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 -7, Over/Under 50.5
Week 17 can be a weird one for gambling in football. Some teams have locked in their playoff spot and rest their starters, while other losing teams that don’t have much to play for don’t necessarily bring their best effort. Luckily, the Bucs have the ever important five seed to lock up while Falcons’ interim head coach Raheem Morris could be auditioning to remove that “interim” title next season. It should be a competitive game.
The Bucs failed to cover against the Falcons when they met two weeks ago, but if there was another five minutes in that second half, this would not be the case. No team has been hotter than the Buccaneers over the last six quarters of football, and if they can continue their offensive success, there’s not many teams in the entire league that can stop them. Everyone is heating up at the right time, and that includes newcomers Tom Brady, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski.
Tampa Bay’s biggest issue last game defensively was stopping Calvin Ridley and getting to Matt Ryan. The Bucs just had some unfortunate timing as Devin White, Shaq Barrett and Steve McLendon were put on the COVID list and Carlton Davis III is doubtful to play with a groin injury. White was the only player that could get to Ryan last time, recording three sacks, so with him out and Atlanta double teaming Jason Pierre-Paul, who’s getting home? I’m quite confident in backup linebacker Kevin Minter, but it’s Anthony Nelson outside on the edge that I’m worried about. As much as I wanted to pick the Bucs -7, missing so many key defensive players is making me stay away from it. For that, I’m taking the over.
The Pick: Over 50.5
I hope everyone is having a happy and healthy new year in 2021! The new year marks new beginnings and a fresh start, and that goes for gambling as well. Here’s to starting off right around the rest of the league in the final week of the regular season.
Cowboys -1.5 at Giants
It’s a potential battle for the NFC East division as both teams need a win and a Washington loss. The Cowboys are peaking at the right time while the Giants have plummeted back down to Earth. Look for the Cowboys to keep it rolling.
Packers -4.5 at Bears
Green Bay proved a lot of doubters wrong last week, including myself, when they thrashed the Titans on Sunday Night Football last week. They still have a lot to play for with first place in the conference and a bye on the line. If Aaron Rodgers wants a week off, he’s going to play his best ball to get there.
Rams +3 vs. Cardinals
It was a little surprising to see the Rams as home underdogs even with a playoff spot not clinched yet and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray coming off a bad injury. I don’t think Murray is 100 percent, so that’ll limit what he can do. The Rams have struggled in their last two games, but Arizona hasn’t played well when they have big match-ups. Take Los Angeles as they shape up for the playoffs.