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NFL Odds & Preview — Falcons vs Bucs: Atlanta might be better off landlocked

Tampa Bay Bucs Nfl Betting

Falcons Lose Top Running Back and Bucs Banged up Could Affect NFL Odds

By Charles Jay

The early week NFL Odds were different to star Week 5 of the NFL Season. Last week the Atlanta Falcons managed to eke out a 23-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns, but there was a price to pay, in that they lost their most potent offensive weapon.

So BetAnySports customers might be wondering how they intend to compensate for that as they take the field this weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The action takes place on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern time at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Cordarrelle Patterson, who is currently fourth in the National Football League with 340 rushing yards, went into last week’s game with a sore knee, and now he is on injured reserve after undergoing what has been characterized as a minor procedure this week. Patterson, who made his bones in the league as a kick returner and has also stood out as a wide receiver, supplies the kind of speed that is unusual in the backfield.

But the Falcons were undaunted, taking advantage of a banged-up Browns defense to rush for 172 yards in the second half and 202 yards overall. This looks like it’s the kind of football head coach Arthur Smith wants to play.

The Buccaneers struggled through their first three games, scoring just one offensive touchdown in each. They had better luck moving the football last Sunday night against Kansas City, but they just couldn’t keep Patrick Mahomes out of the end zone, dropping a 41-31 decision. What’s good news for Tom Brady is that his receiver group is relatively intact.

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NFL Odds & Preview — Here are the numbers……

In the NFL odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, as the Bucs are laying points:.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8.5
Atlanta Falcons + 8.5

Over 48 points -110
Under 48 points – 110

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NFL Odds & Preview — Bucs’ offense taking forward steps?

Tampa Bay has been missing a number of different receivers, including Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and Russell Gage. They all played against the Chiefs, as did Mike Evans, who had to sit out the previous game on suspension. Evans wound up with 103 yards on eight receptions, and Godwin added 59.

It was not a bad job of spreading the ball around on the part of Brady, and you can tell he really likes tight-end Cameron Brate as well (though not like Gronk). Brady certainly carved up enough chances for himself; of the 58 plays the Buccaneers ran, 52 of them were passes. Last season, if you recall, they passed the ball 66.5% of the time, which was the highest percentage in the NFL.

So the question becomes whether this is the kind of production, and the kind of balance, we should be looking for out of Tampa Bay for the rest of the season.

NFL Odds & Preview — Smith doesn’t mind grinding it out with the Falcons

Arthur Smith is the son of Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express (FedEx, to the youngsters), so you know that someday he could probably buy the Atlanta Falcons if he wanted to. For the time being, he’ll make up the offensive game plan, as he did with the Tennessee Titans before this.

When he was with Tennessee, he had the advantage of having a great running back like Derrick Henry on board. But he really doesn’t have a problem relying on the ground attack. Patterson was his main cog, averaging 5.9 yards-per-carry. But guess what? This must be a pretty good concept because other people have been picking up the slack.

Rookie Tyler Allgeier out of BYU had 84 yards on just ten carries last Sunday, and Caleb Huntley was brought up from the practice squad, plugged into the rotation, and had 56 yards.

From those second-half numbers we showed you, it was patently obvious that the Falcons just blew Cleveland off the ball in the second half of play. In terms of yards per rushing attempt BEFORE contact, Atlanta leads the league. That tells us the offensive line is doing a very good job.

NFL Odds & Preview — Mariota: Asset or liability?

Moving the ball through the air is a little more of a problem. Former Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota completed just seven out of 19 passes against the Browns, although he is second in the NFL in yards per completion, at 13.7.

Fans are getting all over Smith for his underutilization of Kyle Pitts, who has caught only ten passes and who logged fewer snaps againsyt Cleveland than Parker Hesse, the other tight end (an asset in blocking). But Drake London, the eighth overall pick in the draft from USC, has shown some definite promise.

NFL Odds & Preview —  Our conclusion

With all the weapons available, the Buccaneers look like they should be a very formidable offensive group. If they completely abandon the run, the Falcons might be able to react to that. It appears as if, although Tampa Bay has a great reputation for stopping the run, the Falcons might be able to do some business here.

The Bucs don’t look as formidable up front this year; they are 27th in Adjusted Line Yards and Stuff Rate, a couple of metrics to measure the performance of the people in the front seven. And they are allowing 4.3 yards per carrying. So moving the ball will not be impossible.

Keep in mind that Atlanta has covered all four games this season, so despite the preseason expectations for disaster, they are putting up a fight every time out. We’re going to go ahead and take the points.

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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