Chiefs vs Buccaneers: 4 Sunday Night Football Picks, Predictions
- The Chiefs are road underdogs tonight against the Buccaneers.
- Tom Brady gets Mike Evans and Chris Godwin back tonight, as well as Julio Jones.
- Check out our staff's favorite picks for this big-time matchup below.
Chiefs vs. Buccaneers Odds
|Moneyline||+112 / -132|
|Time||Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel.|
NFL Odds & Picks
Brandon Anderson: Tampa Bay’s injury list isn’t getting any shorter. Donovan Smith is a doubt, which means the Bucs could again be missing three-fifths of their line and starting a third-string tackle. Chris Godwin and Julio Jones look unlikely, too.
The game is being played in Tampa after all, which is why the Bucs are favored after opening the week as underdogs.
Patrick Mahomes is 5-2 both ATS and SU as a dog, but there are plenty of trends in Tom Brady’s favor. One not in his favor: Brady is 2-8 ATS in primetime with the Bucs.
I’m focusing on the line play as the key to this game.
Kansas City ranks 30th in pressure rate allowed, and we saw this exact matchup go Tampa’s way in the Super Bowl with Mahomes under duress all night. That could be a problem again versus a Bucs defense that was the best in football in September.
Then again, the Chiefs defense leads the league in pressure rate, and Tampa’s blocking with backups. Brady’s insanely quick release will be key, but quick passes and a MIA run game could leave the Bucs offense struggling once again.
Somehow, Tampa Bay has scored only three offensive TDs in three games.
The Bucs have just 51 points and have yet to hit 21 in any game, and almost half of those points (23) have come directly off turnovers. Tampa Bay has forced eight, one every six series. That’s best in the league — but the Chiefs have the lowest turnover percentage.
The mismatch in this game was always going to be Tampa Bay’s offense against Kansas City’s defense — but what’s wild is that it’s the exact opposite of what we expected.
The Chiefs D has been terrific, and there’s little reason to think the Bucs can score consistently right now, especially if they don’t get easy opportunities off of turnovers.
I’m not sure whether to believe in this Chiefs offensive attack. Was Week 1 against the Cardinals just a mirage against a bad game plan? Kansas City may struggle to score, which means we could be in for another primetime under.
My favorite play is the Bucs team under 23.5. An over would likely mean three TDs, or two TDs and four field goals, which feels just as unlikely. It’s also possible the Bucs go under 23.5 but win anyway, like they’ve already done twice.
I lean Chiefs as the healthier, more rounded team right now, but Tampa under 23.5 is my favorite play and gives us several outs to win without needing to guess the outcome in this Mahomes-Brady showdown.
Sam Farley: Coming into this game there's only one tight end anyone is talking about that, and that's Travis Kelce — but he's not the guy we're backing. Instead, we're looking at Cameron Brate.
Mike Evans returns for the Bucs, but with Chris Godwin, Julio Jones and Russell Gage still banged up, there could be plenty of opportunities for Brate.
Last week, Brate hauled in 5-of-6 targets for 52 yards and had a 15% target share.
The former Harvard Man hasn't quite become Tom Brady's new Gronk, but it's clear that he's trusted. Brate has a chance to show his stuff against a Chiefs team who's already given up three touchdowns to tight ends this season — only the Patriots have allowed more.
Simon Hunter: Everyone is in on the Chiefs. The line has moved in Tampa Bay’s favor, but still more than 70% of the money and tickets are on Kansas City. Every parlay and teaser will be tied to Mahomes & Co.
This is a prime example of when you want to bet with the book. Not only are we getting Tom Brady at home after a loss, but the public has also given up on him this week.
Tampa Bay will get Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones back this week, and the best defense in football will give Mahomes a ton of problems. Also, this is the same defense that gave Mahomes fits in the Super Bowl in February 2021. We’ve seen K.C. slowed by this Tampa 2 cover defense. The Chiefs will maybe have it figured out in December, but not now.
I’d bet this up to Buccaneers -2.5.
John LanFranca: Gone are the days of the Buccaneers offense being second in the league in pass rate over expectation. They rank outside the top 20 in both neutral situation pace and pass rate over expectation in 2022.
The interior of their offensive line cannot hold up in pass protection on a play-to-play basis. Shaq Mason is PFF's 46th ranked guard and Luke Goedeke is 60th. And while Robert Hainsey has filled in admirably, he ranks 30th out of all centers in pass protection grade.
Chris Jones will be able to dominate the interior and pressure Tom Brady in this matchup. If the Bucs keep the football on the ground, they'll be running into the teeth of the fifth-best rush defense in terms of yards per carry allowed (3.6 ypc). The Bucs are 17th in DVOA on first down rushing plays this season, and I don't see them having much success on early downs.
I will gladly take the more explosive offense as a road underdog here.
Patrick Mahomes is 60.6% against the spread on the road in his career. In seven career games in which Mahomes was a road underdog, he's 6-0-1 against the number.
The Chiefs offense is tied for first in the NFL with 13 pass plays that have gone for 20-plus yards. The Bucs will not be able to keep pace on the scoreboard Sunday night. It's as simple as that.