The 6-6 Atlanta Falcons will try and hold onto their slim lead in the NFC South on Sunday when they host the 5-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a 2.5-point home favorite in Week 14. The Falcons took the first meeting 16-13 in Tampa back on Week 7 as a 3-point road dog.
This is going to be a tight playoff-style game with so much on the line, which might have some leaning on taking the points, but the injuries that Tampa has on defense coupled with a lack of run game has me reaching for the Birds.
Buccaneers vs Falcons odds
Buccaneers vs Falcons predictions
There was nothing pretty about the Atlanta Falcons’ 13-8 win in the Meadowlands last week, but going on the road vs. that defense and getting a victory is a good showing. Atlanta isn't a great outdoor team, but they'll have the comforts of Mercedes-Benz Stadium this week and Desmond Ridder has been a much better QB at home, boasting a completion percentage seven points higher than on the road.
Ridder also put up his second-best yardage total vs. this Tampa defense in Week 7 at 250 yards on 19-for-25 passing. This week things could be even easier for the Falcons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are thin at linebacker.
Starting middle linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White were inactive last week as was backup SirVocea Dennis. Tampa then lost LB K.J. Britt who had an MRI on his back Monday. Todd Bowles told the media David might have a chance to play but it will be close and the rest, “we’ll have to see.”
Tampa also had starting corner Jamel Dean sit out and miss his second game. White, David, and Dean all played in the Week 7 meeting and combined for 28 of the team’s 77 total tackles with both Dean and White finishing with double digits.
Ridder likely won’t get asked to do too much as the Falcons have the highest run rate in football over the last month and have run the ball even more over the last three outings at a league-high 60.7%.
The Bucs are fresh off giving up 104 yards and two TDs to Chuba Hubbard and were outrushed more than 2:1 in the last meeting. All three backs will get some work Sunday for the home side and if Tampa is missing those key tacklers, the time-of-possession battle could be lopsided.
Baker Mayfield had to throw the ball 42 times last meeting and although Atlanta corner AJ Terrell might be doubtful with a concussion, this is still an elite defense that should make Tampa one-dimensional. Chris Godwin hasn’t topped 55 yards since Week 7 and this offense ranks 27th in success rate on the season. This is a team that should not win and hasn’t in the last six games when Baker Mayfield has thrown the ball 30+ times.
Since the meeting, the Atlanta defense ranks eighth in success rate compared to the Bucs who rank 29th. If Atlanta can flirt with 20-23 points, it’s going to be tough for the Bucs to cover. With Tampa being -3 in the last game, I’m not sure this hits Atlanta -3. Tampa closed at +2.5 in Week 12 in Indy while Atlanta closed at -3.5 at home vs. Joshua Dobbs three games ago.
I still like the Falcons at -2.5 but think there will be resistance if this hits -3. It was -2 on the look-ahead so the injuries are slightly priced in.
My best bet: Falcons -2.5 (-110 at bet365)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
Buccaneers vs Falcons same-game parlay
Ridder has been much better indoors this year and is averaging +1.2 yards per pass with a completion percentage seven points higher than on the road. Tampa Bay is still dealing with injuries on defense, and Ridder threw for 250 yards vs. this unit on 19 of 25 passing at Raymond James Stadium in Week 7.
Kyle Pitts had a 90% route share last week and finished with a team-high eight targets on just 30 dropbacks. He's also had 40 or more yards in seven of his 12 games.
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Buccaneers vs Falcons spread and Over/Under analysis
The Falcons were -2 on the look-ahead and reopened at -2.5. The total also fell a full point from 40 to 39 points. Considering the weather on the East Coast this weekend, that 39 looks small for an indoor game.
Over their last five home games, the Falcons have seen final combined scores of 39, 59, 40, 40, and 49 points. Atlanta had a closing total of 41.5 at home vs. the Saints in its last home game and 38.5 in its previous home game vs. Josh Dobbs in a 59-point affair.
The injuries certainly favor the Over, too. Tampa Bay could be without its four top middle linebackers as well as a starting corner, and Atlanta could be missing two defensive starters in AJ Terrell and linebacker Nate Landman who both exited last week.
If the defenders stay out, this could creep back to 40. I feel 39 is a low point here.
Other betting notes:
- Rachaad White has run well over the last two weeks but this is still the least efficient running team at 3.5 yards per carry.
- Trey Palmer had a 77% route share and finished with three more targets than Chris Godwin who doesn’t have a receiving TD since October.
- Cade Otton had an 87% route share last week but had zero targets.
- Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier, and Cordarelle Patterson all had carries last week in an 18/8/5 ratio.
- Kyle Pitts led the Falcons in targets last week with 8 while Drake London had five. No other player outside of Robinson had more than three targets.
Buccaneers vs Falcons betting trend to know
The Atlanta Falcons have scored last in 13 of their last 16 games (+9.60 Units / 50% ROI). Find more NFL betting trends for Buccaneers vs. Falcons.
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Buccaneers vs Falcons game info
|Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
|Sunday, December 10, 2023
|1:00 p.m. ET
|Falcons -2.5, 39
Buccaneers vs Falcons latest injuries
Buccaneers vs Falcons weather
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