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Buccaneers vs. Rams NFL Week 3 Picks and Predictions

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Buccaneers vs. Rams NFL Week 3 Picks and Predictions
Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams looks to make a pass. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

The new-look L.A. Rams can beat the NFL odds this Sunday when they host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams

Sunday, September 26, 2021 – 04:25 PM EDT at SoFi Stadium

It took over a year for Sean McVay to get his revenge. After his Los Angeles Rams were snuffed out by the New England Patriots at Super Bowl LIII, McVay didn’t see Tom Brady again until last November, when his team faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa. Final score: Rams 27, Bucs (–4) 24. That loss didn’t stop Brady from winning another Super Bowl ring, but you take what you can get. Imagine what McVay must be thinking now that he has Matthew Stafford as his quarterback instead of Jared Goff.

The Rams will play host to Tampa Bay this Sunday in what might be the best matchup on the Week 3 NFL odds board; the numbers point to Los Angeles as the sharp pick, with Heritage pegging them at +2 after opening them last Thursday as 1.5-point favorites. Are you bold enough to bet against Brady?

I Like Big Bets and I Cannot Lie

If so, you’re not alone. The consensus figures at press time show 66 percent of bettors on the Rams, which is interesting when you consider the way the NFL lines have moved. The expanded consensus report for this matchup has 72 percent of the amount wagered on Los Angeles, for an average bet size of $98; that’s the biggest on the board at press time, although not by much. So why are the lines moving in the other direction? The answer – perhaps – can be found in the line history. Several of our preferred online sportsbooks had some very early action on the Rams, including at Heritage, where they moved from –1.5 to –2 before the script was flipped. Maybe this was one of those “head-fakes” by the sharps, where they put a small wager on one side, then a much bigger bet on the other side after the lines have shifted. It’s entirely possible, but then again, getting the Bucs at +2 wouldn’t have been dramatically different from getting them at +1.5. Hmmmmm.

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The European Canon Is Here

Then you have the whole “European” model of oddsmaking, where the books try to carve out a piece of the sharp action by fading the public themselves with their line moves. Tampa Bay are the public team here, of course... or are they? The public money charts available on the interwebs show the Rams in second place overall, and the Bucs way down in the middle of the pack. Curious. This is the kind of stuff we old-school handicappers had to wrap our heads around back in the day.

Now, we just look at the projections; FiveThirtyEight have Sunday’s game as a pick’em, while Jeff Sagarin at The USA Today likes L.A. to win by 1.08 points. ESPN’s Football Power Index also has the home side winning 55.4 percent of the time. We’ve already seen what McVay and the Rams can do against Tampa Bay. Let’s see if they do even better now that Stafford is under center instead of Goff.

NFL Pick: (visit our Sportsbook Review)

*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.