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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons Free Point Spread Pick

Opening Line: Falcons -6.5
Over/Under: 44.5

Time: 8:25 PM EST Thursday September 18, 2014 on CBS / NFL

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

The Buccaneers are 0-2 and they are the betting road underdog facing the Atlanta Falcons. The Tampa Bay defense has been mediocre and it does not look like Josh McCown is the answer at QB, but the team has run the ball well and both of their losses came in very close games.

After an impressive win over the New Orleans Saints in the season opener Atlanta was less than impressive in their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last week. Matt Ryan torched the Saints in the opener, but then stunk it up in the Cincy game with 3 INT and only passing for 231 yards.

Both of these teams need a win to keep pace with the 2-0 Carolina Panthers in the NFC South.

In their last games the Bucs lost to the St. Louis Rams 19-17 and the Falcons lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 24-10.

On the season the Falcons are 1-0 at home and this is the Bucs first road game.

The Bucs are 0-2 ATS and they have an Over/Under record of 0-2 and the Falcons are 1-1 with an Over/Under record of 1-1.

McCown has yet to pass for over 200 yards this season and in the Rams loss he did have 2 short TD runs, but did not pass for a TD and he was picked off once. The Bucs do have 2 big WR’s in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans and will face an Atlanta pass defense that gave up over 300 yards in the air in the loss to the Bengals.

The Falcons really need to worry about the Bucs’ rushing attack, as that is their strength on offense. Even without Doug Martin last week backup RB Bobby Rainey rushed for 144 yards and in the Bengals game the Falcons gave up 170 rushing yards.

The Atlanta pass rush has failed to register a single sack in their first 2 games.

Ryan passed for nearly 450 yards against the Saints before falling back down to earth last week. He has 2 solid WR’s in Julio Jones and Roddy White, who can both go to the house every time they touch the ball. The Bucs gave up 220 passing yards in the Rams game and their main concern has to be Ryan and the passing offense.

Ryan has not gotten much help from the rushing offense, as leading rusher Steven Jackson has only 98 yards. The Bucs run defense has been so-so this season giving up 113 rushing yards in their first game and 119 against the Rams last week.

Betting Trends

The Bucs are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games, 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games overall, and they have an Under record of 6-2 in their last 8 games.

The Falcons are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall, 15-4 ATS in their last 19 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game, and they have an Over record of 8-3 in their last 11 home games.

The favorite is 5-1-1 ATS in the last 7 games between these 2 teams.

Free NFL ATS Pick

The Falcons with their beat up offensive line looked to be catching a break with the Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (hand) and defensive end Michael Johnson (ankle) both injured, but reports are out today that both may play. If they do that may be a tough task for Atlanta’s OL who even with the expected return of LT Jake Matthews are not a strong unit.

Tampa Bay may also have an advantage on the other side of the ball. The Bucs have arguably faced the top two defensive lines in the league in their first two games of the season and had no difficulty running the ball as proven by their 3rd ranked 5.5 yards per carry. The Falcons have done a decent job on the yards per carry, but not so much on the rushing yards per game allowing a 26th ranked 154.5 per game.

This is too many points to lay for a team that could easily be 0-2 facing a division rival who matches up well against them.

Take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6

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