Rams-Buccaneers player props: Who will pop up for a big game?
Less than two years after a group came together in central Florida, a rival squad was hand-picked to compete at the highest level. And I'm not referring to Tom Brady gathering Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette, Ndamukong Suh, and Jason Pierre-Paul to join him in Tampa Bay for a Super Bowl run, with Los Angeles acquiring Jalen Ramsey, Matthew Stafford, Odell Beckham Jr., Sony Michel, and Von Miller to follow in their footsteps.
No, I'm referring to the boy band factory that was mid-90s central Florida, which thrusted the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC upon society. Like the Tom Brady version of the Buccaneers or the veteran-laden Rams, we didn't specifically ask for it, but we got it anyway. However, like a late-90s MTV Video Music Awards show, we're getting both L.A. and Tampa Bay on the brightest stage.
"I Want It That Way"
We faded a Buc-street Boy future Hall of Famer last week in Brady, but he won't be so comfortable this week. With some concerning injuries on the offensive line and up against the Rams' defensive strength, Tampa will need extra protection to keep the offense in sync.
Historically, that means keeping the Bucs' best blocking tight end in to create a strong pocket. Thin on the offensive line and at wide receiver, Tampa is actually quite deep at tight end with Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard, and Gronkowski. For his ample offensive prowess, "Gronk" is the best blocker of the bunch.
Brate and Howard can replicate Gronkowski's threat in the passing game, and Brady will spread the ball around to his running backs out of the backfield as well. Giovani Bernard had nine receptions in this season's first meeting with L.A., so there will be outlets aplenty, but keeping his friend clean will be Gronkowski's priority, "This I Promise You."
Pick: Rob Gronkowski under 64.5 receiving yards
A TD that's definitely going to happen
On Monday night, Cam Akers showed that he's Sean McVey's go-to guy, "No Strings Attached." However, they turned to the reliable Sony Michel when the ball was near the goal line. Even though the Cardinals held Michel out of the end zone, he showed that he's still an option in close, and we're getting twice the payout this week as was offered seven days ago.
Maybe Michel is wondering what he did to deserve getting the short end of the carries against Arizona (17-13 for Akers), but when it comes to closing out a game or securing the ball near the goal line, McVey will "Quit Playin' Games" and give Michel a shot to do what he did against his current squad in Super Bowl LIII - score a touchdown.
Pick: Sony Michel anytime touchdown (+230)
A TD that probably won't happen ... but maybe it does
If you're looking for someone who's up for a longshot touchdown play, "It's Gonna Be Me." We may be saying "Bye Bye Bye" to the double-digit odds plays, but as mentioned above, Cameron Brate should be a tight end of choice in pass routes.
"Everybody" on the Rams defense, especially Ramsey, will be focusing on Mike Evans, Gronkowski, and whichever Bucs running back is on the field when the ball is in the red zone. With rush yards hard to come by, Brady can find Brate standing in the back street of the end zone humming, "Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely."
Pick: Cameron Brate anytime touchdown (+450)
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.