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Ken has been on a bit of a losing streak lately, so let’s give him a break from calling the Buccaneers’ game every weekend and help make some money (or some bragging rights in the office pool) by picking against the spread and calling the over/under for Sunday’s game.
Against the Spread
According to ESPN’s compilation of betting lines, this game is either -1 to Atlanta, -1 to Tampa Bay, or a pick ‘em. In other words, sportsbooks can’t even decide who should be favored, and aren’t willing to put many points behind either team.
That turns it into what should be a straight forward prediction of which team will win, and for that we’ll go with the Falcons. Atlanta controlled the game against the Buccaneers in their first meeting, and they may actually be a bit healthier in Week 11 than they were in Week 7.
Tampa Bay’s offense has found some success on the ground lately, but the passing game certainly has not shown up over the last six quarters. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s offense is approaching the point of being as healthy as it has been in a while, with a possibility of having Roddy White, Steven Jackson, Harry Douglas, and Tony Gonzalez all in the lineup.
This is literally as close to a coin flip as it can get, but we’ll lean towards the Falcons.
Pick: Falcons (Pick ‘em, +1 or -1)
The Over/Under for this game is set at 43.5, while the two teams combine to score an average of 36.9 per game, and allow an average of 51.1 per game.
And it’s the recent success of the Tampa Bay offense and the proven success of the Atlanta offense against this Tampa Bay defense which compels us to go with the over here. 24-21 or 28-17 both sound like reasonable scorelines for this game, and both would qualify as an over with this current number.
Neither team is an offensive powerhouse guaranteed to land a 20-point game, but we’re banking on the defenses’ ability to give up points and the history of this series. Three of the last four matchups have been over 43.5, with the only exception coming up less than a touchdown short.
Pick: Over 43.5