In the past two seasons we have offered up free pro football picks from expert sports handicapper Cliff Knox. In the 2011-2012 NFL season, not only will Cliff be back with his winning plays, but we will also have other expert football handicappers stopping by and giving out their top rated NFL betting picks. Make sure that you bookmark this page and return each week from the opening kick off until the Lombardi Trophy is presented.
Cliff was on fire in the 2009/2010 season 25-13-2 on the year, with only 3 losing weeks (check below for 2009 pick history). Check back often as Cliff is primed and ready for another stellar year.
Week 16 Picks
New England Patroits at Buffalo Bills
Betting Line: Patroits -9 U/O 45.5
A quick glance at the Bills' record over the last 9 games shows Buffalo with 4 wins and 5 losses. Not very impressive at all. However, the Bills lost 4 of those 5 games by 3 points. In other words Buffalo has won outright or lost by 3 points in 8 of their last 9 games. This is the Bills' last home game of the season and it will be Buffalo's Super Bowl. Look for the Bills to stay close throughout. Take the Bills +9 at Bodog (Loss) New England 34 Buffalo 3.
Washington Redskins at Jacksonville Jaguars
Betting Line: Jaguars -7 U/O 45.5
The Redskins have lost 4 in a row but somewhat like the Bills, they have been competitive in 3 of the 4 losses; losing by 4 or fewer points in 3 of the losses. The Jaguars are expected to be without stud RB Maurice Drew Jones which should limit Jacksonville from running up the score. Take the Redskins +7 at SIA (Win) Washington 20 Jacksonville 17.
Week 15 Picks
San Francisco 49ers at San Diego Chargers
Betting Line: Chargers -10 U/O 44.5
Huge Thursday matchup in San Diego between the (5-8) 49ers and the (7-6) Chargers. Its hard to believe that both of these teams still can make the playoffs. The 49ers need to win all 3 of their remaining games, 1 loss and their done but if they run the table they have a good chance to claim the NFC West title.
San Diego also needs to win this game. They too can still win their division if they can win their 3 remaining games. After the 49ers the Chargers are on the road for their final 2 games against Cincinnati and Denver 2 teams with a combined record of 5-21. The Chargers are very much back in it, they're just a game in back of the Chiefs with three to go, and they own the easiest remaining schedule of all playoff-eligible AFC teams.
The oddsmakers at 5Dimes and in Vegas don't seem to think the 49ers have a chance making them a 10 point dog but they've been over valuing the Chargers all year. Just 11 days ago San Diego was a 13 point favorite at home and the Raiders pounded them 28-13. The Chargers could win this game but we really don't see a blow out here. We'll take the live dog +10, who we believe have a decent shot at an outright win.
Take the 49ers +10 at SIA (Loss) San Diego 34 San Francisco 7.
Week 14 Picks
NY Giants vs. Minnesota
Betting Line: Giants -4 U/O 44
Many bettors will looking to play on the Giants now with the game in Detroit. Injuries will also be another factor that many will use to justify a play on the NY Giants. It is likely that the Giants top two receivers will be back for this game (Nicks and Smith) and it is looking more unlikely that Favre and Harvin will play.
So an easy play on the Giants right? I don't think so. The Giants were in limbo for basically 24 hours, so it will be interesting to see how focused they'll be for tonight's game. Also, timing is the most important factor for a successful offense and I don't think that Manning will be totally in sync with Nicks and Smith in their first game back. Toss in the Favre and Harvin factor and this game has under written all over it.
Take Under 44 points at SIA (Win) NY Giants 21 Minnesota 3.
Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans
Betting Line: Ravens -3
You may think that this games sets up as two teams going in the opposite direction. Houston has lost 5 of their last 6 games while the Ravens have won 4 of their last 6 with two late big plays by their opposition keeping them from being on a 6 game win streak.
However, the Texans have been competitive in their last 5 games; tied or leading in the 4th quarter. Their opposition wasn't of the creampuff variety with 4 of the teams having winning records and 3 of those games being on the road. They’re now at home and finally get back TE Owen Daniels who is a key cog in their defense.
Houston's defense has struggled this season ranking 29th in league in points per game allowed, but the Ravens haven't actually lit up the scoreboard this season scoring 21.7 points per game. Here's an interesting stats for you. Baltimore is averaging 14.8 points in games where they rush for under 100 yards. The Texans at home have held 4 of their 6 opponents under 100 yards allowing only the superior rushing attacks of the Chiefs and Giants to surpass that mark. Take the Texans +3 +100 at SIA (Loss) Baltimore 34 Texas 28.
Week 13 Picks
Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins
Betting Line: Dolphins -4.5
It would appear on paper that the Dolphins struggle at home with their 1-4 SU record, but miscues in early season match-ups against the Jets and Patriots and a terrible call by the refs in the Pittsburgh game were their undoing. They did look outmatched versus their Bears, but stud OL Long was hurt and the Dolphins were down to 3rd stringer QB Thigpin behind center. They have played only one game versus a team with a losing record in the Tennessee Titans and thrashed them 29-17.
Sure the Browns put together a good stretch of games knocking off the Saints and Patriots and taking the Jets to OT. Rookie QB Colt McCoy looked good, but he is injured and it appears that it's a drop off to Jake Delhomme. Their defense that was keeping them in games is banged up and is allowing teams huge chunks of yardage (Jets 172, Jacksonville 144 and Carolina 155) on the ground.
Miami's defense will prove to be the deciding factor in this game. The Dolphins do give up some yardage on the ground, but rank 7th in the league in yards per carry allowed and don't look for Cleveland's 24th ranked road passing attack to put up big numbers. The Dolphins home pass defense is ranked 6th in the league and has allowed 156 yards or less in 3 of their last 5 games overall. Look for the Dolphins to get an early lead and run the ball down the Brown's throats. Take Miami -4.5 at 5Dimes (Loss) Cleveland 13 Miami 10.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Betting Line: Bears -4.5
The Bears are in a classic letdown spot after their big win over the high flying Eagles. They may overlook the Lions who will be starting 3rd string QB Drew Stanton and may be looking ahead to their Week 14 game at home versus the Patriots.
Take the Lions +4.5 at Bodog (Win) Chicago 24 Detroit 20.
Week 12 Picks
Jacksonville Jaguars at NY Gaints
Betting Line: Giants 7.5
Both teams are 6-4 on the season and one team has won 3 in a row while the other has lost 2 straight. So the team on the 3 game winning streak is the favorite right? No. The Giants losers of 2 straight are not only favored in this game they are more than a touchdown favorite.
It's one of those lines that make you say "huh". I'm not of the opinion that if both teams were healthy that the Jaguars would be the superior team. There is no question that the Giants are the more talented team, but this is a team that has a ton of injuries to key players on offense. They will be without both starting wideouts in this game and may still be shorthanded on the offensive line with C Shaun O'Hara questionable and T David Diehl out indefinitely.
Jacksonville's weakness is their pass defense and the Giants just don't have the receivers available to expoit that. Look for the jaguars to stay close throughout in what should be a low scoring game. Take the Jags +7.5 at 5Dimes (Win) Ny Giants 24 Jacksonville 20.
A few other games we like....
New England Patriots at Detroit Lions
Betting Line: Patriots -7
I'm not sold on the Patriots. They have been out yarded in 4 of their last 5 games and continue to give up huge yardage in the air. They go on the road on a short week after playing an emotional game versus the Colts last Sunday. They face the Lions who at last glance have the 6th ranked passing offense in the NFL. Detroit is 2-2 this season at home with both losses coming against a quality opponent (Eagles by 3 and Jets by 3 in OT). Take the Lions +7 at Bodog (Loss) New England 45 Detroit 24.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
Betting Line: Falcons -2
Not the greatest matchup for the Falcons, but you can't knock Ryan's 18-1 home record. The linesmaker has been generous making this basically a pick'em game and it doesn't hurt that the packers will be missing both starting safeties. Take Atlanta - 1.5 at Betus (Win) Atlanta 20 Green Bay 17.
Pittsburgh at Buffalo
Betting Line: Steelers -6
The Bills have been in every game since their bye week and face a Steelers team that can be beat by the pass. Check the weather forecast on gameday for inclement weather before you lay down on this game, but look for Buffalo to give the Steelers all they can handle this week. Take the Bills +6 at SportsInteraction (Win) Pittsburgh 19 Buffalo 16.
Cincinnati Bengals at NY Jets
Betting Line: Jets -9
In the NFL a team is never as good or as bad as they looked in the previous week. So, look for the Bengals to put forth a solid effort this week. The Jets have won 3 straight but continue to pull out last minute wins. Take Cincinnati +9 at 5Dimes (Loss) Ny Jets 26 Cincinnati 10.
Week 6 Picks
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Saints just don't have the same offense as they did last season. Injuries to their back field is they main reason as contrary to popular belief, you need to be able to run the ball in the NFL. New Orleans is averaging a meager 75.6 yards rushing per game, good for 31st in the league! They do face the Bucs who have been generous to opposing RBs allowing 143.3 run yards per game. However, Tampa Bay has faced primarily run first offenses this season, so I'm going to give that number less weight. Tampa Bay's 9th ranked pass offense is the key to this game. The Saints lack of a quality rushing attack has QB Brees forcing throws and already has 5 Ints this season. That won't bode well against the Bucs' opportunistic secondary that already has 9 INTs this season. I'm going to bite on Tampa Bay. Backing a team that is at home getting points in a game that they can score even an outright win is a consistent money-maker in the NFL.
Take the Bucs +4.5 at Bodog (Loss) New Orleans 31 Tampa Bay 6.
Oakland Raiders at San Francisco 49ers
It's rare for me to have a play on a total in the NFL, but this one really stands out. We have no problem making a case of the lack of either team's scoring defense, with both of these teams ranking among the bottom of league in points allowed per game with the Raiders ranked 28th (26.8 points) and the 49ers ranked 27th (26.0). So, the next factor is whether either team's offense has the numbers to exploit the weakness. I say yes. The 49ers scored 24 points last week against the Eagles and 22 versus the Saints in thier two games as host this season. In both of these games they moved the ball with ease registering their two highest point and yard totals. Turnovers (-4 in both games) were the only thing that kept them from hitting in the 30's. Oakland has scored 20 plus points per game in their last 3 and while the defense did come up with 16 points in last week's game versus the Chargers, the offense has been doing a much better job in the red zone in recent weeks.
Take the OVER 41 at 5Dimes (Loss) San Francisco 17 Oakland 9.
Week 5 Picks
I spent a lot of time going over the games this week but really haven't found any that I really like. Tough week with some interest and puzzling lines, there are 4 teams that are 0-4 this week and the linemakers has made them all the favorite at home in their respective games. I can't remember if I've ever seen that before. Here are 2 games alike a little but I'm really just going to watch this week as we think the sportsbooks have done a good job this week and there is not a lot of value out there.
Green Bay Packers (-2.5) at Washington Redskins
I really think this is a good spot for the Packers catching the Redskins at home after a huge emotional win over the Eagles last week. The Packers are the better team but are a little beaten up right now. We still think they should be able to handle an offensively challenged Washington team. Green Bay should win this game by 7 or more.
Take the Packers -2.5 at 5Dimes (Loss) Washington 16 Green Bay 13.
St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions (-3)
Detroit is 3-1 against the spread but 0-4. This team has had a lot bad luck and the much tougher schedule. They have faced Chicago, Philly, Minnesota and Green Bay and has been in every game down to the wire. Today they face an improving young St. Louis team with a very talented young QB. Detroit needs the win and has played well offensively. I always like to go against a rookie QB on the road and think Detroit wins this game easy.
Take the Lions -3 at 5Dimes (Win) Detroit 44 St Louis 6.
Week 4 Picks
Cincinnati Bengals -3 at Cleveland Browns +3 O/U 37.5
In the battle of Ohio this week the Cleveland Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals. The Brown lost 24-17 on the road last week in Baltimore. The Bengals beat the Panthers 20-7 on the road The Bengals overall average of 228.3 passing yards per game is respectable, but a closer look at how that number was derived tells a different story.
Cincinnati has amassed more than 200 passing yards in only one game this season. That occurred in Week 1 versus the Patriots where many of the yards were picked up after the games outcome was not in doubt. Since the opener, the Bengals had 159 against the Ravens and 185 vs. the Panthers. Unless you have a dominant running game those numbers in the passing game will not amount to many W's.
If you're looking for those numbers to improve this week in Cleveland, think again. The Browns as a surprise to some have registered decent defensive numbers. They rank 12th in the league in passing yards allowed per game and have respectable numbers in sacks (4) and INTs (3).
The Browns are 0-3 this season, but have had the lead in all 3 games and have lost by a combined 12 points! They have faced a common opponent this year the Baltimore Ravens with the Bengals winning and Cleveland losing. However, the Browns were playing on the road and were without starting QB J. Delhomme and were in the game until late in their 24-17 loss.
Cincinnati on the other hand faced the Raven's in their home opener and were all out to win the game 15-10 despite having a +4 turnover advantage. The Browns get Delhomme back for this game which should keep the Bengals from stuffing the box against run. Take the Browns +3 at Bodog (Win) Cleveland 23 Cincinnati 20.
Washington Redskins +6 at Philadelphia Eagles -6 O/U 43
The Philadelphia Eagles host the Washington Redskins this Sunday in a huge divisional matchup. The Redskins looked horrible last losing 30-16 on the road to the St Louis Rams. The Eagles had an easier time of it, crushing a sorry looking Jacksonville squad 28-3 right in their own backyard.
Michael Vick has looked very good since replacing Kevin Kolb early in game one. After 3 games Vick has passed for 750 yards with 6 TD's and no interceptions and has passing prating that is second only to Peyton Manning. The Eagles pass protection has been suspect as Vick has been sacked a league leading 11 times but he has also rushed for 170 yards and 1 TD averaging 7.4 yards a carry.
We're pretty sure Donovan McNabb has had this game circled on his schedule from the day he walked onto the field for the first time as a Redskin. McNabb won't need any extra motivation to win this game after he was dealt to Washington in the off season. Donovan spent the last 11 years as an Eagle and would like nothing else but silence the boo birds and prove to the Philadelphia organization that they might have made the wrong choice going forward.
The Redskins did not play well last week, possibly looking beyond St Louis to this big divisional game. Washington had no trouble moving the ball but costly turnovers and having to settle for 3 field goals that were less than 30 yards cost them the W. The defense which played well against Dallas has had its second bad game in a row with missed assignment resulting in big plays. Coach Shanahan will have certainly addressed these issues during the week and will have this team ready to go.
The oddsmaker opened this game with the Eagles as a 6.5 point favorite but the line is now between 5.5 and 6 at most places. We feel this is still way to high. The Redskins should be able to keep it close and have a very big chance of stealing a win on the road here. Take Washington +6 at Bodog (Win) Washington 17 Philadelphia 12.
Week 3 Pick
New York Jets +1 at Miami Dolphins -1 O/U 35.5
Wow, look who is on top in the AFC east. The Miami Dolphins are 2-0 after back to back wins on the road against Buffalo and Minnesota. The Dolphins are playing solid aggressive defense right now, only giving up 10 points in each of their first 2 games. Speaking of the Miami Dolphin's defense, check out this stat. The Dolphins are allowing a point every 26.5 yards, which is an outstanding yards per point number in the NFL.
The Jets did look good last week with their surprisingly easy victory over the Patriots and a solid game from Jets QB M. Sanchez. However, Sanchez's numbers weren't that impressive considering that the Pats have the least experienced starting cornerbacks in the NFL. Miami is allowing only 162 yards per game through the air, so don't look for Sanchez to air it out in this game.
The Dolphins will now be playing their home opener against a Jets team that might be a bit flat after their emotional home win over the Pats last week. The line is definitely manageable, so we're going to bite in what should be a statement win for Miami.
Take Miami -1 at 5Dimes (Loss) NY Jets 31 Miami 23.
Week 2 Picks
Pittsburgh Steelers +5 at Tennessee Titans -5 O/U 36.5
In an important non-divisional matchup this week, the Pittsburgh Steelers head into Tennessee to take on Vince Young and the Titans. The Steelers won their home opener beating Atlanta 15-9. The Titans crushed Oakland 38-13 in their home opener and need to take advantage of the Ben less Steelers this week.
The Steelers will have a tougher time this week if they're going to continue with their conservative game plan against a very aggressive Titans defense. The Titans like to blitz and blitz often which will put constant pressure on QB Dennis Dixon and the Steelers running game. If the Steelers can't establish the run early, the Titans will tee up on Dixon and the young QB will make mistakes.
The Steelers staunch defense is especially solid against the run, holding Atlanta to 58 yards on the ground last week. They will have their hands full trying to stop Chris Johnson, but they have held him to under 70 yards in both games that they faced him.
Really like this well coached Tennessee team right now. They looked sharp in preseason and have carried their strong play into week 1. The Steelers have had a tough time on the road against the Titans in the past, getting blown away in the last 2 with Ben behind center and are 1-7 in their last 8 visits. Now they have to come into the Music City with their 3rd string QB and will be without starting left tackle Max Starks. Yikes! Tennessee will win this game by more than touchdown. Easily!
Take the Titans -5 at 5Dimes. (Loss) Pittsburgh 19 Tennesse 11
Kansas City Chiefs +1 at Cleveland Browns -1 O/U 39
The Kansas City Chiefs head into Ohio to take on the Cleveland Browns. The Chiefs come into this game on a huge emotional high after beating their divisional rival the Chargers in their home opener last Monday night. The young Chiefs played a spirited game in the pouring rain and held off the Chargers, stopping them on 4th and goal in final seconds to win 21-14. Kansas City hadn't beat San Diego at home since 2006 losing their last 3 at Arrowhead.
Cleveland didn't fair as well in their season opener losing 17-14 on the road to Tampa Bay. The Browns were up 14-3 just before the half, looking to add to their lead when Jake Delhomme threw an ill advised pass. The pass was picked off by the Bucs and returned 65 yards to the Cleveland 3 yard line to set up a Tampa Bay touchdown. This was a huge emotional swing in the game. Instead of being up 14 or even 18 points at the half the Browns were only up 4 and the Bucs had all the momentum going into the locker room.
These are two young talented teams that are going to have to suffer some growing pains. I think this week the Chiefs are going to have a tough time on road against a hungry Browns team that just doesn't get any respect from the linesmaker. The Chiefs were badly out yarded against the Chargers. Two of their scores came from a 60 yard run and a 90+ yard punt return. Matt Cassel didn't do much going 10-22 for 68 yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs front four played well, but they'll likely be without DE Tyson Jackson who left the game last week with a strained MCL in his left knee.
Jerome Harrison will be happy to see the Chiefs again. He rushed for 286 yards when the Browns and Chiefs met last December in Kansas City, setting a franchise record. The 286 yards was also the 3rd most ever for a RB in NFL history. Brady Quinn and the Browns won 43-34 for their second win of a 4 game winning streak to end the 2009 season. The Brown's now have Jake Delhomme behind center which is definitely a huge upgrade at QB. So why are the Browns favored by only 1 point in their home opener? Is it the uncertain status of QB Jake Delhomme? Jake twisted his ankle in the first half, but still played the rest of the game, so I'm expecting him to be good to go on Sunday. Here's some more numbers to consider. Cleveland was 10-6 ATS last year overall, but went on a bookie slaying 7-0 against the spread to end the season!
I really like the Browns in this spot laying less than a field goal. If Delhomme is unable to go (check status) we'll lower this play to a lean.
Take the Browns -1 at 5Dimes. (Loss) Kansas City 16 Cleveland 14
Week 1 Pick
Oakland Raiders +6.5 at Tennessee Titans -6.5 O/U 41
Sunday September 12,2010 1:00pm
The Oakland Raiders head down to the Music City to take on the Tennessee Titans in an interesting week 1 matchup. The Raiders have high expectations that Jason Campbell (acquired from the Redskins in the off-season) can lead the Raiders to their first winning season since 2002. Vince Young and the Titans will be hoping to start off the year where they left off in 2009 going 8-2 in their last 10 after dropping their first 6 games of the season.
If the Raiders are going to have any chance is this game they're going to have to slow down Chris Johnson who in my opinion is the best RB in the league bar none.If the Raiders can't contain Johnson this game will get ugly in a hurry. However, Oakland has a few additions on defense and should be better against the run (29th in 2009).
The Titans look to come flying out of the gate this season. After losing their first 6 games behind Kerry Collins, Vince Young came in and guided the Titans to a 8-2 record in their last 10, only losing to the top 2 teams in the AFC the Colts and the Chargers. The Titans defense suffered from the injury bug early last season having some key players in the secondary out. When healthy the Titans are a solid and very aggressive defensive team both against the run and pass.
This looks to be a mismatch on paper, I just don't think the Raiders will be able to slow down the Titans running game. The Titans blitzing attack should be able to keep Campbell under constant pressure. If the Oakland can't establish a running attack, this will be a lopsided affair. The Titans win this one going away by more than 2 touchdowns.
Take the Titans -6.5(-105) at Bodog. (WIN) Tennessee 38 Oakland 13.
Cliff Knox's Pick History For The 2009/2010 Season
Cliff has been red hot going 12-3-1 the last 9 weeks, 4-2 in the playoffs, 25-13-2 on the year, with only 3 losing weeks.
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