The best game of the week is the rubber match between Tom Brady and Sean McVay’s Los Angeles Rams as both sides have won one game apiece. Las Vegas’ NFL odds have flipped here initially favoring the Rams but now siding with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Who has the edge between these Super Bowl contenders?
|Game: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) at Los Angeles Rams (2-0)
Location: SoFi StadiumDate: Sunday, September 26, 2021
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
|Tampa Bay||-1 -120||55½ -110o||28 -120o/-110u|
|Los Angeles Rams||+1 Ev||55½ -110u||27 -120o/-110u|
In 26 total meetings, the Rams lead the Buccaneers 17-9 (15-9 in the regular season). Tampa Bay has only won one of its last seven games against the Rams. Last season, Los Angeles edged Tampa Bay 27 to 24 as four-point underdogs and handed quarterback Tom Brady his second loss against the franchise.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Next game: at New England Patriots
After barely beating Dallas, the Buccaneers destroyed the Falcons 48 to 25 and covered its 14-point spread. But it didn’t look that easy as Tampa Bay had to explode for 20 unanswered points in the fourth to cover. They are now 1-1 as an NFL pick against the spread.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown and linebacker Kevin Minter are on the COVID list and are questionable this Sunday.
Los Angeles Rams
Next game: vs Arizona Cardinals
The Rams edged the Colts 27 to 24 but failed to cover their 3½-point spread. The game was even in doubt, but Los Angeles took out Colts’ QB Carson Wentz and neutralized replacement Jacob Eason from doing further damage late in the fourth.
Running back Darrell Henderson Jr. (rib) was hurt last week but coach Sean McVay is “optimistic” he can play against Tampa Bay this week.
Betting on the Game
The Buccaneers opened as an underdog for the first time this season at +1, but that completely flipped and they are now the short favorites. This is essentially a pick’em and a potential NFC Championship Game preview. Both teams are 1-1 ATS this season.
Tampa Bay backers saw the market back them in their opening out against the Cowboys, in which the world watched them eke out a win in the season opener and fail to cover the number. That same market supported them as 13½-point chalk against the Atlanta Falcons, in which the Bucs delivered with a 48-25 win and cover.
The Buccaneers have won ten straight games going back to last season (7-3 ATS in this span). They also went 5-0 on the road and have the NFL’s best road record since the start of 2020 at 9-2 straight-up.
In the regular season, Brady was also better on the road last year with 21 touchdowns to just two picks (113.2 passer rating) than at home with 19 touchdowns and ten picks (90.7 passer rating).
There were sparse crowds in games last season. If we just look at Brady’s overall record on the road, his passer rating dips from 98.3 at home to 96.6, but he’s thrown the exact amount of touchdowns at 295 apiece.
NINE touchdowns for Tom Brady through the first two weeks 😮
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 19, 2021
But the Rams are also a great home team, posting a 6-2 record in 2020 and 19-6 since 2018. They easily defeated the Bears in their home opener but did have a few whiffs as they lost to the Jets and injury-plagued 49ers last season.
Los Angeles does better as an underdog or slightly-favored chalk. As an underdog or a favorite by three-points or fewer, Los Angeles won seven of eleven times.
It’s thanks to the NFL’s top defense that helps Los Angeles win several of these games. But now they have a better offense and are currently eighth in the NFL in points scored and yards per play. So if it becomes a shootout against Tampa’s top-ranked offense, Los Angeles will be in a better position now.
The defense from Tampa will have to step up. The unit has allowed 27 points per game and the third-most passing yards. They still won both games thanks to the offense. But the Rams are a step up in competition as a team that can score and defend. But Tampa still has the best player in the game so that should give them an edge when betting online.
About three quarters of the online action have been towards the total going over. It opened at 55 and has notched unsurprisingly up to 55½. Tampa Bay and Los Angeles combine to average 70 points a game. They both have prolific quarterbacks even if their defenses could spoil the fun here.
The Bucs’ and Rams’ defenses combine to force four turnovers a game with interceptions being most of that. Tampa’s defense may give up yards, but it had the 11th best red zone defense in 2020 and has only allowed its opponents this season to score a touchdown on 50% of their appearances.
The Rams were only a middle-of-the-pack team in scoring in the red zone last season at 57.8% and they’re only scoring at 55.6% this season. It may well be that we see plenty of chain-moving here, but Los Angeles gets held to kicking field goals.
On the other end, Los Angeles has only been a middling team at stopping opponents from the red zone. So even if Los Angeles stops Tampa from breaking off big plays, it may concede touchdowns when Tampa gets to within 20 yards of the endzone.
Still, Tampa will not be scoring a lot here as Los Angeles’s defense is solid from front to back while Los Angeles will get turned back by Tampa’s clutch defense.