After a 10-6 overall performance last week, including 2-1 on my locks, I’m now sitting at 86-86-2 on the entire season. It’s crunch time now, and this is a good week to get that mark over .500 on the year. I’m making these picks in the midst of a two-day bout with the flu and intense, Tony Soprano-esque fever dreams, so this could backfire completely. Let’s dive in.
Chargers @ Chiefs (-3.5)
Huge AFC Playoff implications on the line in this one, and both teams are hurting at running back. The Chargers will likely be without Melvin Gordon and Austin Eckler, while the Chiefs are likely to be without new starter Spencer Ware. Arrowhead is not an easy environment to play in, and while I think Los Angeles is a very good team this year, it’s going to be very difficult to keep this one within 3 points. Keep an eye on that injury report leading up to kickoff, because if Tyreek Hill sits, that could definitely change things. As it stands right now, I’m taking the Chiefs to cover the spread home in this one. They can clinch the number one seed with a win and a Patriots loss this week, so that stadium is going to be rocking. Plus, safety Eric Berry will be making his long awaited return, which will help their suspect defense.
The pick: Chiefs (-3.5) [OVER 53]
Raiders @ Bengals (-3)
This might be the first time all year that I’ve picked the Raiders, but after their big win over Pittsburg last week, I have them “upsetting” the Bengals on the road. Despite all that’s gone wrong in Oakland this year, an argument can be made that the Bengals have had just as disastrous of a season. Look to the Bengals to lean on Joe Mixon on the ground in this one while they try to win the time of possession battle. Will that be enough to cover 4 points? I don’t think it will be. With key injuries all over the offensive side of the ball, I don’t see the Bengals putting up enough points to cover in this one. Derek Carr is basically playing for his job at this point, and if he wants to ensure he’s the starter in *insert random temp city here* next year, then he’s going to have to feast on bad teams. The Bengals are 2-5 against the spread at home this year, so the homefield isn’t necessarily an advantage in this case. Take the points in this one.
The pick: Raiders (+3) [OVER 45.5]
Redskins @ Jaguars (-7)
This is the lowest point total Vegas has put out in years, and rightfully so. Both of these teams are an absolute mess. While the Jaguars are coming off an embarrassing loss against Tennessee, the Redskins are coming off an even more embarrassing loss against the Giants. Neither team has momentum, and neither team has a quarterback. I’m taking the Jags in this one because while their defense has been getting exposed this year, there are still big time playmakers on that side of the ball who will feast on poor quarterback play. This game will not be pretty at all, and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Redskins get completely shut out. If the Jags can muster up 8 points (4 Redskins safeties should do the trick), then the money is yours.
The pick: Jaguars (-7) [UNDER 36]
Seahawks (-6) @ 49ers
I’ve been going back and forth on this one. I really want to pick the Niners because they actually looked good for most of last week. But then I remember how the offense got shut out in the second half, and how they almost blew the game against Case Keenum. The Seahawks are a much better team than the Broncos, and the 49ers just aren’t quite ready to topple them yet. As a fan, I’m excited to watch the continued development of some of the 49ers’ young core pieces, but as a bettor, I’m not touching the 49ers with a ten-foot pole against Seattle.
Hurry up, Jimmy.
The pick: Seahawks (-6) [OVER 44]
HOU @ NYJ - (HOU -6.5)
CLE @ DEN - (CLE +2.5)
GB @ CHI - (GB +6)
DET @ BUF - (BUf -2)
TB @ BAL - (BAL -7.5)
TEN @ NYG - (NYG -2)
MIA @ MIN - (MIN -7.5)
NE @ PIT - (NE -2.5)
PHI @ LAR - (LAR -11.5)
NO @ CAR - (NO -6)
DAL @ INDY - No Line Released
ARI @ ATL - No Line Released
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