Arena Bowl Pick & Prediction: Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

 

Last Updated: 2017-08-30

The Arena Football League season will come to an end Saturday, as the Philadelphia Soul host Tampa Bay in the Arena Bowl. The Soul opened -11.5 and have been bet up to 12.5, while the total is at 104.

Philadelphia has been the favorite to win the Arena Bowl all season long and it’s no surprise to see them here. Tampa Bay has been widely viewed as the second-best team in the league since the season started, even though the Storm had just four players back from last year’s team after the expansion draft and free agent departures.

The amazing thing about Philadelphia is that they don’t look all that impressive from a statistical standpoint. Tampa Bay gains 15 more yards per game and the Soul allows 4 fewer yards on defense. But the Soul went 14-1 and outscored teams 59.1-42.9, while Tampa Bay was 11-4 and had a 52.2-48.1 scoring advantage on the year.

Both teams were 7-7-1 against the spread, with the push coming when the Soul won 41-28 as 13-point favorites the last time the teams played. Philadelphia won 62-41 at Philadelphia and came away with a 56-52 at Tampa Bay the first meeting between the two teams back in April.

For the season, Tampa Bay was 4-3 on the road and 3-3-1 ATS. The Storm was 2-5 in away totals, as they scored 46.6 points and allowed 46.9, both of which are less than their overall season averages. Yardage totals were also down on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

The Soul were the exact opposite, scoring slightly more and allowing slightly more at home, but were still 4-4 in home totals. Philadelphia was 9-0 straight-up at home and they’ve won the last five games at home against Tampa Bay and past eight games overall.

Surprisingly, Tampa Bay outgained the Soul in all three games this year, including the 21-point loss. They did have one more turnover than the Soul in two of the three games and while that may have been the difference in the 56-52 loss, it certainly wasn’t the reason they lost 62-41.

My numbers make this one 61-46 in favor of the Soul, so we’re fairly close to the line and the total. Tampa Bay does get credit for having played a tougher schedule, but just for the reason of they played Philadelphia three times, while the Soul get Tampa Bay’s power rating three times when calculating their strength of schedule. Not real anxious to lay the points in this one, however, but will take a stab on the under. These are the two best defensive teams in the league and they’ve played some low-scoring games in the past, including the last time they met.

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