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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.

1 Pick NCAA Basketball Daily Picks, Sunday February 07
2 Pick nfl Sunday Picks, Sunday February 07

By Joe Nelson
Posted 01/26/2016 at 04:27 PM

There will certainly be a lot of comparisons between Super Bowl XLVIII and next week’s Super Bowl 50 matchup for the obvious correlation between two Peyton Manning led Broncos teams heading into a matchup with an up-and-coming NFC squad with an opportunistic defense. There are some similarities in the matchup but the biggest commonalities are not the ones most people are making. The eventual Super Bowl champion 2013 Seahawks team looks a lot more like the 2015 Denver Broncos than the 2015 Carolina Panthers.
The 2013 Broncos team was an offensive machine, leading the league in scoring (like the 2015 Panthers) by a wide margin and being by far the top offensive team in terms of total yardage (actually producing 90 more yards per game than this year’s Panthers team and nearly 102 yards per game more than the Broncos this season). It was the 2013 Seahawks that had a limited offense (18th in the league in total offense, Denver is 16th this season) and a quarterback that brought some question marks with his ability to move the ball downfield through the air, often settling for check downs and working with conservative play calls. It was also the Seahawks that had the league’s best defense in many areas (like the 2015 Broncos) with Denver’s defense this season allowing about 10 more yards per game than Seattle’s league-leading 2013 squad.
That 10 yard gap is actually about the same production average gap between Carolina’s offense and Denver’s offense this season despite the great contrast in the perception between the offensive ability of these teams. Carolina’s scoring led the league with an incredible turnover margin being a huge factor with the Panthers scoring almost nine more points per game in the regular season compared with the Broncos, but facing just five top 12 yards-per-play defenses this season while Denver has faced 10 such teams. Denver actually had one more defensive touchdown than Carolina in the regular season despite the focus on Carolina making big game-changing plays as the Panthers also had defensive scores in each playoff game.
 Cam Newton’s unique ability to excel in 3rd down and red zone situations will be the key area that should decide the Super Bowl. Denver won the AFC Championship by getting big 3rd (and 4th) down stops vs. New England while holding the Patriots to just one short-field touchdown until the final seconds of the game produced a second end zone strike. The Broncos will need to get those same big stops and leave Graham Gano to lead the scoring for the Panthers rather than Newton.
The Denver team that was ambushed by Seattle in New Jersey two years ago had a very mediocre defense that allowed 73 more yards per game and nearly a touchdown more per game than this year’s Denver squad as there are very few similarities between the two Super Bowl defenses for the Broncos. Carolina’s defense this season statistically falls right in between those two Denver units and falls nowhere near the numbers of the 2013 Seattle squad that they are drawing comparisons to, that team allowed just 14.4 points per game and fewer than 274 yards per game.
 When looking at the season team statistics a better comparison might be last season’s Super Bowl with the Panthers and the 2014 Patriots being a much better comparison and this season’s Broncos team featuring very similar yardage and scoring numbers to last year’s Seahawks team. Super Bowl XLIX was one of the best in recent years and a game that could have gone either way as the Patriots incredibly emerged as 28-24 victors, overcoming a turnover deficit with an edge on 3rd downs being a big area of success. Best of Luck and on to this week’s slate…



By Joe Nelson
Posted 01/11/2016 at 04:48 PM

All four road teams were winners last week in the wild card playoffs which had never happened before though it is worth noting that three of those road teams were favored and the fourth was basically a pick’em most of the week, something that had also never happened before. That all changes this week with all of the four home teams favored, including a three of the four games with spreads higher than any of last week’s closing numbers. Experience edges will be a talking point as the four wild card winners all had more experienced quarterbacks and coaches with stronger playoff track records.
Ultimately Houston and Washington were undeserving playoff teams that won very weak divisions and Cincinnati and Minnesota certainly deserved to win if not for remarkable finishes. Marvin Lewis is now 0-7 in playoff games and some will call for a change in Cincinnati. It is worth noting that his team has only been favored in two of those games and it is not hard to imagine that Cincinnati would have won easily if Andy Dalton had played given the huge mistakes from A.J. McCarron that set the team in an early hole. While the gripes with the officiating are valid for the Bengals it is just another chapter of playoff failure for the franchise that seems to live up to its reputation.
Keep in mind the Bengals did not make the playoffs or have a winning season in the 12 years prior to hiring Lewis and they have now gone 8-8 or better in 11 of the last 13 years. The Bengals can look to their neighbors to the northeast to see what a constant cycle of knee-jerk changes can bring you over time or to remember how bad things were before Lewis came.
In Minnesota another chapter of playoff failure was also written as a great performance from the Vikings in frigid conditions was spoiled with a missed 27-yard field goal as Seattle turned in another miraculous playoff win behind Russell Wilson. The Vikings were ahead of schedule in year 2 under Mike Zimmer and with a very young nucleus this will be a team that expects to contend next season. It won’t be hard to make a case for the Vikings for success next season but the schedule will be tougher and the analytics will surely point downward given how many close games Minnesota won with less than impressive production.
Some speculated that the Patriots tanked in week 17 hoping to avoid dangerous #6 seeds Pittsburgh and New York and most likely play a Bengals team with a back-up quarterback. New England had to be smiling seeing the beat up Bengals rally past Pittsburgh while losing several defensive starters to injury in the process but that matchup was taken away and New England draws a Chiefs team on a roll coming off a dominant victory last week. Pittsburgh meanwhile heads to Denver in what is a fourth straight road game for the team in a rematch from a wild comeback win for the Steelers from just a few weeks ago. The quarterbacks may not be the same however as Peyton Manning is slated to start for Denver and Ben Roethlisberger may be a question mark this week.
The most anticipated game of the week will be in the NFC as the Seahawks head to Carolina in a matchup featuring two of the young star quarterbacks in the league and teams that met in a wild regular season game with a big Carolina comeback in Seattle. The 15-1 Panthers are just a slight favorite rested and at home vs. the Seahawks team in a third straight road game going across the country for an early start game which shows how much respect the marketplace has for the back-to-back defending NFC champions.
The Saturday night game will have the Packers on a short week back in Arizona where the team lost 38-8 in Week 16 with Aaron Rodgers taking eight sacks. There was no defense the last time these teams met in the playoffs in the first playoff game for Rodgers who threw for over 400 yards to bring the Packers back from a 31-10 deficit but had his fumble returned for the winning touchdown. Best of Luck and on to this week’s slate…


Nelson: Close Calls - Divisional Round
Nelson: Close Calls - Week 17
Nelson: Friday's Bowl Tip Sheet
Nelson: Close Calls - Week 16
Nelson: Wednesday's Bowl Tip Sheet
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Joe Nelson's NFL Picks
Period: 01/07/2016 to 02/07/2016
Pick Type: All Picks
Record: 6-3-1 ( 66.7% , +265)
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Start Date: End Date:
01/26/2016 at 04:27 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 26

01/11/2016 at 04:48 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 11

01/04/2016 at 04:33 PM
Between the Lines - Jan. 4

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