NFL Week 15 Pick- Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Atlanta Falcons

David Schwab

Saturday, December 16, 2017 7:05 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 7:05 PM GMT

Monday Night Football in Week 15 features a NFC South tilt between the 8-5 Atlanta Falcons and the 4-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in an 8:30 p.m. start on ESPN. While the Buccaneers’ postseason aspirations ended quite a while ago, Atlanta remains in a tooth and nail battle for its second-straight division title.

Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Free NFL Picks: Falcons -6.5 & Falcons -250 (ML)Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes Game Overview

The current log jam in the NFC South standings with Atlanta one game in back of New Orleans and Carolina makes this the tightest division race on the board heading into the final three weeks of the regular season. The Falcons stayed right in the thick of things with last Thursday night’s 20-17 victory against the Saints as 2.5-point home favorites. This raised their record to 6-7 against the spread and they will go back on the road this week at 2-4 ATS in six previous road games. The total stayed UNDER in that game and it has stayed UNDER in four of Atlanta’s last six games.

Matt Ryan threw three interceptions against the Saints his last time out, but he still found a way to make the positive plays when he had to in order to seal that crucial win. Overall, Atlanta is ranked 12th in the league in passing and 11th when it comes to rushing yards per game to add some solid balance to its offensive attack. The Falcons have also done a good job at slowing teams down on defense with a unit that is ranked 12th against the run and sixth against the pass.

Tampa Bay started its season with a pair of wins in its first three games before posting two more over its last 10 outings. It current losing streak stands at three games both SU and ATS after coming up short against Detroit 24-21 last Sunday at home in a game that closed as a PICK. The total stayed UNDER the closing 47.5-point line after going OVER in five of the Buccaneers previous eight games. They have now failed to cover in four of their first six home games this year.

The Buccaneers’ passing offense behind quarterback Jameis Winston looks good on paper with an average of 262 yards per game, but the lack of a solid running game is one of the main reasons why this unit as a whole is 21st in the NFL in scoring with an average of 20.3 points per game. Some of this team’s biggest issues this season have been on the other side of the ball with a defense that is ranked dead last in the league against the pass while giving up an average of 24.0 PPG.

Game Betting Trends

--The Falcons have been able to cover ATS in their last five Monday night appearances and they are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against the division. The total has gone OVER the closing line in five of their last six Monday night games.

--The Buccaneers have posted a 0-5 record ATS in their last five NFC South games and they have failed to cover seven of their last eight games coming off a SU loss. Following a SU loss, the total has stayed UNDER in four of their last five games.

--The favorite on the closing line has covered in seven of the last nine meetings in this division matchup. This includes Atlanta’s 34-20 victory against Tampa Bay just a few week’s back as a 10-point favorite at home in the first game of the season’s series . The total has gone OVER in the last three games between the two.

NFL Pick

Regardless of what happens Sunday in the NFC South title race, Atlanta knows that Monday night is a must win to have any shot at repeating as division champs. Tampa Bay is playing out the string with little motivation other than playing the role of a spoiler. Giving points on the road to a division foe always comes with some level of risk, but given the current six-point spread at SBR Odds, my top NFL pick for Monday night is the Falcons both SU and ATS.

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