Tom Brady and the Buccaneers will begin their title defense at Raymond James Stadium where they host the Eagles Sunday afternoon. Back in October, the Bucs held a 28-7 lead halfway through the third quarter of the first meeting between these two teams before allowing two rushing touchdowns by Jalen Hurts to make the final score look closer than the game ever felt. Tampa Bay held on for a 28-22 victory, but the Eagles snuck away with an ATS win for for bettors. Can the Eagles build off that late surge and pull a massive upset this time around?
Let’s jump into our Eagles vs. Buccaneers pick for this NFC Wild Card Game matchup, including a look at the odds, betting trends, and our ATS prediction.
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Eagles vs. Buccaneers Odds
Here’s a look at the current Eagles vs. Buccaneers odds via DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Eagles||+9.5 (-110)||+290||O 46 (-110)|
|Buccaneers||-9.5 (-110)||-380||U 46 (-110)|
This game opened with the Bucs favored by 8.5 points, a number that spiked as high as 9.5, but has since settled back in around its opening number. Unsurprisingly, the percentage of bets and handle both lean toward the defending champions (as of Friday morning).
The total opened around 48.5-49.5 points, but has dipped down to around 46. More bets have come in on the over, but a commanding majority of the money wagered on the total has landed on the under.
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Eagles vs. Buccaneers Prediction
Philadelphia has performed well against the spread in recent playoff situations. The Eagles boast a 7-3 ATS record in their last 10 January games, are 5-1 ATS in their last six playoff games and 10-1 ATS in their 11 previous postseason outings as underdogs. They are also 8-2 ATS in their last 10 playoff games on the road.
League-wide, playoff underdogs are 61-50 ATS over the past decade and road dogs this season are 85-71 ATS. Wildly, the underdog in the last 17 NFC Wild Card games has lost just four times against the spread.
Tampa Bay provides quite the contrast, as the Bucs have lost five straight Wild Card games against the spread and are just 1-5 ATS in their last six playoff games as favorites. Tampa also entered this season having covered just six of its last 20 games as home favorites over the past four years. Yeah, we know — those teams didn’t have Tom Brady, and that’s obviously an important factor in assessing this game. That said, these trends support a greater premise that underdogs can be very active this time of year.
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More ATS Trends to Know
The road team has excelled in recent seasons in the NFL Wild Card round, going 14-4 SU and 15-3 ATS over the last four years. In another interesting anomaly, NFC road teams playing Sunday wild card round games have gone 12-8 SU and 14-5-1 ATS in their last 20 tries. Meanwhile, home teams in wild card Sunday games are just 14-17 SU and 11-19-1 ATS in their last 31 contests.
The Eagles should enter play feeling about as fresh as possible, having rested most of their starters in the regular season finale, a 51-26 loss to Dallas. Thankfully, Philly is 4-1 ATS following their last five losses both SU and ATS. Philadelphia has also covered eight of its last nine games as underdogs of four or more points after allowing 35 points or more previously.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay might be approaching this one with a survive-and-advance mentality, given the team’s general state of health.
Brady has successfully navigated the playoff maze better and more often than anyone. He knows that a win is a win, and there are no style points in the NFL Playoffs. With his team as beaten up as it is –and what are expected to be sloppy weather conditions — we can’t imagine style is going to factor in much anyway. The Buccaneers have important injury questions to answer at running back, wide receiver, and in the secondary.
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Tampa Bay finished its regular season with a 41-17 victory over Carolina, helping catapult the team to the second seed in the NFC. However, the Buccaneers have covered just five of their last 22 games after a SU win by 15 or more points and are just 1-5 ATS in their last six games after scoring 31 or more points previously.
Head coach Bruce Arians is just 12-15 ATS off a SU win and 4-8 ATS after his team scores 35 or more points. His Tampa teams have also gone just 1-11 ATS after a division game when both the Bucs and their opponents have .500 records or better.
Speaking of coaches, some might point to a potential vulnerability for Philadelphia with rookie head coach Nick Sirianni in his first playoff game. However, counterintuitively, first-time playoff head coaches are 8-1 SU and ATS over the last three seasons when facing an opposing coach with prior playoff experience. And, along a similar vein, quarterbacks making their first playoff appearance and facing an opposing quarterback with postseason experience went 3-0 ATS last season.
Eagles vs. Buccaneers Pick
The Eagles went 5-1 ATS this season versus non-division conference foes and have been solid away from home all year. Tampa Bay went just 2-4 ATS against non-divisional NFC opponents this season. Philadelphia has the NFL’s best and deepest rushing attack, which can potentially push a recently-struggling Tampa run defense.
The Eagles already got a good look at the Bucs in the earlier meeting, but also didn’t have to tip their own hand, playing catch up for much of the game. This feels like too many points in a head-to-head series that has seen the underdog cover four of the last five and seven of the last nine meetings.
Our Pick: Philadelphia +8.5
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