Buccaneers Falcons Odds
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) will look to build off their first win of the season when they host the Atlanta Falcons (2-7). Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 EST at Raymond James Stadium and will be televised locally on FOX. Atlanta won the first matchup between these two AFC South rivals 31-23 at home, but have since lost three straight. Despite their recent struggles and Tampa Bay’s improved play of late, oddsmakers currently have the Falcons listed as a 1-point road favorite with the total set at 43.5 points.
Why Atlanta Will Cover:
While the Falcons chances of making the playoffs are about as slim as it gets, I don’t expect this team to throw in the towel over the final seven games of the season. The recent losses have not been pretty, but you have to keep in mind that Atlanta has suffered four losses by a touchdown or less. They didn’t have a whole lot of trouble beating the Buccaneers the last time these two faced. The Falcons jumped out to a 14-0 lead and never looked back. They did so without the services of Julio Jones or Roddy White. Atlanta has won 8 of the last 10 meetings overall in the series.
There’s a solid system favoring the Falcons to cover this small spread. Road favorites who have lost four out their last 5 games are 24-6 (80%) ATS in weeks 10 through 13 since 1983. Another key system favoring Atlanta is the road teams who have won 25% or less of their games that have been beaten by the spread by 35 or more points total in their last three games are 37-13 (74%) ATS over the last 10 seasons.
Road favorites who have lost four out their last 5 games are 24-6 (80%) ATS in weeks 10 through 13 since 1983.
The fact that Tampa Bay was able to get their first win of the season last week against the Dolphins, could actually work out in the Falcons favor. Tampa Bay was clearly motivated to put an end to their losing streak and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Buccaneers letdown off that big win on short rest.
Unfortunately for the Buccaneers their win came at a cost, as running back Mike James suffered a broken ankle. Tampa Bay had already lost star running back Doug Martin to a season ending injury. Martin and James accounted for 102 of the Buccaneers 111 rushing yards in the first meeting against the Falcons.
Tampa Bay is just 4-18 ATS in their last 22 home games vs a team with a losing road record, while the Falcons are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games after scoring less than 15 points in their last game.
Why Tampa Bay Will Cover:
The Buccaneers backed up their strong performance on the road against the Seahawks with a shocking 22-19 win at home over the Dolphins. Tampa Bay may have one of the worst records in the league, but they certainly aren’t playing like it right now. This team has found new belief in head coach Greg Schiano and a big reason for their turnaround has been the play of rookie quarterback Mike Glennon.
This is the time of the season where the Buccaneers have typically been flying under the radar. Tampa Bay is 18-7-2 ATS in their last 27 games in the month of November (perfect 2-0 in 2013). Atlanta on the other hand is just 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games in November. The Falcons are also 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games, 1-6 ATS in their last 7 overall and just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs the NFC South.
Tampa Bay is 18-7-2 ATS in their last 27 games in the month of November (perfect 2-0 in 2013).
The loss of James certainly hurts, but you have to be impressed with the way Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey stepped up in his absence. The two combined for 102 yards and a touchdown on the ground and added 3 receptions for 27 yards. Glennon, Leonard and Rainey will have a great opportunity to showcase their talents against the awful excuse for a defense that the Falcons send out to the field. Atlanta ranks 25th in the league against the pass (252.0 ypg) and 27th against the run (126.8 ypg). Their run defense has been especially bad here of late, as they have allowed a staggering 181.0 ypg on the ground over their last three games. That’s not only a sign of a bad defense, but a team that isn’t giving it their all.
You could make the argument that the Bucs are primed for a letdown, but at the same time this team is sick of losing and could smell blood with the way Atlanta has been playing. The Falcons aren’t exactly familiar with having to simply finish out the season with nothing to play for. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they came out flat on the road after getting physically dominated last week by the Seahawks.
While the Falcons still have one of the top quarterbacks in the league in Matt Ryan, he’s found out what life is like not having a dominant receiving corps and running game at his disposal. With Tampa Bay ranking 5th in the league against the run (95.8 ypg), there’s a good chance Ryan will be forced to carry the offense with his arm. That could be a problem. Atlanta has already lost Julio Jones to a season ending injury and may be without Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas, who are all listed as questionable.
Early Lean – Tampa Bay +1