For good teams, point spreads are friendlier when playing on the road. Take the New England Patriots, who not only own a nine-game road winning streak, they're 8-1 against the spread over that span. Coming off a surprising home loss, New England is on the road this week, favored by less than a touchdown at Tampa Bay for Thursday night.
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 29.1-25.8 Buccaneers (NFL picks on every game).
Why the Patriots can cover the spread
The Super Bowl champs are playing for the bounce-back this week, after falling at home to Carolina on Sunday 33-30. The Patriots led for most of the first half, fell down 30-16 early in the fourth quarter, rallied to tie the score at 30-30 with three minutes to go but lost on a 48-yard field goal the last play of the game.
On the day, quarterback Tom Brady hit on 32 of 45 throws for 307 yards and two touchdowns, the last one on a fourth-and-goal from the Panthers one-yard line to tie the game. But two defensive penalties on Carolina's last drive, including one that negated a third-down sack, basically cost New England a chance at winning the game.
Despite the loss, the Patriots lead the league in total offense, averaging 424 yards per game, 27 more than second-ranked Kansas City.
Why the Buccaneers can cover the spread
The Bucs just pulled a bounce-back of their own, a week after a poor showing at Minnesota, beating the Giants on Sunday 25-23. Tampa Bay took an early 13-0 lead on a pair of Jameis Winston scoring passes, fell down 23-22 with only three minutes to go, but drove 59 yards and won it on a Nick Folk field goal.
The Buccaneers may not have needed last-second heroics to win this game had Folk not missed two previous field-goal attempts. He also missed an extra-point attempt, and later Tampa failed on a two-point conversion.
On the day, the Buccaneers outgained New York 434-379 and outrushed the Giants 111-91. So Tampa Bay has outgained and outrushed two of its three opponents this season.
This game looks like a good spot for a reversal of fortunes play. New England is coming off a rare home loss, while Tampa Bay is bouncing back and forth from victory to defeat. Also, as mentioned above, playing on the road means the spread is a bit friendlier toward the visitors. The smart money here on the NFL lines gives the points with the Patriots.
NFL betting trends
The total has gone under in six of the Patriots' last seven games against the Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games at night.
The Patriots are 9-0 SU and 8-1 ATS in their last nine games on the road.
All NFL odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.