49ers vs Buccaneers Odds, Pick, Prediction: NFL Week 14

49ers vs Buccaneers Odds, Pick, Prediction: NFL Week 14 article feature image

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady.

  • The Brock Purdy-led 49ers are 3.5-point favorites against the Buccaneers.
  • Purdy makes his first NFL start opposite Tom Brady in Week 14.
  • Anthony Dabbundo previews the game and makes his betting pick below.

49ers vs Buccaneers Odds

Sunday, Dec. 11
4:25 p.m. ET
49ers Odds
-105o / -115u
Buccaneers Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

We're looking for a 49ers vs Buccaneers pick after an eventful week for both sides.

After its win against Miami at home last week, San Francisco was power rated as the best team in the NFC by betting markets. The 49ers' improved health situation had them in great position to win the wide-open NFC. Now, the negative outlook on Jimmy Garappolo’s foot injury leaves the 49ers starting Brock Purdy, better known as Mr. Irrelevant after he was the final pick in this year’s NFL draft.

Tampa Bay pulled off a miracle comeback on Monday night with some help from the Saints, but the Buccaneers offense looks like it's going nowhere fast with its recent performances. Tampa Bay only managed 17 points against the Saints despite the two late touchdowns, and the offense has only looked competent when Tom Brady is able to go up-tempo in late-game situations.

Tampa Bay has notoriously struggled with the Saints defense since Brady arrived, but the 49ers defense is a much more difficult challenge to deal with. Given the uncertainty of San Francisco's offense with Purdy and the struggles of the Buccaneers offense, there’s only one way I’m looking to bet Sunday’s game.

49ers vs Buccaneers Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the 49ers and Buccaneers match up statistically:

49ers vs Buccaneers DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA162
Pass DVOA96
Rush DVOA302
Overall DVOA148
Pass DVOA78
Rush DVOA2210

The 49ers offense is traditionally reliant on the run game first and foremost under head coach Kyle Shanahan. San Francisco uses its explosive playmakers and excellent play calling to exploit opposition defenses. But the other key part of the 49ers offense is the ability to use the middle of the field effectively.

For all of his problems, Garappolo was always one of the most effective quarterbacks at using short and intermediate routes in the middle of the field. Purdy didn’t show much ability to exploit that area on Sunday in relief of Garappolo. Almost all of the 49ers offense became horizontal in the passing game.

The Buccaneers are also notorious for bringing a ton of pressure and playing aggressive man coverage behind it. Tampa has the second-highest blitz rate in the entire league behind only Pittsburgh. Purdy doesn’t have enough of a sample when pressured to judge him at the NFL level, but his college numbers are not particularly encouraging.

Purdy's Pro Football Focus grade when under pressure was 20 points lower than when kept clean in the pocket in his time at Iowa State. San Francisco will try to establish the run, but the Buccaneers are still a top-10 run defense according to success rate allowed.

Bet Tampa Bay vs. San Francisco at FanDuel

The Buccaneers aren’t as elite as they have been in years past at stopping the run, but the 49ers offense is significantly more one dimensional with Purdy than it is with Garappolo. Even though he looked competent at times in his fill-in debut, the Buccaneers defense will have an entire week to game plan and expose Purdy’s weaknesses.

You can’t really use most of the 49ers offensive data because none of it came with Purdy at quarterback.

On the other side of the ball, Tampa’s problems start up front with the inability to effectively run the ball or establish the middle of the field through the air. The offensive line has been decimated by injury. The Bucs tried to use the go ball to the perimeter to produce the necessary chunk plays, but Brady has lacked accuracy and Mike Evans has struggled to create separation. Opponents have just a 33% rushing success rate against the Niners defense, which is second best in the NFL.

DeMeco Ryans is getting a bunch of head coaching looks because his 49ers defense is second in EPA per play and second in success rate allowed in the NFL. Fred Warner took away almost the entire middle of the field against a Miami offense that had thrived there in previous weeks.

Given the lack of an over the middle threat for Tampa, Brady will be forced to throw to the boundary for the entire offense. If you can’t run the ball effectively or use the middle of the field, it’s very hard to consistently move the ball.

Betting Picks

With the 49ers favored in this game, they’re likely to be in a positive game script for large portions of it. That will further incentivize Shanahan to be ultra conservative with his play calling, and not risk more exposure to Purdy potentially turning the ball over under the pressure of the Buccaneers blitz.

Even though Garoppolo has been a game manager at his best under Shanahan, he had shown signs of development in throwing the ball deep down the field outside the numbers this season. That was a key part of the 49ers offense that I’ve been missing in years past.

Purdy may be a good decision maker, but he doesn’t have the arm talent that even a Garoppolo has. Bucs head coach Todd Bowles knows this and should make it very difficult on him.

Short of San Francisco running all over Tampa Bay and forcing the Buccaneers to go up-tempo when trailing big, this game should be low-scoring and tight throughout. As low as the total is, I’ll still bet the under at 37.5 or better because that's a key number.

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