Houston Texans (3-7) at Detroit Lions (4-6) Line: Texans by 3. Total: 52.5. Thursday, Nov. 26, 12:30 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Texans.
WEEK 11 RECAP: It's amazing what two losses can do to a week. We were 3-11 (-$1,935) this past weekend, but we had some horrible luck because the Bengals (five units) and Chargers (three units) should have covered, but didn't. Cincinnati was leading when Joe Burrow tore his knee, while the Chargers were up by double digits for the entire game until Joe Flacco converted a fourth-and-5 and a third-and-7 to get a back-door cover at the very end. Had we won those games, we would have just been -$265 on the week (and 3-2 in the Supercontest compared to 1-4.) We've had some unprecedented bad luck over the past few weeks, so things will swing back our way at some point.
My Week 12 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
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.
DETROIT OFFENSE: The Lions have gotten tons of flak for their horrific 20-0 loss to the Panthers on Sunday. They deserve harsh criticism, but some consideration must be given to the circumstances, which would be Matthew Stafford's thumb. Stafford is dealing with a thumb injury and wasn't nearly himself in last week's game. I expected him to struggle - hence, my late bet on Carolina - but I didn't think he'd be so bad!
With just three days to recover, it doesn't seem feasible for Stafford to be substantially better in this contest. Making matters worse, there's a good chance Stafford once again won't have the services of Kenny Golladay or Danny Amendola. Golladay, of course, is the big concern, as the Lions have been far worse without him. If he and Amendola are sidelined again, Stafford won't have anyone to throw to besides Marvin Jones and T.J. Hockenson.
Detroit will also be hoping to get D'Andre Swift back from injury. Swift missed Week 11 with a concussion, so he could return this week. Swift has a nice matchup if he can play, as the Texans' run defense has been atrocious this year.
HOUSTON OFFENSE: Speaking of easy matchups, Deshaun Watson's outlook in this contest is very bright. Watson is coming off a dominant performance against the Patriots, and he should pick up where he left off Sunday. Detroit's pathetic defense couldn't even stop Phillip Walker in his first start last week, so how will they deal with a red-hot Watson?
Part of the problem is that the Lions, in addition to missing their best offensive player, have been without their top defensive talent, with Trey Flowers on injured reserve. With no Flowers, Detroit hasn't been able to generate any pressure on the quarterback, which has to be music to Watson's ears, especially if left tackle Laremy Tunsil can't recover from the flu.
The Lions also happen to be very weak to the rush. The Texans don't run the ball very well - the player they obtained for DeAndre Hopkins is predictably hurt - but Duke Johnson could have a nice outing in place of the injured David Johnson.
RECAP: I would have faded the Lions greatly in Week 11 had there been more clarity about the Panthers' quarterbacking situation ahead of Sunday morning. We can make up for that here, as an injured Stafford with no Golladay doesn't stand a chance against most teams, even the Texans. Without much time for Stafford to recover, Houston should prevail easily.
Our Week 12 NFL Picks will be posted all day Tuesday. Follow @walterfootball for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The Lions have so many injuries. On top of Matthew Stafford's thumb, as well as Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola, Detroit will be without their top defensive player (Trey Flowers), starting cornerback (Jeff Okudah), a starting guard (Halapouli Vaitai) and a key defensive lineman (Da'Shawn Hand.) The Texans will have their offensive line intact. They should be able to win this game easily unless Stafford magically recovers. I'm going to lock this in now just in case this line moves to -3.5 (it has gone to -3 -112 at Pinnacle.) The best line I see now is -3 -108 at Bookmaker.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I was thinking this line would move to -3.5, and when it was announced that D'Andre Swift is out, I thought it would be getting there for sure. However, the line has remained at -3, so locking this in wasn't necessary, but didn't hurt. I still really like the Texans, and so did the sharps at -2.5, but not so much at -3.
The Motivation. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Spread. Edge: None.
WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Texans -4.
Westgate Advance Point Spread: No Line (Stafford).
Computer Model: Texans -1.
DVOA Spread: .
The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
I'm surprised there's not more action on the Texans.
Percentage of money on Houston: 64% (20,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
Lions are 16-6 ATS after losing by 20+ points since 2007.
Lions are 6-9 ATS as a Thanksgiving host since 2002.
Washington Redskins (3-7) at Dallas Cowboys (3-7) Line: Cowboys by 3. Total: 46. Thursday, Nov. 26, 4:30 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Cowboys.
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: Mike McCarthy is usually a horrific coach, but I have to give him credit. He used the bye week for good, making the appropriate adjustments on the offensive line. Dallas had a big liability at tackle because Tyron Smith and La'el Collins were sidelined, so McCarthy and his staff moved Zack Martin outside.
The result was spectacular, as the Cowboys' blocking improved exponentially. Granted, Dallas was going up against a Minnesota team down its top two edge rushers, so the real test will come against the Redskins and their stellar defensive front. The Redskins bullied the Cowboys in their prior matchup this year, but Martin was not available for that contest. Even if Dallas' protection falters, it'll be better than it was in the ugly loss to Washington.
Assuming Andy Dalton gets more time, the Cowboys should be able to move the chains well, thanks to their talented receivers. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb figure to win their matchups against the NFL's so-called top pass defense, which is such a bogus stat, especially in the wake of both Redskin safeties being sidelined.
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: The Redskins had just one positive drive against the Bengals before Joe Burrow suffered an injury at the beginning of the third quarter. They were down 9-7 at that point, but then went on to score on every offensive drive until garbage time. Thus, the victory over the Bengals shouldn't be held in high regard, as Cincinnati seemed to quit once Burrow was carted off the field.
This is another easy matchup for the Redskins on paper, but not so much in reality. The Cowboys are ranked poorly defensively, but all this data was compiled with the backups playing. The Cowboys had so many injuries prior to their bye, but things changed last week, as they got back top corner Chidobe Awuzie in addition to the linebacking corps, which was missing at least two players for most weeks this year. Thus, it wasn't much of a surprise that the Cowboys were able to get some stops and turnovers against the Vikings.
I don't trust the Redskins to do much versus Dallas. Alex Smith will dink and dunk to get some first downs, but drives won't last very long. With a healthy linebacking corps, the Cowboys can stop the run better and also limit the pass-catching backs. This will force Smith to look elsewhere, which could lead to some sacks.
RECAP: This line doesn't seem correct to me. It would have been fine several weeks ago, but much has changed since. Using the Redskins' blowout win over Dallas in Week 7 as a benchmark, the Cowboys had just a half of Dalton, no Martin, no Awuzie and a diminished linebacking corps.
Things are much different now, and yet that hasn't been priced into this spread because the public is often clueless as to what is happening beyond the headlines. The public, for instance, has no idea that the Redskins are down two safeties, which will make it more difficult to defend the Dallas receivers. This was a juicy matchup we maintained last week in the Redskins-Bengals game, but Burrow got hurt. Sucks!
Given that the Cowboys are severely underpriced, I'm comfortable making a nicely sized wager on them.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The Redskins will be down their top two safeties, which will make it difficult for them to defend Dallas' passing attack. Also, the Cowboys' strength and conditioning coach, Markus Paul, passed away. This will provide extra motivation for the Dallas players, who will want to win one for their coach. I may increase my unit count.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Redskins are missing their top two safeties and three left tackles, both of which give them liabilities in this matchup. I like the Cowboys a lot, and I'm going to increase my unit count to four for two reasons. One, as mentioned, the team's strength-and-conditioning coach, Markus Paul, passed away, so Dallas will try to win this game for him. Two, this spread is now -2.5 -107 at Bookmaker and -2.5 -115 at FanDuel. Dallas winning by three is a very likely result, so to get a win with that is enormous. There's some sharp money on the Redskins, but that doesn't bother me very much.
The Motivation. Edge: Cowboys.
The Cowboys' strength and conditioning coach, Markus Paul, passed away. Dallas could rally to win one for their beloved coach.
Las Vegas Raiders (6-4) at Atlanta Falcons (3-7) Line: Raiders by 3. Total: 53. Sunday, Nov. 29, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Raiders.
HATE MAIL: I will be posting hate mail here. We got a bit this week:
See, if you're going to send me hate mail, don't tell me that Emmitt on the Brink and the Adventures of Tom Brady's Haircuts aren't funny. That's how I know you're lying.
Here's someone who is a giant bigot:
I don't understand how anyone in this day and age can assume species. That's disgusting. This person needs to be educated about misspeciesing people.
Here's a long exchange via Facebook messenger from someone who is obsessed with my picks:
There was more to this, but it was too long (hence the three dozen.) I love getting stuff like this because it shows me that people care. Dang it, I just assumed his species!
ATLANTA OFFENSE: I considered the Falcons to be one of the most underrated teams in the NFL heading into Week 11. They had been much better with Julio Jones. They would've been 4-1 in games Jones played fully had Todd Gurley not committed that dumb mistake at the goal line versus Detroit. It's understandable why the Falcons would have such a dichotomy with and without Jones, given how great of a player he is.
Jones, however, hurt his hamstring in the first half versus the Saints. He tried to return in the fourth quarter, but he left the game after a brief appearance. The result was Atlanta generating negative yardage for much of the second half. There will be more to come of that if Jones remains injured. It's unclear what his status is at the moment, but if Jones can't go, the Falcons will be much easier to defend. This has to be music to the Raiders' ears, given their issues in the secondary.
It's worth noting that the Raiders won't get as much pressure on the Falcons as the Saints did, given the disparity in talent on the two defensive fronts. This will give Matt Ryan more of a chance of winning without Jones, as he didn't have a prayer versus New Orleans.
LAS VEGAS OFFENSE: Derek Carr looked like the second coming of Joe Montana versus the Chiefs. Kansas City had no answer for him, as he ripped right through their defense. Carr would have prevailed had Patrick Mahomes not put together a spectacular final drive.
This isn't a difficult matchup for Carr, but it's not as easy as the stats say it is. The Falcons are statistically poor versus the pass, but only because they were missing numerous defensive backs earlier in the year. They're healthier in the secondary now, so I like their chances of making Carr look human again. They won't be completely successful, however, as their pedestrian pass rush won't be able to take advantage of the injuries the Raiders have up front.
The Falcons will, at least, be able to handle the run pretty well. They're much better versus ground attacks than they are against aerial assaults, so Josh Jacobs won't have a great game.
RECAP: Jones' status will determine whether or not I bet this game. Regardless, I'm going to be on Atlanta. I don't think this line movement is justified based on one week of action. There was no shame in the Falcons losing to a great Saints team, and some of what the Raiders did versus the Chiefs was fluky. I don't expect Carr to look like Montana again.
We're getting some nice spread value with the Falcons. The advance line was a pick 'em, and that's what this line should be, per my numbers. The computer model says Las Vegas -1 is correct. Either way, the Falcons are the right side, according to the spread dynamics. Whether I bet them or not will depend on Jones' health.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Julio Jones is the big news I'm monitoring this week. There's good news, as he was limited in his first practice. That doesn't mean he'll play, but it's obviously much better than a missed practice.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Falcons have a number of question marks. Julio Jones, Dante Fowler and Hayden Hurst were all absent in Friday's practice. They're all listed as questionable, but it's not a good sign that they weren't able to do anything Friday. This is a fluid situation, so I'll have to decide on this pick Sunday morning when the inactive list is announced. I'm leaning toward a switch to the Raiders because Jones will either be out or limited, but if there's positive news about Jones, I'll take the Falcons.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Julio Jones is out, which takes the Falcons away as a betting option. I'm torn on this game. At -3, which you have to pay -125 vig for, I'd take the Raiders. However, Bovada has moved this spread to -3.5, and at that number, I'd like the Raiders because the most likely result of this game is probably the Raiders winning by three.
Arizona Cardinals (6-4) at New England Patriots (4-6) Line: Cardinals by 1.5. Total: 50.5. Sunday, Nov. 29, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Cardinals.
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ARIZONA OFFENSE: I can't believe how bad New England's defense is. When Joe Flacco torched the Patriots in the first three quarters of a Monday night game a couple of weeks ago, I attributed that to the Patriots being lethargic against a terrible opponent. Stephon Gilmore's absence didn't help matters. However, the Patriots couldn't get off the field versus the Texans even though Houston was down multiple offensive linemen, including Laremy Tunsil. Deshaun Watson barely saw any pressure. And to make things more depressing for the Patriots, Gilmore was playing!
The Patriots' inability to get to the quarterback is killing them. Kyler Murray won't have to deal with pass rushers either, so he'll be able to carve up the New England defense with his talented receivers. Gilmore will be matched up on DeAndre Hopkins, but I'm counting on Hopkins winning that battle because Gilmore just hasn't been himself this year. He's definitely not 100 percent.
Another big issue for the Patriots is that their linebackers struggle to cover. This is what happens when a team loses its top three linebackers in a single offseason. Murray should be able to capitalize on this by getting Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds in space.
NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: The Patriots will need to keep their flailing defense on the sidelines, so it'll be in their best interest to establish the run and grind out this game as best as possible. That's their best chance of stopping Murray.
The Patriots still have a terrific offensive line, and Arizona's defensive injuries have made them struggle against the run. They had no chance against Carlos Hyde last week, so New England should be able to pick up some nice chunks on the ground with Damien Harris and perhaps Sony Michel.
Cam Newton will also have success as a scrambler. Newton, like Murray, won't have much of a pass rush in his face with the Cardinals being down some edge-rushing talent.
RECAP: I called the Patriots underrated heading into the Houston game because they were 4-2 in games in which Newton was healthy. The two losses were last-second defeats against the Seahawks and Bills. I thought we had a great play with the Patriots over the Texans. Instead, Houston pulled an upset in what was an extremely disappointing Week 11.
I honestly don't know what to make of this game. What I do know is that the Cardinals have had extra time to prepare for this contest, and New England's horrid pass defense matches up poorly against Murray. I'm going to side with the Cardinals, but I certainly will not be betting on them.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Kyler Murray was limited in Wednesday's practice with a shoulder injury, which he suffered in the Thursday night game. This is a concern because Murray wasn't quite himself after he got hurt. I may pick New England if I don't believe Murray is 100 percent.
SATURDAY NOTES: Kyler Murray will play, but there's no telling if he'll be 100 percent. If I knew he were fully healthy, I'd be on the Cardinals, but I don't like betting on injured quarterbacks. I'm going to side with the Patriots, but I won't be betting this game.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There's been a bit of sharp action on the Patriots, most likely because of Kyler Murray's shoulder injury. Murray might be fine, but there's also a chance that he'll be limited with his troublesome shoulder. I'm still not touching this game.
New York Giants (3-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-7-1) Line: Giants by 6.5. Total: 45. Sunday, Nov. 29, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Giants.
NFL Opinion Piece: My 2020 NFL Pro Bowl Picks! As a warning, this could be triggering to you if you have sand-in-the-vag syndrome (i.e. if you're a blue checkmark on Twitter.)
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: Though the Bengals had just nine points in the early stages of the third quarter last week when Joe Burrow went down, they were still doing very well offensively. They had punted just once up until that point, but had a low scoring output because they notched just six points in three red zone trips. They moved the ball extremely well in between the 20s, as Burrow was having his way with the so-called No. 1 pass defense.
I'd like Burrow's chances here, too, but he won't be available. Instead, Ryan Finley will get the start, which will not bode well for the Bengals. Finley was a disaster as Burrow's replacement, completing just three passes. Finley was also horrific when starting last year. He's not a viable NFL quarterback.
I don't see Finley doing well versus the Giants, who were beginning to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks prior to their bye. They should be able to put some heat on Finley, which will undoubtedly lead to turnovers.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: Daniel Jones did not show the progression I was looking for earlier in the year. Considering that I bet on the Giants to both win the Super Bowl (100/1 odds) and the division (18/1), I had high hopes for Jones. Saquon Barkley's injury changed everything, of course, but it wouldn't have mattered for the Super Bowl bet because Jones had been so prone to turnovers to begin the season.
Jones, however, has been much more careful with the football in his most recent games. Perhaps this is a fluke, but there's a chance he has finally begun developing. He has a nice matchup to keep the positive momentum going, as the Bengals quit last week and didn't seem interested in stopping Alex Smith. If a decrepit Smith could torch the unmotivated Bengals, Jones should be able to as well.
I also think the Giants will be able to establish the run. No, Barkley hasn't suddenly returned, but Cincinnati's linebacking corps is dreadful, so Wayne Gallman should be able to put together some nice runs.
RECAP: This is Giants or nothing. I can't advise betting, or even picking Finley, who is complete garbage. I can't see the Bengals being competitive with him under center.
I'll likely be betting on the Giants for two or three units. This number isn't ideal, though the computer model says New York -9 is correct. However, I'm a fan of fading terrible teams starting horrible quarterbacks, and Cincinnati certainly fits that description.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Brandon Allen will start for the Bengals instead of Ryan Finley. Allen is better than Finley, but he's still a terrible quarterback who won't be able to cover up Cincinnati's warts like Burrow was doing so well. There's a ton of public money on the Giants, but sometimes the public side is the correct side.
SATURDAY NOTES: I was hoping for some extra Cincinnati injuries to accompany Joe Burrow, but no one else of note is sidelined. I still like the Giants a bit, but I don't think I'll be betting this game, due to a lack of value. I don't trust Daniel Jones enough to lay nearly a touchdown on the road with him.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps hadn't touched this game all week, but that changed Sunday morning when they pounced on the Giants. There are no -6s remaining everywhere, but -6.5 should be fine if you're looking to get in on New York. I'm not, and I don't know why the pros suddenly decided to bet this side, excluding the possibility of fading the Bengals' dubious quarterbacking situation.
JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: Speaking of fading terrible quarterbacks on horrible teams, Jake Luton also fits that description. Luton was a disaster last week with his four interceptions. Granted, this was against the Steelers, but Luton's accuracy woes were on full display. He's not an NFL-caliber quarterback, despite what Garland may think...
Luton has a much easier matchup in this game, as the Browns will be down their two best defensive players. Myles Garrett can't play despite suffering just a minor illness, while Denzel Ward will be sidelined for a few weeks with a calf strain. With Ward out, the Browns won't have their top two cornerbacks, as Greedy Williams continues to miss action.
This wouldn't bode well for the Browns under normal circumstances, but they're playing against the pitiful Jaguars this week. I like Jacksonville's receivers to make some plays against the backup corners, but Luton's inaccuracy and mistakes will likely prevent him from pulling the upset.
CLEVELAND OFFENSE: Much like Luton, Baker Mayfield also has an easy matchup. The Jaguars won't have top cornerback C.J. Henderson, and there's also a chance No. 2 corner Sidney Jones, who has played much better this year after escaping Philadelphia's poor coaching, could be sidelined again with an Achilles injury. Mayfield doesn't have his top weapon in Odell Beckham Jr., but the injuries to Jacksonville's secondary will negate that.
Mayfield should have all the time he needs to find his weapons. The Jaguars' pass rush was already lackluster, and now it might be missing its top edge rusher, Josh Allen. Things aren't going well for the Jaguars, as you may have guessed.
The Browns may not even need Mayfield to do much. Jacksonville's run defense is poor, so Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt could both rush for 100 yards once again.
RECAP: If the Browns weren't so banged up defensively, I'd consider wagering on them in this spot. Luton sucks, and Jacksonville's defense has some massive injury problems. However, all of Cleveland's defensive injuries could open up a potential back-door cover for Luton. We saw him pull one off against the Texans a few weeks ago with a similar point spread, and that could happen again.
With both teams reeling with injuries, I'm going to stay away from this game. Things could always change when the injury report is released, so there's a chance I may end up betting the Browns.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: There are tons of injuries to sift through concerning this game. We know the Browns will be missing their top offensive player (Odell Beckham), best defensive player (Myles Garrett) and two starting cornerbacks. The Jaguars will be starting Mike Glennon, who is a big upgrade over Jake Luton, but I'd like to see Jacksonville be healthier. The Jaguars could be missing several key players like Sidney Jones, D.J. Chark, Andrew Norwell and Cam Robinson. This could end up being a multi-unit play on Jacksonville, but the final injury report will be key.
SATURDAY NOTES: Ugh, why are these teams playing against each other this week!? I would love to fade both. The Browns are down their top two cornerbacks, two safeties, their best defensive player, a key linebacker and their top passing threat, and yet they're favored by seven on the road! I'd love to bet the Jaguars, but they won't have D.J. Chark, their top two cornerbacks, their best edge rusher and a talented offensive lineman (Andrew Norwell). Mike Glennon will make the start for the Jaguars as well, but I actually prefer him to Jake Luton. Either way, this can't be a wager. I'm going to side with Cleveland for no units.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Here's another game where the sharp are betting the road favorite, though they did so earlier in the week, perhaps in response to the Jacksonville injuries. Sidney Jones was just ruled out, so the Jaguars won't have their top three cornerbacks. The Browns have major injury concerns as well, which are keeping me off this game.
Carolina Panthers (4-7) at Minnesota Vikings (4-6) Line: Vikings by 3. Total: 49.5. Sunday, Nov. 29, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Panthers.
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 had plenty of Spam Mails this year, so check them out if you want to see me screw with spammers. I'll have new ones every week this year!
CAROLINA OFFENSE: There's currently no spread on this game because of Teddy Bridgewater's status. Bridgewater was close to playing last week against the Lions, but was sidelined at the last minute. This didn't end up mattering because XFL MVP Phillip Walker stepped in and dominated the Lions. He played extremely well in between the 20s, though two red zone interceptions were a stain on the performance.
Walker would have a nice matchup if he were to start again. He'd be going up against Mike Zimmer, which would ordinarily be a challenge. However, the Vikings are missing so much personnel on this side of the ball. They're down multiple cornerbacks, which bodes well for the talented Carolina receivers. They're also missing multiple edge rushers, so Walker would have all the time he needs to find his threats.
Speaking of threats, there's a chance Christian McCaffrey will return this week. The Vikings are stout against the run, but McCaffrey is great enough to overcome any matchup.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: The Panthers limited the opposition to zero points last week, but don't count on that happening again. Carolina was simply fortunate to play against Matthew Stafford and his injured thumb. Stafford was in no condition to perform well.
Conversely, Kirk Cousins should have success against a Carolina secondary that may miss Donte Jackson once again. Even if Jackson plays, the Panthers don't have the personnel to slow down Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. A middling pass rush shouldn't bother Kirk Cousins either.
Of course, Cousins may not have to do very much. The Panthers tend to struggle against the run, which is something the Lions couldn't expose with D'Andre Swift sidelined. Dalvin Cook will definitely be able to do so.
RECAP: There's no spread posted yet, so I'm not sure which team I'll pick. My decision will hinge on some of the many questionable players heading into this game, including Bridgewater, McCaffrey and Jackson.
I'm going to lean toward the Vikings at the moment, as there's a chance this spread could shrink as the result of the Panthers' 20-0 win and the Minnesota loss to Dallas. However, I could end up being on Carolina, depending on the line and the injury report. Check back later, or follow @walterfootball for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Teddy Bridgewater practiced fully Wednesday, which is obviously a good sign for him not only playing, but playing at 100-percent capacity. The Panthers have a nice matchup edge versus the Vikings, with their receivers going against the Vikings' battered cornerback group. Bridgewater being available will only help take advantage of that liability.
SATURDAY NOTES: Teddy Bridgewater will play, and he practiced fully all week. There's also a good chance he'll have his entire offensive line in front of him; Russell Okung and John Miller were limited every day, and Okung traveled with the team to Minnesota. Meanwhile, Adam Thielen won't play for the Vikings, which is a huge deal because Thielen, Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook are the only positive aspects of the team, given the massive amounts of injuries on defense. The Panthers managed to stay within a field goal of the Saints and Chiefs on the road, so they should be able to keep this game close or even win outright. The sharps have bet this down to +3, but I want to wait to see what the news on Carolina's offensive line happens to be. I thought about locking in this pick now, but I want to see if a +3.5 reappears.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I was waiting on the Carolina offensive line status, and it's great news! Both Russell Okung and John Miller will be back, which is huge. I was thinking there would be more sharp action on the Panthers this morning, and there was a bit of it, with the vig moving up if you want to bet Carolina. You can still get the Panthers at +3 -110 at Bovada. I'll bet Carolina there, and I'll move this up to four units.
Tennessee Titans (7-3) at Indianapolis Colts (7-3) Line: Colts by 3. Total: 51.5. Sunday, Nov. 29, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
Video of the Week: I'm told old to have watched Dora the Explorer as a kid, but I could appreciate the grown-up version (thanks, Mark P.):
Having never watched the real show, I have to imagine that this is exactly what it was like.
INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: I'm not sure why the NFL stacks divisional matchups so close together, but we just saw the Colts dispose of the Titans a couple of weeks ago. In that game, Tennessee had no pass rush, which allowed Philip Rivers to carve up the Titans' struggling secondary with ease.
Rivers was 29-of-39 for 308 yards and a touchdown in the Week 10 matchup, and there's no reason to think he'll have a different outcome just two weeks later. Tennessee might get back Adoree Jackson, who will definitely help, but the primary issue is the lack of pass rush. With Jadeveon Clowney now on injured reserve, there's no way the Titans could improve in that regard in such a short period of time. If only these two contests were spaced apart!
The Colts also had great success pounding the ball against the Titans. Nyheim Hines had a great game, so perhaps Indianapolis will go back to him. Clowney's absence will make the Titans much worse against the run as well.
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: The Colts match up extremely well against the Titans because they're excellent at stopping the run. Tennessee needs to ride Derrick Henry to victory, but it can't do that versus Indianapolis. Henry didn't exactly go off in Week 10, and he figures to be stymied once again.
The Colts are also capable of limiting A.J. Brown. Xavier Rhodes is having an excellent season after last year's disaster, and he was able to restrict Brown to just one reception a couple of weeks ago. Brown figures to have similar difficulty once again.
All of this, of course, will make life extremely difficult for Ryan Tannehill. The veteran quarterback had a nice second half and overtime versus the Ravens, but he was just 15-of-27 for 147 yards and a touchdown against the Colts. I see no reason to expect a different result, especially if he's missing two blockers in front of him like he was last week.
RECAP: The Colts won the first battle between these teams just two weeks ago, and I don't see why things would be any different now. Indianapolis still matches up extremely well against the Titans, and it's not like the Colts will take this game lightly because it means so much for the divisional race.
I plan on betting the Colts, though the size of the wager will depend on the status of Adoree Jackson and some others, including Rodger Saffold. This will likely be anywhere between two and four units, as we not only get to bet the better team, but also fade tons of public money.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Philip Rivers got banged up at the end of the Green Bay game. He missed Wednesday's practice with a toe injury. This is a concern. Even if Rivers plays, he may not be 100 percent, and I'd actually prefer Jacoby Brissett to make the start. Meanwhile, the Titans might get two starting offensive linemen back from injury, with Rodger Saffold and Ben Jones being limited in Wednesday's practice.
SATURDAY NOTES: The Colts are stout against the run, but that may not be the case this week with DeForest Buckner and Denico Autry sidelined. The Colts also have a great offensive line, but that may also not be the case this week because both Ryan Kelly and Quenton Nelson are questionable after getting in just one limited practice each. Philip Rivers followed the same trajectory. He was limited Friday, so he should play, but he may not be 100 percent. This is all a major bummer because I really wanted to bet the Colts. Conversely, the Titans have gotten healthier. Kenny Vaccaro will play after missing Week 11, and there's a chance that the Titans will be much healthier up front with Rodger Saffold and Ben Jones being listed as questionable after being limited in every practice this week. Saffold was out versus the Ravens, so having him would give the Titans a big advantage over the Buckner-less Colts.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I wish the Colts were as healthy as they were last week; otherwise, I'd bet them aggressively. They're not, however, and the sharp money is on the Titans. I like Tennessee as well, but I won't be betting this game.
SAN ANGELES OFFENSE: With Joe Burrow out for the season, Justin Herbert lost his primary competition for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Herbert had an excellent performance last week against the Jets, though this was expected because New York was down its top two cornerbacks. The Chargers were up by double digits for most of that game, but Joe Flacco's improbable fourth-and-5 and third-and-7 conversions ruined that cover. That's going to sting for a while, if you couldn't tell.
Despite Herbert coming off a stellar showing, I expect him to take a step back and perform like he did versus the Dolphins in Week 10. Herbert struggled mightily in that contest, as he was going against an excellent defensive coach in Brian Flores. That same dynamic will be present in this game, with Herbert set to battle Sean McDermott, who has enjoyed an extra week in preparation for the dynamic rookie. McDermott will have his excellent cornerbacks limit the Charger receivers, which is exactly what happened in that Miami game.
I expect Herbert to struggle, especially if his offensive line can't hold up. Trai Turner was knocked out of last week's affair, so if he can't go, that'll give the Bills another defensive edge in this contest.
BUFFALO OFFENSE: The Chargers also have injury concerns on this side of the ball. Their secondary is down a couple of players, which makes it difficult to stop some opposing aerial attacks.
With that in mind, how is Josh Allen not going to thrive? Allen was unstoppable prior to the bye, as he had finally recovered from a shoulder injury that hindered him for a few games in October. Allen should have no trouble locating his receivers, especially Stefon Diggs. John Brown may miss this game, but that shouldn't matter.
The Chargers' only hope of slowing down the Bills is to generate heavy heat on Allen. Joey Bosa returned last week, so he'll certainly help. However, Allen could put his legs to good use, and I don't trust the Chargers' injury-ravaged linebacking corps to stop him.
RECAP: I love the coaching edge we're getting in this game, with a rookie quarterback battling a great, defensive-minded coach in McDermott. That killed Herbert against the Dolphins a couple of weeks ago, and I suspect he'll have similar issues in this contest.
It could also be argued that this spread is too low. My personal number says Buffalo -7 is correct, while the computer model says -9 is right. However, this line is being kept below -6 because the public loves Herbert. I do too, but Herbert will have to endure some growing pains in this contest.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The Bills had some secondary problems prior to the bye, as Levi Wallace missed the Arizona game. Wallace is not on the injury report this week, which is huge for Buffalo's chances of stopping Justin Herbert. The Chargers, meanwhile, saw Casey Hayward and Melvin Ingram miss Wednesday's practice.
SATURDAY NOTES: I love everything about the Bills this week. They've had extra time to prepare for this game. Their defensive-minded coach will rattle the Chargers' rookie quarterback. The Chargers are also down several key players, including two edge rushers (Melvin Ingram, Uchenna Nwosu) and potentially numerous cornerbacks with Casey Hayward sidelined. Chris Harris may return, but he might not be 100 percent in his first game back.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm disappointed to see the sharps betting the Chargers heavily. I'm not sure why they're doing that. Austin Ekeler is returning, but I don't think that'll be enough to save a Charger offense that doesn't match up well against the Bills. I love Buffalo, especially at this reduced price of -4. The best line I see is at Bookmaker at -4 -104.
Miami Dolphins (6-4) at New York Jets (0-10) Line: Dolphins by 7. Total: 45. Sunday, Nov. 29, 1:00 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Dolphins.
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MIAMI OFFENSE: Many blue checkmarks, the same people who criticized Sean Payton for using Taysom Hill over Jameis Winston, complained about Brian Flores' decision to bench Tua Tagovailoa against Denver. This was the correct choice, as Tagovailoa was struggling mightily against a great, defensive-minded coach in Vic Fangio (something I missed from last week.) Rather than having his rookie continue to be perplexed by what he was seeing, Flores correctly decided that it was best for the young player to observe from the sidelines.
Tagovailoa will start this game in what will be a far easier matchup. There's no one like Fangio out-scheming Tagovailoa on the sidelines, while the opposing players will likely struggle, as the Jets were down their top two cornerbacks last week. They had no chance of stopping another rookie quarterback in Justin Herbert, and they'll have almost as much difficulty versus Tagovailoa, whose receivers will get open easily.
The Jets are much better versus the run than the pass, but Tagovailoa could do well to get his running backs and tight ends in space over the middle of the field versus the Jets' injury-ravaged linebacking corps. Tagovailoa should thrive when scrambling as well.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: Joe Flacco has seen some surprising success recently. He kept the game close versus the Patriots, and he had a back-door cover with some key conversions in the fourth quarter against the Chargers. Sure, he had just three completions in the first half, but let's ignore that because his late-game antics cost us dearly.
The thing is, Flacco was able to cover versus teams with poor or injured secondaries. That doesn't apply to the Dolphins, who have two excellent cornerbacks. Miami will be able to shut down the Jets' passing attack, as long as they care. I won't count out another Flacco back-door cover, but it seems less likely in this matchup.
The Dolphins, of course, are far worse versus the run than the pass, as we saw last week when Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay combined for 166 rushing yards against them. However, Adam Gase has an obsession with Frank Gore, who can do nothing but fall forward for three yards every time he touches the ball. That's not a recipe for success.
RECAP: I'm on the Dolphins. They match up way too well with the Jets for us not to take advantage of it with a multi-unit wager. I love DeVante Parker versus the Jets' injured corners and Miami's cornerbacks against Flacco. New York's horrible linebackers will have issues as well.
Furthermore, this spread isn't high enough. I made this line Miami -9, while the computer model says -11 is correct. As long as the Dolphins are -7 or less, they present solid value. I'll be betting them, so let's hope Flacco doesn't generate another back-door cover.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The Jets could be without George Fant, which will hurt the offense a bit. Perhaps that means Joe Flacco won't have an improbable back-door cover this time!
SATURDAY NOTES: Christian Wilkins will return from injury this week, so perhaps he'll help the Dolphins improve against the run. Either way, we know Joe Flacco won't have a back-door touchdown because Sam Darnold will start for the Jets. Darnold could face some difficulty in this game, due to poor pass protection. The Jets will be down two tackles - George Fant, Chuma Edoga - and quite possibly a guard as well, given that Alex Lewis is questionable with a mysterious non-injury designation. Either way, missing multiple linemen will hurt an already-terrible team, so I like the Dolphins even more, especially with Ryan Fitzpatrick slated to start over an injured Tua Tagovailoa.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Jets are down three offensive linemen in this game, on top of their other injuries. The sharps have been betting the Dolphins, and understandably so. Unfortunately, all of the -6.5s and -7s are gone, and -7.5 is posted at every sportsbook. I want to buy the half point to get to -7, and the best place to do that is at Bookmaker for -7 -119. I would have moved to five units if we could still get -7 -110 or better.
Week 12 NFL Picks - Late Games
Saints at Broncos, 49ers at Rams, Chiefs at Buccaneers, Bears at Packers, Seahawks at Eagles, Ravens at Steelers
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 20, 2020): 2-0 (+$250)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 20, 2020): 2-0 (+$400)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 20, 2020): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 20, 2020): 0-2 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 20, 2020): -$150
2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-2, 50.0% (-$135)
2020 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-124-6, 52.5% (+$3,815) 2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-43-3, 52.2% (-$1,965) 2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-22-1, 62.7% (+$5,515) 2020 Season Over-Under: 140-122-6, 53.4% ($0) 2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$225
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: 2,994-2,761-179, 52.0% (+$14,120) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 957-859-49 (52.7%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 452-396-23 (53.3%) Career Over-Under: 2,462-2,416-66 (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.