Lions vs. Buccaneers Odds & Picks: How To Bet On Tom Brady vs. Detroit’s Defense
Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady
- Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Detroit to face the Lions as double-digit road favorites.
- NFL betting analyst Brad Cunningham doesn't see value on the spread -- instead, he's targeting Tampa Bay's team total.
- Find out why he likes the Buccaneers offense to have a big day against the Lions' poor (and injured and staff-less) defense.
Lions vs. Buccaneers Odds
Tampa Bay continues its march toward the playoffs with a Saturday showdown in Detroit.
Tom Brady pulled off another massive comeback against Matt Ryan as the Bucs erased a 17-point deficit to beat the Falcons, 31-27, on the road last week. The Bucs still have an outside shot at winning the NFC South if they win out and the Saints lose out. At the very least, the Bucs can clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Lions.
Detroit will be without a significant part of its coaching staff due to COVID-19, with interim head coach Darrell Bevell and most of its defensive coaches slated to miss Saturday. That said, the Lions are already out of the playoff picture, so this game really doesn’t matter for them. It does look like Matthew Stafford is on track to play, so at least they’ll have their starting quarterback.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brady is having an average season based on his standards — his 7.2 yards per attempt is below his career average, but he already has 32 touchdown passes, which is his highest total since 2017. Having arguably the NFL’s best receiving corps sure does help, especially when Antonio Brown is starting to return to his Pro Bowl form.
However, in terms of success rate, the Bucs offense hasn’t been that great, ranking 19th in passing and 15th in explosive passing per Sharp Football Stats. The good news is that they will be facing the NFL’s worst secondary without its main coaches on the sidelines, so it should be easy for Brady to pick it apart.
The rushing attack with Ronald Jones has been pretty good. He’s averaging 5.0 yards per carry, however the Bucs rank 20th in rushing success and 25th in explosive rushing, so most of their offensive success is likely to come through the air on Saturday.
The real reason Tampa Bay is 9-5 is because of its defense. The Bucs are top five in the NFL in yards allowed per play at only 5.2 thanks to being solid vs. both the run and the pass.
Tampa Bay’s front seven has been one of the NFL’s best units over the past few seasons and 2020 is no different. The Bucs are top seven in defensive rushing success and explosive rushing allowed. In fact, they lead the league in rush yards per attempt allowed at only 3.4, and the Lions have a below-average rushing attack, so the Bucs’ front seven should be able to dominate.
Tampa Bay’s secondary has also been solid, allowing only 6.6 yards per attempt and ranking in the top half of the NFL in defensive passing success and explosive passing allowed. Stafford and the Lions’ passing attack is their only chance of staying in this game, so the Bucs secondary better be ready to play.
Stafford is actually having a pretty good season, throwing for 7.6 yards per attempt with the Lions offense ranking 11th in explosive passing. He played through a lot of pain in their 46-25 loss to the Titans last week, but all indications are that he is on track to play.
However, missing his main weapon Kenny Golladay hasn’t made things any easier.
Also not helping is the fact that the Lions have no semblance of a running game this season — they’re bottom five in rushing success and rushing explosiveness. In fact, they’re gaining only a measly 3.9 yards per carry as a team.
To make matters worse, starting center Frank Ragnow is out and starting left tackle Taylor Decker is questionable. That’s not going to bode well against one of the league’s best rush defenses.
Most of the Lions’ problems can be boiled down to the defensive side of the ball, which is what ultimately got Matt Patrica fired. Outside of Jacksonville, Detroit allows the most yards per play at 6.1, with most of the issues coming in the secondary.
The Lions have the worst secondary in the NFL, ranking 31st in defensive passing success and 32nd in explosive passing allowed. To make matters worse, 2020 first-round pick cornerback Jeff Okudah was placed on IR two weeks ago. Additionally, Desmond Trufant is on IR and another starting corner Darryl Roberts is questionable for Saturday.
Bottom line is that Brady should be able to absolutely torch this Detroit secondary.
The Lions haven’t been much better against the run, either, allowing 4.5 yards per attempt and ranking 31st in defensive rushing success. They’re also dealing with a ton of injuries, so this Bucs offense should be able to easily put up 30 or more points on Saturday.
Brady and Bucs offense should be able to light up the scoreboard on Saturday. I cannot remember a situation this dire on the defensive side of the ball for an NFL team, especially with almost the entire defensive staff not on the sidelines. Because of that, I am going to look toward Tampa Bay’s team total.
I have the Bucs projected for 35.83 points, so there’s some value on the over for their team total.
Pick: Bucs Team Total Over 30.5