Originally posted on The Football Fan Spot  |  Last updated 12/21/12
St. Louis Rams (6-7-1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8) The Buccaneers got destroyed in New Orleans last week, losing 41-0. I generally like taking teams off a blowout loss. Teams in this situation tend to be overlooked, undervalued, and embarrassed. The most recent case of this was the Cardinals’ blowing out the Lions as huge home dogs last week after that 52-0 loss in Arizona the week before. However, I only like doing this when the team is a dog. Here as a favorite, it’s a different dynamic for the Buccaneers. They’re supposed to bounce back and win. They’re not going to be overlooked and they certainly aren’t undervalued, especially as publicly backed favorites and anyone who reads these picks frequently knows I love to fade the public because they always lose money in the long run. The Buccaneers certainly may be embarrassed (though you’d think they would have been embarrassed last week after losing at home to the lowly Eagles, but that didn’t work out), but it’s not enough for me to take them solely for that reason. Since 2002, dogs are 63-33 ATS off a 31+ loss, while favorites are just 15-13 ATS. Given that, I actually like the Rams this week. They also lost last week, though not in as embarrassing a fashion. However, as a result, this line didn’t move in either direction despite the Buccaneers’ huge loss. I’m not too worried by the Rams’ loss. They are now 0-2 ATS this year as favorites, but they remain a pristine 10-2 ATS as dogs, as they are here. At first glance, we are getting line value with the Buccaneers. They rank 16th in net points per drive at -0.02, while the Rams rank 26th at -0.43. If you take the difference, multiply by 11 (the average amount of drives per game per team), and add 2.5 points for home field, you get that Tampa Bay should be 7 point favorites. However, the Buccaneers rank 21st in regular and weighted DVOA, while the Rams rank 19th and 18th respectively, which pretty much defeats all that line value. The Buccaneers are also likely to overlook them with a big divisional matchup up next. Teams are 59-93 ATS before being touchdown divisional dogs since 2008 and the Buccaneers go to Atlanta next week. The Rams have an equally big game next week in Seattle, but they’re less likely to overlook the Buccaneers as dogs. Favorites are 13-29 ATS since 2008 before being touchdown divisional dogs, while dogs are 45-64 ATS. Going back to 2002 to get a bigger sample size, teams are 37-63 ATS as favorites and 91-127 ATS as dogs. Neither one is good, but I prefer the dog, especially as good as the Rams have been as dogs this season. The Buccaneers also tend to be very streaky and right now they are definitely streaking in the wrong direction. It’s also possible they might have just quit as they did late last season, though that’s unlikely under disciplinarian 1st year Head Coach Greg Schiano. It’s not a significant play though. Public lean: Minnesota (70% range) St. Louis Rams 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 Upset Pick +145 Pick against spread: St. Louis +3 (-110) 2 units
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