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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 09/24/2018 at 06:15 PM

Four NFL quarterbacks have yards per attempt averages greater than 9.0 so far this season and they are none of the usual suspects. (For frame of reference last season Drew Brees led the NFL at 8.1 yards per attempt and only four QBs have bested 9.0 in a season since 2002) Ryan Fitzpatrick’s absurd 13.4 average is sure to go down but Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff are leading great offensive teams that don’t appear likely to slow down. The fourth quarterback in the group is the most surprising with Ryan Tannehill posting 9.3 yards per attempt for the 3-0 Dolphins with Tannehill now a winner in 10 of his last 11 starts. To find Tom Brady on that list you have to scroll down to 24th, at 6.4 yards per attempt, the lowest of his career since his 2002 season. The Patriots are at home the next three weeks and get Juilan Edelman back in Week 5 as his numbers could climb back up.
The Chiefs started 5-0 last season with Alex Smith looking like the league MVP with 8.8 yards per attempt and 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. He only threw 14 touchdowns the rest of the season as the Chiefs lost six of seven games in the middle of the season to fall to 10-6 and then lost at home to open the playoffs. Kansas City has a big Monday night game this week before facing last year’s AFC championship teams back-to-back and Mahomes hasn’t been in any high pressure late game situations yet.
The Rams will be tested in the coming weeks with a very difficult schedule ahead as they could fall from the top of the NFC but should be in great shape in the NFC West.  The Rams are 3-0 against teams that are a combined 1-8 and the upcoming schedule is difficult with a quick turnaround this week to host Minnesota before road games in four of the following five weeks. The Rams and Chiefs will play in the Week 11 Monday Night game in Mexico City but it may not look like the Super Bowl preview many are calling it after three weeks.
The 3-0 team no one is talking about is the Dolphins who have won narrowly in close games against suspect competition. Even if the Dolphins can’t win at New England this week they have a favorable October schedule as this team has to be considered a viable threat in the AFC Playoff picture. We’ll find out Monday if Florida will have two 3-0 teams, with the one Sunshine State team most would have expected not among them.
Quarterback drama started the college season with Alabama unsurprisingly leading with sophomore Tua Tagovailoa and other prominent programs may be making a switch moving forward as well. Clemson appears ready to hand the offense to Trevor Lawrence while Miami made a move last week as well and could opt to give N’Kosi Perry the start this week, even with a quick turnaround for a Thursday night game. Texas Tech has turned around its season with a new quarterback as well though an injury prompted that change, with Alan Bowman the second most productive QB in the nation at this point.
Two top 10 knockout games are ahead this week with the Big Ten East clash between Ohio State and Penn State hoping to replicate wildly entertaining games from the past two seasons.  Stanford and Notre Dame both have had some good fortune this season but both are 4-0 and will have the weight in their respective schedules to be playoff teams if the wins keep coming in.  The Saturday night contest will put one team in a great position to be ready to move up into the top four once the head-to-head conference matchups start to take a toll on the SEC, B1G, Big XII, and ACC contenders.
Old Dominion’s upset over Virginia Tech was actually the fourth FBS vs. FBS upset by an underdog of 28 or more points since the start of 2016 as while certainly an amazing performance, those types of upsets are more common than they used to be. From 1980 to 1997 there were only six such upsets in college football. Since 1998 there have been 18 instances (not counting FCS vs. FBS games) of an upset of that magnitude. By the spread, Jim Harbaugh’s upset for Stanford over USC in 2007 remains the biggest at +39. That was a one-point win and eight of the last nine of the massive upsets have been single-score wins. Old Dominion added a late touchdown rather than taking a knee (by doing exactly what Mario Cristobal is being derided for this week) for a double-digit margin of victory. An injury to Josh Jackson for Virginia Tech was certainly a factor but still a great showing for the Monarchs who showed no signs of that potential in a 0-3 start to the season.



By Joe Nelson
Posted 09/17/2018 at 03:24 PM

NFL kicking remains a confounding area for many head coaches. Nearly 39 percent of the league’s points through 31 games have come through the uprights but only a handful of teams can feel overly comfortable with their kickers. Only 14 of the league’s 32 teams have been able to get through just two games without a field goal miss. The Vikings and Browns are notable as both would be 2-0 if they had made their field goals. 5th round draft pick Daniel Carlson out of Auburn missed three field goals last week including two misses in overtime, with a 35-yard miss at the end leaving Minnesota’s epic comeback with just a tie. Zane Gonzalez made 15 of 20 field goals for the Browns last season as a rookie but he has missed three critical kicks the past two weeks as the Browns remain winless. Veteran kickers aren’t immune either as Chris Boswell is 0-2 with the Steelers unable to pick up a win in two tight games while Mason Crosby missed what would have been a game winner for the Packers. A blocked extra point for Mike Nugent early last week for Oakland also proved costly in an eventual one-point loss.
The Vikings/Packers clash was a compelling and memorable contest but for perhaps for the wrong reasons with the kicking woes as well as highly controversial roughing the passer penalty on Clay Matthews, wiping away an interception that would have ended the game. It isn’t easy to find fault with the hit though there are many similar examples through two weeks in the new rules emphasis. Matthews has nearly cost his team a win with a late penalty in consecutive weeks. His late hit against the Bears was an obvious call; last week’s call probably was earned by his (deserved) reputation as a dirty player with a history of making late and illegal hits. Two ties in two weeks is a rarity as only once since 1998 have there been two NFL ties in the same season. Teams off a tie given all the extra plays run have been worth fading the next week most of the time with a brutal 9-23 S/U record since 1988 with the Steelers and Browns adding to that count last week, though the Browns did cover.
The top two passers this season weren’t starters last season as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Patrick Mahomes have posted incredible numbers through two weeks to best a long lineup of familiar names. Brutal early season schedules looked like hurdles for Tampa Bay and Kansas City but both have been able to outscore their opponents to cover up very shaky defensive performances. Jimmy Garoppolo and Tyrod Taylor were new starters that were expected to shine in good situations but both have struggled taking 19 sacks with five interceptions and barely over 50 percent completions.
The College Football Playoff landscape saw two viable contenders take losses as Wisconsin and Auburn were bumped from the top 10 with both close to the playoffs last season and among the dozen or so realistic candidates this season. Neither is completely eliminated as running the table from here would certainly give Auburn a path to the playoffs while Wisconsin would have a reasonable case with a Big Ten title win even if the West remains a lousy division. Neither looks realistically capable of doing that with both teams featuring daunting remaining road schedules.
The case for Boise State as the unanimously anticipated top Group of 5 threat for the moment took a big hit with an uncompetitive showing in Stillwater. The Broncos aren’t out of the running but it opens the door for the AAC to be first in line for a repeat bid. Three teams are still undefeated in the conference though all lurk in the East as the head-to-head battles will be coming. A sleeper for the bid could be Buffalo with a 3-0 start out of the MAC. Toss-up games the next two weeks vs. Rutgers and Army could put the Bulls on a path similar to Western Michigan’s perfect season two years ago. The strength of schedule component might not be strong enough but the Bulls could have a better shot to wind up undefeated than only a handful of other teams outside of Tuscaloosa, though it is worth noting that it is still an extreme long shot with numerous tough tests in MAC play. Alabama still has nine games to go but has been given a 35% chance to win out in the regular season by FPI, simply a ridiculous figure this early in the year but one that really can’t be argued against. Clemson is considered the next most likely threat at just over half that rate of just 18%, just ahead of Ohio State and Oklahoma. Best of Luck and on this week’s slate…


Nelson: North Carolina at Miami
Nelson: 4th Quarter Covers - Week 4
Nelson: Tulsa at Temple
Nelson: Close Calls - Week 2
Nelson: 4th Quarter Covers - Week 3
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: 08/26/2018 to 09/26/2018
Pick Type: All Picks
Record: 6-9-0 ( 40.0% , -387)
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09/24/2018 at 06:15 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 24

09/17/2018 at 03:24 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 17

09/10/2018 at 04:31 PM
Between the Lines - Sep. 10

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