Atlanta Falcons (5-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)
This line was 2 in favor of the visiting Falcons on the early line last week, but the line has since moved all the way up to 4.5. Considering it moved through the key numbers of 3 and 4, that’s a pretty significant line movement; close to 3 in 10 games are decided by 4 points or fewer. Ordinarily, I love fading significant line movement because it tends to be the result of overreaction to a single week of play, but in this case it makes perfect sense. The Buccaneers went into overtime last week at home against the Raiders and now have to turn around and play a Thursday Night game on a short week. That historically has not gone well, as teams have covered just 4 times on Thursday Night off of an overtime game in 25 instances, since 1989. They figure to be exhausted in this one.
That being said, I couldn’t be confident in the Falcons at all, for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious one is how big this line is. The Falcons are a solid team, but the Buccaneers aren’t bad either and, even on a short week off of an overtime game, we’re getting absolutely no line value with the Falcons at 4.5. This line seems to take into account that the Buccaneers will be exhausted. The Falcons are also in a tough spot of their own, as they have a tough game in Philadelphia on deck, while the Buccaneers stay at home and host the lowly Bears next week. Favorites are just 58-89 ATS since 2012 before being underdogs when their opponent will next be favorites. Home underdogs like the Buccaneers also tend to do well off of a loss as home underdogs, as teams are 74-50 ATS in that spot since 2002. I’m still taking the Falcons, but for a no confidence pick.
Atlanta Falcons 26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
Pick against the spread: Atlanta -4.5