With both teams fresh off statement wins in the wild-card round, Sunday’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be a classic. The Rams beat up on the Arizona Cardinals Monday night, dominating all aspects of the game, while the Buccaneers smoked the Eagles Sunday afternoon in similar fashion.
Game: Los Angeles Rams (13-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-4)
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Day/Time: Sunday, Jan. 23rd, 3:00 p.m. ET
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Bucs Betting Lines
Rams Set The Tone Early
Los Angeles continued its winning ways from the start of the season in a 34-11 rout of the Cardinals, getting out to a 21-0 first-half lead and never giving the visitors a shot. Both LA and Arizona struggled offensively early, but the Rams turned this around when the running game clocked while the Cardinals-and quarterback Kyler Murray-were never comfortable.
The Rams easily covered as three-point home favorites. It never really was in question as LA’s defensive line had Murray running for his life. The under (49) total was in danger as the Cardinals had the ball in garbage time, but the Rams’ defense held once again.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford only needed to throw the ball 17 times (for 202 yards and two scores) because of the efficient Rams’ offense, specifically the ground game. Defense finished with two picks, a touchdown and tons of quarterback hits/pressures.
Buccaneers Nearly Pitched A Shutout
The Buccaneers’ 31-15 wild-card game win against the Eagles wasn’t all that different from the Rams’ game, as Tampa Bay held Philadelphia scoreless until the fourth quarter. The Buccaneers controlled the game from the outset, reaching the end zone on their opening drive and scoring the game’s first 31 points. Philly made the score respectable with a pair of meaningless fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Tampa Bay comfortably covered as a one-touchdown home favorite, but the over (47½ points) did not hit as the Buccaneers took their collective feet off the gas pedal down the stretch. The Eagles’ late-game surge nearly helped the over cash, but it was too little, too late.
Tom Brady surgically picked apart the Philadelphia defense, tossing for 271 yards and two touchdowns. There was a lot of help from his running game (106 yards and two scores) and defense (two interceptions), too. It was a full-team win for defending-champion Tampa Bay.
If you’re betting online, look for some movement on this game prior to kickoff. When the line for this game opened on BetUS last night, the Buccaneers were three-point favorites (even money). Now, they’re still three-point favorites, but the -105 could be a sign that the odds are going to shift in Tampa Bay’s favor before too long.
On the broader betting market, the Buccaneers opened as just two-point favorites, but that number has mostly normalized to a field goal across the board. Regardless, it could be due for another change in the next few days.
As for making NFL predictions with the over/under, BetUS opened with the total at 48½ points, where it continues to be and could remain going forward. Same goes for the moneyline (-150 for Tampa Bay and +130 for Los Angeles), which has remained stable since the open.