NFL 2018 Season - Week 16
 

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GAME REPORTS

 
SEASON:

     
 
One Choice
by Dennis Ranahan

In a case of expectations versus reality, the Atlanta Falcons are favored by a field goal or more today at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The premise of this wager is focused on what the football world expected the Atlanta Falcons to be … not what they are.

With only a single point spread win this year, and off three straight losses, the Falcons are favored at home today against NFC South Division rival Tampa Bay. So, if a 1-4 Falcons team is favored today, just how bad is their opponent.

In fact, the Buccaneers have fielded one of their more impressive units from recent memory and opened the season with wins over two of the teams expected to be among the best this season, the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles.

Two losses have followed, a three point defeat at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers and a whipping at Soldier Field administered by the Chicago Bears, 48-10. The Bucs have had two weeks to work off that lopsided loss, and in the halls of motivation, the two most obvious boosts are a fear of failure and a lopsided loss the week before.

Which brings us to today’s game in Atlanta.

If the Buccaneers don’t fear the Falcons they are in a stark minority. No team was wagered more heavily by the public this week than the Atlanta Falcons, and the public is just a reflection of consensus opinion which the Falcons players are subject to fall prey to also.

Even with the Buccaneers returning quarterback Jameis Winston to the lineup after he served his three game suspension and watched the loss in Chicago from the sidelines, the Falcons are confident. They are just way too good to open a season 1 and 5.

While the public sees a highly talented Falcons team ready to explode after three losses, the books are fine with Falcons money rolling in, and they, of all sources, don’t fear Atlanta today. While the Falcons have been the most bet team in Week Five, the point spread on this game has dropped from Atlanta favored by three-and-one-half points to the Falcons by three.

The books are obviously not siding with public opinion, but rather guarding against the amount of smart money pouring in on Tampa Bay.

An axiom comes to mind as I study this matchup, that is: Good picks don’t always win, but bad picks always lose.

Are the Falcons a bad pick?

A team on a losing streak being bet-on as a home favorite against a division opponent and having that line drop is a clear indicator that Atlanta is the wrong side in this game. Are they a bad bet?

You tell me.

The public loves Atlanta while the team is injured and struggling, and the wise guys are on the Buccaneers.

Is there any choice left?

Qoxhi Picks: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) over Atlanta Falcons