It's never easy to bet on a team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Our numbers show the New York Giants are the more popular NFL pick this Sunday – but not the sharpest.
Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 7: 27-21-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 18-27 Total
Strange things are happening in Florida. Okay, that in and of itself might not be so strange. But check out those Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They were absolutely awful to start the 2015 campaign, dropping three of their first four games SU and ATS while QB Jameis Winston struggled to find his way as a raw rookie. The last three games: 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS, with Winston going pick-free and playing like a Pro Bowler.
Here at the ranch, we were impressed enough to put the Bucs in our Week 9 NFL picks. Apparently we're in the minority. Our consensus reports at press time show nearly two-thirds of bettors on the New York Giants for Sunday's matchup (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX), with 76 percent of the action landing on Big Blue. Looks like we're on the square side this time.
Not so fast, Kowalski. According to the “$1000+ Bets” section of our expanded consensus reports, the Buccaneers have drawn five such bets at press time, compared to just three for the Giants. The difference in the average bet size isn't huge: New York is getting $149 a pop, and Tampa Bay is getting $90. When you look at the volume of bets coming in on the G-Men, and you look at that middling average wager, you're almost assuredly looking at a “square” pick.
Hardly surprising. The Bucs (3-4 SU, 4-3 ATS) are a small-market team that hasn't had a winning season since 2010. They've been treated as a joke pretty much ever since they fired Jon Gruden as their head coach. Their new uniforms look like Satan's digital alarm clock. And Winston has, shall we say, a colorful history. The Giants (4-4 SU, 4-3-1 ATS) represent the biggest market in the league. They have a rich tradition stretching back 90 years. They have WR Odell Beckham Jr. Of course recreational bettors are pounding the Giants this week.
Here Comes the Flood?
Meanwhile, it's Saturday afternoon as we go to press, and we're still waiting for the deluge of money to come pouring in on the New Orleans Saints. They've been stuck at –8 on our NFL odds board for Sunday's contest (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) against the Tennessee Titans, and while there's been some sharp action both sides, this has been a very quiet game as far as betting is concerned. In terms of volume, only two other teams (Jacksonville and the New York Jets) have drawn fewer bettors than New Orleans has.
We still expect that to change as the weekend rolls along. The Titans are 1-6 SU and 3-4 ATS, and they fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt last week, so they'll have some trouble preparing for Sunday's game. The beloved Saints (4-4 SU, 4-3-1 ATS) aren't all that, but at least they've won three straight games at 2-0-1 ATS. That's got to be worth at least a few beads.