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Joe Nelson - About Me

Joe Nelson has been a regular on the Vegas Insider leader board since 2006. Well known for producing the Nelly’s Sportsline Green Sheet football newsletter, Nelson provides his very best picks to Vegas Insider clients.
The 2013-14 football season was especially profitable for Nelson, finishing as the Vegas Insider win percentage leader in BOTH the NFL and college football at 60%, finishing as the money leader in the NFL and #2 in money earned in college football amongst the deep and excellent field of handicappers at Vegas Insider. Few handicappers have ever been able to put together such strong finishes in both disciplines in the same season.
Nelson has also produced strong seasons in basketball and baseball in addition to the success in football as a long list of documented top finishes on Vegas Insider indicates. Nelson was also the champion of the prestigious Wise Guys Football Contest in 2011, besting a field of 72 national handicappers and then went on to finish 2nd in the same contest in 2012 for impressive back-to-back finishes.
With a statistics background and years of experience working with several established handicappers as well as over a decade as a professional handicapper, Nelson provides a unique approach with traditional methods as well as innovative strategies. Nelson’s handicapping focuses on team situations, schedule analysis, and line evaluation as well as following a variety of statistical indicators that are incorporated into the process.
You can find regular blog posts and articles for insight and commentary throughout the year and be sure to consider getting on board for a successful season.

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By Joe Nelson
Posted 10/15/2018 at 05:45 PM

LSU beating Georgia last week on the outset seems to be a big blow to the SEC’s hopes of again putting two teams in the national playoffs. All that needs to happen however is that LSU wins out and Alabama will be sitting there at 11-1 but unable to play in the SEC Championship. The SEC champion will still get a spot and Alabama will be next in line if there is an opening for a one-loss squad even though an 11-1 Alabama resume with a loss to LSU will be a very weak rated schedule with the highest quality win being a pick of marginal home wins over Texas A&M, Mississippi State, or Auburn. It won’t matter given the dominance and the track record of the program. The Tide won’t have as strong of a case to exclude an undefeated but shaky performer from the trio of Clemson, Ohio State, and Notre Dame however, as would have been the case had there been a 12-0 showdown in the SEC Championship. While there isn’t currently an obvious road block for those three teams all have shown plenty of vulnerability and it will be a surprise to see all three survive.
Michigan was the other big riser last week along with LSU in the national narrative but the Wolverines have three extremely difficult regular season games remaining as it is more likely that Michigan finishes 8-4 than wins out to take the Big Ten championship. Last week’s win over Wisconsin sounds impressive but the Badgers are a depleted team that hasn’t come close to matching last season’s results. Texas has a path to lead the Big XII but Sam Ehlinger’s injury could be a problem and needing to potentially beat Oklahoma again would be a major hurdle. Losing to Maryland will also prove impossible to overcome when compared to a potential one-loss Big Ten team that will likely have a dominant win over Maryland on its resume as the Big XII isn’t in a great spot right now. Ultimately the conference does have a realistic shot to put together a one-loss champion that will be in the conversation however and with plenty of big games in the Big Ten East and ACC left to sort out, things could be worse. Oklahoma still has several tough road games remaining however and the conference will need the Sooners to climb to the championship game without another loss to have a shot.
The Pac-12 has been assumed to be out of the running for weeks but Oregon is the team that could wind up making a decent case if there are multiple spots for one-loss teams. The loss for the Ducks came early and was a game they dominated and deserved to win which could help the narrative. They will have quality road wins if they win out and if a South squad can emerge as a viable performer, the championship game could provide a boost. Should USC beat Notre Dame in late November and then Oregon beats USC the door could open a bit out West for the possibility. The absolutely atrocious non-conference schedule will ultimately keep the chances for Oregon minimal however. The Ducks would probably need an upset by the Big Ten West or the ACC Coastal in championship weekend games to make it a realistic possibility, taking advantage of a recency bias unless the next six weeks turn into complete chaos and two-loss teams are in the conversation.
The team with the most to gain this week is NC State. The Wolfpack are a massive underdog at Clemson but has played tough in that matchup the past two years. Follow-up games with Syracuse and Florida State can’t be assumed but NC State should be a solid favorite in every November game. NC State has scheduled a December 1 game with East Carolina but will cancel that game if they make the ACC Championship as they will only need to get to 12-0 as the early season game with West Virginia was cancelled. Clemson has looked beatable this season against Texas A&M and Syracuse as the Wolfpack are the one ultra deep sleeper that would have good path to perfection if they can put together one big win this week as the ACC Coastal champion won’t be an overly daunting foe.
Six weeks are nearly in the books in the NFL and the Rams are the only remaining undefeated team and the only team with more than a one-game lead in the division standings. The Rams have the best scoring differential in the NFL as well but a really difficult stretch of games is ahead in Weeks 8-11 as this isn’t likely to be an undefeated team much longer. Right now the AFC would feature two new division winners and three new playoff teams while the NFC would feature two new division winners and two new playoff teams but most divisions are quite tightly packed. Best of Luck and on this week’s slate…



By Joe Nelson
Posted 10/08/2018 at 05:08 PM

At this point last season Kansas City was 5-0 and Alex Smith had completed over 76 percent of his passes for 8.8 yards per attempt with 13 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Patrick Mahomes is likewise getting MVP talk while posting not nearly as strong of numbers with just over 63 percent completions for 8.6 yards per attempt, posting 14 touchdowns and two interceptions, while having fewer rushing yards. Mahomes has had a great start to his career but the pace can and will likely change in a hurry. Last season Smith and the Chiefs went 1-6 the next seven weeks and Kansas City could see a similar fall in stature mid-season.
Part of it can be attributed to playing with a lead but the Chiefs are allowing 462 yards per game for the NFL’s worst total defense by nearly 60 yards per game. The Chiefs are last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per attempt by a half yard per attempt while also well below average in pass defense. The Chiefs have allowed 84 more yards per game than last season’s worst defensive team, Tampa Bay and will be among the worst defenses historically even if they show a dramatic improvement in the coming weeks.
The Chiefs will be the 11th 5-0 NFL team to be an underdog in their sixth game with those teams going 3-7 S/U but 5-4-1 ATS historically, though 1-3 ATS since 2007 and 0-3 S/U if the team being faced is the Patriots. This week’s Sunday night game is a rematch of the season-opening game for the 2017 season and like last season Kansas City emerged as the AFC favorite early in the season before being passed up by the Patriots as usual. New England led last season’s game 27-21 into the fourth quarter before Kansas City scored the final 21 points for the road upset in Week 1 as an 8-point underdog. 42 points allowed in that game is the most ever allowed by the Patriots at home under Bill Belichick.
While the Chiefs could still face some competition from the Chargers and Broncos in the AFC West before the season ends, the league’s other 5-0 team already has a three-game cushion in the NFC West. The Rams have battled injuries the past two weeks and aren’t likely to sustain the perfect pace but the division could be wrapped up by late November. San Francisco, Arizona, and Seattle have combined for four wins in five weeks and none of the three teams look like realistic threats to reach .500. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Rams will cruise to the NFC’s top spot however as they are in the midst of a  run of three straight road games and will face the Packers, Saints, and Chiefs in a four-week span in late October and early November as a few losses are bound to happen.  
Overtime games have been a constant this season with eight already through five weeks. Teams coming off an overtime game have struggled the following week with the extra plays possibly taking a toll. Following an overtime game teams are collectively 3-9 S/U and 3-8-1 ATS the next game with the Ravens, Browns, Cowboys, and Texans potentially at risk this week. It is worth noting that the Browns have covered the next week in both instances after their previous two overtime games, now having played three in five weeks. Houston has also now played back-to-back overtime games as well.
Notre Dame has passed its big tests and will be favored the rest of the way. A perfect season won’t make the Irish a lock for the College Football playoff however as the schedule might wind up heavily scrutinized by season’s end. The win over then #7 Stanford took a bit hit with the Cardinal losing again last week and the Irish will now need to hope that Michigan and Virginia Tech can stay nationally relevant. Looking at the schedules however it will be hard for either of those teams to avoid at least two more losses each as Notre Dame might not have a top 25 win by the end of the season.
Clemson and Ohio State have the best probability to win out nationally to potentially eat two spots and if Georgia and Alabama are both 12-0 and play a close SEC title game, someone other than Georgia or Alabama will be left out. The Irish will likely have the least weight on their resume in that conversation against potential undefeated B1G or ACC champions. West Virginia could also put its name in that hat as well though the Mountaineers being 13-0 will mean they will devalue their own conference with multiples losses for everyone else. Upsets tend to happen in October as things will likely sort themselves out before that scenario ever materializes however. Best of Luck and on this week’s slate…


Nelson: Stanford at Arizona State
Nelson: Close Calls - Week 6
Nelson: 4th Quarter Covers - Week 7
Nelson: Close Calls - Week 5
Nelson: Texas Tech at TCU
2017-2018 NBA Member Leader: +493
2017-2018 NBA Money Total: +1,053
2017-2018 NCAA BK #2 Percent Leader: 57%
2017-2018 NCAA BK Money Total: +2,129
2017 MLB #3 Totals Leader: +682
2015-2016 NCAA BK #3 Money Leader: +1,709
2015-2016 NCAA BK #3 Percent Leader: 56%
2014 MLB #3 Favorites Leader: +1,100
2013-2014 NBA #3 Totals Leader: +993
2013-2014 NFL Money Leader: +1,340
2013-2014 NFL Percent Leader: 60%
2013-2014 NFL Guaranteed Leader: +805
2013-2014 NCAA FB Percent Leader: 60%
2013-2014 NCAA FB #2 Money Leader: +1,446
2013-2014 NCAA FB #3 Member Leader: +940
2012-2013 NFL #2 Member Leader: +200
2012-2013 NCAA FB Guaranteed Leader: +722
2012 MLB Guaranteed Leader: +2,480
2012 #2 MLB Totals Leader: +1,208
2011-2012 NBA #2 Money Leader: +1,219
2011-2012 NBA #3 Percent Leader: 55%
2011-2012 NBA #3 Member Leader: +711
2011 MLB #3 Underdog Leader: +1,607
2011 MLB #2 Member Leader: +1,789
2008-2009 NCAA BK Guaranteed Leader: +1,250
2007-2008 NCAA BK Member Leader: +1,450
2008 MLB #2 Guaranteed Leader: +2,236
2007-2008 NFL #3 Money Leader: +1,470
2006-2007 NCAA FB Member Leader
2006-2007 NBA #3 Percent Leader: 54%
2006 MLB #2 Member Leader: +1,238
2006 MLB #3 Money Leader: +214

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Joe Nelson's NFL Picks
Period: 09/18/2018 to 10/18/2018
Pick Type: All Picks
Record: 8-11-1 ( 42.1% , -420)
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Start Date: End Date:
10/15/2018 at 05:45 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 15

10/08/2018 at 05:08 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 8

10/01/2018 at 03:32 PM
Between the Lines - Oct. 1

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