NFL Wild Card Betting Preview: Washington vs Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team

The Tampa Bay Bucs are favored by 8 points over the Washington Football Team, with a total of 45.5 points for this NFC Wild Card Game set to start at 8:15 PM EST at FedEx Field in Landover, MD on Saturday, January 9. The market is pricing this matchup as a 26.5-18.5 Bucs win.

Stay on top of the latest NFL updates direct from Las Vegas!

The Bucs ranked 23rd in the NFL, running 1,017 offensive plays. By comparison, the NFL-leading Los Angeles Chargers ran 1,127 offensive plays. The Football Team played modestly faster than the Bucs, having run a total of 1,051 offensive plays. So, the pace of play points to a look betting the UNDER 45.5 points.

The Bucs offense featured a passing offense that ranked second in the NFL with 663 pass plays. The Football Team ran 601 passing plays with QB Alex Smith using many short passing routes to keep the chains moving and extend scoring drives. With the ‘dink-and-dunk’ passing game, the Football Team ranks 23rd, gaining 217 passing yards-per-game. By comparison, the Bucs with Tom Brady rank second in the NFL, averaging 289.1 passing yards-per-game. The NFL league average was an average of 240.2 PYPG, so you can see that the Bucs passing game was significantly above average while the Football Team was below average.

Points per Drive

The most meaningful difference between these two teams arises in the score percentage for each drive. The Bucs ranked 6th in the NFL, scoring on 47.8% of their drives, while the Football Team ranked 37th, scoring on 33.3% of their drives for the 2021 season. Drilling down the data further, we see that the Bucs are the more efficient and opportunistic offense, ranking 5th in the NFL, scoring an average of 2.72 points for each drive on the season. The Football Team ranks 26th in the NFL, scoring an average of 1.74 points for each drive on the season.

Washington’s Front-7

From my film study and analytical research, the Bucs offensive line will control the line-of-scrimmage and minimize pressure on their veteran QB, Tom Brady. The Bucs OL ranks 3rd in the NFL, allowing pressure on Brady just 16.7% of all plays run in the 2021 season. The Bucs receivers rank 4th in the NFL based on my analytics.

The Football Team has the 5th-best pass rush in the NFL this season, but matched up against an elite offensive line dedicated to protecting their leader will put immense pressure on the secondary. Brady ranked second in the NFL on the deep ball (passes more than 20 yards). He was 9-for-32 when throwing to the left side of the field, including four touchdowns, one interception, and a 92.2 QB rating. He was deadly when throwing to the deep right side of the field, completing 17-of-32 passes for 5668 yards, five touchdowns, one interception, and an outstanding 125 QB rating. These routes targeted Mike Evans, who is listed as questionable, but was at practice this after (Tuesday).

Overall, Brady’s best passing success was with passes thrown 10 to 20 yards down the middle of the field, where he gained 817 passing yards on 47-for-74 passing and those as mentioned above deep right routes of 20 or more yards. The Football Team’s secondary will be tested with a wide array of ariel assaults and a few wrinkles in the Bucs offensive game plan. For instance, three wide receivers to the strong side of the field, the inside and outside receiver run crossing routes to ‘rub’ against defenders in man coverage, which frees up the receiver in the middle of the cluster to run a streak or post route with the deep safety having to pick that receiver up. In a cover-1 scheme, this route also opens up the middle of the field for the easy pass and catch plays to the TE Gronkowski, who is still very hard to bring down in space.

Washington’s Playoff History

The Football team is making their first playoff appearance since the 2015 season and have won the Wild Card Round just once in the last six tries dating back to 1993. On January 10, 2016 (2015 season), they hosted the Green Bay Packers and were installed as 1-point favorites in a game dominated and lost 35-18. That game included the Football Team giving up a safety in the first quarter, giving the Packers a rare 5-0 first-quarter lead that they never relinquished. I see the Bucs doing something similar in this matchup looking to get out to the information and then using their underrated defense to control the line-of-scrimmage and limit the Football team to fewer than 14 points.

A Highly-Profitable Betting System

Betting NFL games in the Playoff Rounds takes on an added amount of adrenalin for our increased entertainment. Betting on road teams coming off three consecutive games, gaining a minimum of 7.0 yards-per-pass-attempt in each game and now facing a host that allowed 5.5 or fewer PYPA had earned an outstanding 40-21 ATS record good for 75.6% winning bets over the last eleven seasons.

Bet Tampa Bay -8.

**************************************************

Meet the Capper: John Ryan

John Ryan founded a cutting-edge sports technology company more than 25 years ago. John has utilized many of the machine learning tools that have applications in other industries to successfully build simulation models, neural networks, and many types of algorithms that have earned strong predictive results. To identify a betting opportunity the fundamental research must support the mathematical projections. After all, he has been kicking around in this sports data space and the life sciences space for 25 years. John has a proven track record of success as shown in his season records and numerous Top-10 finishes in all Major Sports. He can found on Twitter too @johnRyanSports1.

**************************************************

Looking for more free sports picks and sports betting tips?

  • Latest Betting Odds and Public Action: Vegas lines updated in real time, including who the public is betting on.
  • Last Minute Handicapping Advice: Check out our extensive library of handicapping tips and advice from professional Vegas handicappers (we also recommend taking the time to look over our sports betting tips video library)
  • Want an expert opinion? Check out the latest Free Sports Picks and Best Bets from our team of expert sports handicappers.

Make sure to bookmark all the above!