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The Black Cat's 128K Picks of 2017

Twitter: @BlackCatNfl

2006: 58%
2007: 58%
2008: 62%
2009: 49%
2010: 60%
2011: 53%
2012: 43%
2013: 52%
2014: 45%
2015: 60% Hilton Contest Winner w/ 65%
2016: 45%

Week 1: 2-5-1 (Stars: 5-13)
Week 2: 4-4 (Stars: 11-14)
Week 3: 6-2 75% (Stars: 22-5.5 80%)
Week 4: 5-3 63% (Stars: 13.5-6.5 68%)
Week 5: 1-4-1 (Stars: 1-12.5)
Week 6: 3-4 (Stars: 11-14)

Favorites:6-11-1
Underdogs: 15-11-1
Overall: 21-22-2 (Stars: 63.5-65.5)

GOW: 3-3

WEEK 7

46. Oakland +3 Kansas City (3 Stars)

The Chiefs remain the best offense in the game despite getting dominated last week by the Steelers. They won't find the Raiders much easier, and the Raiders probably took some notes last week. But the real question here is can the Raiders offense improve with Carr back under center for the 2nd week? They face a giant ypp disadvantage that Carr must make up for by playing better. The good news is that there is nowhere to go but UP!
Raiders 30, Chiefs 27

TO BE CONTINUED...

I got burned on favorites again. We've had two straight weeks of underdog domination, and I incorrectly went for a couple thinking the tide would change. As bad as that was, it could have been worse. I also like Detroit, Tampa, and Washington.

25 units in play for...

WEEK 6

39. Philadelphia +3.5 Carolina (5 Stars GOW) **WIN**

The Panthers have struggled to run the ball all season, and that won't get much better against the Eagles. Newton has been explosive the last couple weeks, but the struggling running game will set him up for failure. He was sacked NINE times in their 2014 matchup! Will it go any better this time? The computer really likes this one and is a standout road dog on the board, so it earned GOW selection!
Philadelphia 26, Carolina 20

40. Denver -11.5 NY Giants (4.5 Stars) LOSS

I'm not even sure the Giants can field a complete team! Remember what Denver did to Dallas? Dallas had an offense. The Giants are probably holding tryouts right now. They are so desperate, they'd probably sign the Eagles guy from that movie. This one has U-G-L-Y written all over it. While the focus is on the flailing Giants offense, the Broncos hold a massive ground advantage in this one that may be one of the biggest of the season.
Broncos 20, Giants 0

41. Atlanta -11.5 Miami (4.5 Stars) LOSS

If Adam Gase and the owner make good on their promise to bench kneelers, would it matter? The Dolphins best play is a kneel. Last week, they managed one of the ugliest "victories" in NFL history putting up a net 78 yards passing. Good luck with that against the ATLANTA FALCONS. Talk about a ypp mismatch? Miami will be eating birdshit in this game and the fans will be snorting coke to forget it.
Falcons 23, Miami 3

42. LA Chargers +3.5 Oakland (4 Stars) **WIN**

While Carrís return is a welcome sight for Raiders fans, I donít feel it guarantees them victory. The Chargers play *somewhere* in California and I have much more faith in Rivers to roll up the yardage than Carr in this matchup. Add to it the fact that Carr is going to be laid out on his very sore back, and there is risk in Oakland. Expect the Raiders to lean on their running game to carry them through. While they may grind out the clock successfully, that doesnít necessarily translate to a big win.
Chargers 22, Raiders 21

43. KC -3.5 Pittsburgh (3 Stars) LOSS

Pittsburgh is getting a lot of respect after a dreadful performance vs. the Jags, but you canít overlook the fact that KC is simply playing better football.
Chiefs 27, Steelers 21

44. Cleveland +9 Houston (2 Stars) LOSS

Houston had some big losses on defense last week, but they showed they can definitely play offense. Thatís troublesome for the Browns who struggle on offense, although perhaps not the worst in the league at that position. Interestingly enough, Cleveland might even roll up more yardage in the air than the Texans this week! I know thatís a bold claim, but enough to make me want to take the points.
Browns 20, Texans 27

45. Chicago +6.5 Baltimore (2 Stars) **WIN**

Both of these teams are struggling in the passing game mightily, so letís look at the running game for a key on how this will go. In that, I like the Bears a bit more for having the better total yards and ypr average in this game. Thatís enough for me to take the points.
Bears 23, Ravens 27

WEEK 5

15 Units in play this week as the byes are starting to mount! But so are the wins...

33. Cleveland +1 NY Jets (5 Stars GOW) LOSS

I actually heard someone refer to the Jets today as being ďon fireĒ. And I think they actually meant it in a positive way. Admittedly, it would be hard to play worse than the Browns have done so far, but I think the Jets schedule has been a farce and they are going to cool down.
Browns 21, Jets 16

34. Pittsburgh -7 Jacksonville (3 Stars) LOSS

You can pretty much cut and paste what I said about the Jets and apply it to Jacksonville. Vegas is asking a lot of the Steelers with this line, but I think they know what they are doing as the Jags step up in class. The line has been flying towards Jacksonville but the Steelers have won 10-of-11 at home and face a Jaguars team yielding massive yards-per-rush against the surging Bell.
Steelers 23, Jaguars 10

35. Tennessee -2.5 Miami (2.5 Stars) LOSS

Tennesseeís offense is rolling, and Miami has scored 25 points ALL SEASON so farÖand most of that was in their first game. The main tilt here shows up in the running game.
Titans 22, Dolphins 19

36. St. Louis -1.5 Seattle (2 Stars) LOSS

Did you know the Rams are leading the NFL In points scored? Their defense may be Patriot-like in its lack of effectiveness, but the Seahawks arenít exactly lighting it up these days. No doubt the public will be all over the Seahawks, so this smacks of a good wiseguy bet to me.
Rams 27, Seahawks 24

37. Minnesota -3 Chicago (1.5 Stars) PUSH

Minnesotaís defense is a wall and Chicagoís offense is anemic.
Vikings 24, Bears 17

38. Indianapolis -1.5 San Francisco (1 Star) **WIN**

How does it get better than the Colts against the 49ers? The 49ers are a completely hopeless franchise that simply can not win football games Ė and usually can not even be competitive. Plus the Colts have Frank Gore, who has to be smacking his lips!
Colts 25, 49ers 23

Now that I have some 2017 data to work with, the wins are piling up with 11-5 (36-12 units) over the past 2 week! Considering one of my losses was the Redskins covfefe ending, another great weekend for TBC nation...

WEEK 4

I'm laying out 20 Units this week. I feel strong about the lower rated ones, but it looks like a strong board to me and relative strength prevailed. Yahoo has me rated over 60% for every game played this season vs. the spread and we hit the homer in Week 3!

25. N.Y. Giants +2.5 TB (5 Stars) **WIN**

At least the Giants defense can play, and the offense can only get better... especially against the burnt Bucs.
Giants 17, Bucs 16

26. Tennessee -2.5 Houston (4 Stars) LOSS

Remember the Titans? They have more offense in their pinky than the Texans have in their entire hand. And not much seperates these defenses right now.
Titans 24, Texans 17

27. Carolina +9 New England (3.5 Stars) **WIN**

The Patriots struggles on defense still exist and that's exactly the boost the Panthers need right now.
Panthers 21, Patriots 24

28. Cincinnati -3 Cleveland (2 Stars) **WIN**

Playing the worst defense in the league, the Bengals offense can only find ways to look better.
Cincinnati 24, Cleveland 19

29. LA Rams +6.5 Dallas (1.5 Stars) **WIN**

I prefer the Rams offense right now, and I'm not a huge believer in the Cowboys defense. On the line, it is strength vs. strength.
Rams 24, Cowboys 27

30. Washington +7 KC Chiefs (1.5 Stars) LOSS

The Redskins bounce of an epic performance, but they'll have to do it against the hottest team in the league. The Skins don't figure to go down easy in this battle of Little Big Horn.
Redskins 17, Chiefs 23

31. Denver -3 Oakland (1.5 Star) **WIN**

Last week, Oakland couldn't handle Washington's maligned defense. What are the Broncos going to do to them?
Broncos 26, Raiders 20

32. Baltimore +3 Pittsburgh (1 Star) LOSS

Baltimore is vertically challenged in this matchup and the offense is not playing well, but 3 points at home is asking an awful lot in this heated division rivalry that is going to be fiercely contested on both sides of the ball.
Ravens 24, Steelers 23

WEEK 3

The Black Cat is a computerized prediction system based on 2017 statistics. While it would be great to do well in weeks 1 & 2 (and often have in week 2), my results from the early games are largely meaningless. As the season goes on, I get Category 5 stronger! I'm actually having a good season so far as my unpublished picks are going virtually undefeated. If you want some off-the-record selections and updates, tune in to my twitter @blackcatnfl for full schedule musings...

17. Cincinnati +8.5 Green Bay (5 Stars GOW) **WIN**

NFL teams bounce around certain medians. You'd be surprised at how thin the margin is between the best and worst teams mathematically. The Bengals actually have a very good defense and the offense has absolutely nowhere to go but UP after firing their offensive coordinator. Meanwhile, the Packers look a bit less impressive now that we saw Seattle struggle at home to move the ball and getting punked last week. The statistical projections are pedestrian enough not to make you want to lay 8.5 points. So the points are a good value on this side that only a computer can love!
Bengals 17, Packers 21

18. New Orleans +6.5 Carolina (4.5 Stars) **WIN**

Cam Newton should lead the league in passing this week against the Saints defense, and I certainly wouldn't bench him in fantasy football. But again, week 3 is a bit about norms and I expect the Saints to somehow look better when not facing Tom Brady. The Saints also seem to play better on the road. Facing an 0-3 start, this looks like a bounce-back game for the easy Breesy!
Saints 17, Panthers 20

19. Buffalo +3 Denver (3.5 Stars) **WIN**

C'mon now, Trevor isn't the next John Elway, just like the other Trevor isn't Jon Stewart. The defense humiliated the Cowboys and the offense lapped it all up, but the Broncos don't figure to run away with this one and it's going down to the wire with the Broncos Qb on the road. I'm calling...an UPSET!
Bills 21, Broncos 20

20. KC -3 LA Chargers (3 Stars) **WIN**

Whose HOUSE? CHIEFS HOUSE! The Chargers continue to play "on the road" in LA against the hottest team in the NFL. While Rivers can move the ball, their defense sucks. No reason to think the Chiefs won't take it to them and through them.
Chiefs 26, Chargers 20

21. Seattle +3 Tennessee (3 Stars) LOSS

Certainly nothing in the stats will make you excited about the Seahawks chances in this game, explaining a line that almost screams TRAP!!! But the Seahawks know how to win games and the Titans don't. Led by their still-stellar defense, the Seahawks will gut it out again.
Seahawks 23, Titans 22

22. Dallas -3 Arizona (3 Stars) **WIN**

Arizona has some real problems with their star injured physically, unlike the mental one plaguing the Cowboys RB. The Cardinals barely survived the bottom-dwelling Colts. Even though Dallas had a horrific offensive game last week, there is little seperating these teams statistically and the upside is for the Cowboys offense to rebound.
Cowboys 23, Cardinals 17

23. Indianapolis PK Cleveland (3 Stars) **WIN**

Here's a game you will NOT want to miss! Just kidding, you may want to miss it. The Colts try not to throw away their season, while the Browns season never really happened in the first place.
Colts 19, Browns 17

24. New England -13 Houston (2.5 Stars) LOSS

I can't even tell you who the Texans Qb is.
Patriots 31, Texans 14

I probably regret the Pittsburgh pick the most, having the Vikings without Bradford. Anyway, a pedestrian effort on my part. Home teams do very well in week 2 - and many of them had little trouble covering the spread against their low-powered roadkill. Except for Seattle, what was up with THAT?!?

Week 2


9. Houston +6 Cincinnati (2 Stars) **WIN**

This week, the Bengals are favored by 6 points...which is 6 more points than they scored last week! An unusual situation to be sure. Last week was a disaster for both teams, both featuring complete offensive meltdowns at home. The Texans were particularly awful, as their Qb was flooded with pressure all game. We don't want to over-analyze one game, so who were these team's last year? The Bengals were marginally better, something reflective in this spread. Both teams had respectable defenses and probably still do. While the Texans offense might be worse than last year, how much worse can they really be? They were pretty bad last year. It's really the Bengals offense that has downside (and looked bad), as at least they didn't completely suck last year. So from this, the spread is fair or perhaps slightly generous to the Bengals. Now last week, it is really hard to glean anything. They both sucked pretty equally - but that has meaning vs.a 6 point spread. Ultimately, this projects as a pretty lackluster game with little offense, a lot of sacks and punts, and nothing really differentiating these bad teams except maybe the home field advantage. So take the points in a game that should be sluggish.
Texans 23, Bengals 27

10. New Orleans +6 New England (5 Stars GOW) LOSS

This line looks properly inflated. We all know it is simply impossible for the Patriots to lose a 2nd game and nobody plays worse at home than the Saints. But could there be some real chinks in the armor that a desperate Saints team can exploit? Is Brady less superhuman without Edelman? Do you really doubt the Saints can run yard-for-yard with the Patriots given how poorly they stopped the run last week? Do you really doubt Brees can throw yard-for-yard with Brady? Get your popcorn ready, this could be a real show! I know it's insane, but there is no denying there is value in this spread.
Saints 24, Patriots 27 (OT)

11. Indianapolis +6.5 Arizona (4 Stars) **WIN**

Indianapolis may feel like one of the worst teams in the NFL right now, but they did move the ball a little last week. I am concerned about the Cardinals ability to run the ball, especially with their superstar injured. I don't think Carson Palmer is going to go in there and light up the Colts secondary, so they just need a passable performance from whoever plays Qb for the Colts.
Colts 24, Arizona 27

12. Minnesota +7 Pittsburgh (4 Stars) LOSS

The Vikings passing game looked in sync last week, certainly more than the Steelers did against a weak Browns defense. The Vikings don't have a week defense. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but the Steelers rushing game was missing last week and the Vikings may not make it easy for skipped-training-camp-for-no-damn-reason Bell to find his rhythm. I think Steelers fans should worry about this game, because they could drop this one if they play like they did in week 1.
Vikings 21, Steelers 19

13. Philadelphia +5 KC (3 Stars) LOSS

The Chiefs are coming off a legendary victory, but they better refocus with the Eagles coming to town. The Eagles offense made plays against the Redskins and the defense looked respectable. I expect the Eagles to give the Chiefs all they can handle.
Chiefs 26, Eagles 24

14. Denver +2.5 Dallas (3 Stars) **WIN**

While you have to be a bit concerned with the Broncos offense, this is a very powerful defense playing at home against the Cowboys. If the Broncos QB can get the ball out of his hands quickly and avoid taking sacks, they will be ok.
Broncos 23, Cowboys 20

15. Buffalo +6.5 Carolina (2 Stars) **WIN**

I think Buffalo can outrun AND outpass the Panthers, still featuring a nursing Cam Newton and a run-by-committee. So should we give up 6.5 points? I don't think so!
Bills 17, Panthers 21

16. N.Y. Jets +13 Oakland (2 Stars) LOSS

Oakland may have had an exciting start to the season, but I wouldn't get too excited about topping the Titans. One Raider fan I spoke to was ready to book tickets to the next Superbowl. But, I don't see much evidence that they are going to run and pass up-and-down the field like the 2016 Falcons in this matchup. I'll take the points and expect neither team to do much here either.
Raiders 17, Jets 14

Week 1

1. Kansas City +8.5 New England (2 Stars) **WIN**

Certainly a possibility that the Patriots simply blow out the Chiefs and nobody will be surprised if they do...but KC has matched up well against the Pats in recent years, playing tight in all but 1 game. Kelce is probable but in handicapper talk, "Probable" means "Probably gonna score 3 TDs and 120 yards". New England hasn't opened the season covering the spread since 2012, including a Pittsburgh opener at home they won by 7. In fact, the Pats seem to close out a lot of home games by 7, and I think there is some marginal value in 8.5.
Patriots 25, Chiefs 19

2. Dallas -4 NY Giants (3 Stars) **WIN**

The Cowboys have been tough to beat with their 2016 rookies on the field, and both are playing this Sunday. Despite edging out the Cowboys in last year's opener, the Giants lost the previous 5 openers straight. Last year the Cowboys would have warranted a line over a TD so I'm just going to hold to that expectation in a game that is probably undervalued because of the suspension that didn't happen.
Cowboys 25, Giants 17

3. Washington +1.5 Philadelphia (4 Stars) **GOW** LOSS

I believe the Redskins will feel the loss of Desean Jackson a bit more acutely in this matchup, but the Redskins always beat out the Eagles. It may not be pretty, it may not be easy, but it will be.
Redskins 26, Eagles 23

4. NY Jets +8.5 Buffalo (3 Stars) LOSS

The Jets may be one of the worst teams ever assembled in the history of the NFL. Fortunately, they are playing the Buffalo Bills. Beside being pretty awful themselves, the Jets have done pretty well against the Bills. They swept them last year, and played within 5 points in 2015.
Jets 20, Bills 25

5. Chicago +6 Atlanta (2 Stars) PUSH

Home dogs are pretty good bets in the opener, at least as long as you donít pick one that absolutely stinks. I think thatís a good description of Chicago. The great thing about playing the Falcons is no matter how far you fall behind, you just never feel like you are out of the game. Iím not even sure the Falcons WANT a big leadÖbut expect the Falcons to jump out to a 28-3 lead, but blow it in the 4th quarterÖ.until they hang on to WIN!
Bears 24, Falcons 28

6. Cincinnati -3 Baltimore (2 Stars) LOSS

There are 3 certainties in life: Death, Taxes, and the Bengals always beat the Ravens at home.
Bengals 24, Ravens 19

7. Pittsburgh -9 Cleveland (2 Stars) LOSS

Pittsburgh really doesnít have a great record as a road favorite in recent years, despite once being the NFLís most dominant team in this category. Of course, thatís only because they donít play the Browns on the road more than once a season! (Certainly not in the playoffs) The Browns have an opportunity to be historically awful this year, and this is about the last team they want to play to kickoff a season that could be historically awful.
Steelers 28, Browns 17

8. Houston -5 Jacksonville (2 Stars) LOSS

Who would have thought Jacksonville would be relieved to be in Houston after last week? Houston is still reeling from a record breaking flood and JJ Watt made headlines raising nearly 30 million dollars for the community. While statistically I canít make a great argument for Houston, this feels like a homecoming game and I think a few bucks on Houston will be very safely invested.
Texans 24, Jags 17

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