The Atlanta Falcons (8-5) will continue their quest to repeat as NFC South champions when they visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9) as solid road favorites at the sportsbooks for an important divisional matchup on Monday night.
The Falcons can claim the NFC South title again if they win out after topping the New Orleans Saints 20-17 at home in last week's Thursday night game.
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 26.2-21.4 Falcons (NFL picks on every game)
Why the Falcons can cover the spread
The favorite has won 21 of the past 24 meetings straight-up in this series between Atlanta and Tampa Bay, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The favorite has also covered the spread in seven of the last nine games, with both of these betting trends obviously in support of the Falcons.
In addition, Tampa Bay has been a terrible team in December recently with a 3-14 SU mark in its last 17 games during the month. In simple terms, this is a must-win situation for the Falcons, and not so much for the Bucs.
Why the Buccaneers can cover the spread
Tampa Bay is riding a three-game losing streak into this one and still looking for its first win over an NFC South opponent this season. The Bucs are no doubt playing spoilers in this spot as home underdogs, and they definitely have the talent to pull off the upset.
Since losing 34-20 at Atlanta three weeks ago, Tampa Bay fell in overtime on the road to the Green Bay Packers and then dropped a 24-21 decision at home to the Detroit Lions. Both losses to the Packers and Lions could have easily resulted in wins.
The Falcons have been outstanding when playing at night lately, going 10-2 against the spread in their last 12 primetime appearances. They rallied to beat the Saints in their biggest game to date and also improved to 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS in their past eight versus divisional foes with the victory.
While the Bucs are certainly capable of winning, they have found ways to lose their last two games and showed they have big trouble matching up with Atlanta in the last meeting to start their skid. Take the Falcons.
NFL betting trends
The total has gone over in the Falcons' last three games against the Buccaneers.
The favored team is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games in this matchup.
The Buccaneers are 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 games after a loss.
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.