Los Angeles Rams (1-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
The Rams pulled off a big upset win last week in their home opener, beating the 7-point favorite Seattle Seahawks by the final score of 9-3. However, they’re in a terrible spot this week. For one, teams tend to struggle off of big home upset victories like that, going 49-75 ATS off of a win as home underdogs, including 13-24 ATS off of a win as home underdogs of 4 or more and 4-13 ATS as divisional home underdogs or 4 or more. This game is sandwiched between that huge, emotional home victory and another tough game, a trip to Arizona, where they will almost certainly be 10+ point underdogs. Teams are just 39-59 ATS since 2012 before being 10+ point underdogs, as tough upcoming games like that tend to be a distraction.
The Rams could easily be flat this week and they’re not that good to begin with, despite their home win against the Seahawks last week. The Rams’ defense looked great against the Seahawks, but the Seahawks’ offense hasn’t looked good at all in either game this season, thanks to the worst offensive line in the league. On the offensive side, the Rams failed to score a touchdown for the second straight week. On top of that, their 28-0 week 1 loss in San Francisco definitely can’t be ignored. They’re still dead last in rate of moving the chains differential, after finishing 30th in that measure last season. As bad as they were last season, they’re worse this season, after trading their entire draft for a quarterback who hasn’t played yet and losing a pair of talented starters in the secondary in free agency, Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, neither of whom was replaced.
There are two reasons why I wouldn’t put money on Tampa Bay as favorites of more than 4 though (this line is currently at 5.5). The first is the Buccaneers are playing a week 3 home opener, which historically doesn’t go well. Teams are just 24-46 ATS in a week 3 home opener since 1989. The second reason is the Buccaneers are missing their top pass rusher Robert Ayers with injury. Without him, it’s tough to be too confident in them as favorites of more than 4, even against an awful Rams team, considering 3 in 10 games are decided by 4 points or fewer. Doug Martin is also out for Tampa Bay, though backup Charles Sims is a solid fill-in. The Buccaneers seem like the right side though.
Update: This line fell to 4 Sunday Morning, so it’s worth a play on Tampa Bay if you can get that line or better.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 Los Angeles Rams 17
Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -4