Betting Buccaneers +7 at Eagles: Check out this weird trend in 2021 NFL lines…

In considering this week’s Thursday Night Football line,

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7 at Philadelphia Eagles, over/under 52½ points

, NFLbets turned up quite the bizarre trend happening at sportsbooks in the 2021 season. To date, 80 games have been played thus far in the 2021 season. Some 31 of these – or 38.75% – have kicked off with the home team as underdog.

Now, if that ratio seems strangely high, well … it is: In the 2019 and ’20 regular seasons, this was the case in just 57 of 512 possible games, or 11.1% – and in weeks 1-5 of the past 10 seasons, just 4.8% of all games kicked off with home underdogs of 7 points or more. What gives…?

In the 31 such games of 2021 thus far…

•  Home underdogs of 7 points or more are 10-21 SU but 15-16 ATS; and

•  these home ’dogs of 7 points or more are 7-0 SU but 4-3 ATS.

Further, since 2018, such big-point home underdogs on Thursday Night Football are an absolutely terrible 1-13 SU, though a respectable 6-8 ATS.

I think you can imagine where NFLbets is going with this: We’re thinking about taking the Buccaneers on the moneyline (ML) but covering the Eagles plus the touchdown – but beyond the general trends, are both outcomes possible?

This far into 2021, the Eagles stand at 2-3 SU/ATS as five-time underdogs. Philly comes off a SU/ATS against the previously esteemed Carolina Panthers, the fourth consecutive serious postseason contender going into the Tampa Bay game. Oddly, the 21-18 W in Charlotte was probably the Eagles’ least impressive statistically, particularly with the 2 turnovers so uncharacteristic of the 3rd stingiest offensive in the NFL.

By the eyetest, however, the Eagles are upwardly trending and have dealt with no major injury issues to key players to date – perhaps important to consider as the Buccaneers come into this game short several key players beginning with Lavonte David; Jason Pierre-Paul and Antoine Winfield were reported as limited or DNPs at practices this week, and the latter may still have to wait on concussion protocols. Bringing the dinged-up or the substitutes on defense won’t bode well for Tampa Bay’s chances, as the really only outstanding feature of Philadelphia’s is the running game averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

So can’t the Buccaneers just run up the score on the Eagles, an offense which has topped 21 points just twice – against Atlanta in week 1 and Kansas City in week 4? So far, the only opponent that has been able to stop Brady & Co. from hitting the end zone repeatedly is Boston rain. This is obviously the nightmare scenario for Eagles backers here, and the hope is that Bruce Arians calls a conservative run-heavy gameplan that will keep the equally grinding Eagles in the game … until Touchdown Tom inevitably turns on the fourth-quarter comeback machine. Take the Philadelphia Eagles +7 vs Tampa Bay.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.

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