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: Bucs -6.5, Over/Under 48.5 

All the analysis of this game says that the Bucs are going to air it out against a Falcons’ secondary that is poor to begin with, and now missing cornerback Darqueze Dennard and safety Ricardo Allen. And yet, despite all that, the over isn’t even at 50, which seems like the first time in a long time that the Bucs don’t have a number on the over/under that reached the half century mark. There’s obviously concern that Julio Jones is out for Atlanta and starting left tackle Donovan Smith and running back Ronald Jones II won’t be playing for the Bucs, but it’s not the first time Tampa Bay has played with a makeshift line. If Leonard Fournette struggles, that means more passing, and more passing means more points.

There’s an old adage that good teams win, but great teams cover. I think we know by now that the Bucs have not been good enough to defeat the best teams in the league, but they’ve handled the sub .500 opponents fairly well. They’re not a great team, but they’re great against the teams they’re expected to get the win against. Tampa Bay has their eye on the prize, and that’s a playoff birth for the first time since 2007. Atlanta, on the other hand, lost in dramatic fashion to the Chargers last week, and putting everything on the line just to come up short is going to drain them this week. Atlanta’s last four games have gone under and so have the Bucs’ last two, which means it’s time for a change. The Bucs have also done well on the road, going 6-3 ATS over their last nine, including covering their most recent game on the road. Take the Bucs here, as the points come in droves.

The Pick: Bucs -6.5, Over 48.5 

I’m working my way back to .500, but a 2-3 record didn’t help last week. There’s still three weeks to go though, so this is the week where we make up some ground. Here’s my picks around the rest of the league for this week.

Dolphins -2 vs. Patriots

Miami is another team that’s looking to make the playoffs for the first time in a couple seasons, while the Patriots could be missing the postseason for the first time in over a decade. New England’s offense is a mess right now, especially in the passing game, and I trust the Dolphins’ defense to keep the Patriots’ struggles going. If Miami covered last week against Kansas City, they should beat the Pats by more than two.

Washington +6.5 vs. Seahawks

I keep doubting Washington each week, and each week they prove me wrong. It’s a little more dicey this week with Dwayne Haskins back at quarterback, but I think he gives them the best chance to score points. The worry is he might also turn the ball over. The Seahawks are a great team, but they play down to their competition.

Cowboys +3 vs. 49ers

The Cowboys defense isn’t good, but the 49ers like to run the ball constantly and I think that helps out Dallas here. Andy Dalton has looked much more comfortable since his return and it could be a big day for their talented wide receivers. San Francisco hasn’t covered in two weeks, this time they get the trifecta.

Saints-Chiefs Under 52.5

This is another one that’s a little dicey with Drew Brees coming back at quarterback. Is he 100 percent? Will the offense be better with him there? Michael Thomas isn’t playing, so that doesn’t help. Brees doesn’t throw the ball deep, so that means when they score, it’ll be long, slower paced drives. I know the Chiefs’ offense is a juggernaut, but the Saints can at least slow down their drives without allowing the big play, giving an opportunity for the under in a game that many around the country will be watching.

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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