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Buccaneers vs. Falcons FREE NFL Preview & Betting Pick

Bucs vs Falcons Betting / Handicapping

This one comes down to one question only:

Does Atlanta coach Mike Smith want to risk the health of one or more of his key players in order to keep them sharp for the playoffs?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9) at Atlanta Falcons (13-2)
Sunday, Dec. 30
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
1 p.m. EST
Spread – No Line Yet
O/U – No Line Yet

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Nothing much else matters, and with Smith playing it close to the vest all week, oddsmakers have been reluctant to set a line on Sunday’s finale, at home against the Buccaneers.

There are a few props that will go the Falcons’ way if they go after it and take care of business.

With a win they will guarantee themselves the best record in the league (14-2), and WR Roddy White and QB Matt Ryan might be able to knock down a few team records.

But that’s small potatoes, and the Falcons have already clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, so there’s not much reason to get too hot and bothered about the Buccaneers coming to town.

For his part, Smith has offered only a Herman Edwards-type statement that the Falcons will “play to win,” but has declined to say whether his starters will see big minutes or stand on the sidelines wearing baseball caps in a game that might resemble a mid-August exhibition.

When the season started this looked like a cool way to finish what figured to be a fun game in a interesting, balanced NFC South division.[soliloquy id=”82219″]

But the division fell flat right from the start as the Falcons won their first eight, the Bucs couldn’t get it going, the Saints struggled as they dealt with BountyGate and Cam Newton and the Panthers regressed from 2011.

TB has been a streaky team all season. The Bucs won four in a row in the middle of the season, but have dropped their last five as the offense has gone nowhere for eight consecutive quarters – scoring a total of 13 points in bad losses to the Saints (41-0) and Rams (28-13).

In Florida, fans are wondering what the heck has happened to QB Josh Freeman, who has thrown four interceptions in the past two weeks after a total of eight in the first 13 games. The defense hasn’t shown much, either, and major changes will be made on both sides of the ball in the off-season.


Ryan’s career record in home games is 33-4, so all things being equal, it would be foolish to wager against him and the Falcons. But until we find out if all things are indeed equal, who knows? With Atlanta starters in there, Falcons 24-20.

If Smith announces that they’ll sit out most of the game, Bucs 17-10.


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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!