Betting The Bucs is a weekly segment that focuses on the gambling lines for each Tampa Bay game during the season. We’ll take a look into different aspects of the game to help you make your decision on whether to bet for or against the Bucs. We’ll also break down various prop bets to take before you watch on Sunday.
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The Line: Bucs -11, O/U 50.5
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Last week the Bucs showed that they could score on the road once again, even if that meant benefitting off five turnovers from the defense. With another road game this week, Tampa Bay gets another opportunity to show they can reach 30 points when away, which is a trait they’ll need come playoff time unless they can win out and get that number one seed. Now they face a familiar foe in the Atlanta Falcons, who the Bucs put a beating on in Week 2.
This one is a little different, though, but it works better for the over. After the suspension of Mike Edwards and the injury to Jordan Whitehead, the Bucs will have just one starting safety available with Antoine Winfield Jr. alongside backup Andrew Adams. The Falcons, while missing Calvin Ridley, have a much more advanced version of tight end Kyle Pitts since the last time these two teams met. Plus, Cordarrelle Patterson has hurt the Bucs. Carlton Davis is back for Tampa Bay, which is exciting, so that could lead to a takeaway or two.
It’s been tough sledding for the Falcons, as the under has hit in their last three games and they’ve scored 24 points in that span. The difference this time is the Bucs’ soft defense. They’ve made pedestrian quarterbacks look Pro Bowl caliber, and I think that trend continues. I’m staying away from the spread in this one, since the Bucs have only covered once on the road, but I love the amount of points that Tom Brady can put up against the Falcons’ defense. As long as they don’t turn the ball over, Brady will get the ball to one of his playmakers in the red zone. 30 points won’t be an issue, it’s just how much the Falcons can get to keep up.
The Pick: Over 50.5
The headline reads “Stick To The Script” for a number of reasons. Most of it has to do with taking similar picks from the Week 2 game, which saw me go 6-1, including calling a defensive touchdown. There were even two by Edwards. While I’m not picking a defensive touchdown again for Sunday, I am sticking to the same game plan in terms of the over and the Bucs in the first half, as well as the over in receiving for Rob Gronkowski, which hit last week as well.
Bucs 1H -6.5 (-120)
I don’t see the Bucs coming out with a slow start once again. This is a team that the Bucs can beat up on early and finish the game by halftime. That’s exactly what they do here with a quick score.
Chris Godwin Touchdown (+100)
Godwin and Mike Evans had quiet games last week. That normally means that one of them will have a huge afternoon this time around. I’m taking Godwin due to the versatile ways they get him the ball, which includes screen passes and end around handoffs. It just gives him more opportunities to reach the end zone. Godwin also scored during the first meeting with Atlanta this season. He’s scored the last six times he’s played Atlanta, with nine touchdowns during that span.
Rob Gronkowski Over 55.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
Everyone is enjoying the way Gronk has looked since returning from injury. It really feels as if he hasn’t lost a step, and he’s been one of the focal points in the offense. Even if Godwin and Evans get their targets, Gronk will have his chances as long as Antonio Brown is out. His 123 yards last week was one of his best games as a Buc. He has extra motivation, as Gronk stated that he would like to break Tony Gonzalez’s record of most 100-yard games by a tight end. Why not tie it this week?
Bucs Total Points Over 30.5 (-110)
The Bucs’ offense averages 31 points a game and they’re playing a defense that they shouldn’t have many issues with. Throw in some turnovers to set themselves up with great field position, and you might get this by the third quarter. Is this the first road game that we see Blaine Gabbert? If the Bucs can play like they did in the second half in Indianapolis, there’s a good chance.