Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2020 Week 11 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Rams (6-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)

These two teams have some big similarities. Both teams rank highly in schedule adjusted first down rate differential, as the Buccaneers rank first at +5.13%, while the Rams rank second at +4.87%. Both teams have been better defensively than on offense, ranking 2nd and 5th respectively in first down rate over expected and 12th and 11th respectively in first down rate allowed over expected. Both teams are also missing their best offensive lineman, left tackle Andrew Whitworth for the Rams and left guard Ali Marpet for the Buccaneers.

The big edge the Buccaneers have is their offensive has much more upside than the Rams’ offense. Marpet’s absence hurts, but they have top wide receiver Chris Godwin back healthy after missing 4 games earlier this season and they have also added fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown into the mix after he missed the first 8 games of the season with suspension. Overall, the Buccaneers have a 2.5 point edge in my roster rankings as a result of their offensive upside. Given that, this line favoring the Buccaneers by 4 points in Tampa Bay, where they will have the benefit of at least some fans, is pretty reasonable.

That being said, there are two key reasons why I like the Rams for a small play this week. For one, they have a big advantage as a west coast team playing an east coast team in a night game. Due to circadian rhythms, west coast teams cover at about a 60% rate against east coast teams at night, as east coast teams tend to get tired towards the end of the game and see their performance fall off in the second half.

On top of that, the Rams are in a great spot, as they only have a home game against the banged up 49ers on deck, while the Buccaneers have a matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. Underdogs are 89-41 ATS since 2016 before being favorites when their opponent will next be underdogs and all three of those factors should be true here. If Tom Brady and company are looking ahead to facing Pat Mahomes and company, the Rams could easily give the Buccaneers a game or even pull the upset, especially when you consider the circadian rhythms as well. About 30% of games are decided by 4 points or less (and 25% by 3 points or less), so I like the Rams as underdogs of more than an underdog, especially at +4, even if we’re not getting great line value overall.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 Los Angeles Rams 22

Pick against the spread: LA Rams +4

Confidence: Medium

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers: 2020 Week 10 NFL Pick

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-6)

The Buccaneers were embarrassed in a 38-3 loss to the Saints last week, losing the first down rate battle by 8.73%. I thought that win was more about the Saints though, as the Saints are arguably the top team in the league on paper when healthy and they showed it in a big way. I was expecting the Saints to come in, give the Buccaneers a game, and at least cover the 4.5-point spread. Obviously a 35-point win goes far beyond giving the Buccaneers a game and a 35-point loss to anyone is a concern for a team, but it’s definitely worth noting that the Buccaneers still rank 2nd in the NFL in schedule adjusted first down rate differential at +4.61%, even with that game factored in.

The Buccaneers’ offense gets the attention, but their defense has led the way with a -4.38% first down rate allowed over expected that ranks 2nd in the NFL, while their offense ranks 17th in first down rate over expected at +0.23%. Defenses tend to be more unpredictable on a week-to-week basis than offenses and the Buccaneers’ defense is not quite the same without the injured Vita Vea, but any regression from their defense could be compensated for by an offense that should be better with top wide receiver Chris Godwin healthy after missing four games and free agent signee Antonio Brown working into the mix after his first game back from suspension last week. 

It’s also worth noting how well Tom Brady has played after a loss in his career, going 44-22 ATS, including 34-10 ATS when not favored by a touchdown or more and 21-6 ATS after a loss by 10 points or more. There is no precedent for how Brady performs off of a loss by 35 points because he’s never lost by that many points in his career, but it’s safe to say he’ll be fully determined to avoid back-to-back bad outings and that we should get a much better effort from his team this week.

This line didn’t shift as much as I would have hoped, following that blowout loss, with the Buccaneers going from 6.5 point favorites on the early line last week to 5.5 point favorites this week, but I have this line calculated at Tampa Bay -8.5, with the Panthers having minimal fans and homefield advantage for this one, so we’re still getting good line value. I would expect the Buccaneers to bounce back and win this one with relative ease, so they’re a strong bet at 5.5.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30 Carolina Panthers 20

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -5.5

Confidence: High

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2020 Week 9 NFL Pick

New Orleans Saints (4-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2)

When these two teams met back in week 1, the Saints won 34-23 in New Orleans, but the Buccaneers were significantly better in both yards per play (+0.7) and in first down rate (+8.11), losing primarily because of a -3 turnover margin and two Saints return touchdowns, which seemed very unlikely to continue going forward. As a result, the Buccaneers became underrated and I bet on them in each of the next 6 weeks, with the Buccaneers covering in all but one of them, while the Saints have split their 6 games, putting them a game back of the Buccaneers in the NFC South at 4-3. All in all, the Buccaneers rank first in schedule adjusted first down rate differential at 5.46% and look like one of the top Super Bowl contenders in the league.

The Buccaneers have lost one of their key defensive players Vita Vea, but they’ve offset that in recent weeks by having Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both healthy on offense. However, they’ve stopped being underrated as a result of their success and, if anything, have become a little overrated, which teams like the Buccaneers with dominant defenses (#1 in first down rate allowed over expected) tend to be, as defensive play can be very inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. We saw this last week when the Buccaneers unexpectedly let the underwhelming Giants move the ball against them with relative ease and the Buccaneers’ offense barely had enough to pull out the win. If they can’t continue dominating on defense, far from a given, the Buccaneers will have a tougher time going forward.

The Saints, meanwhile, aren’t too far behind the Buccaneers overall, ranking 7th in schedule adjusted first down rate differential at +2.03% and are the noticeably better team on offense, ranking 9th in first down rate over expected at +1.86%, while the Buccaneers rank 16th at +0.48%. The Buccaneers have had injuries on offense, most notably to Chris Godwin, who is healthy now, but their offensive injury situation hasn’t compared to the Saints, as the Saints have been without top wide receiver Michael Thomas since week 1 and have had supplementary pass catchers Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook miss time as well. 

All three of those players are healthy now, most importantly Thomas who returns for the first time this week. With him back in the lineup, the Saints could easily go back to being the dangerous offense they’ve been in recent years. The Saints have also gotten key players back from injury on defense, with defensive end Marcus Davenport and cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins all missing time earlier this season before returning in recent weeks. 

Now relatively healthy on both sides of the ball, the Saints actually rank atop my roster rankings, slightly ahead of the Buccaneers, who still have a key offensive injury due to the absence of stud guard Ali Marpet, who will miss his first game of the season this week. The Buccaneers will still be tough for the Saints or anyone to beat, but we’re getting 4.5 points with the Saints, so they should be a good bet. My calculated line favors the Buccaneers by a field goal at most and Drew Brees is 28-17 ATS in his Saints career as underdogs of a field goal or more. This should be a close game either way.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 New Orleans Saints 23

Pick against the spread: New Orleans +4.5

Confidence: Medium

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants: 2020 Week 8 NFL Pick

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) at New York Giants (1-6)

I have had the Buccaneers as underrated for a while and, as a result, I have bet on them every week since week 2. It has worked out, as the Buccaneers have gone 5-1 ATS over that stretch. Everyone knew about Tom Brady and the weapons coming into the season, but their young defense was also dominant down the stretch last season, which didn’t get a lot of attention and, after the Buccaneers lost in New Orleans in week 1 in a game they would have likely won if not for an uncharacteristic -3 turnover margin (+8.11% first down rate margin), the Buccaneers became a smart bet going forward. 

The Buccaneers lost stud defensive tackle Vita Vea for the season with a broken ankle in week 5, but that was right around when the Buccaneers got their dominant wide receiver duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both healthy for the first time all season, which cancelled out Vea’s absence. Overall, the Buccaneers rank first in the league in scheduled adjusted first down rate differential at +6.71%, a wide margin over the #2 ranked Rams (+3.27%), and have not missed a beat without Vea because of other players stepping up and/or getting healthy.

However, there are a couple reasons why the Buccaneers aren’t a good bet this week. For one, the lines seem to have caught up with how good this team is, as they are favored by 13 points over the Giants, after being favored by just 8.5 points on the early line last season. That is despite the fact that the Buccaneers have lost Chris Godwin to injury again, which is a big blow for this team. Now with Godwin, Vea, and tight end OJ Howard, the key injuries are starting to stack up for a Buccaneers team that falls slightly out of the top spot in my roster rankings this week. I’m still taking the Buccaneers for pick ‘em purposes, but I have no confidence in them at this number.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 New York Giants 10

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -13

Confidence: None

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Las Vegas Raiders: 2020 Week 7 NFL Pick

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) at Las Vegas Raiders (3-2)

The Raiders have had a tough start to their season. The easiest game they’ve had so far was on the road in Carolina against a capable Panthers team and in their other four games they’ve had to face the Chiefs, Patriots, Saints, and Bills. Despite their tough schedule and despite missing two key offensive linemen in Richie Incognito and Trent Brown for most of the season, the Raiders have still gone 3-2 over their first 5 games, including wins over the Saints and Chiefs, and their two losses (Bills and Patriots) were both games in which the Raiders were competitive in the first down rate battle. On the season, the Raiders rank 10th in first down rate differential when adjusted for schedule at +2.05% and it stands to reason that they’ll be better than that going forward when they have their offensive line healthy.

Unfortunately, things are not getting any easier for the Raiders this week, as not only are they not getting their offensive linemen back, but most of their offensive line didn’t practice this week due to potential COVID exposure. At one point this week, it looked like the Raiders may have to play this game with backups across the whole line, which is why this line is just being posted now. The Raiders should have everyone except Incognito and Brown available, but the lack of practice time will hurt. On top of that, the Raiders schedule doesn’t get any easier with the Buccaneers coming to town.

The Buccaneers have a pair of losses on the season, but one was a one-point loss in Chicago and the other came in a game in New Orleans in which they won the first down rate battle by 8.18% and only lost the game because they lost the turnover battle by 3, which was never going to happen every week. The Buccaneers lead the league by more than a full percent with a +7.11% first down rate differential and they are even better when strength of schedule is taken into account, as they are at +8.06%, while no other team is better than +5.46% (Chiefs). 

The Buccaneers lost stud defensive tackle Vita Vea for the season with injury, but they got a solid replacement for him on early downs in veteran Steve McLendon and they are otherwise healthy, particularly on offense, where they’ve only had their dominant wide receiver duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin healthy in the same game once this season, last week’s blowout victory over the Packers. The Buccaneers also rank first in my roster rankings and should be favored by about a touchdown in this game, as the Raiders are a capable opponent, but probably won’t be able to overcome the tough situation they are in and the Buccaneers large talent advantage, especially since they also won’t have the benefit of having any fans in the stadium. We’re not getting great line value with the Buccaneers at -4, but they’re worth a bet.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31 Las Vegas Raiders 24

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -4

Confidence: Medium

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2020 Week 6 NFL Pick

Green Bay Packers (5-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)

The Buccaneers have a pair of losses in their first five games, but they still rank 2nd in the NFL in first down rate differential at +5.19%. They won the first down rate battle by 8.18% in their first loss to the Saints (losing the game primarily due to a -3 turnover margin, which was not going to happen every week) and they only lost the first down rate battle for the first time all season last week, finishing at -4.21% in a narrow 1-point loss in Chicago. The Buccaneers can definitely keep this up going forward and it should translate to more wins on the scoreboard than it has in their first 5 games, but how they achieve their success might be different.

In their first 5 games, the Buccaneers have been heavily reliant on a 3rd ranked defense that has allowed a 32.46% first down rate, while their offense has actually been pretty mediocre, with a 21st ranked first down rate of 37.65%. Going forward, their defense probably won’t be quite as good, due to the loss of stud defensive lineman Vita Vea with an injury, but their offense should be significantly improved, as not only does new quarterback Tom Brady now have more familiarity with this offense, but he also has arguably the top wide receiver duo in the league in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both finally healthy at the same time. That should at least offset the loss of Vea and if this team can be more balanced and consistently good on both sides of the ball, this is going to be a very tough team to beat.

The Packers, meanwhile, have set the standard for offense so far this season, leading the league with a 45.98% first down rate, but their defense has been a major concern, allowing a 43.35% first down rate, 30th in the NFL. It hasn’t caused them to lose any games yet, but the Packers’ wins have been closer than they should have been, given the otherworldly level the offense is playing at. The defense should be better going forward, even if only by default, but their offense might regress by default as well and even if it doesn’t, the Packers still figure to drop a few games because of their defense, especially in games like this against another top level team.

Given that, we’re getting great value with the Buccaneers as home underdogs. They’re only 1-point underdogs, but if we give the Buccaneers 2 points for being at home with partial fans, that suggests the Packers are three points better than the Buccaneers, when in reality these two teams should be considered at least even. I actually have the Buccaneers slightly ahead of the Packers right now, but even if we call it even, we’re still getting good value with the Buccaneers.

A week ago, this line favored Tampa Bay by a field goal on the early line, which is still currently my calculated line, and it’s unclear why the line moved so drastically, as the Packers had a bye week and Buccaneers could have easily gotten into field goal range for the win at the end in the game against the Bears. I suspect if that had happened, we wouldn’t have such a drastic line movement. The Vea injury could be part of the reason for the line movement, but, as I mentioned, the Buccaneers having their wide receivers healthy is equally important, if not more so.

Tom Brady has also always traditionally done well in situations like this where his team is doubted. His record off of a loss is famous at this point, but his ATS record off of a loss is even more incredible at 43-22 and that becomes 20-3 ATS if you look only at instances where Brady is an underdog or favorite of fewer than 3 points, which is the case here. He’s also a ridiculous 38-11 ATS against teams with a better record than his, including 27-9 ATS in week 5 or later (when records are more likely to be indicative of talent level). 

Those numbers were accumulated in New England with Bill Belichick and Brady is now in his age 43 season, but it stands to reason that Brady still will be at his best when his back is up against the wall, even if that best isn’t quite what it was in his prime. This is one of several games I am considering for Pick of the Week (including BOTH Monday games). I will have a final decision on my Pick of the Week tomorrow after I review the Monday games more thoroughly, but the Buccaneers are worth a big bet either way.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34 Green Bay Packers 31 Upset Pick +100

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay +1

Confidence: High

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears: 2020 Week 5 NFL Pick

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) at Chicago Bears (3-1)

I’ve been on the Buccaneers in a big way for the past three weeks, because I’ve felt their defense was being very underrated, and they’ve covered in all three instances, but unfortunately it seems the line has caught up, as the Buccaneers have gone from being 3-point favorites in this game in Chicago on the early line last week to 5.5-point favorites this week. That takes away all line value, as that is my exact calculated line. I’m still taking the Buccaneers, but it’s purely because it’s a short week and the better team tends to be at even more of an advantage on a short week. 

Non-divisional favorites of a field goal or more typically cover at about a 61.6% rate on Thursday nights, and, though that drops to 55.6% for road favorites, I wonder how much that will matter without normal crowds. We haven’t seen a big road favorite on Thursday yet, so there are no data points to look at, but it makes sense that the Buccaneers would have a better chance than the typical Thursday road favorites of covering. That’s not enough to bet on the Buccaneers and this would likely be a no confidence pick if this was a normal week, but on a short week, I think it’s more likely we get a strong performance from the Buccaneers than the Bears, so I’d recommend them for pick ‘em purposes.

Update: This line has surprisingly dropped to 3.5 in most places, due to heavy sharp action. I don’t know why the sharps are on the Bears and 4 and 5 aren’t key numbers, but I may consider betting Tampa Bay, especially if this line goes all the way down to 3. Stay tuned.

Update #2: While we’re waiting for this line to hopefully drop to 3, I want to lock in Minnesota +7 for this weekend. I’ll still have a full writeup this weekend as normal, but I was planning on being on the Vikings heavily if Jamal Adams doesn’t play for the Seahawks and he was ruled out early. I don’t want to risk that line dropping from a touchdown, so I’m locking it in now.

Final Update: I’ve been going back and forth on this one, but I think a bet is justified. With the Buccaneers having Leonard Fournette surprisingly active and Mike Evans confirmed active despite missing practice all week on a short week, I have this line calculated at Tampa Bay -6 and they are in a good spot as well. As much as I’d much rather this line be 3, the Buccaneers should win by at least 6-7 points.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 Chicago Bears 17

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -3.5

Confidence: Medium

Los Angeles Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2020 Week 4 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

The Buccaneers lost week one in New Orleans, but that was primarily due to the Buccaneers having a -3 turnover margin, which is not a predictable week-to-week metric. The Buccaneers actually won the first down rate battle by 8.18% in that game and they have gone on to defeat the Panthers and Broncos by a combined 32 points in the two weeks since. Overall, the Buccaneers rank 2nd in the NFL with a +6.31% first down rate differential. 

The Buccaneers haven’t had the toughest schedule, but I had high expectations for them coming into the season and, if anything I’ve been more impressed with them because of how they’ve achieved that 2nd ranked first down rate differential. While their offense has been nothing to write home about, ranking 21st in first down rate at 37.43%, their defense has led the league with a 31.12% first down rate allowed. 

Their offense figures to get better as the season goes on, given they have a lot of new parts to integrate, so it’s great to see their defense pick up right where they left off down the stretch last season, when they had the 4th lowest first down rate allowed in the league during the final 8 weeks of the season, in large part due to the development of their young secondary, which had previously struggled mightily. This might not be the best defense in the league all season, or even top-5, but their expected offensive improvement should more than offset that and it’s clear that this is a balanced team that can win a lot of different kinds of games.

This week, the Buccaneers host a banged up Chargers team, which is missing starting cornerback Chris Harris, starting edge defender Melvin Ingram, starting wide receiver Mike Williams, and the right side of their offensive line, guard Trai Turner and right tackle Bryan Bulaga, in addition to stud safety Derwin James, who has been out since training camp. The Buccaneers aren’t at full strength either with Chris Godwin out, but they still have Mike Evans and other weapons and they haven’t had their receiving corps at full strength really all season, so their injury situation isn’t really comparable to the Chargers’ situation, which primarily involves new injuries as of the past week. 

I have the Buccaneers 10 points better than the Chargers in their current injury situation, as they are one of the top teams in the league facing off against a team that is in the bottom third without their key absences. Given that, we’re getting a lot of value with the Buccaneers as mere 6.5-point home favorites. This is a team that could easily start to go on a big run and they should be able to win this game by at least a touchdown, if not possibly a lot more. This is my Pick of the Week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 Los Angeles Chargers 10

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -6.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Denver Broncos: 2020 Week 3 NFL Pick

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) at Denver Broncos (0-2)

Several teams have been decimated by injuries early this season and the Broncos are certainly one of them. It started when they lost their best defensive player Von Miller for the year to a freak injury on the eve of the season and since then the Broncos have also lost starting middle linebacker Mark Barron, top cornerback AJ Bouye, starting defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones, top wide receiver Courtland Sutton, key running back Phillip Lindsay, and starting quarterback Drew Lock. The Broncos will turn to career backup Jeff Driskel this week (how much does John Elway want his Jeff Driskel over Cam Newton decision back?), with an inexperienced receiving corps, and an undermanned defense. They currently rank 27th in my roster rankings and they’re only even that high because there are other undermanned teams behind them.

This week, the Broncos host a Tampa Bay team that has mostly avoided the injury bug and is actually healthier now than they’ve been in either of their first two games, with both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin expected to be healthy together for the first time this season. The Buccaneers lost their season opener in New Orleans, but that was largely due to a -3 turnover margin, which tends to be very inconsistent on a week-to-week basis, and they’ve actually won the first down rate battle in each of their first two games, giving them a 4th ranked +6.68% first down rate differential on the season. It’s very early, but that’s in line with their level of talent and what I would have expected for this team going into the season, especially if they can continue avoiding major injuries.

Despite that, the Buccaneers are weirdly only 5-point favorites this week in Denver. Let’s say the Broncos get two points for their diminished homefield advantage, that would mean the Buccaneers are only a touchdown better than this banged up Broncos team on a neutral field. This line only shifted from -3.5 last week on the early line (4 is not a key number), despite the injuries to Lock and Sutton. I have this line calculated at Tampa Bay -10.5, so we’re getting significant line value with the visitors, who should be able to come in and win by multiple scores. This is one of my two top plays this week, but there’s one I like a little more for Pick of the Week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 Denver Broncos 13

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -5

Confidence: High

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2020 Week 2 NFL Pick

Carolina Panthers (0-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)

The Buccaneers lost by double digits in Tom Brady’s debut in New Orleans last week and, as was seemingly the case every time Brady lost in New England over the past half decade, the questions are now swirling about Tom Brady’s long-term ability and even his relationship with his head coach. I think the Buccaneers played a lot better than the final score suggested though, as they actually won the first down rate pretty substantially on the road against the top ranked team in my roster rankings last week in the Saints. The Buccaneers’ +8.18% first down rate differential was actually the 6th highest of the opening week.

The Buccaneers were hurt significantly by a -3 turnover margin and a subsequent defensive touchdown, two things that are totally inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. The average team with a -3 turnover margin has a +0.0 turnover margin the following week and I don’t expect a Tom Brady quarterbacked team to continue turning it over like they’re a Jameis Winston quarterbacked team. I also was especially impressed with how the Buccaneers’ defense held the Saints to a 31.82% first down rate and held Drew Brees to one of his least effective starts in years. 

I had many more questions about the Buccaneers’ defense than their offense coming into the season, given that they were one of the worst defenses in the league for a year and a half before some young players came on down the stretch last season, so seeing them continue play well in week 1 of this season against one of the toughest tests in the league is a very good sign for this team’s long-term chances. The offense, which moved the ball well when not turning it over, isn’t the concern on this team.

Speaking of this offense and specifically quarterback Tom Brady, I like betting Brady in this spot, given his track record off of a loss in his career. In New England, Brady was 42-22 ATS off of a loss, frequently silencing critics who prematurely wrote off his team. He has a good chance to do the same thing this week, especially against an easy matchup. I wish we got some extra line value after the Buccaneers loss last week, but even with this line staying put at 8.5, we’re still getting good value with the Buccaneers, as this is a matchup of a top-5 team and a bottom-5 team right now.

I didn’t think much of the Panthers going into the season because, while they have some offensive firepower, their quarterback play and offensive line leave something to be desired, while their defense is arguably the worst in the league. That defense went from bad to worse this week when they lost defensive tackle Kawaan Short, arguably their best defensive player, to an injury. They’ll also be without rookie defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, who was supposed to be a big part of this defensive line rotation. Without those two, this is a very depleted group upfront. 

The Buccaneers will be missing wide receiver Chris Godwin, but they’ll get Mike Evans back healthy after he was far less than 100% last week and this team is much better equipped to deal with Godwin’s absence than the Panthers are to deal with Short’s loss. The Buccaneers still have Evans, promising young wide receiver Scotty Miller, and a trio of talented tight ends, while the Panthers are almost entirely devoid of defensive impact players without Short. I have this line calculated at Tampa Bay -12.5, even with no fans in attendance for the Buccaneers’ home opener. This should be an easy win for the Buccaneers and I like them enough to make them my Pick of the Week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38 Carolina Panthers 24

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -8.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week