Saints vs. Buccaneers Odds & Picks: Buy New Orleans Off Loss?
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Drew Brees
- Our experts analyze every betting angle of the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, complete with odds and picks.
Saints at Buccaneers Odds & Picks
- Odds: Saints -5.5
- Over/Under: 49.5
- Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: FOX
The New Orleans Saints are coming off a stunning loss, but are they being undervalued against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Or should you fade Drew Brees and Co.?
Our experts analyze every angle of this matchup, complete with a comparison to Sean Koerner’s projected odds and picks.
Saints-Buccaneers Injury Report
Which team is healthier? Buccaneers
The Bucs’ biggest injury of note is edge defender Anthony Nelson (hamstring), who hasn’t practiced this week. Nelson is graded as one of Pro Football Focus’ best run defenders on this defense. His potential absence would be good news for the Saints’ backfield.
Cornerback Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) hasn’t resumed practicing after leaving last week’s game early. His potential absence would be great for Mike Evans, who struggled in Lattimore’s coverage earlier this season. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Saints WR Michael Thomas vs. Buccaneers CBs
Thomas leads the league with 103 targets, 86 receptions and 1,027 yards receiving. He leads all wide receivers with his unfathomable 83.5% catch rate. In terms of sheer positional dominance, he might be playing better than anyone else in the league right now.
And in this game he gets to face perhaps the league’s worst trio of cornerbacks. No team has allowed more receiving yards and touchdowns to wide receivers than the Bucs have with their marks of 210.4 and 1.67.
Playing inside a funnel defense that ranks No. 1 against the run but No. 27 against the pass (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA), the Bucs corners just get peppered with targets: Opposing wide receivers have a league-high 24.9 targets per game.
And here’s what’s most amazing about this matchup: As bad as the Bucs corners have been, they’ll almost certainly be worse this weekend because of personnel changes and injury issues.
No. 1 cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was cut on Tuesday. In theory, this move could be addition by subtraction. In reality, it’s not — especially right now, because the Bucs have almost no reliable corner depth.
So Hargreaves is gone, and perimeter corner Carlton Davis (hip) missed Weeks 9-10 and did not practice on Wednesday. I doubt he plays this week. Without Hargreaves and Davis, the Bucs will start rookies Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean on the outside. Combined, they have seven full games of NFL experience.
And the situation gets worse: Slot corner M.J. Stewart (knee) also missed practice on Wednesday. If he misses the game, the Bucs will likely go with special-teamer Ryan Smith or maybe a backup safety in the slot.
PRO System Match
Since 2003, the under is 820-726-29 (53.0%) in division games. Unders have been a smart play in division games as increased familiarity between teams creates a lower-scoring environment.
It may seem obvious to some bettors, but it’s been more profitable to take the under in division games with high totals (more than 44 points). It’s just easier for unders to cash when more points are expected to be scored.
Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 180-109-3 (62.0%) since 2003. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $6,206 following this strategy.
A majority of bets are on this over, but history suggests the under is a smart play. — John Ewing
PRO Systems are data-driven betting strategies that turn winning long-term trends into easy-to-follow picks, all handpicked and monitored by our team of analysts. Try Action PRO now and instantly access real-time game matches for every PRO System.
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Saints -4
- Projected Total: 51
The public is likely to overrate the Saints and underrate the Bucs. And sure enough, 65% of the action has come in on New Orleans as of writing (see live public betting data here), dropping the line from -6 to -5.5. — Sean Koerner
Koerner: Buccaneers +5.5
The Saints lost straight up to the Falcons despite being 13.5-point favorites last week. It was not only a shocker that they lost, but that they got blown out 26-9 in their own building.
Before that game I had mentioned the Falcons had a ridiculous +3.1 edge in expected wins vs. actual compared to the Saints — a sign that the matchup would be much closer than their records indicated and that the market would offer value as a result. Now this week the Buccaneers have a +3.0 edge in expected wins vs. actual. A lot of this has to do with the fact the Saints are 5-0 in one-score games while the Bucs are 2-4.
Like I mentioned above, the public is overrating the Saints. Lattimore is also likely to miss, which means the Saints won’t be equipped to contain the lethal WR duo of Evans and Chris Godwin.
The Bucs +5.5 is one of my favorite plays of the week. Given that these are two higher-variance teams, I’d say the Bucs moneyline (+200 to +210) is also offering some sneaky value.