NFL Picks: Buccaneers vs. Patriots in Week 3

Jason Lake

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 12:47 PM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013 12:47 PM GMT

Even when things go right for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they go wrong. But the sharps are pounding Tampa Bay versus the New England Patriots on the Week 3 NFL betting lines.

 

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to September 16 inclusive:

6-3-1 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

0-2 Totals

That’s more like it. Week 2 of the NFL betting season had plenty of close shaves and controversial finishes, but four of my five ATS picks managed to survive Sunday’s mayhem – including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom I took as 3.5-point home dogs against the New Orleans Saints. The Bucs lost 16-14 to fall to 0-2 SU (1-1 ATS), snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in back-to-back games.

Next up: the New England Patriots, who went into the 2013 campaign as prime fade candidates and have delivered, on time and piping fresh, at 2-0 SU and 0-2 ATS. The early football lines for Week 3 have New England laying seven points (–115) at home, and guess what, the sharps are fading the Patriots again. Monday morning’s consensus reports showed over 70 percent support for Tampa Bay.

Public Enemy

The Buccaneers came into 2013 as a tasty follow candidate for a number of reasons, most of which boil down to this: The football betting public doesn’t take them seriously. You’ll find plenty of evidence in the comments from last week’s article on the Saints-Bucs contest. The Patriots and Saints are both public teams, so by the Transitive Law of Handicapping, we can expect the NFL betting marketplace to show pretty much the same disdain for the Bucs in Week 3. Yes, even though Tampa Bay got paid in Week 2.

First off, there will be plenty of people auto-betting the Patriots for Sunday’s matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) with zero regard for who their opponents are. Then there will be another layer of bettors who fail to look beyond Tampa Bay’s 0-2 SU record. Never mind that the Bucs handed their season-opener to the New York Jets with a stupid penalty, or that New Orleans had to scramble to get the game-winning field goal on Sunday.

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Follow for Now

But the sharps can’t ignore these things either. Penalties are probably going to keep haunting the Bucs; Greg Schiano wants his team to play nasty, and heading into his 2012 maiden voyage as an NFL coach, Schiano told local radio station WDAE that that ranking “five through 10” in penalties was ideal. Tampa Bay was No. 22 last year with 51.2 yards in penalties per game. This year so far? No. 1 with a bullet at 110 yards. Not ideal.

We also have to wonder how many SU losses the Bucs can absorb before the team implodes. Things are already shaky between the hard-ass Schiano and his more laissez-faire quarterback, Josh Freeman. Speaking of public disdain, when it comes to the NFL betting public, you’re not allowed to be laissez-faire or anything else remotely French. You’re not free to be Freeman.

TB on the Radio

By the way, here’s Freeman’s passing Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR) for his first four years in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders:

2012: plus-118 (No. 24 overall)

2011: minus-96 (No. 34)

2010: plus-816 (No. 9)

2009: minus-392 (No. 40)

It’s been replacement-level football for Freeman since his 2010 Pro Bowl campaign. That’s not stellar, but it’s good enough when you have such an outstanding defense. Both of Tampa Bay’s first two games easily slid UNDER the posted total, and given the lack of receiving talent surrounding Patriots QB Tom Brady, I think their Week 3 matchup might even be worth the old underdog-UNDER parlay with the total at 44 points.

NFL Pick: Take the Buccaneers +9 (-125) at Marathon

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