Bucs vs. Rams NFL Picks: Tampa Bay Focused on Winning, Take +2.5

Teddy Covers

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 9:06 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015 9:06 PM UTC

Tampa Bay look to bounce back in week 15 NFL betting over St. Louis. Will the Bucs be able to win or cover? Find out as we preview this game.

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NFL Pick: Bucs +2.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. St Louis Rams
At the midway point of the season, the Rams had the look of a team poised to make a second half run towards a playoff spot. They started 4-3. Todd Gurley looked like a pro bowler at running back, gaining 146, 159, 128 and 133 yards on the ground over a span in which the Rams won three out of four. Their defense – particularly up front at the line of scrimmage – was dominant, capable of shutting down the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers. Some pundits were even touting Jeff Fisher’s squad as a potential Super Bowl contenders, with wins over the likes of Seattle and Arizona in early season play.


Betting Preview
That was then. This is now. St Louis is 1-5 SU, 1-4-1 against the NFL odds since back-to-back wins over the Browns and 49ers to close out October and open up November, the lone win coming last week against the mistake prone Lions. This team has scored more than 13 points only once in their last five games, and they’ve been outyarded in each and every one of those games, by an average of more than 130 yards per contest. 

These types of defeats aren’t coming by accident. Yes, the Rams generated two offensive touchdowns last week; both coming in the second half against a worn down Lions defense. But make no mistake about it – the St Louis offense is a train wreck these days, besieged with key injuries on the offensive line. Backup QB Case Keenum has thrown for 136 and 124 yards in his two starts, not exactly lighting up opposing defenses. In fact, Keenum got Gary Kubiak fired from his job as the head coach of the Texans in his last starting gig, and he could easily do the same thing here for Jeff Fisher. This team has only eight TD passes all year, without consistent weapons for their bad quarterbacks to throw to. Gurley had a breakout game last week, but it’s surely worth noting that he had been held to 66 rushing yards or less in each of his previous four games and he suffered a minor knee injury last week.

The Rams defense is injury riddled every bit as much as their offense. They just placed safety TJ McDonald on IR, and CB Janoris Jenkins looks unlikely to pass his concussion protocol, listed as questionable. Defensive end Robert Quinn hasn’t been able to practice. This is not a loaded stop unit at this stage of the campaign.

The Rams are probably going to move to LA this offseason, with ownership pushing in that direction. That means this could be their ‘last ever’ home game at the Edward Jones Dome. Let’s not forget that St Louis has suffered more than their fair share of non-competitive losses on this field, including recent defeats: 37-13 to the Bears and 27-3 to the Cardinals. I’m not convinced that the last home game is going to bring out the best for St Louis, but the betting markets have been driving this line up from an opener of pick ‘em to the current ‘Rams -2.5’ pointspread.

The Bucs probably lost out on any realistic shot of making the playoffs with their home loss to New Orleans last week.  But they’re saying the right things as they approach this short week trip to St Louis. WR Mike Evans: “What better way?  We (have) four days….We’re ready to redeem ourselves.”  Tampa already has SU wins as a road underdog at New Orleans, Atlanta and Philly, as well as a wire-to-wire spread cover in a one point loss at Washington. My power ratings say that they should be the favorite here, and I firmly agree with those numbers! Take the Bucs as the NFL pick.

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