Buccaneers Falcons Odds
The Atlanta Falcons (13-2, 7-0 home) look to finish the 2012 regular season with an unbeaten record inside the Georgia Dome with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9, 3-4 away) Sunday. Oddsmakers have installed Atlanta as a 3-point favorite over Tampa Bay according to the early Week 17 pro football lines.
Why Atlanta Covers
The Falcons have gone a perfect 7-0 at home this season while outscoring their opponents by 9.3 points per game. They are limiting foes to a mere 16.3 points per game inside the Georgia Dome, which is impressive considering the ideal scoring conditions. This is a team that wants to keep its momentum heading into the playoffs despite already clinching the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
It will be interesting to see which road HC Mike Smith takes. According to Jay Adams, one of the Falcons own bloggers, Smith has said he will ‘play to win’ the game. Here is a quote of what he said:
“We’re going to play the game to win. That’s how we’re going to approach it. It’s an important game because it’s a division game. All games, I think, are important. In terms of the importance of it, does it have no bearing? It really does, because we want to win every time we go out and play.”
Tampa Bay appears to have quit on its season. It is 0-5 straight up and 0-4-1 against the spread in its last five games overall. Its last two losses have come by a combined score of 13-69 to the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams.
Atlanta has owned this series with Tampa Bay in recent years. It has won seven of the last eight meetings with the Buccaneers, including a 45-24 victory in its last home meeting in Week 17 last year.
Why Tampa Bay Covers
The Falcons essentially have nothing to play for in this one. Sure, coach Mike Smith has indicated he is going to play to win by giving his starters ample minutes, but this is essentially a meaningless games. Even if the starters are out there for four quarters, they aren’t going to be mentally in it knowing that the outcome doesn’t matter.
This is a division game for Tampa Bay, and these contests are always played closer to the vest. There’s no question that the Buccaneers are upset with how they have finished the season, but this is one final chance to right the ship and beat the No. 1 team in the NFC. Head coach Greg Schiano is a prideful person, and I look for that to come out in his players in this one.
Tampa Bay has played Atlanta tough on the road over the past five years. It has gone 4-1 against the spread in its last five meetings inside the Georgia Dome. It has lost three times by less than six points while also winning 31-7 back in 2007 during this stretch.
The Buccaneers have played their best football on the road this season. They are a super 6-1 against the spread in their seven road games this year, only getting outscored by an average of 3.8 points per game on average. In fact, Tampa Bay is 16-5 against the spread in its last 21 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Tampa Bay wants revenge from its 1-point home loss to the Falcons in their first meeting this season. This play falls into a system that is 23-5 (82.1%) ATS over the last 5 seasons. It tells us to bet on any team (TAMPA BAY) – revenging an extremely close loss against opponent by 3 points or less, team with a losing record in the second half of the season.