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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams Predictions, Odds, Picks

 
Sept. 26, 2021
Joe Williams
VI Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

We get a marquee matchup in the NFC in Week 3, as the defending Super Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) clash with the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams (2-0) at SoFi Stadium. There are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between the two teams, too. Tampa brought in a new quarterback last season, and won the Super Bowl in their own stadium. L.A. is hoping to do the very same thing this season.

Score Prediction: Rams 31, Buccaneers 29

Best Bet: Rams ML +105

Best Bet: Over 55.5

Week 3 NFL Picks & Predictions

Games Scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams Predictions

While the headlines are always going to be made by or about the quarterbacks, these two sides have some impressive defensive units, too. I think that the Rams defense is even more impressive than the defending champs, however, and that's going to ultimately be the difference in this game. You can expect pass rusher Aaron Donald and the Rams front seven to be breathing down the neck of the 44-year-old QB Tom Brady early and often.

It doesn't really show in the stats, mainly because of the passing yards allowed, but the Buccaneers are solid defensively. Yes, they're allowing 399.5 total yards per game, and 342.0 passing yards per game, but that's because they have stuffed the run. QBs Dak Prescott in Week 1 and Matt Ryan were forced to pass, pass and pass again. That's because the Bucs have allowed just 57.5 rushing yards per game on the ground, good for second in the NFL. We'll see the same unbalanced attack for the Rams, especially since RB Darrell Henderson is a question mark due to a rib injury.

The Buccaneers are mostly healthy, although third WR Antonio Brown is on the COVID list. He still has a chance to play Sunday if he can post a couple of negative results by Saturday. LB Jason Pierre-Paul (hand, shoulder) is also a question mark, but other than that they're good to go.

Still, I like the Rams, as QB Matthew Stafford has made himself at home, and the L.A. offense looks good. But it's the defense which will put pressure on the Bucs, dictating the result of what should be a good, defensive game.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams Betting Odds

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Week 3 NFL Picks & Predictions

Games Scheduled from 4:05 to 8:20 p.m. ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams Betting Resources

  • Matchup: NFC South vs. NFC West
  • Date: Sunday, September 26, 2021
  • Venue: SoFi Stadium
  • Location: Inglewood, California
  • TV-Time: FOX - 4:25 p.m. ET


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 2-0
  • ATS: 1-1
  • O/U: 2-0
  • ATS - Home: 1-1
  • ATS - Away: 0-0

The Buccaneers have been a well-oiled machine on offense, going for 386.0 total yards per game to rank 13th, while rolling up 319.0 passing yards per contest to rank fifth. That's amazing considering Brady is the quarterback at 44 years old. We're truly witnessing something special, as no one defies Father Time in this manner. The Bucs are second to last in the NFL in rushing with 67.0 yards per game, and that kind of unbalanced attack is going to be a problem against one of the better defensive units in the league. Still, the Bucs are good for 39.5 PPG, tops in the NFL. They'll definitely get their fair share of points.

The defense has allowed 29 to the Cowboys, and 25 to the Falcons, so on paper it looks like they can be had. But the Thursday night opener, they were facing a Cowboys pass attack that was on fire, with three legitimate receivers and a top-end running back. And last week, the Falcons did post a lot of points, but it was mostly after the game was decided, especially the passing yards. So they're better than the stats indicate.

The OVER has cashed in each of their games, however, and I expect to see the OVER inch across the finish line sometime in the fourth quarter here, too. But I do not expect to see the Bucs go for 31 or more points like they have in the first two outings, especially in their first game of the season the road.

Los Angeles Rams Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 2-0
  • ATS: 1-1
  • O/U: 2-0
  • ATS - Home: 1-0
  • ATS - Away: 0-1

We saw the Rams in this building on Sunday Night Football in Week 1, and they galloped past a very good Chicago Bears defense, winning 34-14. They easily covered a 9.5-point number as the OVER connected. In Week 2, we saw them hit the road and ease by the Indianapolis Colts, 27-24, although the Rams were unable to grab the cover.

It's a stark contrast from the struggles we saw from L.A. on offense during the preseason, but that's because most of the starting unit was rested and didn't see much action in the games that didn't count. The defense was still very good in the preseason, and they have been even better in the regular season. L.A. is 12th in total yards allowed per game (338.0), and 11th in passing yards allowed per game (216.5). They have been gouged on the ground a little bit, particularly against Chicago, but Tampa doesn't really run that effectively. And in the red zone, the Rams have clamped down, and they're allowed just 19.0 PPG overall, good for eighth in the NFL.

I expect that we'll see Donald and company trying to confuse Brady with different stunts and schemes, but it's nothing he hasn't seen before in his illustrious career. However, if there is anybody who can get Brady out of his comfort zone, it's this Rams front seven.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have failed to cover the spread in seven of their last eight Week 3 games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Record: 2-0
  • Division Standing: 1st - NFC South
  • Points Scored: 79 (1st)
  • Points Allowed: 54 (21st)
  • PS/G: 39.5
  • PA/G: 27

Inside the Stats - Los Angeles Rams

  • Record: 2-0
  • Division Standing: 1st - NFC West
  • Points Scored: 61 (5th)
  • Points Allowed: 38 (8th)
  • PS/G: 30.5
  • PA/G: 19

Key Players to Watch

  • TMB: Tom Brady - QB (56/86, 655 yards, 9 TD, 2 INT)
  • TMB: Chris Godwin - WR (13 catches, 167 yards, 2 TD)
  • LAR: Cooper Kupp - WR (16 catches, 271 yards, 3 TD)
  • LAR: Matthew Stafford - QB (39/56, 599 yards, 5 TD, INT)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams Betting Conclusion

There are a lot of trends that point in favor of the Bucs here. They're 4-0 ATS in the past four against teams with a winning record, and 5-1 ATS in the past six on the road against teams with a winning home mark. However, the Rams are 5-2 ATS in the past seven at home, including Week 1 against the Bears. And really, the latter is the one which matters the most.

I saw someone write that the Buccaneers have struggled against the Rams, going 1-7 ATS in the past eight meetings. But Brady wasn't here during that. Stafford wasn't here during that. The teams never met at SoFi during those eight meetings. What does that trend have to do with anything? We're discussing the players on the field now, not history and things which happened when these players were on other teams, or not even in the league!

Looking at the stats, and the small sample size we have to go on, I think Stafford and the Rams edge the Buccaneers for two reasons. One, they're at home, and two, the defense of the Rams has been playing just a touch better football in early going. But it's going to be a helluva game, so clear your schedule and enjoy the late-game window on Sunday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams Betting Trends

  • Los Angeles has won six of its last seven games when facing Tampa Bay.
  • Los Angeles has gone UNDER the point total in eight of its last nine home games.
  • Tampa Bay has failed to cover the spread in seven of its last eight Week 3 games.
  • Tampa Bay has won five straight road games.

  
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