Denver Broncos (3-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)
One of my favorite things to do as a bettor is go against significant week-to-week line movements. In this game, the Buccaneers were 1.5 point home underdogs last week on the early line, but now are 3 point home underdogs. That’s significant because 1 in 6 games are decided by a field goal or less. It’s understandable why the line moved. While the Broncos got an upset victory in Cincinnati, the Buccaneers lost at home to the Rams. The Broncos win was impressive and they’ve actually been very impressive as a team this year, more so than last year when they relied on many close victories to get to the Super Bowl.
Their offense has been much improved through 3 games, as Trevor Siemian has been an upgrade over both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, while running back CJ Anderson and the Broncos’ offensive line are both playing much better in their second year in head coach Gary Kubiak’s system. The defense isn’t quite as good without Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan, and now DeMarcus Ware, who is injured, but they’ve done a good job of keeping a trio of solid offenses in check, Carolina, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati. They’re a more talented team than they were a year ago.
However, this line might still be a little bit too high, as the Buccaneers’ home loss last week was not as bad as it seemed. In fact, they won the first down battle by 12 against the Rams and moved the chains at a significantly better rate (79.07% to 73.33%). Despite that, the public is all over the Buccaneers and I love fading the public whenever it makes sense because they always lose money in the long run. The Buccaneers are not a great team and I couldn’t be confident in them at all, especially without top pass rusher Robert Ayers, but I would pick the points here if I had to, as long as you get the full field goal. Less than a field goal, I think I would actually change my pick. There’s also a very good chance this one pushes. A field goal Denver win seems like a strong possibility.
Denver Broncos 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay +3