Why The Sharps Think The Falcons Will Wallop The Bucs In Week 12

Matt Ryan and his offense should have a field day against Tampa Bay's pass-funnel defense

Brook Ward, Flickr

Buccaneers (3-7) at Falcons (3-7) 

ATL -4, O/U 51.5, Sunday November 24th, 1:00pm EST

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  • The Atlanta Falcons (3-7) host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7) in a Week 12 NFC South battle. 

  • The Falcons are 3-6 ATS this season while the Bucs are 2-8 ATS. Meanwhile, the over is 3-7 in Atlanta’s games this year, but 8-2 in Tampa Bay’s. 

  • After losing six-straight games, the Falcons are winners of their last two contests, both of which came on the road (New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers). 

  • The Falcons defense has held opponents to under 10 points in back-to-back weeks for the first time in 10 years, and Jameis Winston has been intercepted 18 times and lost four of his 11 fumbles in 10 games played.

  • The Falcons (-4) are the best bet ATS, Atlanta’s -200 moneyline also has value and over the 51.5-point total is listed as one of the week’s top overall bets in BetQL’s NFL Model.

Buccaneers Offense vs. Falcons Defense

At this point in his career, isn’t it time to universally realize that Jameis Winston is not a reliable NFL starter? He threw four more interceptions last week and his season total is an NFL-high 18 (to go along with 19 touchdowns). Further, he’s fumbled the ball 11 times, losing four of them. A whopping 22 turnovers in 10 starts hasn’t gotten it done and will never get it done in this league. 

Unfortunately for him, this Falcons defense might have turned the corner. After head coach Dan Quinn turned over the defensive play-calling duties to Jeff Ulbrich, Atlanta has held their opponents to under 10 points in back-to-back weeks for the first time in 10 years. They’ve recorded 11 sacks in those games and picked off Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen four times last game. 

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While Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are dangerous targets against any defense and either (or both) can go off on any particular week, Winston’s inability to protect the football has limited Tampa Bay’s offense and has put their defense in vulnerable positions all season long. Based on their newfound ability to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks over the last two weeks (first Drew Brees and then Allen), Winston could be in store for a long afternoon yet again.

Regardless, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Bruce Arians will allow him to throw the ball 40-plus times yet again. Over his last five games, Winston has thrown the ball an average of 48 times per game and has thrown a total of eight touchdowns and 13 interceptions in that span while taking 18 sacks and fumbling the ball eight times (losing four of them). 

Ross Tucker showed some love for the Falcons ATS in his weekly BetQL Column. Read his analysis here.

Falcons Offense vs. Buccaneers Defense

If you weren’t already aware, this Buccaneers defense has the most obvious pass-funnel scheme in the NFL. They rank 2nd against the run, allowing just 80.9 rushing yards per game, but 31st against the pass, allowing 290.9 passing yards per game. Since the NFL is as pass-happy as it’s ever been as a whole, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ approach is suspect, to say the least. 

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This is a dream matchup for Atlanta’s offense. They rank first in the NFL in pass play percentage (67.65 percent), and that would be even more pronounced if Matt Ryan didn’t miss a couple games due to a minor injury. Since tight end Austin Hooper and running back Devonta Freeman will miss this game due to their respective ailments, the combination of Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones will be very busy and should both see double-digit targets in this matchup. Don’t be surprised if one (or both) of them go off for an historic stat line.  

Prediction

The Falcons (-4) are the best bet ATS, Atlanta’s -200 moneyline also has value and over the 51.5-point total is listed as one of the week’s top overall bets in BetQL’s NFL Model. 

Per BetQL’s NFL consensus picks dashboard, 57 percent of total bets have gone on the Falcons ATS, while 78 percent of the money has. That tells us the sharps are all over Atlanta, most likely due to the concerns about Winston and the Buccaneers offense mentioned above. 

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