Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) at Miami Dolphins (3-4) Line: Bengals by 3. Total: 43. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Bengals -1.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 8): Dolphins -2.5.
Thursday, Oct. 31, 8:25 ET
Discuss Week 9 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Bengals.
WEEK 8 RECAP: It was nice to rebound this past weekend. I went 8-5, +$760. Being smarter about betting definitely paid off. If you missed what I wrote last week, I vowed to avoid the following poisonous teams that were responsible for many of my two- and three-unit losses:
Excluding the Giants and Eagles, who played each other, these teams were 2-4 against the spread in Week 8. The two victors were the Rams and Browns, and I'm beginning to think I should knock Cleveland off my list (the St. Louis spread win was garbage). Jason Campbell, like Brian Hoyer, proved to be a big upgrade over Brandon Weeden. Cleveland has a solid defense and two outstanding play-makers, so as long as it gets competent play out of the quarterback position, it should be competitive. It turns out that Weeden was just THAT bad.
I at least want to move the Browns to "maybe" territory on this list. If Campbell proves that last week wasn't a fluke, I'll remove his team off this list. As for the Redskins, their defense looked better against the Broncos, which is a positive sign. However, Robert Griffin still isn't right. I think they should remain in "maybe" territory as well.
Meanwhile, my Las Vegas Hilton Supercontest partner Matvei and I also talked about some situations that almost always win:
Seahawks at home
Saints at home
Packers at home
Jim Harbaugh anywhere (unless he's playing another top team, i.e. Colts or Seahawks)
Cowboys as underdogs
Tom Brady off a loss as long as he's not favored by a lot
Fading the Steelers as a big home favorite or road favorite
Those situations went 5-0 against the spread in Week 8. The books may have to eventually adjust for this, but aside from this past weekend, Vegas has been winning all year, so maybe they won't have to make any drastic changes in the near future.
Week 9 NFL Picks will be posted all day Wednesday. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
CINCINNATI OFFENSE: That's it. The Bengals are unstoppable. They have a flashy new No. 2 receiver, so their offense will score 40-plus points every week. They're going to win every game from here on out and ultimately claim the Lombardi Trophy in New Jersey. There's no point of even playing any other football games anymore.
I think that's the public perception of the Bengals right now. Sure, Marvin Jones caught four touchdowns against the Jets, but he played only 19 snaps, so it's not like he's an every-down player for them or anything. New York also happened to match up poorly versus Cincinnati because of the deficiencies in its secondary. The Dolphins don't have that sort of problem. If you take away their game against the Saints, they'd have a top-five defense in terms of YPA. They have a quality secondary accompanied by a solid pass rush that has seven sacks the past couple of weeks.
Miami had trouble stopping the run last week, which was odd because it had played ground attacks well for most of the season leading up to the New England contest. What happened was that the Patriots orchestrated a no-huddle rushing attack, which tired out nose tackle Paul Soliai. The Bengals have a stud back in Giovani Bernard, but they probably won't do what New England did on Sunday. This will give the Dolphins a chance to put Andy Dalton in long-yardage situations.
MIAMI OFFENSE: If you didn't see the report from the NFL Network's Jeff Darlington, some Dolphin players are concerned that offensive coordinator Mike Sherman has a flawed game plan. Miami ran the ball just six times between being up 17-3 and tied at 17 versus New England. It made no sense for Ryan Tannehill to keep airing it out behind a struggling offensive line while missing Brandon Gibson, who was lost for the season with a torn patellar tendon.
Gibson was a big part of the offense, but the main concern is the aforementioned offensive front. No team has allowed more sacks than the Dolphins (32) this season despite the fact that about half of the league hasn't been on a bye yet. Tannehill was taken down six times this past week, though the silver lining is that Bryant McKinnie performed relatively well in his debut with his new team. The big issue continued to be Jonathan Martin, who struggled on the right side. This is a huge concern because he has to deal with Carlos Dunlap this week. McKinnie gets Michael Johnson, while the interior has to match up against Geno Atkins. The Bengals have a ferocious defensive front that should be able to overwhelm Tannehill.
Even if the Dolphins do establish a lead, it'll be difficult for them to salt this game away if they decide to actually run the ball with Lamar Miller. Cincinnati is ninth versus the rush in terms of YPC, most recently limiting the Jets' running backs to only 50 yards on 19 carries.
RECAP: This spread should be 2.5, but the wrong team is favored by that amount. The Dolphins are a quality team that has been competitive in every game, save for their loss in New Orleans (no one wins in the Superdome anyway). I like the value we're getting with them against the Bengals, who are coming off way too perfect of a victory. Everything went their way versus the Jets, causing the spread to bump up 1.5 points (two at Bovada).
Home underdogs are 24-19 against the spread this season, but they're 21-11 ATS if the poisonous teams I discussed above are excluded. It's also worth noting that the Bengals haven't won on the road by more than three points all year. They lost at Chicago and even at Cleveland. They had trouble putting the Bills away, and they needed a horrible punt by the Lions to win that contest. Everyone is betting on Cincinnati like this is easy money. Keeping in mind that Vegas had a very rough week (more on that later), let's go against the public.
Again, Week 9 NFL Picks will be posted all day. I'll announce via Twitter @walterfootball when each selection is posted.
FINAL THOUGHTS: OK, call me a wuss, but I'm dropping this from three to one units. I have good reasoning for this though. I'm scared of this Jonathan Martin situation. It won't make much of a difference on the field because the drop-off from Martin to Tyson Clabo is minimal. However, his absence is serving as a distraction, and I hate betting on teams that aren't focused on the task at hand. I still think the Dolphins are the right side, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if they laid an egg.
The Psychology. Edge: Dolphins.
This game doesn't mean much to the Bengals. They're three games ahead of the Ravens, whom they play next week. Miami, meanwhile, can't afford to fall to 3-5. On the other hand, this Jonathan Martin situation is strange and may distract Miami.
The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
Tons of money on the Bengals.
Percentage of money on Cincinnati: 86% (67,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Dolphins.
Bengals are 13-29 ATS as a favorite since 2007.
Dolphins are 12-4 ATS as a home underdog after two straight losses the previous 16 instances.
Underdog is 43-21 ATS in the Dolphins' last 64 games.
Atlanta Falcons (2-5) at Carolina Panthers (4-3) Line: Panthers by 7.5. Total: 47. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Panthers -6.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 8): Panthers -5.5.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 9 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Panthers.
VEGAS RECAP: The sportsbooks had stolen money from the public in six of seven weekends heading into Week 8. They needed to give money back so average bettors wouldn't have to sell their kids to slavers. That's exactly what happened, as only five of the seven highly bet teams covered prior to Monday night. The public won with the Panthers, 49ers, Saints, Patriots and Packers, losing only with the Chiefs and Falcons.
Monday night was huge for Vegas to recoup some of its losses, as it seemed like both the officials and Seattle players did everything in their power to make sure that the Rams stayed within two touchdowns. I had multiple people contact me, complaining that the game was fixed. Multiple games are fixed every month in the NFL - this was confirmed with an interview Jim Rome conducted with someone in the mob - and it wouldn't surprise me if someone had a hand in making sure the Rams beat the spread.
At any rate, I think it's wise to go against the public this week. I'll be doing that - but not for every game.
I'll be updating the Vegas betting action all week, as usual. I'll notify you of any updates @walterfootball.
ATLANTA OFFENSE: The Falcons are a mess on both sides of the ball. Beginning with the offense, the Cardinals put immense pressure on Matt Ryan last week. This was not difficult for them because Ryan is protected by a shaky offensive line and doesn't really have a downfield threat anymore with Julio Jones and Roddy White sidelined. Without having to worry about those stellar wideouts, Arizona stacked the box and concentrated on putting the clamps on Steven Jackson, who did not look like he's 100 percent.
The Panthers should be able to do the same exact thing to Ryan with as much success. They have one of the premier defensive lines in the league, as the unit has collected 10 sacks the past three weeks. It'll be able to add to that total, but not by very much, only because Ryan releases the ball so quickly. Fortunately for Carolina, this could just mean opportunities for interceptions.
Atlanta won't be able to run the ball either. Carolina is ranked 10th against the rush in terms of YPC (3.77). In fact, only one team has gained more than 68 yards on the ground against them since Week 2. Jackson appears to be a shell of his former self, so I don't see him helping the Falcons to break that trend.
CAROLINA OFFENSE: On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons simply have too many injuries to contend with any team that possesses a competent offense. Beginning with the run, Atlanta is ranked dead last in that category, as it's the only team that surrenders a YPC of more than five to opposing backs. In fact, no other squad permits more than 4.8. The linebacking corps is an atrocity and just allowed Andre Ellington to have a career day. DeAngelo Williams will pick up where Ellington left off.
The Falcons aren't last against the pass, but they're 31st (8.58 YPA) in that regard. However, over the past four weeks, their YPA is a ridiculous 9.93. Injuries have eaten this defense alive, and no one can cover as a consequence. Cam Newton won't have any issues torching Atlanta. He'll also be able to pick up big chunks of yardage on the ground; the only mobile quarterback Atlanta has battled all year was Geno Smith, and he doesn't even move around all that much. Defending Newton was a big problem for the Falcons last year, and that's when they had almost everyone healthy. What's going to happen now?
RECAP: The Falcons are in a good spot, as teams playing in their second-consecutive road tilt have a huge cover rate. However, I don't think they have the ammunition to be competitive with quality NFL teams right now. Besides, the Panthers are in a good spot as well; they've enjoyed a pseudo bye following their Thursday night victory, so they've had extra time to prepare for one of their hated rivals.
I'm taking Carolina, but I'm not betting this game. We lost spread value based on last week's results; the Panthers were just -6 prior to the weekend.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Still no units on the Panthers. The public likes Carolina, but the sharps haven't bet the other side. I don't see an edge one way or the other.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on Carolina: 53% (40,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
History: Falcons have won 7 of the last 9 meetings.
Panthers are 18-26 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 or more since 2001.
Minnesota Vikings (1-6) at Dallas Cowboys (4-4) Line: Cowboys by 9. Total: 51. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Cowboys -10.5.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 8): Cowboys -8.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 9 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Cowboys.
HATE MAIL: Another week, another stack of hate mails. These are from the comment boards:
Dear Walter, Are you sure picking football games is really your "thing"? Maybe you should work for Sports Pickle instead. You definitely are not Sam "Ace" Rothstein
Good idea. Let me quit my Web site and work for a site that has less traffic. That's a great career move, why didn't I think of that earlier? (No offense to Sports Pickle at all, which is a funny Web site, just making fun of a dumb commenter.)
Well since walter sucks and he said this himself... Dallas is 6-1 and I am stupid enough to havegone against them before well now I like dallas.... This means take detroit everyone... lions = todays lock
I'm not sure how Dallas suddenly improved to 6-1, but if you were to tell me that Dez Bryant would yell at everyone on the sidelines, I would've said that the Lions were a lock too.
Ssup Wallyworld you ugly dingleberry? Looks like you don't pick so well with your head all big like a swollen testicle. You were on a winning streak till you start blowin your wad over teams like TBay, Cleveland, and the Raiders. Get back to caution and economics. Quality over quantity dude! Let's go!!
This man knows what he's talking about. No more poisonous teams for me.
Walt needs to quit the excuses every time he loses a bet. Man up and admit you were wrong. Also stop the comedy. It's just embarrassing at this point.
Embarrassing for you, I assume? When all of your friends are talking about how great my jokes are, it must suck to pretend to laugh because you don't understand why the Adventures of Tom Brady's Haircuts is soooo damn brilliant.
"Its ok there Walt! As you have pointed out many a time on this website of yours all I am is a big 10 plodder with no durability. Do not give me too much credit because Im obviously due to disappoint any time now. If only the Steelers were as smart as you when it came to drafting!" - Le'Veon Bell
Nice job plodding your way to 24 yards against the Raiders, Le'Veon. And what the hell does "if only the Steelers were as smart as you when it came to drafting?" I don't draft players. Why would the Steelers want to be as smart as me in that regard?
walter is dead nuts on Oakland money-
The Raiders won, so I assume that "dead nuts" is something all of the cool kids are saying to mean "super awesome."
how much more lame is this site now that walt is using this old me/new me crap excuse. he's basically saying I have no balls. zero units. this is my last time visiting. good luck all
Wait, does "dead nuts" mean "no balls?" I'm just not cool enough to understand this ultra-hip lingo.
Your SEASONAL accolades are highly skewed [by virtue of the fact that you include PRESEASON TOTALS into your yearly aggregates ~ Including THIS YEAR, whereby you'd be LOSING if you hadn't included your MEANINGLESS pre-season counts into your aggregate]
"MEANINGLESS pre-season counts?" Why is preseason profit meaningless? Profit is profit, no matter where it comes from. Does this guy think that what I earned betting on preseason football was Monopoly money or something? Because as far as I know, I didn't collect $200 for passing Go, so perhaps I should add that to my count as well.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: Leslie Frazier has yet to name a starting quarterback yet. It's quite the dilemma because his best chance of winning will come with Christian Ponder. However, Ponder isn't the long-term solution. Frazier might think Josh Freeman could be that guy, but Freeman isn't in the right frame of mind to play football right now. Oh, and then there's Matt Cassel, who sucks.
If Frazier goes with Freeman, this will be an automatic bet on the Cowboys. Ponder will actually give Minnesota a chance. And by chance, I mean cover the spread; the Vikings are not going to win this contest if their beleaguered defense doesn't limit Tony Romo. If this game is close, Minnesota will be able to establish Adrian Peterson, who ran extremely well in limited opportunities Sunday night.
And if Minnesota's defense can't contain Tony Romo? Well, Ponder/Freeman will have to air it out a ton, which is never good. Dallas couldn't stop Detroit's aerial attack last week, but there's a huge difference between trying to halt a Matthew Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson connection and defending Greg Jennings, who isn't on the same page as his quarterbacks.
DALLAS OFFENSE: The Cowboys had trouble sustaining drives last week, as they had to rely on big plays to give themselves a chance to beat the Lions. They couldn't stay on the field because their offensive line couldn't handle Detroit's nasty pass rush. The problem got even worse when guard Brian Waters was knocked out with a season-ending injury.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, they won't have to worry very much about Minnesota's pass rush because the Vikings can't get to the quarterback; despite the presence of Jared Allen, only five teams have fewer sacks than them this season. Giving Romo plenty of time in the pocket is a recipe for disaster because Minnesota has major issues in its back seven.
Something else that'll help Dallas will be the return of DeMarco Murray. It was reported that Murray could have played last week, so he'll almost definitely be in the lineup. Murray isn't the greatest runner in the world, but he provides a big boost to the Cowboys' offense because of his catching ability and pass-protection skills. Plus, he does pick up yardage on the ground better than Joseph Randle, and he'll have plenty of opportunities against a poor-tackling defense that just yielded 151 rushing yards to the Packers.
RECAP: This is a bit of a sandwich game for the Cowboys. They just lost an emotional thriller at Detroit and have to worry about battling the Saints next week. Dallas also habitually doesn't perform well as a big favorite.
Having said that, I'm not taking the Vikings because they're a poisonous team. I'm selecting the Cowboys for no action for now, and I may actually bet a unit or two on them if it's announced that Freeman will start. Fading Freeman has resulted in a 4-1 spread record this year, so I want to continue making money on my inside info.
FRIDAY UPDATE: There are two pieces of news regarding quarterbacks on Friday. The first is that Christian Ponder will start against the Cowboys. This is disappointing because Josh Freeman would've warranted an automatic fade. Let's root for Ponder to bomb so we can bet against Freeman later in the year.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps love the Vikings. I'm not sure how any smart bettor can justify betting on a poisonous team like Minnesota, but their money; not mine.
The Psychology. Edge: Vikings.
This is a weird spot for the Cowboys, as they're coming off that crazy loss to Detroit and then take on the Saints next week.
The Vegas. Edge: Vikings.
Lots of money on the host, though I expected more.
Percentage of money on Dallas: 77% (51,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
Cowboys are 10-17 ATS as home favorites in Cowboys Stadium (excluding Thanksgiving).
Tony Romo is 8-17 ATS as a favorite of -7 or more excluding Thanksgiving (4-1 on Thanksgiving).
New Orleans Saints (6-1) at New York Jets (4-4) Line: Saints by 7. Total: 46. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Saints -3.5.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 8): Saints -1.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 9 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Saints.
If you haven't seen this yet, we have a new NFL Pick Em Contest on this Web site. It's free entry, and there are monthly and seasonal prizes: $350 for the year, and $100 for each month. There's no reason not to enter. Click the link to register!
NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: This seems like an incredible mismatch, doesn't it? Andy Dalton just torched the Jets' struggling secondary for five touchdowns, so how in the world is New York supposed to deal with Drew Brees? Well, I don't agree that this will be a one-sided affair or anything. Let me explain...
Something Brees hates more than anything is interior pressure. It's why the front office has valued interior offensive linemen over offensive tackles. Few teams in the NFL can bring a pass rush up the middle like the Jets can. Kyle Williams had success getting to Brees last week, so Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson should be able to rattle him quite a bit.
Also, the Jets' corners don't have to worry about any dynamic wideouts this week like they had to at Cincinnati. The best the Saints have to offer at the position is Marques Colston, who isn't himself (he hasn't topped 18 receiving yards in the past three games). Of course, there's Jimmy Graham, but he's not healthy. Sure, he scored twice last week, but he was on the field for only 20 snaps. Rex Ryan is a defensive mastermind, so like Bill Belichick, I could see him successfully scheming to eliminate Graham.
Now, don't get me wrong; Brees will still put up points. I just don't think this is going to be the massacre everyone is expecting it to be.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: The Jets couldn't run the ball whatsoever last week because they were behind very early. That hurt Geno Smith, who had to force the issue in the second half, which prompted his two pick-sixes. If I'm right, and the Saints' offense is somewhat limited (think the New England game), then things will be much different this week.
New York should be able to establish Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. The two backs have run well at times, and they'll have opportunities to do so against a New Orleans stop unit that is 29th against the run in terms of YPC allowed to opposing running backs (4.48).
Establishing the two backs will be huge for the Jets because it'll take some pressure off Geno Smith. The Saints' defense has improved this season because they're now capable of putting tons of heat on opposing quarterbacks. In fact, only four teams (Chiefs, Seahawks, Bills, Browns) have more sacks than New Orleans does. Smith has been sacked an average of four times per game over the past five weeks, so placing him in short-yardage situations will be absolutely crucial for the Jets.
RECAP: It's amazing how public perception can change because of one week. Prior to Sunday's games, the Saints were listed as -3.5 at the Hilton. Now, they're -6 in most places. And it's all because the Jets were blown out on the road following an emotional, overtime victory over their biggest rival.
The Saints are favored by way too much, especially considering that they're playing on the road. Consider how they've performed outside of the Superdome this season: They barely scraped by Tampa, 19-17. They won at Chicago, which was impressive at the time, but we've seen how horrible the Bears' defense has been since. And then they lost at New England in a game they trailed for three quarters.
New Orleans is not the same team on the road, and expecting it to cover a big spread like this versus a quality defensive team is too much to ask. The Jets, meanwhile, will be playing for respect after everyone in the media trashed them in the wake of their huge loss.
This is a two-unit bet for me. I'm not going higher because fading Brees normally isn't a smart thing to do, but the Jets just happen to be in a great spot.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Games that receive 80 percent of the tickets have done terribly this year. The Jets are the right side, and I'm willing to extend this to three units if I can get +7 -110 on Sunday morning. Check back.
SUNDAY MORNING: Jets +7 -105 is available on Bovada. As promised, I'm bumping this up to three units (keep this at two units if you can't get +7). This spread is a complete overreaction.
The Psychology. Edge: Jets.
The Saints have two games against the Cowboys and 49ers after this non-conference matchup.
The Vegas. Edge: Jets.
No one is betting on the Jets.
Percentage of money on New Orleans: 87% (59,000 bets)
Tennessee Titans (3-4) at St. Louis Rams (3-5) Line: Titans by 3. Total: 40.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Titans -3.5.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 8): Titans -3.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 9 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Titans.
If you've followed this site for a while, you might remember that I like to respond to my spam mails. Three years ago, 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.
As for 2012, I messed around with a spammer pretending to be a black woman named Mulyana. I assumed Steve Urkel's identity and had many exchanges with Mulyana. Click the link to see all of that.
A man named Mark Pepe e-mailed me. I eventually convinced him to call someone in the Eagles' organization to ask for Riley Cooper. I also did the same thing to another spammer by pretending to be Aaron Hernandez. Check out the Spam Mails page to see it.
ST. LOUIS OFFENSE: You have to wonder where the Rams' offense would be right now without Zac Stacy. The fifth-round rookie bulldozed over Seattle's prolific defense Monday night. Granted, the Seahawks weren't trying whatsoever, but Stacy looked very impressive, rushing for 134 yards on 26 carries.
The Rams will need Stacy to duplicate that performance in every contest going forward because Kellen Clemens is terrible. He tossed two ugly interceptions versus Seattle and could've easily been responsible for three more turnovers. The Titans have a strong pass rush that will put a ton of heat on Clemens, so it wouldn't be a surprise if the give-aways continue to pile up for the second-round bust.
Luckily for St. Louis - or perhaps unluckily, if you're looking at it from a draft-pick standpoint - Tennessee isn't very good against the run, thanks to shoddy linebacker play. They're not terrible in this department, but Stacy will have plenty of holes to pound through. The key for the Titans, which is something Seattle couldn't do for one reason or another, is to establish a decent lead to make the Rams one-dimensional on offense. If they can take away Stacy, St. Louis won't have a chance.
TENNESSEE OFFENSE: So, can the Titans get that lead? I think it's very possible. As we saw Monday night, the Rams have a ferocious pass rush that has collected 14 sacks over the past three weeks. They were able to bring down Russell Wilson a ridiculous seven times, but they won't be able to match that figure in this contest. First of all, they'll be fatigued coming off an emotional loss (more on this later). Second, the Titans have a much better offensive line than the Seahawks do at the moment. Jake Locker is mobile, so he'll be able to scramble out of some sacks.
Something else that helps the Titans' cause in terms of not allowing many sacks is their new-found dedication to getting Chris Johnson the ball in the passing game. CJ2K caught just four passes in the first month of the season, but has snagged 11 receptions in the previous three contests. Johnson is Tennessee's best weapon, so he'll neutralize the pass rush with some screens.
The Rams have a suspect back seven - they're ranked 28th against the pass in terms of YPA (8.40) - so Locker should be able to torch them on occasion. Nate Washington and especially Kendall Wright are fully capable of getting behind St. Louis' defense.
RECAP: I like the Titans for a two-unit play. Despite their record - remember, they were 3-1 prior to Locker's injury - they're a decent team coming off a bye, so they'll be sharp. The Rams, meanwhile, just poured their heart and soul into that Seattle game. Did you see how defeated they looked when Clemens' final pass sailed out of the back of the end zone? How are they going to come back from that, especially on a short week?
FINAL THOUGHTS: Nothing has changed here. I'm still taking Tennessee for two units.
The Psychology. Edge: Titans.
Did you see the Rams after they lost the Seahawks? That was their Super Bowl. How are they going to come back from that?
The Vegas. Edge: Rams.
Lots of action on the Titans.
Percentage of money on Tennessee: 70% (31,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Rams.
Mike Munchak is 5-7 ATS as a favorite.
Jeff Fisher is 39-22 ATS as an underdog since 2006.
Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) at Buffalo Bills (3-5) Line: Chiefs by 5. Total: 41. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Chiefs -4.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 8): Chiefs -4.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 9 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Chiefs.
Video of the Week: I asked my friends on Facebook to send me funny videos for the Video of the Week section. This one is from Connor M. It's entitled Ray's Last Jump. It starts off slowly, but once the drunken guy is introduced, hilarity ensues.
KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: Everyone clamors about how great the Chiefs' defense is, but what about Buffalo's stop unit? The Bills were doing a fantastic job on Drew Brees last week until they just got too overwhelmed. They managed to sack him four times, which is no easy feat. Buffalo actually has the third-most sacks in the NFL, trailing only Kansas City and Seattle.
Mentioning the Bills' ability to get to the quarterback is important because Kansas City doesn't protect Alex Smith very well. Smith took six sacks last week against the Browns, thanks to Eric Fisher once again struggling immensely. Fisher wouldn't be starting if he weren't the No. 1 overall pick in the most recent NFL Draft, and he'll continue to be a liability, especially against Mario Williams.
The Chiefs have surrendered 24 sacks, which is ninth-most in the NFL. That figure would be even higher if Smith actually had to sit in the pocket and look for his receivers downfield. Instead, he's been able to dump the ball off to Jamaal Charles, Dexter McCluster and Donnie Avery, who have done all of the work for him. This strategy worked wonders against the Eagles and Giants, but it's been a bit less effective recently. That's because Kansas City has gone up against a pair of sure-tackling defenses in the Texans and Browns. The Bills missed just two tackles last week, thanks to their entire secondary being healthy again. It's actually quite difficult to find a weakness in this Buffalo stop unit now that everyone has returned.
BUFFALO OFFENSE: Of course, the Chiefs' defense has been dominant, but that's been well-publicized. They have a healthy league lead in sacks with 36, which spells trouble for Thaddeus Lewis, who has been brought down behind the line of scrimmage on 13 occasions in his three starts.
The Bills would love to establish Fred Jackson to take some heat off of Lewis, but the problem is that Kansas City also happens to be dominant versus the run. None of their previous four opponents have rushed for more than 63 yards, and that includes the Texans, who pound the rock as well as anyone. If Arian Foster and Ben Tate managed only three yards per carry combined, how will Jackson find any running lanes?
If there's one weak spot with the Chiefs' defense, it happens to be their most recent issues in terms of stopping aerial attacks. Case Keenum and Jason Campbell combined to maintain a 9.3 YPA the past two weeks. That's a horrifying number. It would be somewhat acceptable had Kansas City battled Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning in consecutive contests, but allowing that to Keenum and Campbell, both of whom had to make their first starts of the season on the road? What's going to happen when Kansas City has to take on elite quarterbacks?
RECAP: Ugh. I LOVED the Bills in this spot. They were going to be my October NFL Pick of the Month - the game is in November, but I'm making this selection in October, so it counts - but there is a chance Lewis may sit out. Lewis missed Wednesday's practice, prompting Doug Marrone to tell the media that it could be anyone.
If Lewis starts, this will be my October NFL Pick of the Month. Let's pretend for a second that Lewis returns to practice Thursday and is ready to go. Here's why I love Buffalo:
1. Let's first dispel the notion that betting against an undefeated team playing an opponent with a losing record is a poor proposition. Undefeated road favorites battling a team worse than .500 as a road in Week 9 or later are just 8-10 against the spread since 1990. The two most recent losses: the Falcons went down to the Saints last year, while the dominant Packers were upset at Kyle Orton-led Kansas City in Week 15 of 2011.
This is not enough itself to fade the Chiefs, but it just goes to show that Kansas City shouldn't be considered an automatic lock or anything.
2. Speaking of incorrect perception, the public is betting Kansas City pretty heavily, yet this spread dropped from -3.5 to -3. This indicates sharp money on the Bills. Average bettors are looking at this spread and saying, "Hurr durr, how can the Chiefs not beat the Bills?" It just looks so easy.
While the majority of the public might think this spread is too low, I think it's pretty high. I have this as Buffalo -1. Think about it this way: Chiefs -3 at Bills would be Chiefs -9 at Kansas City. Yet, the Chiefs were just -7.5 over the Browns, who were perceived to be absolutely dreadful with Jason Campbell at quarterback. Why would Cleveland be 1.5 points better than Buffalo? If the Browns have functional quarterback play, as they did with Campbell, they're about the same as the Bills.
3. Mentioning Campbell brings me to my next point: The Chiefs didn't cover the spread against Campbell or Case Keenum the past two weeks; they beat both third-string quarterbacks by a combined seven points - AT HOME! Had DeAndre Hopkins not dropped a touchdown two weeks ago, and had Davone Bess not single-handedly destroyed Cleveland's chances of winning, the Chiefs may have lost both contests - AT HOME! If Kansas City couldn't put away Houston or Cleveland at Arrowhead, why would they suddenly have success on the road?
Going further back, the Raiders led for a good chunk of their matchup at Kansas City, but Terrelle Pryor self-destructed at the very end. Before that, the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Titans gave Kansas City some trouble. At least that was on the road.
4. This home-road dynamic is important because the Chiefs haven't played an away game since Oct. 6. What does this mean? Well, there is a trend that goes against Kansas City: Road favorites that are coming off three consecutive home games are just 12-26 against the spread since 1989. Trends are meaningless unless there's a good reason behind them, and that happens to be the case here. The Chiefs haven't traveled for a while. They've been sitting comfortably at home. Now, they have to pack their bags and go on the road when they haven't done that in nearly a month. They're just not used to it.
The Chiefs have grown accustom to their loud fans cheering them on, but they won't have that luxury in Buffalo. In fact, the Bills have called for a "White Out" at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills' fans will be going nuts, as they'll root for their squad to slay the lone unbeaten team in the NFL.
Oh, and the Bills are good at home too. They nearly beat the Patriots in the opener. They then knocked off the Panthers and Ravens, and then they almost defeated the Bengals in Lewis' first start.
5. The Bills aren't just good at home. They went on the road and beat the Dolphins two weeks ago. They also had a healthy lead at Cleveland before Jeff Tuel ruined that. Sure, they lost by 18 at New Orleans this past Sunday, but no one wins at the Superdome when the Saints are good. Besides, Buffalo did actually hang around despite the lopsided score.
Buffalo is better than its 3-5 record indicates, and this is a must-win for them. They're 1.5 games out of the second wild card spot, so they still have to believe that they have a chance. If they can beat the Chiefs, they'll be in good shape because they get the Steelers, Jets, Falcons, Buccaneers, Jaguars and Dolphins after that. All of those matchups are winnable. If they lose this game, however, their season is pretty much over.
6. Conversely, Kansas City isn't nearly as good as its 8-0 record indicates. The Chiefs are more like a 5-3 team. They're good, but they're not great. They've gotten very fortunate with their joke of a schedule. They haven't beaten a single opponent that currently has a winning record. I'll reiterate that their last four wins have come against Fitzpatrick, Pryor, Keenum and Campbell, and all of those games have been close.
Also, this game means very little to the Chiefs. The AFC West will be decided by their two games against the Broncos. A win here won't matter very much.
7. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Andy Reid is 5-9 against the spread going into a bye. He generally doesn't have his teams prepared well when there's a week off looming.
8. Here's another trend just for fun: Teams (applies to the Chiefs) that won but failed to cover in their previous two games struggle as road favorites. They're 9-21 ATS in those situations dating back to 1989.
Again, this is my October NFL Pick of the Month if Lewis plays. If Lewis sits out, I'm not betting on the Bills at all. Tuel has the personality of Ryan Leaf and the arm of Matt Cassel. He sucks. Check back later in the week for an update.
FRIDAY UPDATE: Well, so much for the October NFL Pick of the Month. Despite Wednesday reports indicating that Thad Lewis would start, the Bills listed Lewis as doubtful Friday afternoon. This sucks. Buffalo is unbettable with Jeff "Ryan Leaf 2.0" Tuel or the noodle-armed Matt Flynn. In fact, I think the Chiefs are the right side now. I'll stay with the Bills because I had switching sides late in the week, but I'm dropping this to zero units.
I'm going to keep my October NFL Pick of the Month alive, by the way. This means I'll have two Pick of the Month selections in either November or December.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm still pissed that I can't use the Bills as my NFL Pick of the Month.
SUNDAY MORNING: Jeff Tuel will start. How sad. This spread is up to +5.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: Bills.
Pretty predictable that the public loves the Chiefs.
Percentage of money on Kansas City: 71% (60,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Bills.
Andy Reid is 5-9 ATS going into a bye.
Bills are 25-13 ATS in November home games the previous 38 contests.
Bills are 11-23 ATS in their last 34 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
San Diego Chargers (4-3) at Washington Redskins (2-5) Line: Pick. Total: 49.5. Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Redskins -1.
Walt's Calculated Line (After Week 8): Chargers -2.
Sunday, Nov. 3, 1:00 ET
Discuss Week 9 Games, Talk Trash
The Game. Edge: Chargers.
The Adventures of Tom Brady's Haircuts is back for a second season! As with everything else though, I'm moving it to its own separate page. See what's going on this week with this picture here:
WASHINGTON OFFENSE: All of the talk leading up to the Denver game was that Robert Griffin was back. Well, he had been running around pretty well, but he certainly didn't look like he was completely back prior to that contest. His mechanics were still very off. Griffin ended up going just 15-of-30 for 132 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions against the Broncos. He was beaten down hard, taking several nasty hits until he was forced out of the game.
Fortunately for Griffin, San Diego doesn't possess the same type of pass rush that Denver does with Von Miller back on the field. Griffin will have more time in the pocket to find Pierre Garcon and the emerging Jordan Reed downfield. San Diego has a shaky secondary that ranks 29th against the pass in terms of YPA (8.43), so Griffin figures to have a nice bounce-back performance.
Of course, so much of what Washington does is predicated on the run. The Redskins ran the ball well with Alfred Morris last week (17 carries, 93 yards), but he was given just five attempts after the Redskins established a 14-7 lead in the third quarter. Mike Shanahan will make amends for that, and Morris will have even more success on the ground in this matchup. Whereas Denver is second against the rush in terms of YPC (3.06), the Chargers are 30th (4.57).
SAN DIEGO OFFENSE: The Redskins have their defensive problems as well. They missed a ridiculous 10 tackles at Denver, as Peyton Manning beat them to death with screens to Knowshon Moreno. Philip Rivers was going to let Danny Woodhead do a bunch of the work anyway, but don't you think he's looking at the film and thinking that he can just make short throws and have great success against Washington's pitiful stop unit?
The only thing the Redskins do well defensively is put pressure on the quarterback, thanks to Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. This proved to be a problem for Manning, who doesn't have his left tackle at his disposal. It would've been a huge issue for Rivers last year, but San Diego's offensive line has improved tremendously this season. Rivers was one of the most-sacked quarterbacks in the NFL in 2012, but he has been taken down only 11 times thus far.
If Rivers gets as much time as expected, he'll be able to torch Washington's atrocious secondary with his new-found weapon in Keenan Allen, a third-round rookie who has emerged as a dynamic play-maker. Rivers will also be able to feed Ryan Mathews the ball early and often; the Redskins are just 28th against the run in terms of YPC (4.42).
RECAP: I can't say I love this spot for either side. The Chargers are road favorites coming off a bye, which is usually a good situation, but they're also playing an early game. They lost in this scenario last year at Cleveland, though it should be noted that this San Diego team is much better than the 2012 version.
On the other hand, the Redskins just suffered a tough defeat at Denver. They're the inferior team in this matchup, so I wouldn't be excited to bet on them.
I'm taking San Diego, but for zero units. I just want to avoid picking these poisonous teams, though I'm not quite sure that Washington fits under that category. I guess it's better to be safe than sorry.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Chargers seem like a very square play, but sometimes the squares win. It's tough to justify a bet on a terrible team like the Redskins right now. By the way, check out what'll happen with the Redskins team name controversy in five years.
The Psychology. Edge: Chargers.
The Redskins are coming off a tough loss to the Broncos in which they brought 110 percent, but they need to win this game.
The Vegas. Edge: Redskins.
A slight lean on the visitor.
Percentage of money on San Diego: 61% (5,000 bets)
Week 9 NFL Picks - Late Games
Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenver 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 2 Preseason, 2018): 2-3 (-$410)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 2 Preseason, 2018): 1-3 (-$510)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 2 Preseason, 2018): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 2 Preseason, 2018): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 2 Preseason, 2018): $0
2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 1-0, 100% (+$400)
2018 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 5-5, 50.0% (-$250) 2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 2-5, 28.6% (-$850) 2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 0-0, 0% ($0) 2018 Season Over-Under: 0-0, 0% ($0) 2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: $0
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% (+$2,550) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580) 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% (-$2,360) 2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$1,055) 2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$3,790)
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)
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)
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)
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
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)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,574-2,383-151, 51.9% (+$5,125) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 817-743-41 (52.3%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 349-314-19 (52.6%) Career Over-Under: 2,080-2,031-56 (50.5%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 40-24 (62.5%)
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.