• Max Carlson

Max against the Spread | Week 5: Who Let the Underdogs Out?

Image Credit: @the49ersFrenchie


Last week was an absolute, unmitigated disaster and my overall record is looking quite pathetic. Thankfully, this is the best looking board I’ve seen all year and this is a great week to turn things around. I’m leaning heavy on the underdogs (eight of them are road dogs) this week, so we’ve got some room to work with here.

So if you’re foolish enough to still be taking my advice, let’s dive in!

Game 1:

Cardinals @ Bengals (-3.5)

One day, I will tell my grandchildren all about the fierce and storied rivalry between Andy Dalton and Kyler Murray, and that story will naturally begin with their first ever gridiron encounter this Sunday in Cincinnati.

Something’s gotta give. Barring a tie (which is actually kind of probable), one of these winless teams, led by winless rookie head coaches, will come out victorious.

While the Cardinals have a myriad of issues, namely on the defensive side of the ball, they have shown some promise. The Bengals, meanwhile, are a tire fire inside of a dumpster fire and I don’t see it being extinguished anytime soon.

I’ll take the points here, especially with the demoralized Bengals coming into this game on short rest after the drubbing they suffered.

The pick: Cardinals (+3.5) [-115]

Game 2:

Bears @ Raiders (+5.5)

Well, last week I said that betting against the Raiders was one of my favorite activities, but this week I’m swinging the other way and taking them to cover in London. The Bears’ defense is scary good, and I’m very vocal about Derek Carr not being the long-term answer in Oakland/Nevada/Kentucky, but with stud linebacker Roquon Smith out indefinitely in Chicago, the Raiders have a chance to pounce.

On top of that, Bears’ quarterback Mitch Trubisky will likely miss this game and it will be up to Chase Daniel to pick apart the Raiders’ leaky defense.

This line opened up with the Bears laying 5 points, and I thought the public would hammer Oakland and narrow the spread even more - but the opposite happened. I’m super confident with taking the 5.5 points here, and I might even put a decent wager on Oakland to win outright.

The pick: Raiders (+5.5) [-115]

Game 3:

Vikings @ Giants (+5.5)

Kirk Cousins stinks again and his receivers are mad at him. Daniel Jones went from laughingstock to New York’s greatest hero since Derek Jeter.

Seems like a no-brainer to me. The Giants just activated Golden Tate after he fully served his four game suspension, and they’ll throw him out there with Danny Dimes against a Minnesota defense that tends to underperform on the road.

I’m not expecting the Giants to win outright, but I’m loving their chances to cover this spread at home this weekend.

The pick: Giants (+5.5) [-110]

Niner Game:

Browns @ 49ers (-3.5)

I’ll preface this by saying that I never bet on 49er games. Call it superstition or call it a desire to maintain objectivity, but I don’t like doing it. I’m taking the Browns here because I expect this game to be very close, with the winner escaping with a 3-point lead or less.

I like the 49ers to win this one, but I’m not looking forward to the Myles Garrett vs. Justin Skule matchup in the trenches. Granted, the 49ers’ pass rush is even better, and the Cleveland offensive line isn’t stopping anyone, but I think both quarterbacks are going to be in duress all game resulting in a low-scoring slugfest.

Both teams will look to impose their will on the ground to help keep their young quarterbacks upright against the vicious pass rushers looking to mollywhop them into next week, and both teams are more than capable of successfully implementing this strategy with their impressive running backs. I like the 49ers to win this one 20-17 on a late Robbie Gould field goal.

The pick: Browns (+3.5) [-110]

Remaining Games (picks in bold)

LAR +1 @ SEA -1

NE -15 @ WSH

JAX +3.5 @ CAR

ATL +5.5 @ HOU

TB +3.5 @ NO

NYJ +13.5 @ PHI

BAL -3 @ PIT

BUF @ TEN -3

DEN @ LAC -6.5

GB +3.5 @ DAL

IND @ KC -10.5

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