Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers Preview: Prediction, Best Bets, Odds, Depth Charts (12/17/23)
The Green Bay Packers (6-7) play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) on Sunday (12/17/23) at 1 p.m. EST in a matchup of two NFC playoff hopefuls. Betting odds have the Packers as the favorites at -3.5 against the spread, while the over/under is set at 41.5 total points.
This article provides Buccaneers vs. Packers analysis, predictions and betting recommendations and explains why the best bet in this matchup is the Bucs +3.5.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers Prediction & Best Bet
Just when we thought Jordan Love and the Packers might be turning a corner and becoming a dangerous team just in time for the playoffs, they went out and laid an egg on Monday Night Football in a disastrous loss to the lowly New York Giants.
The Buccaneers, on the other hand, are on a two-game winning streak after beating the Panthers and Falcons over the last two weeks. They are in a three-way tie for first in the NFC South and they hold the tiebreaker over the Falcons and Saints. So they would be the No. 4 seed if the playoffs started today.
Despite their poor performance last week, the Packers are the better team and should win this game. They also could be getting back several key players from injury, including RB Aaron Jones, CB Jaire Alexander and CB Eric Stokes. It still remains to be seen as of this writing which if any of those players will be active this week. Getting Alexander and/or Stokes back would be a massive upgrade to the defense and would help significantly against Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
While we expect the Packers to win the game, we’re going with the Bucs against the spread as the best bet in this game. This matchup is simply too tight and these teams are too average to lay -3.5 on the Packers. The Bucs are 6-1 against the spread on the road this season while the Packers are just 3-3 ATS at Lambeau Field.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers Prediction & Best Bet: Packers win 20-17 | Best Bet: Buccaneers +3.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers Betting Odds
The spread in this game opened at Packers -3.5 and has mostly held firm at that number, though some sportsbooks have removed the hook and dropped the line to -3.
The over/under is trending down after opening at 42.5 and is currently at 41.5.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Packers winning 22-19.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers Key Injuries
The Bucs have several key starters on defense on the injury report, including CB Carlton Davis III, S Ryan Neal, LB Devin White, DL William Gholston and NT Vita Vea.
The Packers are dealing with more health concerns right now. On offense, RB Aaron Jones has missed the last three games while WR Christian Watson missed the last game, and both remain questionable. WR Dontayvion Wicks was also added to the injury report this week. On defense, both starting CBs Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes have been out for extended periods but have a chance to return this week, while LB Quay Walker missed the last game and remains questionable.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Buccaneers vs. Packers below.
Mike Evans vs. Jaire Alexander (or his backup)
This matchup could either be one of the most competitive or the most lopsided matchups in this game. Mike Evans remains one of the best and most consistent wide receivers in the NFL. He has already extended his NFL-record streak of 10 seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards. After a dud last week (one catch for 8 yards) when he got shut down by Atlanta’s A.J. Terrell, he could be poised for a big bounce-back, especially if Alexander misses this game.
Alexander is one of the best cover corners in the league when healthy. With Alexander and Eric Stokes missing most of the season, the Packers rank 26th in DVOA against the pass, though they are 8th in passing yards allowed thanks partly to a terrible run defense (31st in yards allowed, 25th in DVOA) that funnels offenses away from their aerial attack. If Alexander can’t suit up, Evans will primarily be matched up with rookie Carrington Valentine, who has outperformed his seventh-round pedigree but is still an average corner at best.
If the Packers can slow down Evans, they stand a much better chance of not only winning this game but also likely covering the spread.
Jordan Love vs. Buccaneers’ poor pass defense
Last week was ugly for Love, but that doesn’t erase several weeks of excellent performances prior to that game. If he struggles again this week against a Buccaneers defense that ranks 30th in yards allowed and net yards per attempt allowed, that will be more of a cause for concern.
The Bucs’ pass defense has been even worse recently. Over the last six weeks they have allowed the most passing yards per game while continuing to be bottom 10 in both yards per attempt (29th) and CPOE (26th).
Love could be missing several of his top pass-catchers, with both Christian Watson and Dontayvion Wicks questionable and Luke Musgrave still on IR. Still, Jaydeen Reed and Romeo Doubs should be enough for Love to be able to punish the Bucs’ secondary. If he doesn’t, the Packers could struggle to move the ball consistently in this game, which would favor a Bucs cover and potential upset.