Losing back-to-back games as a massive favorite will change peoples' perception of you. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost as 13.5-point favorites last weekend against the Carolina Panthers. The week before, they lost as 9.5-point favorites against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a result, bettors are fading the Buccaneers on Thursday night. However, the line is moving the other way, which is always an interesting wrinkle when betting the NFL.
Bettors love the Ravens, but line moving the other way
When betting lines opened on Sunday night, the Baltimore Ravens were installed as a 1.5-point road favorite against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As mentioned above, the Buccaneers were coming off back-to-back ugly and inexplicable losses. Meanwhile, the Ravens had just beaten the Browns.
Once betting action opened, money started to flow in backing the road team. Currently at BetMGM, 71% of bets and 64% of the money for Thursday night is backing Baltimore to cover the spread. However, the Buccaneers are now the betting favorites. At the moment, Tampa Bay is a 2-point favorite on Thursday night. The line has moved three-and-a-half points from the opening number, flipping the favorite.
Reverse line movement is when a majority of the betting action comes in on one side, but the line moves in favor of the other side. That's exactly what's at play here. It could be an indicator of sharp action backing the Buccaneers. It could also be the sportsbook picking a side and making it clear they're willing to accept all of the Ravens money they could get.
Nothing that we've seen from Tampa Bay in recent weeks would lead a bettor to feel comfortable laying their money on the Buccaneers. Maybe it's a reluctance to believe that a team led by Tom Brady is actually this bad and a confidence that he will in fact turn things around starting on Thursday.
If Brady is going to get right, Thursday could be a good spot. The Ravens defense ranks 29th in EPA/play and defensive success rate. Both the pass defense and run defense are susceptible, as the Ravens defense ranks in the bottom-10 of both dropback EPA and rush EPA.
Bettors love the Ravens, but the line is moving the other way. That's not a surefire indicator of anything, but at the very least, it requires a second to think about anything we might be missing. The reputation of Brady and the Buccaneers is probably behind a lot of this. If you're confident that he's on a severe decline, then there's nothing wrong with taking a stand even if the market disagrees with you. Fading Brady has been extremely profitable this season, as Tampa Bay is just 2-5 against the spread.
Buccaneers props are most popular
Despite the majority of the betting action coming in on the Ravens, it's the Buccaneers skill players that are receiving a majority of the prop action. Of course, Tampa Bay has bigger names at the skill positions and as mentioned above, the Ravens defense hasn't been great. At BetMGM, 60% of the money is on the game to go over 45.5 points.
The most popular prop bet on Thursday night is backing Leonard Fournette to score the first touchdown at +800. Last week, the Buccaneers were held out of the end zone as a team. However, Fournette found the end zone in all three weeks prior to that. The Ravens have allowed a rushing touchdown in five straight games.
Two other popular props include Mike Evans. Bettors like Evans to score a touchdown at anytime at +105. Evans has three touchdowns on the season but hasn't scored in his last three games. He dropped a walk-in touchdown last week. Bettors also like Evans to go over 68.5 receiving yards. He's gone over that number in four of six games.