The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are poised to heap more misery on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday when these NFC South rivals collide at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers are coming off a cracking come-from-behind win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday. It’s a long week for Bruce Arians and his boys, with lots of time to prepare for the Falcons, who were laid to waste by the Philadelphia Eagles in an embarrassing 38-6 defeat at the Mercedes Superdome in Atlanta.
The Buccaneers were always going to be dubbed the favorites for this game but, at the close of the weekend, their stock almost doubled. Early lookahead NFL lines had the Bucs laying 8.5 points to the Falcons ahead of Week 1. After Sunday’s round of NFL betting was in the books, markets reopened with the Bucs as high as -13.
The line has come down to -12.5 at several online sportsbooks and with lower juice of -108. This might be a consequence of early betting, which appears to be going towards the Falcons (plus the points). So, whichever way this game is sliced, shopping around for the best NFL line is advisable.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, September 19, 2021 – 04:05 PM EDT at Raymond James Stadium
TB12 and Bucs Offense Flying High
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rang in the new season with a thriller against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday night primetime football. Although the Buccaneers, when all was said and done, failed to cover as the closing 9.5-point faves, they got the important DUB. At the close of Sunday’s NFL betting card, three of the four NFC South teams all finished with a 1-0-0 mark – the other two were the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers. Only the Atlanta Falcons failed to come through with a win in their season opener.
The Dallas Cowboys gave the Buccaneers a right run for their money in their season home-opener. It was back-and-forth between the Cowboys and Bucs as both sides traded leads in the game at various points. The Cowboys took the narrow 29-28 lead in the final minutes of the game, leaving Brady with just a little bit over a minute to salvage the important win for the Bucs. And so, he did, with a precision born from years of experience in the NFL. Brady marched the Bucs down the field to set up a game-winning field goal in the dying seconds of the game.
Overall, Brady threw for 379 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He connected with a slew of his receivers, including Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin – both scoring a touchdown apiece – and he found his pal Rob Gronkowski for two touchdowns.
Ryan and Falcons Offense a No Show
High hopes preceded Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons in 2021 as they were embarking on a new era under Arthur Smith and had snapped up one of the most coveted draft prospects this season, Kyle Pitts. Whether it was a case of nerves, lack of preparation, not understanding Smith’s playbook and game plan, or something else, it’s impossible to say. The long and short of it was, the Falcons simply didn’t show up.
It was borderline painful viewing as the Falcons whimpered to a 38-6 loss before a packed Mercedes Superdome. Either the Eagles were severely underestimated this season and they’re going to be a lot better than most bookmakers, pundits and NFL experts predicted they would be. Or, the Falcons were so bad that the Eagles looked much better than they really are.
Ryan is supposed to be an elite quarterback, by all accounts. The kind that can put up blistering points in a hurry. Well, he was anything but that in Atlanta’s first game of the season. When all was said and done, he put up paltry numbers by his lofty standards, barely cracking 150 passing yards. The entire Falcons offense sputtered, coming up with merely a couple of field goals. While the defense parted like the Red Sea, giving Jalen Hurts and the Eagles free range to run riot.
NFL Predictions and Picks
Based on what transpired in Week 1, how can anyone bet on the Falcons with any confidence? If the Eagles can make Ryan and the Falcons look pedestrian, imagine what the defending Super Bowl champions could potentially do. Unless the Falcons have some sort of epiphany over the course of this week or experience some kind of unfathomable divine intervention, it’s hard to believe they’ll be able to strike an audible chord in this game. Simply put, this could get ugly for the Falcons in a hurry. As such, the choice NFL pick here is to back the Buccaneers. Considering Tampa Bay is priced at above -650 on the moneyline to win, betting the point spread offers better value. Shading the Buccaneers at -12.5 isn’t a sure play, but it’s the best play all things being considered. The Falcons are in redevelopment under a new coach, Ryan doesn’t have his favorite go-to target anymore as Julio Jones was shipped off to Tennessee and the defense continues to be bad.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.