preseason): -$1,775
2019 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3-1, 50.0% (-$625)
2019 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 149-128-9, 53.6% (+$1,200) 2019 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-36-2, 55.0% (+$655) 2019 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-27-2, 57.8% (+$2,185) 2019 Season Over-Under: 126-133-4, 48.6% (-$50) 2019 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,715
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
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)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,857-2,637-172, 52.0% (+$10,305) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 914-816-45 (52.8%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 415-374-22 (52.6%) Career Over-Under: 2,323-2,294-60 (50.3%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 43-29-1 (59.7%)
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.