Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9)
At first glance, the Buccaneers are in a terrible spot. After this game, they have to go to Detroit, where they could easily be double digit underdogs. The early line was 9, but after Detroit looked good on national TV on Thanksgiving that line could be pushed into double figures. Teams are 42-86 ATS since 2010 before being double digit underdogs as a tough game like that upcoming presents a massive distraction. Even if the line ends up being 9 or 9.5, it’s still worth mentioning and the logic could still hold either way. Going off of that, non-divisional home underdogs are 99-124 ATS since 2002 before being non-divisional road underdogs, no matter what the following week’s line is.
Making matters even worse, the Buccaneers are an embarrassing 13-31 ATS since 2009 at home, including 5-20 ATS as home underdogs. This season, they are 0-5 ATS at home and haven’t won any of those 5 games despite being favored in 3 of them (Carolina, St. Louis, and Minnesota) and playing 4 of them against 4 teams that are currently a combined 11-28-1. The only team they’ve played at home this season that this currently better than 4-7 was the Ravens who blew them out 48-17.
However, despite the Buccaneers’ terrible home record and the Bengals’ reasonable road record (3-2 straight up and against the spread), the Buccaneers have actually performed better in rate of moving the chains differential at home this season than the Bengals have on the road, regardless of what the records say. The Buccaneers have won the chains battle in 3 of 5 home games this season, while the Bengals have lost it in 3 of 5 road games.
On the season, the Bengals have moved the chains at a 68.35% rate, as opposed to 75.84% for their opponents, on the road, a differential of -7.50%. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have moved them at a 71.72% rate, as opposed to 74.19% for their opponents, at home, a differential of -3.07%. It’s not enough for me to take the Buccaneers, but it’s enough for me not to be confident in Cincinnati, especially since they take on Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Denver, and Pittsburgh in their final 4 games after this random game against a 2-9 non-conference opponent and especially since the public is all over Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Bengals 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati -3.5