Dec 072013
 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9) at Buffalo Bills (4-8)

The Buccaneers are favored here this week, something that has been a very rare occurrence for them this season. They were kind of favored against the Falcons a few weeks ago, favored by 1 point in some places, with the line being even in some other places and Atlanta being favored by a 1 point or two at the beginning of the week. However, with the exception of that, the last time they were favored was at home for Arizona week 4 and the only other instance was week 1 in New York for the Jets, both non-covers.

This is an obvious sandwich game situation, as the Bills as favorites in between a loss as underdogs before being underdogs again. The Buccaneers lost in Carolina last week and host San Francisco next week. Teams are 76-99 ATS in that spot since 2008. It gets worse for the Buccaneers because teams struggle mightily before being big home underdogs. Teams are 48-86 ATS before being home underdogs of 4 or more since 2010, 31-70 ATS before being home underdogs of 5 or more, 26-59 ATS before being home underdogs of 6 or more, and 13-37 ATS before being home underdogs of 7 or more. The early line is currently at 6 in favor of San Francisco.

The Bills, meanwhile, are in a much better situation with only a trip to Jacksonville on deck. Teams are 54-85 ATS as home favorites before being home underdogs since 2008. The underdog has no distractions to compete with a favorite, who could be distracted. I know the Bills will be road favorites and the Buccaneers will be home favorites, but the same logic should work and it might be an even more powerful situation. There’s just not enough of a sample size with that specific situation as this is just the 10th time it’s happened since 1989 (5-4 ATS). Going off of that, teams are 33-51 ATS before being home underdogs when their opponent will next be road favorites.

The Bills are also the better team. They move the chains at a 69% rate, as opposed to 72% for their opponent, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, are 28th, allowing opponents to move the chains at a 76% rate, as opposed to 71% for themselves. It’s not enough that we’re getting significant line value, but it’s definitely worth noting. I wish we were getting field goal protection with the Bills, but they definitely seem like the right side.

Buffalo Bills 20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13 Upset Pick +120

Pick against spread: Buffalo +2.5

Confidence: Medium

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