Only the bettors won’t yawn about this game. Bucs vs Rams player props, bets, etc., there is something for everyone.
When the Rams visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January, they sought to extend a magical post-season – which they did. The 30-27 victory ultimately led to a Super Bowl.
When they invade Tampa Bay on Sunday, they seek to preserve their regular season.
The 3-4 Super Bowl champs are reeling and +3 on the DraftKings betting line as they visit the 3-5 Bucs. Go figure that both of these powers would be under .500 now.
If coaches stressed gambling numbers, the betting percentages on this game would be plastered to a wall in the Rams’ locker room. It would replace trash talk from an opponent.
Nationwide DraftKings bettors endorse the Bucs at -3 with 81% of the handle. That’s the largest percentage in all of football. (The Bucs replaced the Chargers, who have gone from 92 to 78% support of the handle after their line drifted up from -3 to -3.5 against the Atlanta Falcons).
The nation’s gamblers expect the Bucs to cover against the Rams when they haven’t done so in seven weeks. The last time the Bucs covered the number was in Week 2, when they topped the New Orleans Saints 20-10.
Of all the teams in the NFL, the public expects the least of the Rams.
That presents opportunities for contrarians who either think the Rams will cover that number or that individual props will pay off.
The over-under of 42 points suggests at least some offense, which is good.
Because if these teams don’t spice up their attacks, the bettors may be the only people watching the game.
And they might be looking for punts. The offenses have been so bad that DraftKings put up a punts prop of 8.5. The Over is -125 and the Under is -125.
Maybe these teams need each other.
Both struggled and were heavily criticized. The Rams average just under 17 points a game. The Bucs average just over 18 and the wheels have been coming off.
Tampa Bay has lost three straight and set a mark of infamy by losing outright as double-digit chalk twice in a row. It’s hard to duplicate what they did in losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers at -10.5 and the Carolina Panthers at -13. They came back home at +2 and lost again to the Baltimore Ravens 27-22.
Both teams share something else. Their quarterbacks – Brady and Matt Stafford of the Rams – are passe. They scuffle in the age of the mobile quarterback.
Here’s where they differ. The Bucs have a soft NFC South division with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.
The Rams compete against a tough NFC West packing the surprising Seattle Seahawks, the Arizona Cardinals and the rejuvenated San Francisco 49ers.
Johnny Avello’s thoughts
Not only did the Niners thump the Rams 31-14 last week, but the romp propelled the Niners to get more Super Bowl futures handle this this week than any other team at DraftKings.
Big public betting support. Again, at the expense of the Rams.
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told mylasports:
“The Rams are in a very difficult spot now because of the Niners picking up Christian McCaffrey and now beating them twice. The Rams probably have to be looking at a wild-card spot right now.
“It’s bad for them and it starts at quarterback. Matthew Stafford is not good. He is very inconsistent, just like David Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders.
“Yes, the Rams won a Super Bowl last year but it was not on him. A lot of things fell their way. They were fortunate to play Cincinnati because a team like Buffalo or Kansas City would have beaten them.”
Gamblers must figure how to assimilate the Rams’ weakness into winning tickets.
Start with the running back props. Good luck. The Rams average 68.4 rushing yards per game, worst in the league behind just one team, the one they are facing. Tampa Bay averages just 61.9 rushing yards per contest.
It may not matter to bettors that no team has ever reached the playoffs when averaging less than 70 rushing yards per game. It would be hard for them to imagine the Rams in the playoffs via the ground game, anyway.
Fans, and bettors will closely monitor the health of one player, a receiver.
Cooper Kupp, the heart and soul of the Rams’ offense, has been limited in practice after suffering an ankle injury late against the 49ers. He will probably play this week but may be limited. Kupp has calmed the nerves of Rams backers by saying he felt pretty good.
If Kupp does not go, that betting line will move upward. And then it would be real patchwork trying to figure out how this game goes. Look for more from Allen Robinson, the recently returned Van Jefferson and tight end Tyler Higbee in any case.
Running backs Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown also may receive more totes.
Bucs vs Rams player props, team props
Will the Rams score more than 2.5 touchdowns? The Over is +150. A healthy Kupp is a big part of that equation. The Rams have done that twice in seven games.
Will the Bucs reach the end zone three times? The Over is +100. They have only done that once this year, in eight games.
Why a bettor would consider that play: The Bucs still have Brady, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette and Brady. And with Brady’s personal issues at least resolved, via divorce, the Bucs have a chance to regroup. Somehow, this team still leads the AFC South at 3-5.
If they are going to break out, this is a likely spot.
Kupp’s prop number in this contest may be tempered by the injury. Bettors will have trouble trusting a yardage total.
The Rams, meanwhile, are a Jekyll and Hyde Team.
They put it all on the line in an excellent first half against the Niners. They led 14-10 at halftime, and Sean McVay’s teams classically win those games.
But not this year. The Rams did not show up in the final quarter and a half.
Can they play four solid quarters against the Bucs? Bettors look at the board, weighing their options.