The Tampa Bay Buccaneers battle the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon (10/1/23). Get Buccaneers vs. Saints odds, predictions, and picks; the best bet is Buccaneers under 17.5 points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints Prediction & Best Bet
As a unit, New Orleans’ defense ranks eighth in expected points contributed by the defense, tenth in opponent expected points added per play, fifth in opponent average points per drive, and seventh in PFF’s overall grade. All of the advanced metrics praise the Saints, and the eye test certainly agrees.
Their biggest weakness is their run defense due to a shaky interior line. However, Tampa Bay’s run game has struggled mightily to gain any traction. Their 2.8 yards per rush is dead last in the NFL, and Rachaad White ranks 29th of 37 in yards after contact per attempt (min. 25 attempts, per PFF). He’s a pass-catching back that’s not built for running inside the tackles, and Tampa Bay’s offensive line isn’t creating any lanes for him. Therefore, the Buccaneers don’t sit in an ideal position to exploit this flaw.
Baker Mayfield and company have had success through the air this season, and definitely prefer this method of attack. Unfortunately for them, New Orleans owns a stifling secondary that is seventh in opponent dropback expected points added per play. They can shut down aerial bombardments, and elite cornerback Marshon Lattimore has a history of locking down Mike Evans. Safety Tyrann Mathieu remains a disruptor on the back end, and Demario Davis is one of the better coverage linebackers in the NFL.
Finally, it’s unlikely that Mayfield has enough time to throw given New Orleans’ capable pass rush. Carl Granderson and Cam Jordan already possess 18 combined quarterback hurries per PFF, while rookie Bryan Bresee has flashed tremendous upside. Tampa Bay’s line is much better in pass protection than run blocking, but the Saints’ pass rush should be a nuisance.
Overall, Tampa Bay’s offense – which ranks 21st in percentage of drives ending in an offensive score – isn’t ideally suited to exploit New Orleans. This Saints secondary, on the other hand, can neutralize Tampa Bay’s best scoring routes.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints Prediction & Best Bet: Buccaneers under 17.5 points (-115 BMGM)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints Betting Odds
Derek Carr’s injury has a substantial impact on this matchup. The Saints spread can be found at -3, although most sportsbooks are offering +3.5 for Tampa Bay. Therefore, bettors on both sides can snag that crucial half point in their favor. The 39.5 over under is one of the lowest totals of the week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints Key Injuries
The New Orleans Saints welcome back Alvin Kamara from suspension, but quarterback Derek Carr suffered a shoulder injury against Green Bay that will keep him out of this contest.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints Key Matchups
Which team will win these key matchups?
Mike Evans vs. Marshon Lattimore
Evans leads Tampa Bay in target share, yards, touchdowns, first downs, and yards per reception. He ranks second in yards per route run behind only Tyreek Hill and third in contested catches. Evans has turned back the clock in a contract year, but bitter rival Marshon Lattimore awaits him. Since he was drafted in 2017, Evans has only had a single 100-yard game against New Orleans. The Saints have recently kept Evans in check, and they have an excellent chance of dismantling Tampa Bay’s offense if that trend continues.
A history of Mike Evans vs. the Saints since Marshon Lattimore was drafted in 2017. pic.twitter.com/y4NYiHHmVE
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) September 26, 2023
For all of Baker Mayfield’s faults, turnovers haven’t been a glaring issue this season. He possesses the fifth lowest turnover worthy play rate per PFF and only has one interception. Forcing turnovers is the best way a defense can limit points, so New Orleans must buck the trend and force a turnover. Otherwise, Tampa Bay’s chances of scoring 18 points significantly increases.