At the beginning of the week, Vegas favored the Atlanta Falcons over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by 2.5, according to Odds Shark. That line has shrunk to 1.5 with several days to go. If bettors are looking at the team’s win-loss records, Atlanta’s home-road record, and how close the score was in Atlanta, they’re going to be more comfortable taking the home team here.
I’d probably take the Bucs if the line were more like 3 or 4, but this is basically taking Tampa straight up. But is their home field advantage really that stiff? They’ve already lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints in Raymond James, both teams the Falcons played competitively (and on the road!). Their greatest home triumph: beating the St. Louis Rams 18-17.
The big secret of the Falcons’ home field advantage: Matt Ryan plays well in domes, period. Not just the Georgia Dome. So weather could be a concern, though the Birds won in Tampa last year on a cold, dreary afternoon. Considering the Atlanta meeting between these teams was closed up late by a kickoff return touchdown, I’d feel more comfortable taking Atlanta -1.5 than betting on a Bucs upset.
The over/under is currently 44. Seems a dash high to me.