Monday Night Football Preview: A Vegas Perspective

It’s not whether your win or lose, but if you cover the spread. At least that’s how many fans look at tonight’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins.

The home team Bucs are winless on the year as head coach Greg Schiano is a dead-man walking to most observers. They jumped to an early 21-0 lead against powerhouse Seattle last week, but still found a way to lose in overtime. They’ve lost all four home games this season by a combined 34 points and have been outscored 80-26 in the second half of their last six games.

Miami has problems of their own. Jonathan Martin left the team, and blew it up in the process with his accusations of hazing, bullying, and overall bad behavior from his fellow teammates. Richie Incognito, one of six players on the team’s leadership council, has been suspended for his actions. The Dolphins started off strong this season, winning their first three games and looking like contenders in the AFC East. They then collapsed, losing their next four games. A stunning overtime win last week against Cincinnati seemed to have blunted the negative momentum. Then the Martin incident blew up.

On the positive side for Miami, the 10 days off from their Thursday night win over Cincinnati can’t hurt. The NFL is investigating the bullying accusations, and teams tend to come together in situations like this. The biggest problem is how Miami can cope with losing two starting offensive linemen. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has already been sacked a league high 35 time.

The Buccaneers may have found their future quarterback in Mike Glennon. Glennon has thrown five touchdown passes with no interceptions in his last three games. Running back Doug Martin is gone for the season, but rookie replacement Mike James is solid. James ran for 158 yards last week against Seattle.

Miami opened up 3.5 favorites early in the week. Tampa Bay money has dropped that number down to 1.5, with a total of 41.

TRENDS:

* Miami is 0-4 ATS in its last four Monday night games.
* Tampa Bay is 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Under is 5-1-1 in Miami’s last seven games overall.
* Tampa Bay has gone over in it’s last four games following a loss.