Preview and pick for Rams at Bucs
BetOnline customers should realize by now that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not going to emerge victorious in the NFC South. The New Orleans Saints have seen to that, and unless they somehow collapse over the next couple of games with Taysom Hill at quarterback, things aren't going to get reversed.
But they are competing for a wild card in this expanded playoff field, and in that regard they are battling it out with the Los Angeles Rams. On Monday the Bucs and Rams will meet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET on ESPN.
The Bucs are 7-3 (5-4-1 against the spread), and they are a game behind New Orleans in the division. That's actually two games, since the Saints, by virtue of their season sweep, own the tie-breaker advantage. Meanwhile, the Rams are 6-3 straight-up (5-4 ATS), and they trail the Seattle Seahawks by a half-game in the NFC West. So this is their opportunity - after Seattle's win over Arizona on Thursday - to pull back into a tie.
Who knows whether we will have a repeat of last season's result, when the Buccaneers surged to a 55-40 victory behind 385 yards and four touchdowns from the now-departed Jameis Winston.
Yes, it seems he and his 30 interceptions are long since departed. Now is the time for the "G.O.A.T." And in the Monday Night NFL betting odds at BetOnline, the Bucs are favored at home:
Tampa Bay Bucs -4 (-115)
Los Angeles Rams +4 (-105)
Over 48 Points -110
Under 48 Points -110
Of course, remember that Odds Booster gives you superior payouts on pre-selected parlays, every day of the week!
Tom Brady opposed Jared Goff a couple of seasons ago in the Super Bowl, so he is familiar with the strategy the Patriots used to frustrate the rather mechanical Goff in that game. Whatever relevance that may have - who knows. But we know that the Rams and Goff are heavily reliant on the play-action game. For that to happen, L.A. has to have the threat of a run game.
With Darrell Henderson (486 yards) and Malcolm Brown (347), along with the occasional jet sweep, the Rams have some ammunition. But the Bucs, you must remember, are perhaps the league's best at defending the run, allowing just 3.3 yards a carry.
So maybe they will be able to disrupt that a bit.
But let's give the Rams credit for being a little disruptive too. They have allowed fewer yards per drive than any team in the NFL, and maybe that kind of thing has been a surprise, considering that most of the attention with Sean McVay's team is given to the offense.
Brady comes to the table with a lot of weapons; we already know that. And that was demonstrated against Carolina last week, in a game the Bucs rolled up 46 points. Antonio Brown had seven catches. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans each had six. Rob Gronkowski had a touchdown catch. Rodney Jones took off on a 98-yard touchdown run. So it is clicking.
But quality defense has sometimes slowed down this express train. Out of Brady's four games this season in which he posted QB rating under 100, two have come against New Orleans, with another against Chicago.
And the Rams arguably do a better job than those teams.
In other words, don't expect the Bucs to run roughshod over this stop unit, which has the depth in the secondary, aside from the cornerback combo of Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams, to contend. NO TEAM has permitted fewer yards AND points on a per-drive basis than the Rams.
Conflicting trends exist. The Rams have played seven of nine games under the total, while Bruce Arians' teams have played 18 of their last 26 games over the total.
The way we see it, both sides have more than enough on the defensive side of the ball to keep the other team off-balance. Goff is easier to disrupt, perhaps, but don't be surprised if Brady is made to feel very uncomfortable. We'll go with an UNDER in this game.
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