For the second week in a row, I bested Chris, but I’m still .500 and it’s really starting to piss me off for a couple of reasons. For one, I’m stuck writing these intro paragraphs because the winner has to write these—those are just the rules. Now, I wouldn’t have such a problem with it if I wasn’t so middle of the road here. Good or awful, just pick a lane, Mathews!
Whatever, only the future can provide us with opportunity. So here we are, back at it again on our trusty steeds picking spreads and stuff. Let’s get to the picking.
As always, scared money don’t make none.
Chris’s Record: 36-38-1 (Last week 3-5)
Ryan’s Record: 31-31-1 (Last week 4-4)
Chicago at LA Rams -6.5
Chris: The Rams are on a tough spat now, having lost four of their last six games. It feels like a trap line to take the Bears here; in spite of a Chicago win over the listless Lions and the compounded defeat of the Rams at the hands of the Steelers, Los Angeles still opened as a 7.5-point favorite.
I’d love to wait to see if I could snag the Rams at a lower number (and maybe tease) but those rules don’t apply in this godawful column. I have to defeat Ryan and I have to pick the line now, do it now. In spite of their woes, I like Los Angeles in this situation, and while the two teams are even on defense, I think the offense will make the difference here. Chicago has none. LA Rams -6.5.
Ryan: Chicago has less than an offense. An infense, if you will.
Chris: That’s not a thing.
Ryan: It definitely isn’t and I’m certainly not happy with being so stupid.
But let’s just be real and smart here. For as often as the Rams have disappointed this season at home against the spread—just 2-2 on the season—a date with the Chicago Bears is exactly the shot in the arm this team needs. If the Rams can score more than 14 points, they’re going to cover this spread. LA Rams -6.5.
Atlanta at Carolina -5.5
Ryan: Again, I’ll take the favorites at home. The Panthers lost a tough one on the road against the Green Bay Packers—watching, waiting, commiserating—and I think they’re a really competitive football team, especially in defending the pass where the team ranks third in pass defense DVOA.
Atlanta isn’t close to resembling the team they were a few seasons ago, which is a bummer because that offense was historically great. Their once-great air attack has since grounded and their ground game has, well, it’s been really bad. A real shock considering they went all in on one running back—Devonta Freeman—and let their more talented back—Tevin Coleman—move on to San Francisco. Carolina -5.5.
Chris: When you pick games I try to become contrarian in order to create a better column, which is how I’ve probably lost more games than I care by taking some bum sides. This is certainly one game where I’d lay off altogether, because as much as I like Carolina here, they’re a pretty ugly team to watch on offense.
Yet I also can’t shake what happened last Sunday in New Orleans from my head when it comes to the Falcons. I don’t even know how they did it. Box scores tell lies and damned lies but even then there’s nothing that warrants the Falcons getting a double-digit win over the Saints.
And THAT is how I end up taking the dog-arse side of a football game, right there. Atlanta +5.5.
Ryan: Very proud of you for sticking with your gimmick. Sign of a true professional.
New England -5.5 at Philadelphia
Chris: Lamar Jackson planted a whuppin’ on the Patriots that I didn’t see coming. I should have known something was up when Belichick got mum during his press conference every time he was asked about the Baltimore Bomber. No, that’s not his nickname officially but I think we don’t have a lot of good nicknames in sports. This one probably won’t stick and you’ll call him LJ or something stupid.
Ryan: You know who did see it coming, Chris? Well, do ya?
But yeah, there’s no way New England doesn’t bounce back in an emphatic way against the green birds... right? If this line was up around a touchdown and a hook, I’d probably take the home team, but at just 5.5, smart money is on the Pats. New England -5.5.
Chris: You didn’t even tag me in this to know I was being dragged so you lose points.
Ryan: I’m not sorry. Speaking of not being sorry...
Houston at Baltimore -4
Chris: Who said you could make all these embeds of your own Twitter account? Thy name is vanity. Baltimore -4.
Ryan: No one reads this drivel, Chris. And I don’t know what commandment you’re accusing me of breaking, but it’s not very Christian of you.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay UNDER 50.5
Pittsburgh +3 at Cleveland
Atlanta at Carolina UNDER 49.5
Arizona at San Francisco UNDER 45.5
Miami +6 vs. Buffalo
Kansas City -3.5 at LA Chargers
Will the Bengals beat the spread?
Current line: Cincinnati at Oakland -10
Bengals record ATS: 3-6
Chris: OK. Audible. I’m bored with the Dolphins, so we’re going to focus on a far more disappointing and horrifying team in the NFL: the Cincinnati Bengals. They’re everyone’s favorite punch-drunk pugilists featuring a skinflint owner and a ginger quarterback.
I know the Dolphins were on a historic pace for bastardized awfulness, but the Bengals just seem even worse to watch. Nobody should complain about the Lions wasting Calvin Johnson after seeing what the Bengals have done with A.J. Green. What in god’s name is even going on down here? Southern Ohio is terrible. But 10 points? This one is dicey.
Whatever. I don’t know why we keep picking awful games like this, Ryan. Oakland -10.
Ryan: Why can’t we rename this section of the article? Why must we go here every single week? What an absolute waste of time and resources. Let’s get some business to sponsor this pick so we can actually make money because our bets this year certainly haven’t.
Chris: We’re doing this because I’m Catholic and I believe in atoning for sin. This is the gambling equivalent of self-flagellation.
Ryan: I... alright, whatever, if the Cincinnati Bengals get you closer to God, more power to you. Cincinnati +10.
Chris: Oh this doesn’t get ME closer to God, but it might help out my friend Andy Furman. Sponsored by Van De Kamp’s fish fillets.