NFL Picks: Saints Will Win But Buccaneers Will Cover +10.5

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, September 18, 2015 6:29 PM GMT

Each week in this space, I will isolate the NFL Big Dog of the Week. This selection will be a blend of statistical, situational, and technical analysis that will help you place your NFL picks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints (-10.5) - 1:00 PM ET
The Big Dog Of The Week is an NFL pick on an a team that is an underdog of 6 or more points.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the New Orleans Saints for this 1:00 PM ET kick on Sunday. This division rivalry was contested twice last year, with the Saints winning 37-31 on this field, then backing it up with a 23-20 win in the final game of the regular season at Tampa Bay. That makes two victories, but by a combined 9 points, less than today’s point spread. 

A savvy sports bettor from the New Orleans area offered a diatribe on why “New Orleans under 9“ was a solid wager for regular season victories. His argument was solid, citing both an offense and defense which are in decline. In short, the New Orleans Saints' slide from 12-6 SU in 2013 to 7-9 SU in 2014 may be more of a trend than a BUY sign for the Saints on a bounce back season. The week 1 31-19 loss at Arizona may certainly have been a harbinger of that prediction, for the Cardinals dominated the point of attack, outrushing the Saints 120-54, with New Orleans relying almost completely on their passing game. They ran it only 20 times (1 of 9 teams to run the ball 22 or less times in week 1), resulting in a 1-8 ATS record. Meanwhile, the 427 total yards the Saints allowed to the Cardinals certainly implies that last year’s declining defense may not have been fixed. This week, the world is looking for the bounce against what many consider to be a pathetic Tampa Bay team, and there is precedence for that thinking. The Saints are 25-13 ATS following a loss, they have won the last four in this series at this site by an average of 21 PPG, and after going 20-0 SU, 18-2 ATS on their strong home field, the Saints enter 2015 on an 0-5 SU ATS home slide. Time for the bounce…or is it?

There is good reason why there are few Buc backers this week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost 11 consecutive road games. Now, first round draft pick QB Jameis Winston is making his first road start. It certainly did not help that the first one was at home. In a pathetic offensive performance, Tampa Bay was outrushed 124-92 by last year’s 2-14 SU Titans. Winston threw two critical picks, and the offense gained just 273 total yards. All good reasons why this is a contrary side, and why we should all be on board with the Tampa Bay Bucs as the Big Dog of the Week. And for you to put this NFL odds in your favor and cash a winning ticket.

NFL Pick: Buccaneers +10.5 at 5Dimes