Auburn at K-State, Tampa Bay at Atlanta Highlight Thursday Night

Bobby Rainey had a huge game for the Bucs last week and he'll need another one in Atlanta tonight.

Tampa Bay (+7) at Atlanta (O/U 45) – The Atlanta Falcons are a couple of Matt Bryant 50-yarders away from being 0-2 just like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who come to the Empire State of the South tonight for a very important NFC South match-up.

I really had high expectations for the Bucs with new coach Lovie Smith and QB Josh McCown but McCown has been awful and the rest of the team hasn’t done much either in losses to St. Louis and Carolina. Consider that Tampa Bay has lost both games to back-up quarterbacks and that gives you an idea of where this team is right now.

The Falcons should get tackle Jake Matthews back this week and that will help an offensive line that has struggled a bit. Atlanta and Matt Ryan currently have the league’s top passing attack and the second best overall offense.

The bad news for the Falcons is that they are dead last in total defense and 26th against the run. The Bucs enter tonight with the 11th best rushing attack but only a 31st ranked passing game. That means the Falcons will load the box and force McCown and the Bucs to beat them with the pass.

Tampa Bay had a surprise performance last week from running back Bobby Rainey who ran 22 times for 144 yards against the Rams. Atlanta must limit him and force the Buccaneers to air it out.The Pick: I like the Bucs getting the points but I like Atlanta to win. Take the UNDER as well.

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in seven of Tampa Bay’s last ten road games… The total has gone OVER in eight of Atlanta’s last 11 games at home… The Bucs are 1-5 straight up in their last six games in Atlanta… The Falcons are 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games at home against Tampa Bay.

Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn brings his Tigers into Kansas State tonight.

Auburn (-9.5) at Kansas State (O/U 65) – The defending SEC champs travel to the “Little Apple” of Manhattan, Kansas to take on Bill Snyder’s Wildcats. The Tigers are currently averaging 52 points per game in wins over Arkansas and San Jose State.

As for the Wildcats, they are also 2-0. They’ve defeated Iowa State and Stephen F. Austin but the win over the Cyclones was by four and in the final minutes. That’s important because Iowa State has lost to North Dakota State but also beat Iowa so getting a read on these Wildcats might be difficult.

In order to win this game, K-State will need a positive start and a fired up home crowd. Making the Gus Malzahn offense struggle is a key to any team’s success. The Wildcats will need to possess the ball too and take time off the clock.

For the Tigers it will be business as usual. Keep the Wildcats’ defense on its’ heels with a ferocious hurry-up offense and then attack the KSU offense with their speed.

The Pick: This has potential upset all over it. A primetime game with a hostile crowd awaits the Tigers but their talent will prevail. Take them to cover and I like the UNDER.

Trends: The Tigers are 11-1 straight up in their last 12 games… K-State is 2-4 ATS in their last six games at home… The total has gone OVER in four of Auburn’s last six games on the road… The Wildcats are 16-3 straight up in their last 19 games at home.