NFL Pick on Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 9:16 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014 9:16 PM UTC

With all the publicity surrounding the Buccaneers ability to clinch the number one draft pick with a loss on Sunday, the Saints should actually be the more demoralized team.


The host team has a chance to avoid clinching the number one draft pick Sunday, or at the very least seems capable of covering the spread as a home underdog when the New Orleans Saints (6-9, 3-4 away) pay a visit to those Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-13, 0-7 home) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL at 1:00 ET in a game televised regionally on FOX.

The posted line at Pinnacle Sports has Tampa Bay as a home underdog of +4 for this contest at current odds of -105.

Chance at Number One Pick
By virtue of the Buccaneers losing to the Green Bay Packers 20-3 here at home last Sunday, Tampa Bay can now clinch the number one draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft with a loss here. However, all the publicity regarding that may actually be serving to give the Bucs nice value at home vs. an opponent that actually figures to be more demoralized than Tampa Bay!

That is because the Saints were just eliminated from playoff contention when they were shockingly the losing NFL picks for the fifth straight time at home this past Sunday to the Falcons at a venue in the Superdome where they hardly ever lost since the arrival of Drew Brees at quarterback. Even worse, if the Saints had taken care of business at home that most recent game, they would be playing to clinch the NFC South Division here instead of playing out the string.

Does It Really Matter?
Besides, does it really matter if Tampa Bay gets the top pick or the second pick in the draft, which would be its spot with a win? After all, assuming they both declare for the draft, there will be two franchise quarterbacks available this season in Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, and the Bucs would be quite content to take whoever falls to number two if it come down to it. Thus, Tampa Bay may be more interested in avoiding a winless season at home.

Yes the Buccaneers are 0-7 at Raymond James Stadium and their offense has been dreadful for much of the season, but they had one of their better games vs. these Saints in New Orleans where they held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter before succumbing 37-31 in overtime. And that was while playing without quarterback Josh McCown and wide receiver Mike Evans, both of whom are in this week.

Vincent Jackson had 144 receiving yards that game on eight receptions, but the presence of Evans on the opposite side makes both receivers more dangerous.

Dreadful Defense
And the fact that even the Buccaneers resembled a professional offense that game should give you an idea of just how much the New Orleans defense has fallen under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who went from guiding that unit to an amazing second ranking in the NFL in total defense in his first year on the job last year to now being in jeopardy losing his job with that same defense second to last in the league allowing a pitiful 390.9 yards per game.

That defense allowed Matt Ryan to complete 30-of-40 passes for 322 yards in the 30-14 loss to the Falcons, although it did not help that the Saints’ offense was not crisp either with Brees continuing his disappointing season with two more interceptions and Mark Ingram and the running game never got going, as New Orleans totaled 57 rushing yards on 18 carries.

Remember that the Saints made the playoffs last season and won the Wild Card Playoff at Philadelphia, and they were still the favorites to win the NFC South even before the loss last week that eliminated them as they controlled their own destiny and were heavy favorites over Atlanta. Thus, with their season ruined, how can the Saints get up for this finale vs. the division cellar dweller?

Home Team Series ATS
Finally the home teams have done well in the recent head-to-head history in this series going 5-2 ATS the last seven meetings, including the Buccaneers going 2-1 ATS in the last three encounters here in Tampa.

Beside there is always the possibility of Tampa Bay covering this spread while still losing outright and getting that number one draft pick, but in any event we recommend taking the points with the Buccaneers getting more than a field goal at home on Sunday.

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NFL Pick: Buccaneers +4 (-105)

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