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I will never bet against Tom Brady in the playoffs. I won’t do it. I refuse. BetQL is giving the Bucs a 66.4% chance to win this game outright and I think that is a fair number. Between the Patriots and the Bucs, Brady has gone 34-11 in the playoffs, having won a ridiculous 75.6% of his games. Since Matthew Stafford just won his first career playoff game last week, Brady’s experience in this situation should be evident and I wouldn’t feel comfortable or confident backing the Rams in any way.
The Buccaneers did lose to the Rams earlier this season, but they’re not going to let that happen again in the playoffs. Whether or not Tom Brady is retiring, this won’t be his last game. Tampa Bay is 6-2 ATS at home this season and has covered the spread in six of the last eight games. Plus, Bruce Arians is 15-5 ATS versus teams averaging at least 350 yards per game in the second half of the season while coaching Tampa Bay. I’m thinking the Bucs can cover this small spread against the Rams on Sunday.
Tampa is 11-1 SU and 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games at home, and that includes the postseason. Tom Brady also knows what it’s like to play in these games a whole lot more than Matt Stafford does. Experience matters, and we’ve seen evidence of that time and time again in January. Also keep in mind the expectations on Stafford and these Rams, and it’s only growing in a game against the defending champs.
Just as my colleagues will take every chance to back Brady, I'll take every chance to bet against Stafford -- especially as an underdog in a road playoff game. Stafford had nearly twice as many interceptions on the road (11) this year and had eight of his 17 picks in the final four games of the regular season. Meanwhile, Bucs opponents attempted a league-high 680 passes during the regular season, thanks in large part to the No. 3 run defense not budging on the ground (and opponents often trailing, of course). The more pass attempts for Stafford this weekend, the better for this prop bet to hit.
There are some serious injury concerns for the Buccaneers coming into this game, particularly on the offensive line. Los Angeles has one of the best interior pressure rates in the NFL, which could be a problem for Tom Brady and company. However, the entire Rams secondary is injured, save for Jalen Ramsay. That could mean plenty of Rob Gronkowsi touches and quick pass options for Brady outside of Mike Evans. Plus, how can I possibly take Matthew Stafford on the road over Brady at home? Stafford's LT Andrew Whitworth was ruled out, so he could be in trouble too. I'll live with my bet taking the better QB to get the job done, and force Stafford to prove it to me.