New Orleans has won two straight but runs into the juggernaut Bucs this Sunday. Find out why this won't be a big easy victory for Tampa Bay in our Buccaneers and Saints Week 8 picks.
Having to face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a hard week of practice for any opponent. Having to do so on a short week is even harder, and that's the New Orleans Saints' task this Sunday.
Though injuries have made life tough for the Buccaneers' secondary, Tampa Bay has still gotten off to a 6-1 start but is just 3-4 against the spread. After starting the season at 3-0 Over, the Under has gone 3-1 since.
Sean Payton is learning what Bill Belichick already knows — not having a Hall of Fame quarterback is a lot more work for the head coach and his offensive staff. Nonetheless, Payton appears to outwardly enjoy the challenge of trying to turn Jameis Winston into an above-average QB on a 4-2 club (3-3 ATS). With the Saints' 29th in total offense, they are 4-2 to the Under.
Here are my picks and predictions for the NFL Week 8 matchup between the Buccaneers and Saints (odds via Circa; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale.)
Buccaneers vs. Saints Game Info
Date/Time: Sunday, October 31, 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Weather: 70 degrees, indoor
Buccaneers vs. Saints Odds Analysis
Tampa Bay opened as a 4-point away favorite but football bettors might have gotten spooked watching the Saints on Monday night and pushed the betting odds on the Bucs to -5. The SBR consensus is showing that early bettors are heavily favoring New Orleans.
The total was sent out at 50 and that has mostly held, though a few sportsbooks are at 49.5.
Buccaneers vs. Saints Picks
New Orleans +5 (-110) (???)
Under 50 (-110) (???)
SEE ALSO: NFL Week 8 Power Rankings
Buccaneers vs. Saints Predictions
New Orleans +5 (-110)
Brady versus Winston sounds like a complete mismatch and when you think about the difference between the two quarterbacks, the point spread is reflective of that.
Yet, to Winston’s credit, while he will never be an upper-echelon quarterback, he takes direction and is willing to try and improve. Case in point: Winston has only three interceptions this year, but in past seasons he was a threat to have three in a single half. Sure, he still made some decisions that have him looking like his former self but they have not hurt him and his team.
Since nobody runs on the Buccaneers' top-rated run defense, Payton will try and get the ball to Alvin Kamara on screens, flares, and wheel routes along with runs mixed in.
Winston will take deep shots as he did in the win over Green Bay, seeking to connect or draw penalties.
New Orleans' defense will look to make Tampa Bay one-dimensional by taking away the run game and creating an up-the-middle pass rush to force Brady to move. The Saints have the talent to do this and make it a field goal game, which is why we are backing the home side in our Buccaneers and Saints picks for Week 8.
Under 50 (-110)
In theory, whoever you take to cover, it would make sense to back the total in the same manner. If the Buccaneers are your choice, chances are they will post enough points and force New Orleans to match them. This would likely mean a higher score.
In our case, our preference is the Saints. And the lower the score, the more likely they are to hang with the Brady bunch.
It's also noteworthy that the Buccaneers are averaging 23.7 points per game on the road compared to 40.5 PPG at Raymond James.
No Rob Gronkowski takes away one of Brady's favorite targets and while he still has a fantastic cast of receivers, Gronk is his third-down guy who keeps the chains moving. That often leads to scores for Bruce Arians' offense.
The Saints are 63-41 Under after two more consecutive victories and 12-3 Under off a road non-cover where the team won as a favorite.
SEE ALSO: Week 8 Opening Line Picks
Picks made on 10/27/2021 at 1:06 a.m. ET.