Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:00 AM EST.
ATLANTA +6½ -103 over Tampa Bay
1:00 PM EST. If you were watching the end of the Chargers/Falcons game on Sunday, you were likely questioning why you would wager your hard earned dollars on this league. With the game tied 17-17, the Chargers were moving the ball in hopes of getting into position for a game winning field goal, when a freak bounce on a pass from Justin Herbert landed in the hands of the Falcons Blidi Wreh-Wilson. Advantage Falcons. With all the momentum and only a few ticks left on the clock, the Dirty Birds were in prime position to get the road win and head back to the A.T.L. You know what happened next, as Matt Ryan could not be outdone by the rookie Herbert, as he threw a brutal interception that might as well have been a designed play for L.A.’s Michael Davis who bit on the out-route and made the easy catch. Advantage Chargers. The Falcons wouldn’t not touch the ball again, as the Chargers marched down the field for a chip shot field goal. Game over. We were fortunate to cash with L.A. but credit to the Falcons for a well-played road game, final drive excluded.
We write about in-game variance all of the time. It is relevant to every game played. As lucky as we were to catch a break fading the Falcons last week, we were just as, if not more unlucky to rip up the ticket we had fading the Brady’s against the Vikings. How Tampa Bay not only won but covered that game is so sick. First, the Vikes dictated the play by owning the time of possession by nearly 20 minutes. Tampa had 10 fewer first downs and it was outgained as well. There was nothing we saw in that game or Tampa’s last half dozen games that changed our perspective that the Bucs have no business spotting points in this range against anybody with a capable quarterback, let alone a division rival on the road.
The Bucs market value appears to be on the upswing after cashing tickets in three of the last four weeks. While they’ve lost two of its last three, Tampa was defeated by “really good” teams in the Chiefs and Rams, covering against Kansas City. However, just as the afternoon against the Vikings was aided greatly by a bunch of Footlocker rejects, so, too, was the result of that game v Kansas City. The Chiefs dominated and should have blown the Bucs out of the water but a couple of timely flags made that nationally televised game much more interesting in the fourth quarter than it should have been. Now, the Bucs are spotting inflated points on the road in their division and remain one of the NFL’s luckiest and most overrated teams. As for the Dirty Birds, well, a bad season, a fired head coach and back-to-back weeks of their offense looking horrible gives the market the perception that the Falcons appear to be throwing in the towel. They are not and frankly, they can make life very miserable for the Bucs, as they play them twice in the next three weeks and could very well catch Tampa in a very complacent mood.
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ATLANTA +6½ -103 (Risking 2.06 units - To Win: 2.00)