Saints-Buccaneers Betting Preview: Expect Another High-Scoring Affair Between These 2 Teams?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Drew Brees (9), Jameis Winston (3).
Betting odds: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Spread: Saints -9.5
- Over/Under: 55.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
>> All odds as of Thursday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: The Saints’ ugly loss to Dallas has not phased bettors, as more than 80% of the spread bets are backing New Orleans (check out live data here).
Despite these two teams both having high scoring offenses, 66% of the bets are on the under and the total has fallen from 57.5 to 55.5.
Historically, late-season divisional unders have been profitable and it’s possible the general public is catching on to that trend (more on that below). — Mark Gallant
Weather report: Forecasts are calling for average wind speeds around 11-12 mph (per Sports Insights‘ weather bug), which is a bit less than it was last weekend in Tampa. There’s also a chance of rain, but it doesn’t appear as if it’ll impact much of the game if any. — Gallant
Trends to know: The Saints lost 13-10 to the Cowboys in Week 13. According to our Bet Labs data, Drew Brees is 54-36-2 (60%) against the spread following a loss since 2003. But if the next game is against opponent with a losing record, like the Bucs, he is just 24-20-1 ATS. — John Ewing
The Buccaneers are allowing 29.6 PPG this season, the third-most in the NFL. Since 2010, Drew Brees has faced a 16 defenses allowing at least 28 points per game, and he is just 6-10 ATS, losing bettors 4.3 units.
Brees is the third-least profitable quarterback over that span, just ahead of Derek Carr and Michael Vick.
When Brees faced a divisional opponent in this spot, the Saints are 0-4 ATS, failing to cover the spread by 10.1 PPG. — Evan Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Saints Pass Offense vs. Buccaneers Secondary
The Saints should have No. 1 wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) in this game, but even if he were to unexpectedly sit out, they would still be able to pass at will against the Bucs
Tampa Bay ranks 29th in pass-defense DVOA and has seen its secondary decimated by injuries.
There’s a chance of precipitation, and Brees outside of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is always uncertain, but he passed for 439 yards and three touchdowns when these teams met in Week 1.
Which team is healthier? Saints
Thomas (ankle) is expected to play Sunday after practicing in full on Thursday, but it remains to be seen if left tackle Terron Armstead (shoulder) will be able to return to the field. The offense could also potentially be without right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (shoulder).
The Buccaneers aren’t so well off, as defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (ankle, shoulder), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), safety Justin Evans (toe) and cornerback Carlton Davis (knee) aren’t guaranteed to suit up Sunday.
Wide receiver Chris Godwin could be in for another start if DeSean Jackson (thumb) is unable to suit up, but the Buccaneers’ defense should get back cornerbacks Brent Grimes (knee) and M.J. Stewart (leg).
DFS edge: The Saints-Bucs game would make an exceptional game stack, given both teams have solid offenses and poor defenses. The Bucs’ offense is especially appealing.
They lead the league in deep-ball attempts (passes of 15-plus yards), completing 52.3% of them (sixth-highest rate) for a league-high 150.4 yards per game.
Meanwhile, the Saints have allowed the fifth-highest completion rate and a league-high 117.08 passing yards per game on passes thrown 15 or more yards downfield.
Jameis Winston is a strong play on FanDuel. He is the 10th-most expensive quarterback, but has the third-highest median projection. You could stack him with Mike Evans or Chris Godwin (if DeSean Jackson out).
Evans boasts an 18.94 average depth of target (aDOT), while Godwin has an aDOT of 11.41. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Under 55.5
Both these teams’ totals have been too high lately, either failing to adjust for recent trends or weighing outliers too heavily.
After the Buccaneers’ 48-40 win over the Saints in Week 1, they went on a nine-game stretch where they committed a ridiculous 29 turnovers, which is a screaming outlier.
Turnovers tend to drive up scoring because they can lead to short fields and quick scores. As for the Saints, they’ve averaged 33.5 rushes and 28.5 passes per game in the eight games since Mark Ingram returned.
This is not the same team that passed 40.8 times and rushed 23.8 times through the first four weeks of the season.
You also have the second meeting between two divisional opponents meeting late in the season in play, which is a situation where the under tends to prevail.
Since 2005, when two divisional opponents meet in Week 11 or later and the total is above 44, the under is 169-104-3 (61.9%), per Bet Labs.
Any additional impact the weather has would be gravy. — Chris Raybon
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.