Rams vs Buccaneers Divisional Round Picks and Predictions: Gunslinger Showdown on the High Seas

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers look to exact revenge on the Los Angeles Rams after a high-scoring loss during the regular season. We believe Tom Brady & Co. will do exactly that while both teams pile on the points in another barnburner in our betting picks.

Jan 23, 2022 • 11:28 ET • 5 min read
Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL
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The Los Angeles Rams head to Raymond James Stadium to face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFL Divisional Round action on Sunday afternoon.

Both of these teams are coming off easy victories on Wild Card weekend but oddsmakers are expecting a closer battle this weekend with NFL betting lines installing the Buccaneers as 2.5-point home faves.

The Rams beat the Bucs earlier this season but can they repeat that success against the defending Super Bowl champions in hostile territory? We let you know what we think with our best free NFL picks and predictions for Rams vs. Buccaneers on January 23. 

Rams vs Buccaneers odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Bucs opened as 3-point home favorites for this contest with the Over/Under at 48. Early money has come in on the Rams shifting the line to Buccaneers -2.5 as of Friday afternoon.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Rams vs Buccaneers predictions

Predictions made on 1/21/2022 at 5 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Rams vs Buccaneers game info

Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Date: Sunday, January 23, 2022
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET

Rams at Buccaneers betting preview


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Key injuries

Rams: Taylor Rapp S (Out), Andrew Whitworth T (Out), Ernest Jones LB (Out), Jordan Fuller S (Out), Darrell Henderson Jr. RB (Out), Sebastian Joseph-Day DL (Out), Robert Woods WR (Out).
Buccaneers: Cyril Grayson WR (Out), Tristan Wirfs T (Out), Ronald Jones RB (Out), Breshad Perriman WR (Out), Chris Godwin WR (Out), Richard Sherman CB (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Buccaneers are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games as a home favorite. Find more NFL betting trends for Rams vs. Buccaneers.

Rams vs Buccaneers picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Both of these contenders looked fantastic on offense and defense last week. The Rams outgained the Cardinals 375-183 and controlled the clock for almost 36 minutes in a 34-11 victory. The Bucs took a commanding 31-0 lead against the Eagles until Jalen Hurts put together his usual garbage-time MVP numbers. Tampa Bay still won by 16 points and boasted a turnover margin of plus-3 while Tom Brady threw for 278 yards despite heavy winds. 

The Rams defeated the Bucs 34-24 all the way back in Week 3 but much has changed since then. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 343 yards and four scores without a single interception in that previous meeting but has since regressed to the interception machine he was in Detroit. Stafford actually put together a near-flawless performance last week, but he closed the regular season with nine turnovers in his final four games.

I have a tough time seeing him put together another mistake-free performance against a Bucs defense that ranks third in the league in takeaways per game and second in quarterback pressure rate. 

Another thing to note is that the previous meeting took place at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and the Buccaneers have been far better at home. The Bucs are 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS with an average scoring margin of plus-16.1 points per game this season at Raymond James. 

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals couldn't take advantage of the Rams' injuries at safety last week but Brady is sure to exploit that weakness. Meanwhile, Stafford was helped out big time by an offense that took the pressure off him by running the ball 38 times.

Don't expect the Rams to have anywhere near that level of success on the ground against a fantastic Bucs run defense, so Stafford will find himself in plenty of third-and-long situations where his gunslinger side will come out. Look for the Bucs to win the turnover battle and cover this spread. 

Prediction: Buccaneers -2.5 (-110)

The last time these teams met, they combined for a whopping 775 passing yards and 58 points and despite both teams possibly playing without their stud left tackles, we see the Over hitting again. 

The Bucs have a defense that ranks fifth in the league in points per game allowed (20.8) and EPA/play. That said, they haven't played against many explosive attacks this season, facing off against only five foes ranking among the Top-10 scoring teams in the league. 

They limited the Patriots to 17 points earlier in the season before that New England offense got going, but the other four opponents (the Bills, Colts, Cowboys, and these very Rams) all scored at least 27 points with the Over easily cashing each time. 

The Rams also own a strong stop-unit but they have gone 10-1 to the Over in their last 11 games as an underdog, which isn't a big surprise when you consider they play at an exceptionally fast pace when trailing.

Whether trailing (which doesn't happen very often) or leading, the Bucs play at one of the fastest tempos around under Bruce Arians and they throw the ball on 65.7% of all plays — easily the highest number in the league. Expect lots of passing from both teams, which should lead to big plays and less time coming off the clock. 

Prediction: Over 48 (-110)

The Bucs are second in the league in scoring, with 30.1 ppg this season, and have been even more explosive at home where they average 33.0 ppg.

While they lost wide receiver Chris Godwin to a season-ending injury towards the end of the year and also saw Antonio Brown leave the team in dramatic fashion, Tom Brady is one of the best in the world at spreading the ball around and has made a career out of turning late-round wide receivers into studs.

Brady still has dynamic wideout Mike Evans and reliable tight end Rob Gronkowski to work with, and they'll be going up against a Rams defense missing both starting safeties and its best coverage linebacker in Ernest Jones. 

With Tampa Bay's team total set at just 24.5 for Sunday, and the Bucs scoring at least 28 points in eight of their last nine games, take the Over. 

Pick: Buccaneers Team Total Over 24.5 (-115)

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