Atlanta (-2.5) to cover vs. Tampa Bay Alternate Spread
Game total under 40.5 points Total
By Lawrence Smelser
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons Week 18 matchup preview and current betting lines
The Buccaneers will head to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to face their division rivals, the Falcons Sunday. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. ET and the matchup can be seen on FOX.
Tampa Bay (8-8) has won the NFC South for a second-consecutive season after defeating the Carolina Panthers 20-14 last week. Tom Brady and company earned the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoffs and will host either the Eagles or Cowboys during the Wildcard round.
In the win, wide receiver Mike Evans exploded for 207 yards and three touchdowns. Evans also eclipsed 1,000 yards for the ninth-straight season meaning he’s reached the number in every season he’s played. Evans is the first player in NFL history to accomplish the feat.
Head coach Todd Bowles said he plans to play all his starters in this week’s season finale. It won’t be surprising if Bowles rests them all by halftime.
Atlanta (6-10) is eliminated from playoff contention and will be playing for pride. The team is coming off a 20-19 win over Arizona. It was rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder’s first-ever win in the NFL.
The 45-year-old Brady hasn’t had his best season this year but is still posting respectable numbers.
Tom Brady Stats
Passing yards: 4,610 (2nd)
Touchdown passes: 24 (T-9th)
Interceptions: 9 (T-15th)
Quarterback rating: 51.9 (18th)
Oddsmakers at Caesars Sportsbook give the Falcons a 4-point edge over the Buccaneers. On the moneyline, Tampa Bay is +162 and Atlanta is -195.
The game total is set at 40.5 points. Bettors have put 72% of their bets on the Bucs to cover and 61% of the money on the Falcons to win outright.
Players to watch in the Buccaneers vs. Falcons contest
Chris Godwin: The Pro Bowl slot receiver needs just 32 receiving yards to eclipse 1,000 for the season and two catches for 100 total receptions. The 26-year-old can have back-to-back 1,000 yard-campaigns and three in four years if he is able to snag the pigskin a few times on Sunday.
Tyler Allgeier: The rookie running back has impressed this season with 186 attempts for 900 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The fifth-round pick out of BYU needs 100 yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark and is averaging 4.8 yards per carry (13th in the NFL) in 2022.
Our NFL bet of the week for the Buccaneers vs. Falcons
ESTNN is providing bettors with two free selections for this game.
Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta Alternate Spread: Falcons (-2.5) @ -166 (Caesars)
With the division already won, there’s no risk for Bowles to put his players in danger. The main focus going forward will be the team’s playoff game.
Even in the extremely unlikely scenario that Brady does play three quarters, the Falcons would still probably keep the game close.
Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert will fill in for Brady. The veteran isn’t very talented and owns a 25-41 career record.
The Falcons have kept games close and before beating the Cardinals, had lost four straight by an average margin of five points.
Ridder has started to become more comfortable each week and is establishing a connection with fellow rookie wideout Drake London. The No. 8 overall pick has recorded 70 or more yards in three of his last four contests.
In terms of total offense, Atlanta ranks 25th in the league (314.7 yards per game) and is 19th in points per game (20.9). Defensively, the team sits at 23rd in points allowed (23.1 per game) and is 29th in yards per game (370.9).
The Buccaneers also struggle to put points on the board and are ranked 24th (18.5). They’ve performed better moving the chains and are ranked 11th in yards per game (354.5).
Bowles’ squad showcases a top-10 defense which sits at 7th in yards per contest (320.7) and tied for 8th in points surrendered (20.5). The defensive stars will likely sit for close to 75% of the matchup this week.
Against the spread, the Falcons are 8-8 this season. The Bucs are 4-11-1 against the spread this campaign and are 1-5 ATS in their last six games.
At ESTNN, we believe with so many starters set to rest it’s wise to put a wager on Atlanta to cover an alternate 2.5-point spread. The selection can be found on Caesars Sportsbook at -166 odds.
Buccaneers vs. Falcons odds: Game Total Under 40.5 points @ -110 (Bet365)
The last time these two teams met, the under hit. It’s likely the same will happen in the rematch, especially with Brady and all of his weapons sitting for the majority of the outing.
Tampa Bay has hit the game total under in 11 of its last 16 games. Atlanta has hit the game total under in 10 of its previous 13 contests.
The combined points per week between the two teams: Atlanta (20.9 PPG) and Tampa Bay (18.5 PPG) adds up to 39.4 points per game which is over a full point under the total.
Our pick is to take the under 40.5 points prop on Bet365 Sportsbook at -110 odds. If you’re interested in learning about more prop bets for week 18, read our NFL player props page.
Frequently asked questions regarding Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta in Week 18
Tampa Bay selected Godwin 84th overall during the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
If you’re interested in seeing other game lines, read our NFL odds for this week page for more information.
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