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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.

1 Pick NCAA Football Thursday Picks, Thursday November 22
1 Pick NFL Thursday Picks, Thursday November 22

By Joe Nelson
Posted 11/19/2018 at 03:49 PM

All season UCF’s chances for inclusion in the College Football Playoffs seemed at zero given how light the schedule was. They faced just one power 5 foe and while the AAC has been a decent league the gap looked too severe. UCF came through with a dominant win last week in the spotlight and will have a good shot to finish 12-0. That power 5 win over Pittsburgh is also looking more impressive every week. The path for UCF to draw the final playoff spot is actually there without any monumental upsets.
Assume Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame are in and they almost certainly will be even with a loss the next two weeks. UCF needs every Big XII team to finish with two losses, meaning either West Virginia beats Oklahoma this week or Oklahoma loses in the Big XII championship, certainly a plausible scenario. They’ll need Washington State to either lose this week to Washington or next week to Utah, also very realistic. They need Alabama to beat Georgia, at least somewhat comfortably, which also seems likely. The big chip is UCF will need Northwestern to win the Big Ten championship, either against Michigan or Ohio State. The Wildcats would be about a 14-point underdog vs. Michigan but they played the Wolverines tough earlier this season and certainly would have an even better shot vs. OSU.
If all that happens, the fourth spot will be between UCF and only two-loss squads and the Knights will have a case, particularly with an unparalleled 25-game winning streak, even if last season’s results aren’t supposed to matter. UCF needs to beat South Florida on the road this Friday obviously and then will face a capable Memphis or Houston team in the AAC Championship as all the work isn’t done for the Knights and they can play themselves out of the conversation with a loss or even a close call. Alabama would probably be a 21-point favorite in that semifinal game as the ‘best four teams’ argument won’t hold up however.
What the Saints have done the past two weeks has been simply remarkable. The Bengals and Eagles aren’t bad teams, they might finish out of the playoffs but both look like top half teams in the league and the past two weeks they have looked like teams fighting for the #1 draft pick against New Orleans. The Saints still have a difficult remaining schedule with four division games left while drawing Thursday games the next two weeks while next week starting a run of three straight road games. They’ll lose at some point but the oddsmakers have their work cut out for them pricing this team, riding eight consecutive ATS wins.
Sunday’s win for the Bears was tremendous as Chicago will play the Lions and Giants the next two weeks looking to extend its NFC North lead as the Vikings and Packers face off Sunday night. The Vikings are at New England the following week, then in Seattle as one of the preseason NFC favorites will be in danger of falling below .500 as one of the league’s bigger disappointments. The Vikings are still a NFC wild card for the moment and they played the Rams and Saints as tough as anyone despite losing those games as this could still be a dangerous team if they find a way into the field.
9-7 appears to be enough to win the NFC East as while Washington is 6-4 they just lost Alex Smith and will be on the road in four of the final six. That means a 3-7 Giants team isn’t dead yet as this week’s game with the Eagles could provide a spark for either of those disappointing teams that can still climb back in the picture. Dallas will be in the spotlight the next two weeks with Thursday games that will make of break the season and still having to play the Saints is certainly a big disadvantage for the Cowboys in the East race.
Five AFC teams are 5-5 right now with Baltimore currently holding the tiebreaker for the final wild card spot. The Patriots and Texans nearly got a loss from Pittsburgh last week but juggling the #3 and #4 spots will be a big deal with a huge advantage likely to the team that earns the #3 spot vs. the #4 squad likely facing a tough Chargers team. The Colts and Broncos are the teams outside the AFC playoff picture that should offer the most concern for the contenders. The Indianapolis offense is really picking up some life while Denver has proven it can compete with the best this season. If Denver can beat Pittsburgh at home this week they have very favorable schedule the rest of the way. The Colts will still play all three division road games as catching Houston isn’t likely but this is a squad Dallas can’t be thrilled to see lurking on the schedule in Week 15. Best of Luck and on to this week’s slate…



By Joe Nelson
Posted 11/12/2018 at 02:37 PM

After tonight’s Monday Night clash between historical powers but awful current teams, Week 11 will provide three very enticing primetime games on the schedule with a huge wild card race game between the Packers and Seahawks with a lot of notable recent history between those teams. The Vikings and Bears have been flexed to Sunday night in a battle for the division lead while the Monday night game in Mexico City between the Chiefs and the Rams is one of the most anticipated games of the season. With an opening total in the 60s it could also be the highest total in NFL history, as our database back to 1980 only has two games north of 60 in it, led by a Rams/49ers matchup in 2000 that closed at 62 but stayed ‘under’ with a 38-24 result. The playoff game between the Lions and the Saints in January of 2012 also closed at 60 with a 45-28 win for New Orleans.
The Saints have now covered in seven straight games while winning S/U in eight consecutive games since losing the opener hosting Tampa Bay. Last week’s scheduling spot appeared to be dangerous but New Orleans delivered a dominant win in Cincinnati. It does feel at times that the NFL rules are currently designed for the Saints as few teams get away with more questionably legal blocks in the passing game. Incredibly New Orleans has just three penalties for 25 yards the past two big games despite running 144 offensive plays. Credit the Saints for a great run to the top of the NFC but while the Rams draw a tough game this week they finish with losing teams in four of the final five after the Week 12 bye week. The Saints will have a difficult finish facing Carolina twice plus Pittsburgh in the final three weeks while the next three games will be against quality teams fighting for their postseason lives facing the Eagles, Falcons, and Cowboys in succession. Needless to say the NFC race is still open and don’t expect the ATS streak to continue much longer.
It seems to be that the best way to beat Bill Belichick is to have coached with him as Mike Vrabel and Matt Patricia have provided two of the three New England losses with mostly mediocre Lions and Titans squads dominating the perennial AFC champions. At 7-3 heading into the bye week the Patriots are right where they need to be as they still have four division games remaining and it will be a shock if New England doesn’t finish at least 11-5. Pittsburgh has been rising in recent weeks but the Steelers have difficult road games the next two weeks while still having late season games vs. the Chargers, Patriots, and Saints.
The AFC West Champion will likely be the top seed in the AFC and that isn’t certain to be the Chiefs. A loss to the Rams this week would leave the Chargers and Chiefs potentially tied in the division race with Los Angeles getting a chance to avenge the Week 1 loss in Week 15 in Kansas City and both teams have favorable remaining schedules overall. The forgotten team that could sneak into one of those top two spots in the AFC is certainly the Texans who have won six in a row and figure to be favored in six of the final seven games. The stakes will be high for not being the #4 squad in the AFC and in turn facing the AFC West runner-up in the wild card round compared with the #3 squad hosting the last team in the field, which is currently Cincinnati.
It will be a surprise if the Rams and Saints are not the top two in the NFC field but the team poised to potentially sneak into the mix is the Chicago Bears. Matt Nagy’s squad only trails the Rams by 10 points for the best scoring differential in the NFC and the remaining road games for the Bears are at the Lions, Giants, and 49ers, before a Week 17 game in Minneapolis. The Bears host the Vikings this week and could be a serious NFC contender if they win that game to take control of the division. Chicago also gets a chance to host the Rams in Week 14 to move up in the NFC picture, in what will be the only cold weather game of the season for the Southern California squad.
No big chips fell in the college landscape as all the top 10 teams in the playoff rankings won last week, despite Oklahoma’s defense giving its best effort to make waves. There are many intriguing games this week but ultimately few that will impact the playoff picture. Clemson and Notre Dame both have games away from home but both can probably lose a game and still wind up back in the top four by season’s end. Michigan and Ohio State will need to survive lesser Big Ten East games to make next week’s showdown matter in the national picture. The biggest games this week fall in the Big XII as while the conference is a playoff long shot there is a lot of sorting out to do before next week’s Oklahoma/West Virginia game.
Louisville fired Bobby Petrino this week to perhaps end a checkered and fascinating run for the 57-year-old Montana native. The Cardinals will certainly be calling Jeff Brohm, a former QB at the school and a former Petrino assistant. Brohm is in a good spot at Purdue though the Boilermakers aren’t even bowl-eligible yet, as he’ll have to weigh a move that would likely wind up reminiscent of Scott Frost’s struggle in Lincoln this year. Best of Luck and on to this week’s slate…


Nelson: Miss State at Ole Miss
Nelson: Close Calls - Week 11
Nelson: 4th Quarter Covers - Week 12
Nelson: Tulane at Houston
Nelson: Close Calls - Week 10
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: 10/21/2018 to 11/21/2018
Pick Type: All Picks
Record: 18-12-1 ( 60.0% , +488)
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Start Date: End Date:
11/19/2018 at 03:49 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 19

11/12/2018 at 02:37 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 12

11/05/2018 at 03:50 PM
Between the Lines - Nov. 5

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