Game: New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Time: 8:15 p.m.
Odds: Saints +3, Buccaneers -3
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6 SU, 3-7-1 ATS) will host the New Orleans Saints (4-8 SU, 4-8 ATS) on Monday Night Football. After failing to gain any ground last week, the Buccaneers will attempt to extend their lead in the NFC South. Tampa Bay was a three-point road favorite against the Browns but lost to Cleveland 23-17 in overtime. A victory would significantly increase the Saints’ chances of winning the NFC South, where they remain in the race. The Saints lost last week too, losing 13-0 to San Francisco.
Tampa Bay keeps moving forward and then taking a step back. The Buccaneers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-16 two weeks ago, but their loss to the Browns forced them to drop below.500. They still have a one-half-game lead over Atlanta in the division.
The Saints must find a way to run the football if they want to prevent another shutout. The loss last week marked New Orleans’ first game without a point since 2001. Last week, RB Alvin Kamara lost two fumbles, while QB Andy Dalton led the club in rushing with 21 yards on four carries. Taysom Hill, Mark Ingram, and Kamara carried the ball 17 times for a total of 36 yards. That cannot happen again.
The Buccaneers, on the other hand, have struggled to stop the run this year, allowing 123.2 yards per game on the ground. The Browns recently had 189 yards on 34 carries, a 5.6 per carry average, thanks to Tampa Bay’s soft run defense.
Around this time last year, Tom Brady and the reigning champion Buccaneers were on a tear. Week 15’s Sunday Night Football included a visit from New Orleans, which defeated Tampa Bay 9-0. The Saints defeated the Buccaneers for the seventh time in a row during the regular season. Additionally, it marked New Orleans’ fourth straight victory over Brady during the regular season. In the first meeting between the two teams this season, both streaks were broken. On September 18, Tampa Bay beat New Orleans 20-10.
Tampa Bay has been held to 20 points or less in three of the last four regular-season games between the two teams. In two of the contests, the Buccaneers scored three points or fewer. Last week, the Saints did manage to limit San Francisco to only one touchdown. Part of the reason is a strong pass defense which is ranked No. 7 in the league.
This season, Tampa Bay has scored 19 points or more in four of its five wins. The Bucs have a 1-4 SU and 0-4-1 ATS record in the five games in that they didn’t reach 19 points. This season, the Buccaneers’ offense has been a significant disappointment. Tampa Bay averages 18.3 points per game, which ranks 27th in the NFL. Remember that New Orleans has dropped three of its last four away games where they allowed 20 points or more.
The Saints are only 3-8 SU in their last 11 games, but they are 7-2 SU and ATS in their last nine games against Tampa Bay. The Bucs are just 3-3 SU at home so far this season.
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