NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions For Saints vs. Bucs: An Expert Over/Under Bet, Plus A Case For Saints To Cover

NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions For Saints vs. Bucs: An Expert Over/Under Bet, Plus A Case For Saints To Cover article feature image
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Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Demario Davis #56 of the Saints celebrates an interception by Tom Brady #12 of the Buccaneers

NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions

Pick
Saints-Bucs Under 45.5
Lean Saints +11.5

Saints-Bucs Under 45.5

Stuckey: I like the under here.

The Saints defense just seems to match up very well with Tom Brady. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has been able to scheme up pressure, while confusing Brady with different looks. The Saints also have the talent on the back end to match up with the Bucs’ elite talent on the outside.

Just take a look at some of these stats in regards to pressure and sacks allowed by Tampa over the past two seasons, including the playoffs:

  • 49 pressures (12.3 per game) and 10 sacks (2.5) in four games against the Saints
  • 249 pressures (8.5) and 33 sacks (1.1) in the other 29 games

Brady’s numbers when not under any pressure are pristine this year, but some drop to more pedestrian levels when under pressure, including 5.8 yards per attempt and a 59.8% Adjusted Completion Percentage. Those two stats put him at 20th and 22nd in the league among the 30 quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs under pressure.

How about turnover-worthy plays compared to big-time throws?

  • Nine big-time throws to 10 turnover-worthy plays in four games against the Saints
  • 79 to 16 in the other 29 games

That’s a ratio of almost 5-1 against everybody else compared to below one against New Orleans. Seven of his 25 interceptions in a Bucs uniform have come against the Saints, against whom Brady has a TD-INT ratio of 8-7 compared to 46-10 against the rest of the league.

And I just can’t see the Saints moving the ball consistently. Taysom Hill, who may still be dealing with a finger injury, is just not the guy to attack this Bucs secondary, especially with an undermanned group of receivers.

New Orleans is completely reliant on its ground game, which is a bad place to be in against a unit that has thrived against the run over the past two seasons.

For you trend folks, divisional unders of 45-plus in Week 11 or later have gone 223-143-5 (61%) since 2003, per Action Labs, which is a 19% return on investment. I think that speaks to some weather factors in addition to the potential advantage the defenses have in what’s usually the second meeting of the season.

I was able to grab this at 46.5, but would still play it at 45.5 — I wouldn’t go below that. You can read my full breakdown of this matchup here.


Lean Saints +11.5

Brandon Anderson: The Saints just seem to have Tom Brady’s number. The Bucs have lost all three regular-season games to New Orleans since Brady arrived. That Saints defense has been the one defense in the league that can consistently stop this juggernaut Bucs attack, in part because New Orleans gets so much pressure with its front four without having to bring blitzers for Brady to pick apart.

On the surface, it feels like this should be a nightmare matchup for the Saints offense. With Taysom Hill in tow, this is all about the run game for New Orleans, and the Saints offense has miserable numbers the last six weeks while the Bucs have been so dominant in run defense that half their opponents don’t even try to run anymore.

Things may not be what they seem, though. The recent bad Saints numbers came without stud RB Alvin Kamara who is back healthy. The Saints are 6-2 in games with a healthy Kamara, with wins over the Packers, Patriots and these Bucs. Besides, Tampa’s run defense hasn’t been so stout.

Tampa’s D is actually bottom five in EPA per run over the last six weeks, and the Bucs are down to 17th in rushing defensive DVOA on the season. I don’t think the Saints will abandon the run in this game — and I think they can have some success.

Hill has started six games in his career at QB, and all six of them have gone under 46 points, with unders 5-1 in Hill starts. That makes the under a nice play here, and if the game is low-scoring, then 11.5 points is a pretty steep cover ask, especially in a division rivalry game with the Bucs coming off a big emotional win.

I’d love this spot for the Saints, but this is a lean instead of a bet for two reasons. First, if Tampa Bay gets up early, it’s tough to see the Saints passing their way back into it. And second, I think this line pushes toward two TDs by kickoff so I may wait for a better line. But when it gets there, I’m betting the Saints — and maybe sprinkling just a little on the long-shot moneyline too.

If the Saints reach +13 before kickoff, this turns into a solid bet for me. If it drops to +11, I’m out.

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