Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Lines - Against the Spread Prediction
Tampa Bay saw their 5-game winning streak halted with a 26-20 loss to Dallas last Sunday. New Orleans won a scoring fest over Arizona 48-41 last week. The Buccaneers won the Week 14 matchup 16-11.
Tampa Bay is happy to have RB Doug Martin back but he hasn’t been very effective (2.9 ypc on 144 attempts). However, he’s a hard runner who can also reel off big gains. New Orleans’ run defense isn’t great (4.0 ypc) and while they only surrender 99.6 ypg, that is offset by their weak pass defense (271.2). As a team, the Bucs are averaging only 3.5 ypc but their offense runs best when the ground game is functioning at a high level and I expect them to really try to establish it early in this contest. Part of that is because of QB Jameis Winston’s TO issues (15 interceptions, 5 lost fumbles). Winston has thrown 25 TD passes and added 1 on the ground but he has to take better care of the ball for Tampa Bay to get a win this week. WR Mike Evans and TE Cameron Brate are the top receivers but disappeared in the game 2 weeks ago. They, along with slot receiver WR Adam Humphries, have to play a bigger role on Saturday. Winston has been dropped 30 times while New Orleans has totaled 27 sacks. The Bucs’ o-line needs to be the star this week, opening holes for Martin and protecting Winston.
Saints’ QB Drew Brees broke out of a big funk with a 389-yard, 4-TD performance last week. He hadn’t thrown a TD pass for 2 weeks and threw 5 picks in the earlier loss to Tampa Bay. He has 34 TD passes on the year but has committed 18 TOs. He has had trouble getting various players involved and while he has been sacked only 23 times, he has faced a lot of pressure in 2016. WR Brandin Cooks had a monster game last week but wasn’t even on the stat page a few games earlier. WRs rookie Michael Thomas and Willie Snead are also top targets but the Buccaneers defense held them in check 2 weeks ago. RB Mark Ingram has been banged up in recent weeks but is having one of his best seasons in 2016. Backup RB Tim Hightower is averaging 4.0 ypc and remains a hard runner. TB’s run defense hasn’t been stellar this season (4.5 ypc, 116 ypg) but the Saints abandoned the run early in the last matchup despite the close score.
Public Money Consensus
In this NFL matchup between the Buccaneers and the Saints the public is leaning slightly to Tampa Bay getting the 3 points with over 60% confidence. The over/under bettors believe this will be a high scoring game and have chosen to take the over 52.5 points with over 60%.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Prediction
Tampa Bay is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 visits to The Big Easy and need to win their last 2 games for a shot at a playoff berth. Their defense came up big in their last encounter with New Orleans and allowed an average of 13 ppg during their recent winning streak. The defense gives up yards but toughens up on their side of the field. The Saints offense has been very up-and-down over the past month, scoring 49, 13, 11 and 48 points in their last 4 games. I believe a healthier Martin and the Buccaneers defense will do enough to get a big road win for the visitor this week.
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