Atlanta Falcons (2-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)
Last week Tom Brady lost in a spot in which he hardly ever loses, previously being 36-11 ATS off of a loss unless he is favored by more than a touchdown, but it wasn’t really his fault aside from a sack fumble, as the Buccaneers had a special teams fumble to lose the turnover battle by two, leading to a 41-31 Chiefs win, despite the Buccaneers averaging 6.37 yards per play and a 44.26% first down rate, as opposed to 5.42 and 34.17% for the Chiefs.
The Buccaneers loss to the Packers the week before wasn’t really Brady’s fault either, as he was missing wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Julio Jones, as well as left tackle Donovan Smith who have all since returned. Brady hasn’t lost three games in a row since back in 2002, going 9-2 ATS after two straight losses since the start of the 2003 season and it seems unlikely that streak will end this week, given who his opponent is, but covering the spread is far from automatic, as he’ll 10-point home favorites against the Falcons.
Brady hasn’t been nearly as good at covering the spread after a loss when he’s a big favorite, though we are still getting some line value with the Buccaneers. The Falcons have been a competitive team thus far and have exceeded expectations, but they’ve overachieved their talent level a little and are missing one of their best players Kyle Pitts this week, while the Buccaneers still have one of the most complete rosters in the league when their offensive line and receiving corps are relatively healthy.
Even with last week’s performance against the Chiefs included, the Buccaneers still rank 3rd in schedule adjusted defensive efficiency and the offense seems likely to catch up at some point, after a slow start due to injury absences. I have them as 10 points better than the Falcons, giving us a calculated line of Tampa Bay -12.5, decent line value, although not enough to bet on it, unless the line happens to drop to 9.5. If that does happen, I would consider a bet on the Buccaneers, even though I don’t love betting on Brady as this big of a favorite.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30 Atlanta Falcons 17
Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -10