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Joe Nelson - About Me

Joe Nelson has been a regular on the Vegas Insider leader board for nearly a decade. 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 2014-15 season.

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By Joe Nelson
Posted 04/02/2015 at 11:49 AM

NL EAST BEST BET: UNDER 81½ – New York Mets: The Mets have had five-straight competitive seasons but they have not cracked 79 wins in that span, winning between 74 and 79 games each year. The expectation that this is the breakthrough season seems to hinge a lot on the arm of Matt Harvey, the young right-hander that had an incredible 2013 season before being injured and undergoing surgery. Harvey has looked great this spring but he will carry very high expectations for a team with some question marks in the bullpen and with an average lineup in a tough hitting ballpark. Jacob drGrom is another promising young pitcher in the rotation for the Mets but the season-ending injury to Zach Wheeler is a huge blow for the Mets. Banking on Bartolo Colon to be as reliable as he was last season seems doubtful and while the Braves and Phillies are expected to sink this season Miami and Washington could both be very good so the wins may not be there to gain for New York who for the first time in recent memory as a higher win total at some outlets than the Yankees.
NL CENTRAL BEST BET: UNDER 78½ – Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers led the NL Central much of last season before a brutal late season crash that left the team barely over .500. The 96-win 2011 season seems like a long time ago and the pitching staff for the Brewers will be banking on another big season from the erratic Wily Peralta as well as the continued breakthrough of Mike Fiers and youngster Jimmy Nelson. Ryan Braun did not resemble his MVP past last season and while the outfield looks promising the infield for Milwaukee could struggle. Ultimately the division looks incredibly tough with the Cardinals and Pirates likely contending for the playoffs again and the Reds and Cubs looking like potentially improved teams. Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza will need to have great seasons to keep Milwaukee in the mix as the rotation does not have a lot of fall back options. The bullpen could be respectable but the psyche of this squad after last year’s slide is certainly a question as well.
NL WEST BEST BET: UNDER 84½ Wins – San Diego Padres: The Padres made a big splash in the off-season with some big names with Matt Kemp and Justin Upton expected to return to their past glory while adding James Shields to bolster the rotation. San Diego has quietly won at least 76 games the past three seasons but making the leap to being a playoff contender will be challenging, particularly in a division with a loaded Dodgers team and the defending World Series champions. Arizona and Colorado are expected to be two of the worst teams in the National League but both teams have capable offenses. Shields is coming off one of the best seasons of his career but the bigger questions will be whether young starters Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross can stay healthy and produce for a full season. The infield certainly looks about as weak as there is the National League and while the outfield has some big names, staying healthy and getting consistent production may not be the norm. If the rotation holds up this will be a winning team but there are enough questions and enough quality in the division to suggest that this number is reaching a bit high, especially if a slow start forces some potential moves.
AL EAST BEST BET: OVER 78½ – Tampa Bay Rays: Losing Andrew Freidman and Joe Maddon will take a toll on the organization but perhaps not immediately. This doesn’t look like the AL East of old with every team a potential playoff contender and the Rays have won at least 90 games in four of the last five seasons. The starting rotation has a chance to be very good, especially once Drew Smyly and Matt Moore are back in action and compared with the rest of the division the pitching staff looks very promising. The infield has some question marks with the loss of versatile players Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez up the middle. All in all this looks like an average team in an average division and the upside of the starting rotation is incredibly high. Limited fan support and a tight budget that could lead to some salary dumping is a possibility but more often than not the Rays have overachieved with last season being the big exception.
AL CENTRAL BEST BET: OVER 84½ Wins – Cleveland Indians: The Indians dropped seven wins from the 2013 season last year but this should be a dangerous team with an improved defense, a quality rotation and a more than capable offense. Adding Brandon Moss gives the Indians a legitimate power source and there are prospects that could be ready to move up by mid season led by Francisco Lindor. The rotation for the Indians could be tremendous with a luxury of having several young talented candidates to fill rotations spots and Cleveland won’t need all of them to pan out for it to be a successful starting staff. Corey Kluber and Michael Brantley certainly are a risk to fall back to earth after huge seasons last year but this division remains weak with Kansas City due for regression, Detroit lacking the punch it has had in past years and the big moves for the White Sox carrying more risk than the more modest moves that Cleveland made. Minnesota looks at least a year away and the Indians should be considered the favorites to win the division and a serious AL contender.
AL WEST BEST BET: UNDER 76½ Wins – Texas Rangers: Texas has had a lot of bad news in the last year and a half with injuries with the spring injury to Yu Darvish being the start of another nightmare run as Texas fell 24 wins from 2013 to 2014. The Texas system has been rich with talent for a number of years but the yield has not hit the MLB level yet and the pitching staff is short on options with Derek Holland and Ross Detwiler being counted on coming off injuries and veterans Yovani Gallardo and Colby Lewis likely with their best days behind them. The West looks like a formidable division this season with Oakland, Seattle, and Los Angeles likely to be in the playoff hunt again this season and Houston likely headed for another season of improvement. It is hard to see the Rangers not being one of the worst teams in the AL at this point and with a new coaching staff it could be a true rebuilding transition season in Texas.



By Joe Nelson
Posted 03/11/2015 at 03:51 PM

The ACC Tournament is now a five-day 14-team event starting this week and the bracket would be even more interesting if the ACC’s 15th team Syracuse was included. While there appears to only be one true bubble team in the conference this season, a lot is at stake in Greensboro this week in the conference tournament.
Top Seed Contenders: In many projections the ACC could claim two #1 seeds on Selection Sunday with 28-2 Virginia and 28-3 Duke both in position to be strongly considered for the moment. At least one of those teams will lose at some point this week however so it may be tough for the ACC to hold on to both spots unless the other candidates also falter with Arizona and Wisconsin currently looking like #2 seeds seeking to move up with Villanova also in the #1 or #2 seed position. Notre Dame could potentially move up to the #2 line by winning the ACC Tournament while Louisville and North Carolina seem likely to fall in the #4-#6 seed range in the NCAA Tournament depending on the results this week, with a likely head-to-head matchup lined up Thursday.
Bubble Teams: Miami looks destined to fall right on the bubble as the team with the most at stake in the ACC this week. The Hurricanes have 11 losses including less impressive misfires with home defeats against Green Bay and Eastern Kentucky as well as conference losses to Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Wake Forest. This has been an erratic team but a dominant win at Duke carries a lot of weight though that is one of just two wins over certain NCAA Tournament teams all season. Miami is the #6 seed in the ACC tournament and they will play Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday’s matchup between Wake Forest and Virginia Tech for the right to face #3 seed Notre Dame. Miami cannot afford an opening loss and a win over the Irish would certainly provide a lot more assurance to the Selection committee. NC State appears to have done enough to qualify even if they lose Wednesday while the next in line teams Pittsburgh and Clemson are far enough away that they would need to win the ACC tournament to get in.
ACC Tournament Favorites: While Virginia is the top seed, Duke won the only meeting in the regular season and in a favorable venue in Greensboro the Blue Devils will enter the week as the favorite in this tournament. With 11 straight wins the Blue Devils have a lot of momentum though the run has not been without some close calls including two overtime wins. With Justin Anderson on the shelf Virginia has struggled a bit down the stretch, losing the regular season finale at Louisville and featuring several tight games with lesser competition as the Cavaliers look like the team that is more vulnerable. With that said the path might be less daunting as Duke’s first game will be with either NC State or Pittsburgh, two teams that have proven capable of playing up to an elite level on occasion this season as the Wolfpack did beat Duke in the regular season. Next Duke would potentially face Notre Dame or Miami, the other two teams to knock off the Blue Devils this year.
ACC Title Sleepers: While most project NC State as a team comfortably in the Big Dance, the Wolfpack may not feel completely secure in that bid and should be a motivated squad. With wins over Duke, Louisville, and North Carolina in the regular season NC State has proven it has a high ceiling even though the overall results were marginal. A difficult first game with Pittsburgh will precede a potential opportunity against Duke in a big local rivalry match in a series that the Wolfpack has been very competitive in during recent seasons. The winner of the potential North Carolina/Louisville quarterfinal matchup will also be a threat as will Miami if the Hurricanes play with the urgency that they need to in order to secure a NCAA Tournament spot.
Cinderella Candidates: It is pretty rare to see one of the bottom teams make a run to a conference tournament title in the major conferences but it is not impossible. The best candidate is likely Pittsburgh, who at 19-13 had a pretty respectable season despite finishing 8-10 in ACC play with losses in the final three games to wipe out any fringe NCAA Tournament hopes. Pittsburgh has been a better scoring defense than the efficiency numbers suggest and this has been one of the best offensive teams in the conference despite the losing record. Wins over Notre Dame and North Carolina prove the Panthers have the ability to play with the top teams and there weren’t many lopsided losses in league play even against the elite teams on the road. Veteran coach Jamie Dixon could get a lot out of a sophomore heavy squad this week and the Panthers would only have to win four games as the #10 seed instead of five games like the four teams below them thanks to Syracuse being absent.
Coaching Farewells? Brian Gregory has been on the hot seat at Georgia Tech all season and with a 3-15 ACC campaign in his fourth season in Atlanta that status has not changed. There are not many scenarios for Gregory to improve his stock this week as this year’s team was filled with upperclassmen and much more was expected. With a task of winning five games to get the Yellow Jackets into the NCAA Tournament it seems likely that this may be Gregory’s final week on the bench in the ACC. The other three teams in the bottom four of the conference all had first year head coaches with their schools after making a change after last season. Clemson certainly had a disappointing finish to the season but Brad Brownell was extended last season and the Tigers are unlikely to make a move. It looks like it will be a third straight NCAA Tournament missed for Leonard Hamilton at Florida State but Hamilton has been in Tallahassee 13 years with enough success to buy more time after a year with a young team and some key injuries. The only other potential move would seem to be an unlikely one at Syracuse but Jim Boeheim will face scrutiny following the NCAA sanctions. The Hall of Famer seems likely to be able to stay or leave on his own terms whenever that may be even if his legacy has been tarnished.


Nelson: Pitchers to Watch - AL
Nelson: Pitchers to Watch - NL
Nelson: Pitchers to Watch - AL
Nelson: Pitchers to Watch - NL
Nelson: June Risers and Sliders
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 Guarantee Leader: +722
2012 MLB Guarantee Leader: +2,480
2012 #2 MLB Totals Leader: +1,208
2011-2012 NBA #2 Money Leader: +1,219
2011-2012 NBA #3 Percentage 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 Percentage Leader: 54%
2006 MLB #2 Member Leader: +1,238
2006 MLB #3 Money Leader: +214
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04/02/2015 at 11:49 AM
2015 MLB Win Total Best Bets

03/11/2015 at 03:51 PM
ACC Tournament March 10-14: What is at stake?

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