Rams vs. Buccaneers Odds: Preview, Picks and Prediction
Rams vs. Buccaneers Odds
|Date||Sunday, Jan. 23|
|Time||3:00 p.m. ET|
On Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face-off at Raymond James Stadium for a chance to advance to the NFC Championship Game. When these two teams met in Week 3, the Rams dominated from the opening kickoff–emerging victorious by a final score of 34-24 in a game that was not even that close. Though this is technically a rematch, both of these rosters will look completely different on Sunday compared to how they looked in September. Oddsmakers are anticipating a tightly-contested affair in this one–pricing the Buccaneers as 3-point home favorites on the spread. Let’s take a deeper dive into the data before revealing our free pick and NFL betting tips for the game.
When these two teams met earlier this fall, Matthew Stafford completed 27-of-38 pass attempts for 343 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in a winning effort. However, the leading receiver, DeSean Jackson, from that game is no longer with the team. Robert Woods will also be on the sidelines after suffering a season ending injury. Fortunately, the Rams have also added “(player-popup #odell-beckham)Odell Beckham Jr and Cam Akers to the offense in recent weeks. Beckham was outstanding in the Wild Card round, totaling four catches on four targets for 54 receiving yards and a touchdown. Akers looked explosive out of the backfield, rushing for 55 yards on 17 carries. The only major concern for this dynamic offensive attack ahead of Sunday’s action is the absence of left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who has been ruled out with a right knee injury. Per Brady Henderson, Whitworth played 30-of-60 offensive snaps last week against the Arizona Cardinals, with Joe Noteboom handling the remainder of the workload. Noteboom struggled in limited action during his first three years in the NFL, but has posted positive grades in both run-blocking and pass protection this year, per Pro Football Focus.
Arguably more concerning than Whitworth’s absence is the fact that safety Taylor Rapp is out for this divisional-round matchup. Rapp was far from elite this fall, but the fact that Los Angeles is forced to start both Nick Scott and Terrell Burgess on Sunday is problematic, to say the least. Still, having Aaron Donald, Von Miller, Leonard Floyd, and Greg Gaines on the defensive line should keep this defense competitive this weekend. Tampa Bay is dealing with injuries to center Ryan Jensen, tackle Tristan Wirfs, and tackle Josh Wells ahead of this contest. Los Angeles should be able to create plenty of havoc in the opposing backfield.
Despite the embarrassment of riches on the Rams’ roster, it is still difficult to bet against Tom Brady. Brady finished the regular season as the league leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and was 2nd in QBR. Even without Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown catching passes, this offense has scored 28 points in four consecutive games. In that span, Brady has posted a 9-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and averaged 309.8 passing yards per game. As mentioned above, the offensive line is a concern for this group on Sunday, but this group is never in bad shape as long as Brady is under center.
Yet, even a strong offensive performance in this one might not be able to keep the Buccaneers’ ship from sinking. Cooper Kupp is a matchup nightmare for Sean Murphy-Bunting, who is well-below average as a slot cornerback. Tampa Bay’s vaunted defensive line has also not been as productive as their reputation suggests. From Week 6 to Week 18, the Buccaneers allowed an average of 112.0 rushing yards per game on 4.7 yards-per-carry–allowing eight 100-yard games in their final 12 regular season contests. Sony Michel and Cam Akers are capable of continuing this trend.
Divisional Round Pick and Prediction
Prior to Week 3, we wrote in our game preview that the Rams are the worst matchup in the league for Tampa Bay–and we stand by that analysis. The success of the Buccaneers’ defense is predicated on being able to wreak havoc in the opposing backfield, which is something that is difficult to do against a Sean McVay-designed gameplan that features a lot of quick-developing plays. Expect a big game out of Stafford and for the Rams defense to come away with an upset victory on the road.
- PICK: Rams ML (+130)
Image Credit: Imagn