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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.

No daily picks currently submitted. Please check back throughout the day.

By Joe Nelson
Posted 12/11/2018 at 02:39 PM

Half of last week’s division leaders in the NFL all lost last week and that was with the Chiefs, Cowboys, and Saints all surviving very tight games. The net impact was minimal in the standings however as there weren’t seismic shifts in the playoff picture. The Saints are now back ahead of the Rams in the NFC but New Orleans is far more likely to lose again in the final three weeks than the Rams are as that could certainly flip back. Chicago made a big statement in the NFC but it would take a stunning turn of events for the Bears to move into the NFC’s top two with Chicago more likely to surrender the NFC North lead than to claim a bye in the NFC playoffs. The biggest impact win came from Dallas, effectively closing the door on a once tight NFC East race.
In the AFC the Thursday night contest between the Chiefs and Chargers looms large to start Week 15 although Kansas City will be in front of the division into Week 16 even if the Chargers win. Both teams have tricky Week 16 games ahead however as a two-game slide for this week’s loser will certainly be possible. The Texans, Patriots, and Steelers are all still in decent shape leading their respective divisions but the contrast in being the #2 team in the AFC vs. the #4 team in the AFC will be massive as the #4 squad will host either the Chiefs or Chargers in the wild card round. That #4 team looks pretty likely to be the AFC North champion and it isn’t safe to assume that will be the Steelers at this point. Baltimore and even Cleveland are still in the picture though both teams have tough games ahead before facing off in Week 17. Pittsburgh could open the door however having to play New England and then at New Orleans in the next two weeks as it won’t be a shock if the Steelers head into Week 17 at 7-7-1 where the Bengals would have a chance to play spoiler in a series they have had mostly disastrous results in during the Marvin Lewis era. The Steelers could also right their season with a win hosting New England this week, looking to avenge a controversial loss from last season, also in Week 15 in a game that shifted the playoff standings.
Kyler Murray is the second straight Oklahoma quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy. He’ll look to avoid Baker Mayfield’s fate as a loser in the College Football Playoff semifinals as the #4 seed with Murray’s squad a much bigger underdog than Mayfield was. The matchup now has extra juice for the favorite as Alabama Tua Tagovailoa was the Heisman runner-up and certainly could have a bit more to prove as if the stakes weren’t already high enough. The Heisman winner has lost the past two years in bowl action but those players won (at least their first) bowl games in the seven previous seasons after the Heisman ‘curse’ was revived in the mid-2000s.
In recent years jumping on early bowl prices to fade teams with potential NFL first round draft pick quarterbacks has had some merit. West Virginia QB Will Grier isn’t a necessarily a first round grade for everyone but he announced he will be sitting in the bowl game for the Mountaineers and the line has since fallen six points. Justin Herbert, Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, and Daniel Jones are certainly worth keeping an eye on ahead of bowl games still weeks away. A lot of the teams likely to be drafting in the top 10 in the 2019 draft don’t look likely to draft a quarterback other than perhaps Jacksonville however as the QB market could over saturate quickly and there is of course a chance that the non-seniors opt to return to school.
While last season it was quite obvious most of the season who would have the #1 pick in the draft there are currently seven NFL teams at 3-10 or 4-9 and another four at 5-8 as there is still a lot of sorting out to do in the race to the bottom. This season Houston, Indianapolis, and Chicago have all climbed out of the bottom of that picture to be playoff threats this season. The top candidates to do so next season include San Francisco, Jacksonville, Atlanta, and Detroit with all of those squads dipping this season after good results last season. Best of Luck and on to this week’s slate…



By Joe Nelson
Posted 12/03/2018 at 04:20 PM

Outside of a great SEC Championship game there was not a lot of drama on championship weekend as the teams that needed to win got the job done. The spread results were in flux most of the way in all the big games and one could easily make a case that none of the five power five title game favorites deserved to cover even though Alabama was the lone favorite that fell short of the spread. Washington didn’t score an offensive touchdown but won and covered with some controversy Friday in the Pac-12, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Ohio State all scored very, very late to barely slip past heavy favorite spreads as well with the Sooners and Buckeyes caught in single-score games most of the second halves.
In now a fifth season of the College Football Playoffs there is yet to be a major game-changing championship game upset to shake up the course of action. There is certainly a case to be made for Georgia or even Ohio State but ultimately the committee had a rather easy task this season with three power five champions undefeated and with Oklahoma able to avenge its only loss of the season in the Big XII championship. For the second season in a row the Big Ten has been shutout of the playoff with Ohio State losing badly in a Big Ten West road game to blame, though had the Buckeyes only lost by one to Purdue it likely wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the bracket. Georgia certainly passes the ‘best four teams in’ argument but the committee would have had to make Alabama/Georgia the 1-4 matchup for an instant rematch, certainly a compelling prospect to SEC fans but a hard argument to sell to the rest of the nation and the other conferences. Had Georgia and Alabama both been undefeated and then played that SEC title game, they both certainly would have held on to spots.
While the goal is to get the best four teams in the playoff, double-digit spreads in both semifinal games isn’t exactly enticing from a fan’s perspective. In fact on the early released lines that are subject to change the two biggest spreads in any of the bowl games are the two national semifinal games and these lines are currently the highest and third highest lines of the playoff era with only the Washington/Alabama line two years ago at -13 in that range above 10 points. That doesn’t mean the games will be duds however but it does mean that the four best teams are probably not in the field as games involving Georgia or Michigan would likely have had lower numbers.
UCF didn’t get the perfect storm it needed to have a spot available to them or only two-loss teams which might have forced the committee to include them. The Fiesta Bowl stage vs. LSU will be a great opportunity to again make its case to the nation. Stanford and Pitt are on the non-conference schedule next September for the Knights if they can close the season on a 26-game winning streak.
A nine-win AFC division champion looked likely most of the first half of the season but Houston has now won nine in a row to elevate the AFC South. No one would have expected that the AFC North victor might be a nine-win team but Pittsburgh could be headed that direction. After an incredibly fortunate Week 11 win put Pittsburgh at 7-2-1 and in the AFC’s top two, the Steelers have dropped back-to-back games in crushing fashion. Pittsburgh should win in Oakland this week but they then have the Patriots and the Saints on the schedule. The door may be open for the Ravens in the division race but Baltimore’s path is even worse with road games in Kansas City and Los Angeles while hosting dangerous Tampa Bay and Cleveland squads as the current grip on the AFC’s final wild card spot is far from secure for Baltimore even with three straight wins behind Lamar Jackson.
Cleveland and Green Bay have already opened the doors for a new coaching candidate with four weeks to go in the season. A few other openings will follow with the Jets and Buccaneers certainly expected by many to join the list. Long-tenured coaches in Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Dallas could find the door depending on how the season finishes and Doug Marrone may not be safe in Jacksonville. A poor finish could also put Jay Gruden at risk in Washington. The Green Bay opening seems like the obvious top destination with an established HOF quarterback but Aaron Rodgers hasn’t proven to be the easiest to work with and the cap flexibility in Cleveland might offer more opportunity in the short and long term despite the contrasting franchise histories. Best of Luck and on to this week’s slate…


Nelson: Close Calls - Week 14
Nelson: Close Calls - Week 13
Nelson: 4th Quarter Covers - Week 14
Nelson: Saturday's Group of 5 Tips
Nelson: MAC Championship Preview
2018 MLB #3 Totals Leader: +1,076
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: 11/12/2018 to 12/12/2018
Pick Type: All Picks
Record: 15-8-1 ( 65.2% , +611)
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Start Date: End Date:
12/11/2018 at 02:39 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 10

12/03/2018 at 04:20 PM
Between the Lines - Dec. 3

11/26/2018 at 02:21 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 26

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