Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: odds, betting preview, pick, trends

Kevin C. Cox

Atlanta has not played well in recent weeks and they face a stout challenge on the road against an improving division foe. The Falcons have been a very good road team late in the season the past few years.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be looking for their fifth straight win both straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) when they host the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

The Buccaneers were a 1.5-point home underdog at most shops tracked by OddsShark.com as of mid-week.

With last week's overtime win over the Carolina Panthers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers improved to 4-0 SU and ATS over their last four games and 5-1 SU and ATS over their last six. Over that six game span, the Buccaneers have been on an offensive tear averaging 34.17 points per game. [All NFL odds, check out SBNation lines pages.]

At 6-4 SU and 8-2 ATS on the season, Tampa Bay is involved in a close race for an NFC Wild Card spot, and this Sunday's game will go a long way in revealing their potential playoff status.

It is hard to do much criticizing of a team that is 9-1 SU and 6-4 ATS, but the Atlanta Falcons have not looked particularly sharp over their last five games with a 2-3 ATS record. The Falcons are 0-2 ATS over their last two games with an outright loss to New Orleans and last week's 23-19 win against Arizona in which Matt Ryan threw five interceptions.

Ending Tampa Bay's hot streak would be a nice way to make a statement.

The total has gone OVER in three of the last four games between these two teams and is 6-0-1 in Tampa Bay's last seven games. The Falcons are 6-1 SU over their last seven games against the Buccaneers, but Tampa Bay holds the ATS edge at 4-3 over those seven games.

While Atlanta's scoring defense is solid (allowing 19.3 points per game), it's poor rushing defense (allowing 130.5 rushing yards per game) will likely be exploited by Doug Martin and this Tampa Bay rushing attack.

In what figures to be a shootout with Atlanta's strong passing game also due for a big day against Tampa Bay's weak passing defense (allowing 312.6 passing yards per game), we'll go with the hot home team.

PICK: Tampa Bay +1.5 (courtesy of PickShark.com)

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