Falcons vs. Buccaneers Betting Predictions

Falcons at Buccaneers NFL
Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay, NFL Betting Predictions, January 3

Both of these teams can take a lot of confidence from last weeks’ performances, though the results were very different. The Atlanta Falcons fought Kansas City toe-to-toe for four quarters with a missed field goal costing them a chance at an upset. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers steamrolled Detroit and looked every bit the offensive juggernaut they were expected to be. It won’t be a blowout in the slightest for the Buccaneers, but they should squeak past Atlanta.

Falcons vs. Buccaneers Betting Odds

I’m not sure what is worse for Atlanta this season the blown leads from the first four weeks or the crushing defeats of the last four? The Falcons have looked much improved over the last two months, but the wins just have not come for them. Atlanta has one of the best receivers in the league with Calvin Ridley, yet Atlanta has scored less than 20 points in three of the last four games. The exception to that rule was two weeks ago against this Tampa Bay defense when Matt Ryan threw for 356 yards and three scores and helped lead the Falcons to an early 24-7 lead. The defense came apart in the second half against Tampa Bay and let Tom Brady get back into the game and win, and that is still the fear. Atlanta still ranks 31st in the NFL against the pass despite five of its last six opponents not throwing for more than 300 yards. If Atlanta can do to Brady what it was able to do to Patrick Mahomes last week and get some pressure on the passer and force a turnover or two, the Falcons stand a fighting chance.

I am not going to buy into the hype around this Tampa Bay offense because it shredded a bad Detroit team that was also shorthanded on the coaching staff due to COVID-19. One good game is not enough for me to believe that the Buccaneers have solved all of their woes and have corrected their slow starts. That game last week was almost a perfect storm for the Buccaneers to build a false confidence given the matchup and circumstances around the game. Tampa Bay still lacks a running game – though if Ronald Jones is able to return this week that will help – and it relies on Brady to be the quarterback he was five years ago. Brady can do that in one game but it just isn’t realistic for him to sustain that level for multiple games. Last week was a great chance to get all of the receivers going as all four of Brady’s top targets caught a touchdown pass from him last week. The weapons are there with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski for Tampa Bay’s offense to be explosive, but it hasn’t all come together yet. The caveat for this team is a defense that ranks 22nd against the pass and has just been decimated by teams that can throw the ball well this season. It’s a dangerous matchup for them against an Atlanta team that lacks a strong rushing attack and relies on its playmakers at receiver.

These are two teams that threw the ball all over each other two weeks ago in their first meeting of the season. So I am a bit skeptical of the over/under from the NFL betting sites in New Jersey being set at 50.5 points for this matchup. That is putting a lot of faith in a Tampa Bay defense that ranks 22nd against the pass to slow down an Atlanta offense that threw for 332 yards just two weeks ago. Or is it confidence that the Falcons can do to Brady and the Buccaneers what they did to Kansas City last week? Either way, I’m not sure the Falcons will be able to shut down Tampa Bay like they did last week in holding Kansas City to 17 points. Despite their recent poor offensive performances, the exception was two weeks ago against Tampa Bay. As a result, these teams scored 58 points in their first meeting, and I expect a similar game this time around as well. I’ll bet the over 50.5 total points at -110 odds.

Tampa Bay to win

The Buccaneers are the deserved favorites in this game, but the notion the New Jersey online sports betting sites made Tampa Bay a 6.5-point favorite in this game is crazy. I fully expect Tampa Bay to win the game, but Atlanta is not the pushover Detroit was last week. The Falcons’ last four games are four losses by five points or fewer, including a four-point loss to Tampa Bay two weeks ago. The Falcons gave Kansas City all it could handle last week and while the Buccaneers cruised, it did little to increase my confidence in that team. Atlanta can get after the quarterback and we know Brady struggles when facing tremendous pressure. After seeing how well this Atlanta defense has played in recent weeks, I expect the Falcons will give Tampa Bay trouble especially without much of running game. I don’t know if the Falcons can score enough points to win, but they’ll do enough for me to bet the Falcons plus 5.5 points at +100 odds.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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