SNF Picks: Saints vs. Buccaneers 11/8/20
New Orleans Saints (5-2 SU, 2-5 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS)
When: Sunday, November 8, 8:20 p.m.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
Point Spread: NO +4.5/TB -4.5 (BetNow)
Total: O/U 52
The NFC South is very much on the line here in Hillsborough County, as the Bucs can gain a 1.5 game lead on the Saints and steal the tiebreaker away from New Orleans. However, if the Saints win, they’d own the tiebreaker on Tampa Bay and would force Tampa Bay to play from behind for the rest of the season.Both teams come in on a winning streak, but neither side is really showing its best form. The Saints have won four straight, but not one of those games were decided by more than seven points, and all of those games except for a win over the Bears were against teams that aren’t likely to be in the postseason. Still, the Saints did beat the Bears, which was more than the Bucs did when they went to Chicago. Tampa Bay then followed up with two of its best games of the season in blasting Green Bay and Las Vegas, but they sleepwalked through a game against the Giants and barely survived. Was that a sign of the Bucs running out of gas, or was that an aberration as they placed their focus on a Saints squad that beat them in Week 1? How the Public is Betting the New Orleans/Tampa Bay Game The public has not yet pushed the line even though 64 percent of tickets are coming in on the Saints. The total, on the other hand, has dropped from 55 to 52 points.
New Orleans: Running back Alvin Kamara (foot) is probable. Linebacker Kwon Alexander (ankle), wide receiver Michael Thomas (hamstring), linebacker Chase Hansen (hip), running back Ty Montgomery (hamstring), center Nick Easton (concussion), wide receiver Marquez Callaway (ankle), and defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (knee) are questionable.
Tampa Bay: Defensive lineman William Gholston (illness) is out indefinitely. Defensive lineman Khalil Davis (ankle) and wide receiver Chris Godwin (finger) are questionable, and Antonio Brown is eligible to play after being suspended the first half of the season.
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When New Orleans Has the Ball
Emmanuel Sanders is back on the field for the Saints, but the important part of the New Orleans passing game is going to be Alvin Kamara. Kamara is a solid running back, but he’s actually amassed more receiving yards this year as the Saints ride Drew Brees’ experience rather than his arm strength. Truth be told, the Saints really didn’t do a lot with the ball when they had the ball against the Bucs in the first meeting, but they didn’t have to much with the ball because Tampa Bay couldn’t get out of its own way.
The Bucs are much more cohesive than they were in that matchup, which means that what New Orleans did in the first meeting isn’t going to work a second time. Tampa Bay’s run defense is so talented that it seems unlikely that Kamara will be able to get going on the ground, so New Orleans has to get going through the air. Sanders and Kamara both caught touchdown passes in the first meeting, and getting both involved would really help.
When Tampa Bay Has the Ball
When the Bucs first met the Saints, it was the opening week of the season, and Tampa Bay’s lack of preseason preparation was on full display. The Bucs blew the game with three turnovers and didn’t get their offense going until the third quarter. By that time, the Saints had put a 24-7 lead on the board, courtesy of a Janoris Jenkins pick-six against Tom Brady.
The Bucs have now had eight games under their belt, and Brady is, well, Brady. Since that game, he’s thrown for 18 touchdown passes and just two interceptions, and other than a game against Green Bay, where he didn’t need to throw because Ronald Jones ran all over the Packers, he hasn’t thrown for less than 250 yards since Week 2.
Unlike the Saints, the Bucs can stretch the field well and have the weapons to do it. Scotty Miller and Mike Evans have developed a strong connection with Tom Brady, and Rob Gronkowski continues to be one of the most reliable tight ends in the game. With the Saints, not exactly a defensive powerhouse, look for a lot of points here.
Betting against New Orleans has been a good way to make money as of late, as the Saints have managed to cover in just one of their past six contests. Worse, the Saints have really only been beating the teams that they were supposed to beat. New Orleans has failed to cover in four straight when they’ve faced a team with a winning record. Meanwhile, the Bucs have got to figure out winning inside their own division. They’ve only covered in two of their past seven games against divisional opponents, and they’ve not been a great team at home. They’ve covered just two of their past 11 games at home.
In terms of the total, points are likely to be expected. The Buccaneers have hit the total in six straight when they’ve been a home favorite and have hit the total in 13 of their past 16 in conference games. Meanwhile, New Orleans has hit the total in seven straight games, including five straight on the road.
With thunderstorms in the forecast, this could be a lower-scoring game than people might expect. However, it’s still going to be a warm day, with temperatures hitting 83 degrees in Tampa.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
The Bucs had one bad game against the Giants, but there’s a real possibility that they got caught overlooking an awful team with this game coming up. The Saints have no such excuse and haven’t been playing at a championship level for a while. Beating Carolina, Detroit, the Chargers, and Chicago is better than losing to them, but it wasn’t a great performance.
I can’t see the Saints picking themselves up and playing at a championship level in this game. Give me the Bucs.