Sunday Sports - - SPORTS - Rth@ran­dallthe­han­dle.com ran­dall­han­dle

While it has proven haz­ardous in the past to base Week 2 se­lec­tions on Week 1 per­for­mances, it still feels un­fair to have to hand­i­cap both the Buc­ca­neers and Dol­phins with­out ob­serv­ing them play along with ev­ery­one else last week. Per­haps know­ing some­thing that we don’t, in­flu­en­tial bet­tors have voiced an opin­ion on the Bucs and it may come as a bit of a sur­prise. De­spite be­ing un­ex­pect­edly idle last week­end, Tampa Bay opened as low as a six-point favourite over the Bears when num­bers were first re­leased and even with Chicago’s re­spectable show­ing against the Fal­cons last Sun­day, ac­tion sent the line to Buc­ca­neers -7 al­most im­me­di­ately. That’s quite a jump by foot­ball stan­dards. This fol­lows a sea­son where the Bucs were favoured just four times, never by more than 3½-points and with their only cover be­ing a 16-11 tri­umph as a two­point pick over the trou­bled Saints. Ad­di­tion­ally, Bucs have cov­ered just two of their past 10 on this field when favoured ... Along the same lines, the Charg­ers opened as much as a five-point favourite over vis­it­ing Miami, but the mar­ket­place would have none of it as money pushed L.A.’s new­est team down to a 3½-point choice. Per­haps there is sen­ti­men­tal money on the Florida-based vis­i­tor or maybe San Diego’s 5-12 record against the spread (ATS) record as a fave might have some­thing to do with it ... A pair of heavy­weights will do bat­tle tonight in what shapes up as the best matchup of the day. At­lanta is listed as a three-point favourite over Green Bay, but rather that rack­ing your brain on which con­tender to back, the OVER might be the way to go. The high-fly­ing Fal­cons sur­passed their posted to­tals an in­cred­i­ble 16-of19 times last year, in­clud­ing both con­tests with th­ese Pack­ers af­ter 33-32 and 44-21 tri­umphs. To­day’s to­tal is sit­ting at 55 com­pared to the 59½ that the game closed in NFC Cham­pi­onship last Jan­uary ... It’s no se­cret that the NFL is a weekto-week league. That be­ing the case, you may want to pay at­ten­tion to home un­der­dogs that lost their sea­son open­ers. Clubs that fall into this cat­e­gory have man­aged 31 cov­ers in past 51 times this has oc­curred. To­day’s qual­i­fiers would be the Saints +6 host­ing New Eng­land and the Colts +7 wel­com­ing the Car­di­nals.

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