NFL Picks Bucs vs. Rams: Trend Suggests a Low Scoring Thursday Night

Jason Lake

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 7:06 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 7:06 PM UTC

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are clinging to life in the NFC playoff hunt, but the sharp action is on the St. Louis Rams to play spoiler this Thursday night under the dome.

Jason's 2015 record as of Dec. 15: 48-45-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 25-31 Total


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Free NFL Pick: Buccaneers & Rams UNDER
Best Line Offered: 41 (-105) at 5Dimes


Imagine the Tampa Bay Buccaneers making the playoffs this year. It could still happen, but the Buccaneers (6-7 SU, 7-6 ATS) lost 24-17 the New Orleans Saints (+6 away) on Sunday, falling two games out of a Wild Card spot in the NFC with just three games remaining. Next up: the St. Louis Rams, who remain mathematically alive at 5-8 SU and 5-7-1 ATS after upsetting the Detroit Lions 21-14 as 3-point home dogs.

As we go to press, it's the Rams who are getting the early attention for this week's very special episode of Thursday Night Football (8:25 p.m. ET, NFLN). There's a slight 53-percent lean toward St. Louis as a 1.5-point home fave on our NFL odds board, but those bettors are dumping over 86 percent of the action on the Rams, for a chunky average bet size of $338 compared to $62 for Tampa Bay. High rollers, baby.

Case Included
Any bet on the Rams feels like a roll of the dice. We faded them in Week 8 against the San Francisco 49ers (+7.5 away) – FAIL. We followed them in Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings (– 2 at home) – FAIL. Then we got paid twice by betting against the Rams, only to jump back on board in Week 13 versus the Arizona Cardinals (–3.5 away) – FAIL. We could blame the Rams and their inconsistency, but here at the ranch, we're looking in the mirror first.

Let's not give St. Louis too much credit for beating the Lions. New starting QB Case Keenum was 14-of-22 for 124 yards, zero touchdowns and a pick versus Detroit; Keenum finished with –59 Total DYAR to rank No. 28 out of 33 quarterbacks last week at Football Outsiders. At –38.0 percent passing DVOA, Kennum has been even less efficient than the man he replaced, Nick Foles (–29.4 percent). Yeesh.

Vincent Jackson's Locker
Jameis Winston (–42 Total DYAR) didn't have his best game against New Orleans, either – which is saying something, given how bad the Saints defense has been this year. But Winston was quick to put the blame on himself for Sunday's loss, and eager to get right back on the horse for Thursday night's contest. The short turnaround should keep Tampa Bay's morale from sagging, although possibly losing WR Vincent Jackson (33 catches, three TDs) for the season to a knee injury won't help.

We're inclined to put the Buccaneers in our Week 15 NFL picks, but that's a whole lot of money sitting on St. Louis right now. So we're going to punt and take UNDER 41 for a tiny bet instead. The UNDER is 8-1 in the last nine games for the Rams and their anemic offense, and 3-0 in Tampa's last three as the Bucs come dangerously close to running aground.

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