• Max Carlson

Max Against the Spread | Week 9: Ghosts in the Desert

Halloween is in the air, and the most terrifying thing you’ll see is my awful overall record of picking against the spread this year!

Thankfully, the locks are back to .500, and I think this is a great week to build off of that and get back in the black.

Game 1:

Jets (-3) @ Dolphins

The Dolphins are meticulously weaving their way through their winless season, while strategically making cartoonishly dumb mistakes in crucial moments to ensure that their elegant tank stays intact.

The Jets are just plain terrible.

As such, I will be taking the Jets in this one. They are the epitome of ineptitude, but not even that can stop the Dolphins from achieving their ultimate goal.

The pick: Jets (-3) [-110]

Game 2:

Colts (-1.5) @ Steelers

The Colts are rollin’ and the Steelers are coming off a short week in which their starting running back James Conner suffered a shoulder injury.

The extent of that injury is not yet known at the time of writing, but now is the time to jump on this line. If Conner were to sit this game, the public will bet this line up much further.

And for what it’s worth, I like the Colts at -1.5 in this one regardless of whether or not James Conner plays.

The pick: Colts (-1.5) [-110]

Game 3:

Patriots (-3) @ Ravens

Much like the 49ers, the New England Patriots have been questioned all year due to the strength (or lack thereof) of the teams they’ve faced. This Sunday, they get their first “test.”

The Ravens, on the road, will pose the biggest threat to New England’s undefeated streak than anyone else they’ve faced so far. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is a dynamic playmaker, who recently went into Seattle and out-dueled MVP candidate Russell Wilson. That is not easy.

The Ravens can beat you to death on the ground and wear you out. And Lamar has shown he’s more than capable of beating you through the air, as well.

I have a feeling this will be the first of two matchups this year between these teams, with the second matchup coming in late January in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Round one will go to the Patriots, and I have them covering the field goal spread, as well. The defense will prove to be too much for the Ravens, and the streak will live.

The pick: Patriots (-3) [-120]

Niner Game:

49ers (-10) @ Cardinals

Just like everyone expected, the 49ers are 7-0 and they’re doing so in dominating fashion. After weeks of misguided skepticism about their legitimacy, the team put on a clinic in Week 8 when they completely dismantled the Panthers and their third-ranked defense. The Panthers’ offensive players not named Christian also struggled mightily against the ferocious defense led by rookie phenom Nick Bosa. When it was all said and done, the 49ers dropped a 50 burger and all but silenced any remaining critics.

And, of course, I picked the Panthers to cover. Go figure.

Now, with a first-half record of 8-0 within their grasp, the 49ers head to Arizona to take on Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.

The big storyline going into this one will naturally be the Cardinals passing on Nick Bosa to select Kyler Murray, and while 49er fans are rightfully gleeful things played out the way they did, the Cards appear to have a legitimate franchise quarterback in Kyler Murray, so it’s tough to say they made the wrong choice.

However, while in the infancy stages of building a roster around Kyler, I don’t think the Cardinals are yet equipped to handle the 49ers’ defense. Kyler, while elusive, has been sacked 26 times on the year, which is good for the 3rd most in the league.

Ten points is a lot on the road, but after last week’s relentless beatdown, I can’t bring myself to bet against these 49ers.

It’s time for Kyler Murray to join forces with Sam Darnold because after this game, he’ll be seeing his fair share of ghosts.

The pick: 49ers (-10) [-110]

Remaining Games (picks in bold)

HOU -1.5 @ JAX

WSH @ BUF -9.5

MIN @ KC (No line yet. Will tweet prediction when line is available.)

TEN @ CAR -3.5

CHI @ PHI -5

DET @ OAK -2

TB +6 @ SEA

CLE @ DEN +3.5

GB -3.5 @ LAC

DAL -7.5 @ NYG

Stay tuned next week for a recap of this week’s picks as well as picks for the Week 9 games!

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