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Buccaneers @ Eagles Predictions: Philly to keep it interesting

Tom Brady threw five TDs on Sunday and will fancy his chances against Philly on Thursday night
Tom Brady threw five TDs on Sunday and will fancy his chances against Philly on Thursday night
By Neil Monnery

The defending Super Bowl Champions play their second Thursday night game of the season as they travel up to Philly to face the Eagles. Can Tom Brady and Co. record their fifth victory? Neil Monnery has a look at the betting lines and markets...

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be 4-1 but they haven’t looked too fancy on the road so far in the 2021 season. A defeat in LA against the Rams was followed by a tight two-point win up in New England gave TB backers a bad day against the spread. On Thursday night they travel up to Philly to face the Eagles and the line seems to be bouncing around between six and point points in favor of the visitors.

For all those worries about the Buccs after two lackluster displays on the road, those quandaries were eased by the way they curb stomped the overmatched Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon. Both Mike Evans and Antonio Brown caught two TDs as Brady threw for five and 411 yards. Gronk being absent doesn't help but they have cultivated plenty of depth at TE and in the receiver corps in general. The Tampa Bay offense certainly isn’t the biggest question mark but they do have some issues defensively.

Injuries are just a part of sport (he writes through gritted teeth having seen Sean Clifford being taken out of Penn State’s game on Saturday and the game changing rapidly) but the Buccaneers have been inordinately affected in the backend as their secondary has been decimated. This is a problem when facing a QB of the ilk of Matthew Stafford but am I overly concerned about how they might fare against Jalen Hurts? Not so much.

The second-year player out of Alabama and Oklahoma has played pretty well since usurping Carson Wentz as the starter in Philly but his passing prowess has been a bit hit and miss. Through five games in 2021 he has a 65% completion rate with seven scores and three picks to his name. His three scores on the ground helps boost his overall numbers but the Eagles are in no position to be part of a shootout with the likes of Tom Brady.

Miles Sanders has been a bit of a disappointment having not reached the end zone either rushing nor receiving so far this season. His season-high rushing yards was on Opening Day against the Falcons where he rumbled for 74 yards on 15 carries. Philly really do need him to put up better numbers if they are to keep the chains moving and the Buccs offense on the sidelines.

Taking Tampa -7.5 on the road on a short week is troubling but I’m also troubled if I don’t. Philly have not been impressive and their two wins so far are over Atlanta and Carolina. The Panthers may have a decent record but personally I think that 3-0 start was a bit of a mirage.

Spread:

Our first line is with Caesars and they have Tampa Bay -7.5 at the time of writing. I really think Tampa are a significantly better team than Philly but that hook for over a touchdown is nudging me towards taking Philly to cover. 

Straight-up/Moneyline:

I do have Tampa Bay winning straight up but a best price of -280 doesn’t exactly excite me.

Over/Under Points Totals:

The line as of Monday morning is at 52.5 and I’m going to go under. I have Tampa Bay winning 27-20 so my lean here is clearly under with a small margin for error.

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