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Oskeim Sports NFL Underdog Best Bet: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

San Francisco finds itself in an unenviable situation following its emotional 19-17 win over Seattle last Sunday in a game that meant everything to the players and organization as a whole.  The 49ers now have to travel across the country to face a surging Tampa Bay squad that believes in everything head coach Greg Schiano is preaching on the field.  “We just don’t quit, and that all starts with our head coach.  That’s how he is,” defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said.  “He’s very consistent with his effort, and nothing really changes with how he prepares and how he comes to work every day that makes you want to work harder for that guy.”

The technical analysis strongly favors Tampa Bay as NFL teams are a money-burning 18-36-4 ATS in games after playing the Seahawks, including 1-8-1 ATS when installed as non-division favorites. Moreover, San Francisco is 1-9-1 ATS versus .333 or less opposition after playing Seattle, while head coach Jim Harbaugh is 1-4 ATS in his career versus non-division opponents in the final stanza of the regular season.  My technical database also highlights one of my  favorite contrarian situations:

  • Road favorites that are three or more games above .500 against-the-spread are a terrible 214-270-9 ATS from Game Seven out, provided they are not coming off a bye week;
  • Road favorites with a win percentage of less than .875 that at least three games above .500 against-the-spread and played the previous week are just 82-148-5 ATS from Game Seven out versus a home team with a win percentage exceeding .300;
  • The above-referenced situation improves to a terrific 34-75-2 ATS if the home underdog is .499 or worse against-the-spread on the season.

Putting my database aside for the moment, let’s take a closer look at the fundamental analysis.  San Francisco continues to be overrated this season as the 49ers are 0.2 yards per play worse than average offensively (5.4 yards per play against teams that combine to allow 5.6 yards per play) and 0.6 yards per play better than average defensively (5.0 yards per play to teams that combine to average 5.6 yards per play).  Overall, San Francisco is 0.4 yards per play better than average from the line of scrimmage in 2013.  Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is 0.6 yards per play worse than average from the line of scrimmage (0.6 yards per play worse than average offensively; 0.0 yards per play defensively).

However, the Buccaneers are coming off their best defensive performance of the season wherein they limited Buffalo to just six points on 214 yards.  The leader of Tampa Bay’s stop unit has become second-year linebacker Lavonte David, who had two interceptions against the Bills.  “There’s certain types of leaders: there’s vocal leaders, there’s leaders by example. Lavonte is a leader by example, unquestionably – his work ethic, his attention to detail, his practice habits,” coach Schiano said.  “If you could say, how do you want a guy, as a Buc, to perform, you (would) just point to him.”  Finally, motivation will not be an issue for the Buccaneers as they are out to avenge their worst loss in franchise history – a 48-3 humiliating defeat to San Francisco in 2011.  With San Francisco standing at 1-5-1 SU and 0-7 ATS as a favorite before a Monday night game, take the Buccaneers and invest with confidence.

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