Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams Pick 9/29/19
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Rams (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS)
NFL Week 4
Date/Time: Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 4:05PM EDT
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
Point Spread: TB +9.5/LAR -9.5 (Bookmaker)
Over/Under Total: 50.5
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to the Coliseum on Sunday for a week four NFC showdown against the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams. You have to feel for Tampa, right on the precipice of going 2-1 against the Giants before a 34-yard field goal sailed right. Unable to establish some nice momentum coming into this game, they look to go to 2-2 with what would be a huge win this week on the road. The Rams, meanwhile, are at 3-0, coming off a nice Sunday Night Football road-win against the Browns. Big favorites at home, can the Rams keep it rolling and cover the spread? Or will a plucky Bucs squad be able to hang in there?
What Could Hurt/Help Tampa in This Spot
Tampa is a mistake-prone team. Jameis Winston is pretty prolific through the air at times, but he’s a turnover machine, something that can really cost you against the Rams. And more food for thought is that when trying to win a game or cover a spread for that matter, the last thing you need is errant placekicking, as missed field goals continue to plague this team. Their offensive line could also be in trouble against the Rams, with guys like Aaron Donald lying in wait. A leaky secondary that hasn’t been very clutch would also seem to be a liability in this spot, with a vital Rams’ aerial corps looking to strike.
The other side of the Tampa turnover coin is a potentially-vital aerial attack on the right day. It’s not certain this will be the right day, in a tough cross-country road spot against a playmaking and stout LA secondary. It would almost appear a day when the aerial offense of the Bucs might falter. But Mike Evans can put up numbers, and with Chris Godwin doing damage, perhaps they can make an imprint on this game. Tampa has also had some success running the ball this season with Ronald Jones, II. and Peyton Barber. On the other side of the ball, they have held some good running offenses to minimal yardages this season thus far, with Ndamukong Suh, William Gholston, Vita Vea, and others thriving in the run-stop. Shaquil Barrett already has eight sacks, and they’re strong in the middle with Lavonte David, Kevin Minter and Carl Nassib on the edge. Giving up 32 to the Giants and 31 to the Niners in week one doesn’t paint them in a great light, but there have been flashes of rigidity and playmaking this season. If some of that can manifest against the Rams, it could put this cover more within reach.
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Good Spot for the Rams?
You have a Rams team here sitting pretty at 3-0. Every NFL game matters, but if there were a time that a team would ebb mentally, this could be it. Tampa isn’t a big threat that elicits fear. Though no one would ever say it, a feeling could set in where they feel they just have to show up. Tampa, conversely, has no real pressure on them. No one is picking them to win this game, and they can be loose and score a win that would raise some eyebrows. The Rams have won and covered in all their games, but the offense has been tepid by their standards and had just 345 yards on Sunday night against Cleveland. Could Jared Goff and Company explode this week? With Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Gerald Everett will Tampa be pushed beyond their limits? Is Todd Gurley, a bit slow through three games, going to feast behind his line this week?
The Rams defense has the potential to perform well in this spot according to some matchup issues that appear glaring. Teams can run against the Rams, but Barber and Jones are not a feared 1-2 knockout punch. There’s a lot of depth in the Rams’ secondary with Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Eric Weddle, and Johnny Johnson. That’s a lot of playmaking ability to pit against the interception-prone Winston. Then you put guys like Donald, Fowler, Matthews, and others against that offensive line and the outlook starts to not look so rosy for Tampa. Winston can certainly air it out, as his 380 yards last week illustrates, but this might be a spot where their aerial game’s lack of depth and mistake-prone ways will resonate to the point where a cover is out of reach.
It’s perhaps a little too early for things like urgency or the lack of it to manifest. For the Rams, this would be more of a letdown spot if it were week 13. The newness of the season still fills the air. After losing the Super Bowl last season, there is still a chip on their shoulder, and I wouldn’t expect a Rams slack-fest this week, even at 3-0 with Tampa coming into town. The Coliseum is a tough place for a Tampa team to thrive and with Seattle coming up on the road for the Rams next week, this might not be a spot to catch them sleepy, as they’re looking to do damage at home.
Take the Home Favorite
Sure, the Rams are due not to cover. This is a perfect spot for a backdoor cover for Tampa. Be that as it may, I see enough facets of this game shaking out for the Rams to take a stance on them a viable play. Tampa’s defense would appear to really be up against it this week and what they do well will be counteracted by a deep Rams’ offensive cast and a stout defense that should make some plays. I see the spread as being low-end of the range of possibilities in this game for the Rams. I’m laying the number.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Los Angeles Rams minus 9.5 points.
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