Shade Buccs +1 as the NFL Pick Against Falcons

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Saturday, December 5, 2015 8:39 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 8:39 PM UTC

Our NFL handicapper takes an inside look at Tampa Bay vs. Falcons game. Join us reading this betting preview so you can get our free NFL pick, don't make a move without reading this article.

Tampa stunk up the joint in the second half at Indy last week, turning a six point halftime lead into a double digit defeat. In retrospect, the fact that the Bucs didn’t play well made perfect sense; a team coming off a rare blowout win at Philly the week before, on the heels of a last minute win versus Dallas the previous week. Head coach Lovie Smith summed it up after the game: “It just wasn’t our day today…we didn’t’ play well.”


Note the fact that Smith didn’t go nuts, and start ranting and raving about his team’s poor play. Lovie’s calm, methodical nature is working well in this locker room; a sharp contrast from the up and down, mercurial nature of their last two head coaches,Greg Schiano and Raheem Morris.

Smith’s quote from the previous week following the Bucs blowout over the Eagles is worth re-visiting here as well. “We've talked a lot about being relevant again. Well, we're relevant again!" I agree with that assessment, and a ‘relevant’ Bucs team only needs a SU win on Sunday to cover this pointspread.

While most teams in the NFL have significant, ongoing injury woes, the Bucs are getting healthier! James Winston threw five TD passes to five different receivers two weeks ago, including playmaking WR Vincent Jackson in his first game since Week 7. They could get another playmaking pass catcher Austin Sefarian Jenkins, back in the lineup this week. Even if they don't, Doug Martin, Mike Evans and famous Jameis are more than capable of carrying the offense against a Falcons stop unit; just like they did in the Bucs OT win in the first meeting between these two squads.

The betting markets have been supporting Atlanta in yet another ‘circle the wagons’ game for the slumping Falcons. Yes, Devonta Freeman has been upgraded to probable following a concussion related absence last week. That’s a non-factor in my opinion.  Backup Tevin Coleman had more than 100 rushing yards last week and there’s no real drop-off between the two. The markets also seem to be reacting to Devin Hester’s return to the field for his first game action of the season following a toe injury back in August. Hester might be a recognizable name, but he’s not anything close to being an impact player –even on special teams – at this late stage of his career.

The Falcons were lucky during their 5-0 start, winning four ‘coinflip’ type games during that span. Since then, they’ve gone 1-5 SU, 0-6 ATS against the NFL odds.  Their lone victory during that span came by a field goal at lowly Tennessee. Remember, this was a 6-10 team last year and a 4-12 team in 2013 – they’re not exactly a team reeking of confidence these days. 

And from a betting market perspective, despite seven consecutive ATS losses dating back to their Week 5 OT win on a pick six over the Redskins, the Falcons remain an overvalued commodity. Think about it this way. If the Falcons, coming off 4-12 and 6-10 seasons had opened the 2015 campaign with their last six games, we’d be talking about the Falcons as one of the very worst teams in the NFL, right there with the Browns, 49ers and Titans. The fact that they won a bunch of early coinflips has led the markets down the wrong path with this sorry squad, ensuring that there’s still value to fade them here! Take Falcons as the NFL pick.

NFL Pick: Buccaneers +1 at Bet365

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