Buffalo +3½ at Tampa Bay: Betting McDermott’s nightmare continues

This stretch of schedule certainly has all the qualities of nightmare for Sean McDermott. A 14-10 New England win on Monday Night Football sank his Buffalo Bills’ record to 2-7 SU/3-5-1 ATS against the Patriots during his tenure as head coach there. And this week, it’s

Buffalo Bills +3½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, over/under 52½ points

Not only are the Buccaneers top-5 Super Bowl contenders right now, not to mention, likesay, Defending Champions, but you may have heard their quarterback is a dude named Tom Brady. In a previous incarnation, Brady was the offensive on-field component of the NFL’s equivalent to an EEEevil empire in the 21st century, the Darth Vader to Bill Belichick’s Dark Emperor in the third Star Wars flick: Brady-led teams are a ridiculous 32-4 SU (and a still pretty freakin’ impressive 20-13-3 ATS) against the Bills.

Granted, the 18 different iterations of these Bills faced by Brady’s Bunch have mostly been of inferior quality, with just two ultimately sneaking into a wildcard game. But NFL bettors may have to face up to the reality that the 2021 Buffalo Bills may have regressed to the franchise norm. At 7-5 SU/ATS, Buffalo has been knocked back to teetering in the 7th seed, in a statistical tie with the Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals and one loss ahead of the Indianapolis Colts.

After starting the season 4-1 SU/ATS and culminating the run with a nice 38-20 win against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bills have staggered to 3-4 SU/ATS since. In the past seven games, the team has shown a fascinating range of losses: They’ve lost a shootout (34-31 at Tennessee), a slogfest (9-6 at Jacksonville), a very regrettable blowout (41-15 vs Indianapolis) and the surprisingly weak showing vs the Patriots.

Belichick and the Pats defense put on display the many problems the Bills offense is facing right now – and, to a greater extent, the problems Josh Allen has when Stefon Diggs isn’t having his way. A year after leading the NFL in receiving yards, Diggs has thus far in 2021 had just four games of 80 yards or more, including two of 100+; these latter two came against the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars. Fantasy football players may be enjoying his 8 TDs this season, but when betting real money we can only marvel at his neutralization. 

When combined with the lack of running game, you get something like the 47-attempt effort from Allen netting 10 points against a team throwing the ball three times. Tampa Bay’s defense may not quite be the humming machine that New England’s is presently, but enough to deal with an increasingly two-dimensional Buffalo offense. Not overthinking this, we’re saying take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3½ vs Buffalo.

(Of course, having written all this, the Bills’ll probably smoke ’em here because of general 2021 NFL “logic.” We should probably also figure on the Patriots getting crushed at Indianapolis coming out of the bye…)

–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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