• Max Carlson

Max Against the Spread | Week 2: Down in a Hole

Last week was absolutely wild, but that was to be expected in the first week of the season. Between the Browns-Steelers tie and the Jets’ beat down of the Lions in Detroit, most bettors probably didn’t fare too well. Now that we have a marginally better understanding of who these teams really are, let’s try to turn the ship around this week and get back on track.

Last week’s record: 5-11


Ravens (+1) @ Bengals (-1)

At the time of writing, this game has yet to kick off. This is a tough one to predict, as both teams looked good last week, but are historically bad in this week’s situation. Joe Flacco is 3-6 all time when playing in Cincinnati, and Andy Dalton is 5-13 all time in primetime games. In what’s essentially a pick-‘em game, I’m taking the Bengals at home in this one.

My pick: Bengals (-1) (EVEN)

Update: AJ Green’s monster day propelled Cincinnati to an easy cover over their division rival. Are the Bengals for real? I’m a believer.



Panthers (+6) @ Falcons (-6)

What is going on with the Falcons? Their cartoonishly bad red-zone offense was on full display again last week, and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian doesn’t appear to have any solution in site. The loss of SS Keanu Neal and LB Deion Jones doesn’t do them any favors. I’m taking Carolina with the generous 6-point spot in this one.

My pick: Panthers (+6) (-110)


Colts (+5.5) @ Redskins (-5.5)

I’m expecting Andrew Luck to put the team on his back this week and do everything in his power to get the Colts moving in the right direction, regardless of how unimpressive their defense is. Should RB Marlon Mack get cleared to make his 2018 debut, it will give Indy a much-needed boost. I like Alex Smith in Jay Gruden’s offense, but I think this game will be closer than the line indicates at this point.

My pick: Colts (+5.5) (-110)


Texans (-2.5) @ Titans (+2.5)

Every year I think it’s the year where Marcus Mariota will break out. Every year I’m proven wrong. It’s going to be really hard to lay money on these Titans in small spread contests until they prove otherwise. I’m taking Watt and the Texans in this one.

My pick: Texans (-2.5) (-120)


Eagles (-3.5) @ Buccaneers (+3.5) [FADE OF THE WEEK]

I’m fading this matchup, and you should too. Eagles QB Nick Foles did not look great last week, while Bucs’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick did. But how sustainable were both of those performances? Both quarterbacks are likely due for some regression to the mean, and if I had to place a bet here, I’ll take the home underdogs keeping it within 3 points, despite my lack of confidence in doing so.

My pick: Buccaneers (+3.5) (-120)


Chiefs (+4.5) @ Steelers (-4.5)

All signs point to a shootout at Heinz Field. There are so many offensive weapons at both quarterbacks’ disposals, but I’m taking the home team to cover in this one, mainly due to my lack of confidence in Kansas City’s defense.

My pick: Steelers (-4.5) (-110)


Dolphins (+2.5) @ Jets (-2.5)

Both teams are coming off victories, but the Jets are going to be oozing with confidence and swagger after their dominate performance on the road to open the season. I’m expecting them to take advantage of Miami losing their starting guard Josh Sitton in route to another impressive victory for rookie QB Sam Darnold.

My pick: Jets (-2.5) (-120)


Chargers (-7.5) @ Bills (+7.5)

Despite how awful the Bills looked last week, I’m expecting them to bounce back and look halfway decent for rookie QB Josh Allen’s first NFL start. If Chargers’ DE Joey Bosa were playing, I’d take them to cover the spread, but I’m going to take a leap of faith here and pick Buffalo to cover the big spread at home.

My pick: Bills (+7.5) (-110)


Vikings (+1) @ Packers (-1)

I would fade this game until we hear official word on the playing status of Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers gets ruled out, go hammer the Vikings as fast as you possibly can before the line drastically shifts. Until then, I’m taking Rodgers at home with a spread this small. I don’t care how good the Vikings’ defense is.

My pick: Packers (-1) (EVEN)


Browns (+9.5) @ Saints (-9.5)

The Saints are favored by 9.5 at home for the second week in a row. Last week I told you to bet on Tampa, and that turned out to be one of the few things I got right. This is a huge spread, and based on how the Saints’ looked last week, I’m going to take Tyrod Taylor and the Browns to keep this one close. Heck, we might even get another tie!

My pick: Browns (+9.5) (-110)


Lions (+6) @ 49ers (-6)

The Lions looked absolutely abysmal last week in all phases of the game. The 49ers managed to keep it a one score game against a Super Bowl contender on the road, despite a myriad of self-inflicted foot shooting throughout the contest. I’m taking San Francisco to make a statement in their home opener.

My pick: 49ers (-6) (-110)


Cardinals (+13) @ Rams (-13)

It’s pretty clear that the Cardinals are in for a rough year and the Rams are in for another exciting year. That being said, a 13-point spread is absurd. The Rams are clearly talented enough to beat the brakes off the Cardinals and cover, but I’m not betting any money on that happening. There’s enough talent on that Arizona roster to keep it within 13 points.

My pick: Cardinals (+13) (-110)


Patriots (-1) @ Jaguars (+1) [SLAM DUNK OF THE WEEK]

In blackjack, you always double down on 11, regardless of what the dealer has showing. In NFL betting, you always take Brady and Belichick at -1 against a Blake Bortles led team, regardless of how good the defense may be.

My pick: Patriots (-1) (-110)


Raiders (+6) @ Broncos (-6)

Derek Carr looked like a skittish deer whenever there was any sign of pressure coming his way in last week’s forgettable outing at home against the formidable Rams’ defense. He also looked like a skittish deer when there wasn’t any pressure at all. Something is certainly off with him, and I don’t see Gruden fixing his mental “yips” that he’s suffering any time soon – especially not with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb barreling down on him in Denver.

My pick: Broncos (-6) (-110)


Giants (+3) @ Cowboys (-3)

I’d stay away from this one, as divisional matchups are typically difficult to accurately predict. For the sake of discussion, I’ll take the Giants to cover here. Dallas looked incredibly dull last week, and the Giants’ rookie RB Saquon Barkley will want to show why he was taken second overall in 2018 NFL draft in this nationally televised game.

My pick: Giants (+3) (-110)



Seahawks (+3.5) @ Bears (-3.5)

Based on what Chicago’s new DE Khalil Mack did last week against Green Bay, I’m not confident that any amount of baby oil will make Russell Wilson slippery enough to escape the fate that awaits him. The Bears’ QB Mitchell Trubisky will need to improve upon last week’s forgettable performance, and I think he does just that against this new-look Seattle defense.

My pick: Bears (-3.5) (EVEN)

Parlay of the week:

Giants (+3.5)

Broncos (-6)

Patriots (-1)

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