Monday Night Football Picks Week 11: Rams at Buccaneers
If I played defense or special teams for the Chicago Bears, I would be livid with the state of the team. The defense was able to earn two turnovers against the Vikings and hold them to under 20 points. The special teams unit – aka Cordarrelle Patterson – returned the second-half kickoff 104-yards to the house to give the Bears a 13-7 lead. From there, the Bears never scored again and had four straight three and outs. The defense did its job in containing Dalvin Cook, holding the running back to just 96 yards rushing and no scores. The majority of that came after Akiem Hicks exited the contest with a hamstring issue. Offensively, the Bears are terrible. Nick Foles is the worst quarterback in the division, and that’s saying something given the fact that the Bears also employ Mitch Trubisky. The Bears have now lost four straight and look to be headed for a long and miserable offseason.
As for this week, two teams that had high expectations heading into the season square off at Raymond James Stadium when the Bucs host the Rams. These two teams come into this contest with almost identical records (Rams 6-3, Bucs 7-3) and sit one-two in the NFC wild-card race. There will be plenty of high-end talent on display in this one, and I expect this game to be one of the best Monday Night Football games we’ll see all year.
Rams at Buccaneers Betting Story Lines
The Rams come into this contest on the heels of a very impressive win against their division rival, Seattle. The Rams flexed their muscle on defense, holding the Seahawks to just 16 points and a total of 333 yards. They were able to pick off Russell Wilson twice and force a fumble, which they recovered. The Rams are going to need their defense to show up in a big way once again this week as they face a Tampa Bay squad that has a ton of offensive weapons and one that’s coming off a 46-23 win against Carolina. Offensively, the Rams are making things work as they rank eighth in total yards, 11th in passing yards, eighth in rushing yards, seventh in third-down conversion percentage but just 18th in points per game. The Rams have the opportunity to take over first place in the NFC West with a win and some help from Seattle on Thursday. For a team that’s placed a lot of expectations on themselves this season, they are living up to the billing quite nicely.
As for the Bucs, they too had similarly high expectations entering this season thanks to the signing of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to spark the offense. The offense has fared well at times, ranking 17th in total yards, ninth in passing yards, 23rd in rushing yards, T6 in points and T14 in third-down conversions. They come off an impressive showing against the Panthers where they put up 46 points and 544 total yards of offense. I don’t expect them to replicate those numbers against a good Rams defense (Top 5 in every major defensive category), but anything short of 20 points and the Bucs will be in trouble. Defensively, the Bucs can hold their own as well. They rank in the Top 10 in all major categories, with the exception of third-down conversion percentage, as they allow their opponents to convert on 40 percent of their tries.
Rams at Buccaneers Betting Odds and Trends
Depending on where you look, sportsbooks are offering the Bucs at -3.5 or -4 (-110) with the total set at 48.5. On the moneyline, the Bucs are anywhere between -180 to -200, while the Rams are between +160 to +175. The Rams are 5-4 ATS after beating the Seahawks last week as small home favorites. They come into this game on a 4-1 ATS run as road underdogs and are 6-1 ATS in in the last seven meetings with Tampa. The Bucs are 5-5 ATS after taking care of the Panthers as six-point favorites. They come into this game 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine vs a team with a winning record and just 7-20-1 ATS in their last 28 as home favorites.
Rams at Buccaneers Betting Predictions
As I previously stated, both of these teams had high expectations coming into the season. And through 10 weeks, both teams have lived up to them. The Rams are led by their defense, and the offense has just enough wrinkles in it to throw the defenses for a loop and scrape by for small-margin victories. The Bucs offense has tons of firepower, but sometimes there are one too many mouths to feed and the offense can look unorganized. The defense has been solid at times this season. However, to me, that’s the unit that still has more questions than answers. I hate betting against Tom Brady in general, but I think the Rams need this game more to keep pace in the division. This line is over a field goal and in a last-possession type game, which I think this is going to be, I can see this game being decided by a game-winning field goal. Give me the points as we look to extend our winning streak to three straight games.
Play: Los Angeles Rams +4
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