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NFL Betting Preview – Tampa Bay Buccaneers at St. Louis Rams (12/17)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are, believe it or not, still in the wild-card race in the NFC, despite a record under the .500 mark. On Thursday night they will try to keep those hopes alive as they face off against the disappointing St. Louis Rams in an NFL game that will begin at 8:25 PM ET at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. NFL Network will handle the television on this contest, and even after the opening kickoff

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are, believe it or not, still in the wild-card race in the NFC, despite a record under the .500 mark. On Thursday night they will try to keep those hopes alive as they face off against the disappointing St. Louis Rams in an NFL game that will begin at 8:25 PM ET at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. NFL Network will handle the television on this contest, and even after the opening kickoff, BetAnySports customers can continue to bet, as they use Live Betting Extra to challenge the NFL odds in real time.

In this game we may see whether the new offensive coordinator in St. Louis, Rob Boras, has truly made some progress. His team had 214 second-half yards last week against the Detroit Lions, as the Rams scored a 21-14 victory, which ended a five-game losing streak. Todd Gurley had been struggling just a little bit, but he came up with 140 yards on the ground – 127 of them in the second 30 minutes.

The Buccaneers disappointed last week as they lost at home against the New Orleans Saints (24-17). They were held to just 291 yards on the day, and that won’t get it done most of the time. They are going up against a defense that has registered 36 sacks, which is always going to be a concern for rookie quarterback. Jameis Winston has shown some poise in his first season, so he will have to be ready for the likes of Aaron Donald, whose eleven sacks are the most for all defensive tackles in the league.

In the NFL betting odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, to the Rams are the favorites:

St. Louis Rams -3 (+100)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3 (-120)

Over 41 points -110

Under 41 points -110

The Rams are currently the worst team in the NFL at converting on third down, doing so just 25% of the time. What’s interesting about Tampa Bay is that even though they haven’t yielded only 3.4 yards per carry, they have nonetheless allowed teams to convert on 46.6% of their third-down opportunities. Part of it is a pass defense that has, among other things, allowed 26 touchdowns, but you have to wonder whether and opposing air attack is really what the Bucs have to worry about on this particular evening. They will primarily have to deal with Gurley, who has 975 yards despite missing the first quarter of the season.

BetAnySports patrons also recall that St. Louis’ starting quarterback, Case Keenum, suffered a concussion on November 22 against the Baltimore Ravens, and in fact reportedly played the last two snaps with it. He came back to action last week and was impressive enough that head coach Jeff Fisher is interested in continuing with him. The key, of course, is to avoid mistakes, but also, Keenum needs to somehow get the ball down the field. The Rams have converted less than 13% of their drives into touchdowns, and that is a league low.

Of course, the offensive difficulties are one reason that St. Louis has played eight of its last nine games under the total. Last year’s contest was a low-scoring affair, as the Rams emerged with a 19-17 victory, their third in the last three years over Tampa Bay. The Bucs, with hot running back Doug Martin (1214 yards), would like to change all of that, and they simply will have to win in order to keep any hopes for a wild-card berth alive.

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