Betting the Bucs is a new segment that focuses on the gambling lines for each Bucs game during the season. We’ll take a look into different aspects of the game to help make your decision on whether to bet for or against the Bucs. We’ll also take a brief view at the slate of Sunday games around the rest of the league.
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The Line: Packers – 4, Over/Under 52
The Bucs really do put on a show when they’ve hit the road this season. Tampa Bay is 8-2 when away this season, and they’re not just winning, they are putting up score after score with numbers of 30 or more in every single road game. Don’t let the cold weather in Green Bay worry you, it’s not going to be that chilly outside and these guys are pro athletes. Once you’re moving around it’s fine, and that won’t affect the over. What could potentially impact the over is if the Bucs go with a run-heavy game plan thanks to the playoff version of Leonard Fournette along with Ronald Jones II, and due to the Packers’ likelihood of playing a lot of dime on defense. It’s not a bad game plan, but running makes for longer drives, which of course means less opportunities for each team to possess the ball.
At the same time, all those runs will lead to the play-action pass, and Tom Brady is going to dominate when it’s called. I’m not concerned at all that Antonio Brown isn’t playing; that’s why you build up such talented depth at the skill positions. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin haven’t gone anywhere the last time I checked, and they still have Rob Gronkowski, who has been quiet of late, but is due.
Tampa Bay’s defense was masterful against the Saints, but they’re not playing against an injured Drew Brees, as they have Aaron Rodgers to contend with this time. I’m confident Carlton Davis III can hold Davante Adams to an average game, but I think Rodgers creativity to design and extend plays after reading the defense is going to hurt the Bucs. Aaron Jones is always a threat, particularly in the passing game out of the backfield where the Bucs have struggled at times. You can’t put much thought into their last match-up in Week 6, but it’s wild to think that the Packers only scored 10 points. That’s not happening again.
The over has hit in five of the last seven Bucs games, and they’ve won five straight on the road. As I said in Pewter Report’s game prediction, you don’t doubt the GOAT in situations like this. Take the over and the Bucs to win the NFC Championship as they become the first team in NFL history to host a Super Bowl in their own stadium.
The Pick: Bucs +4, Over 52
There’s only one other game this weekend, so I’m going to focus on some player prop bets for the Bucs and Packers. But since you asked, I’m also taking the Chiefs -3 over the Bills. If Patrick Mahomes is healthy, it’s a great line to cover.
Tom Brady Over 285. 5 passing yards
In two playoff games so far Brady has thrown for 381 and 199 yards. The lowest amount of yards he threw for over his last three games of the regular season is 348. The Bucs offense continues to move along at a machine-like pace, and his lack of passing yards last week came from the defense setting them up with good field position. Brady goes over here.
Leonard Fournette Over 10.5 carries
If the Bucs continue to ride Fournette as they have in this postseason with Ronald Jones playing hurt, then this bet seems too good to be true. Fournette had 19 carries in the wild card round and 17 in the divisional round. Even in a scenario where Jones is the starter again, 11 carries for Fournette can be reached.
Davante Adams Under 89.5 receiving yards
Davis III shut down Michael Thomas last week, holding him to zero catches. He loves playing against the best receivers in football, and that’s exactly what Adams is. I don’t doubt that he could have a great game, but Adams tends to either go completely off, or put up pedestrian numbers. He’s been held in check so far in the playoffs with less than 70 yards in each of his two games. I think that trend continues.
Chris Godwin Anytime Touchdown
I know Godwin has a had tough postseason with all the drops. Even with his misgivings, Godwin has still had a solid postseason with 113 yards and a touchdown. He’s always been the most consistent receiver for the Bucs, and I think he bounces back this week. If cornerback Jaire Alexander is going to be covering Mike Evans, this gives Godwin a great opportunity to reach the end zone.
Rob Gronkowski Anytime Touchdown
Gronkowski is another player who has had a rather quiet postseason with just one reception for 14 yards. That’s because he’s been mainly used as a blocker, though. The Packers are the least difficult pass rush that the Bucs will have to face so far in the playoffs, which means Gronkowski can return to being a factor in the passing game. A payout of +250 are some pretty good numbers for a player that you know Brady is going to be looking for on Sunday.