The final two minutes of Thursday night’s Buccaneers-Eagles game were either a miraculous display of sportsmanship or cold-blooded thievery.
It depends on which way you bet.
The Bucs had a six-point lead and a first-and-goal at Philly’s 6 at the two-minute warning. Tampa Bay closed as a seven-point road favorite across Las Vegas. One good run by Leonard Fournette could have killed the Birds’ comeback bid and rewarded Tampa Bay bettors.
There was one problem: Philadelphia had no timeouts remaining. So Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians had quarterback Tom Brady take a knee three times to run out the clock. Final score: Bucs 28, Eagles 22.
For good measure, the over/under on the game was 53. A late Tampa Bay TD would have put the game over.
The Bucs’ kneeldown decision made Eagles coach Nick Sirianni’s call to go for two on the team’s final touchdown of the night a game-winner in the betting world. Jalen Hurts threw to Quez Watkins for the conversion to make the score 28-22, Bucs, with 5:54 remaining.
Philadelphia (2-4) was thus set up to win if it could have gotten the ball back, but it never did. A taunting penalty by Genard Avery and a 27-yard Brady completion to Antonio Brown on third down played big roles in that.
Then again, if the Eagles had been able to stop Brady on a third-and-1 from the Philadelphia 9 after taking their final timeout, then Tampa Bay might have kicked on fourth down after the two-minute warning. A field goal would have put the Bucs up by nine, the total would have been a push and the Eagles would have been able to attempt a backdoor cover. Instead, Brady rushed for 3 yards and essentially ended the game.
But maybe it was never wise to trust Brady with any number, especially if you knew this trend:
And according to Vegas Insider’s grading, Tompa Bay is now 2-4 against the spread (5-1 straight up) in 2021.
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