• Max Carlson

Max against the Spread | Week 17: The Final Picks of the Regular Season

This is it. The final week of the regular season. It’s been so much fun making these picks throughout the year and attempting to offer some insight to those who followed along. I’ll be making picks throughout the postseason but this will be our last full slate until the 2019 kickoff. I took a lot of underdogs this week in my non-locks, so let’s see how it pans out!

Lock 1:

Bears @ Vikings (-5.5)

The Vikings need to win this game to get into the playoffs. The Bears need to win this game to have a shot at a first round bye. In what should be a slugfest, I’m not banking on Kirk Cousins in a game with ramifications of this caliber. When has he delivered in these moments? I’m not confident in Mitch Trubisky lighting up the scoreboard against this defense on the road, but I’m confident that Chicago’s defense (even without Eddie Jackson) will keep the Bears within 5 points. I think the Bears are going to win this game outright, so the 5 points is too easy to take. Plus, for what it’s worth, the Bears are 5-0 against the spread this year in divisional games.

The pick: Bears (+5.5)

Lock 2:

Jaguars @ Texans (-6.5)

This will be the biggest game of Deshaun Watson’s young career. A win against the division rival Jaguars will win the AFC South and keep the Texans in the running for the coveted first round bye. The Jaguars (who already appear to have phoned it in) will likely be without Leonard Fournette. While they’d love to play spoiler, I don’t see this game being close at all. I was wrong on my Texans lock last week, but that won’t be the case here, as they should handily beat the Jaguars. Watson, the same guy who took down the Crimson Tide in the CFB National Championship not long ago, should have no problem living up to the moment in this one.

The pick: Texans (-6.5)

Lock 3:

Colts (-3.5) @ Titans

With Mariota’s availability in jeopardy, I’d jump all over this small spread while you can. If he gets declared OUT, you’re going to wish you had Andrew Luck and the Colts at minus 3.5 instead of minus 7. The Colts are the better team, and I don’t see them blowing this opportunity to get into the playoffs. If Mariota sits, this game won’t be close, so again - get on this action while you can.

The pick: Colts (-3.5)

49ers Game:

49ers @ Rams (+10)

The Rams still have to win this game in order to ensure they get a first round bye, so while Todd Gurley will not be available, the Rams will be playing any abled body starters they have. The 49ers will be without several key players (Dante Pettis, Ahkello Witherspoon, Matt Breida, etc.) but would still love to play spoiler to their cross-state rivals. We’re unfortunately going to have to wait until next year to finally see a full-strength Shanahan vs. McVay showdown, but it’s still going to be interesting to see what Coach Shanahan can do with Nick Mullens against a playoff team fighting for a bye week. Based on how these two teams have played recently, I’m going to cautiously take the 49ers to cover the spread in this one.

The pick: 49ers (+10)

Remaining Games:

MIA @ BUF - (MIA +6)

DET @ GB - (DET +8))

NYJ @ NE - (NYJ +13.5)

CAR @ NO - (NO -7)

DAL @ NYG - (DAL +6)

ATL @ TB - (ATL -1.5)

CLE @ BAL - (CLE +5.5)

PHI @ WSH - (PHI -7)

OAK @ KC - (KC -14)

CIN @ PIT - (CIN +14.5)

LAC @ DEN - (LAC -6.5)

AZ @ SEA - (AZ +13)

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