The Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs has arrived, and to cap off the weekend’s slate of games, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the New Orleans Saints this Sunday night at 6:40 p.m. ET.
Both the Buccaneers and Saints won their respective Wild Card matchups. Tampa ultimately defeated the Washington Football Team by a score of 31-23 on Saturday night behind 381 yards and a pair of touchdown passes from Tom Brady. Running back Leonard Fournette additionally rushed for 93 yards and a score.
The Saints, on the other hand, ousted the Chicago Bears 21-9 on Sunday afternoon. Drew Brees threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns in what was a big victory at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
These two division rivals faced each other in the regular season, with New Orleans coming out of either game with a victory. The Saints defeated Tampa Bay 34-23 in Week 1 and then 38-3 in Week 9.
This Action Rush NFL Playoffs betting guide provides odds, picks, and analysis for the Buccaneers-Saints Divisional Round matchup.
Per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Saints are 3.0-point home favorites and -167 on the moneyline while Tampa is +148. The total is currently set to over-under 51.5.
The Saints are 10-7 against the spread while the Buccaneers are 8-8-1. The over has hit in 10 of the Saints’ 17 games (10-7) and 10 of the Buccaneers’ 17 games (10-7). New Orleans’ average total this season is 49.9 while Tampa Bay’s is 53.0.
Per FanDuel Sportsbook, the public is slightly backing the TB Bucs is today’s divisional playoff matchup against the Saints. 56% of the point spread tickets are on the Bucs, while 69% of ML action is on TB.
|Quarterback||Completions||Passing Yards||Passing TDs|
|Tom Brady (Buccaneers)||25.5 (Ov -120 / Un +100)||306.5 (Ov -110 / Un -110)||2.5 (Ov +155 / Un -190)|
|Drew Brees (Saints)||25.5 (Ov -110 / Un -110)||279.5 (Ov -105 / Un -115)||1.5 (Ov -190 / Un +155)|
|Running Back||Rushing Attempts||Rushing Yards||Total Yards|
|Alvin Kamara (Saints)||15.5 (Ov -125 / Un +100)||61.5 (Ov -110 / Un -110)||102.5 (Ov -110 / Un -110)|
|Wide Receiver + TE||Receptions||Receiving Yards||Longest Reception|
|Emmanuel Sanders (Saints)||3.5 (Ov -110 / Un -110)||43.5 (Ov -110 / Un -110)||19.5 (Ov -105 / Un -115)|
|Michael Thomas (Saints)||6.5 (Ov +100 / Un -125)||79.5 (Ov -110 / Un -110)||24.5 (Ov -105 / Un -115)|
|Alvin Kamara (Saints)||4.5 (Ov -155 / Un +125)||36.5 (Ov -105 / Un -115)||14.5 (Ov +100 / Un -120)|
|Jared Cook (Saints)||2.5 (Ov -125 / Un +100)||29.5 (Ov -110 / Un -110)||15.5 (Ov -120 / Un +100)|
|Antonio Brown (Buccaneers)||4.5 (Ov -115 / Un -105)||54.5 (Ov -110 / Un -110)||20.5 (Ov -115 / Un -105)|
|Chris Godwin (Buccaneers)||5.5 (Ov +115 / Un -140)||65.5 (Ov -110 / Un -110)||23.5 (Ov -105 / Un -115)|
|Mike Evans (Buccaneers)||4.5 (Ov -120 / Un +100)||63.5 (Ov -110 / Un -110)||23.5 (Ov -120 / Un +100)|
|Rob Gronkowski (Buccaneers)||2.5 (Ov -160 / Un +130)||30.5 (Ov -115 / Un -105)||16.5 (Ov +100 / Un -120)|
This will be the third time these two teams are facing one another this season, with the Saints having emerged victorious in each of the first two meetings (as was previously mentioned). Either ballclub is red hot though. While the Saints have won each of their last three games, the Buccaneers have won each of their last five and are currently sporting an average winning margin of 16.5.
A matchup to watch will be the Buccaneers offense (seventh in the NFL with 384.1 total yards per game) going up against a tough Saints defensive unit (fourth with 310.9 total yards allowed per game). The talented Saints pass rush should have a tough task getting to Brady given the strength of the Bucs offensive line, so that’ll be another interesting tidbit.
The Bucs enter this game having just defeated the Washington Football Team during Super Wild Card Weekend. Behind the efforts of Brady and Fournette, Tampa Bay was able to overcome a strong Washington defense that had been one of the league’s top units in the regular season.
However, the Saints defense is nearly just as tough, having allowed just 310.9 average yards and 21.1 average points this year. It stood its ground against Chicago on Sunday, letting up just 239 total yards and nine points.
If the Bucs are going to overpower the opposing defense and win this football game en route to the NFC Championship, they’ll need to stick to their guns and utilize the short, high-percentage throws and also run the ball effectively. Doing the latter will open up the play-action for Brady, and if the offensive line does its job (like it has for much of the season), the future Hall of Fame quarterback should have enough time to locate his array of targets (Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, etc.).
Boy, does this Saints team have some playmakers? And with Michael Thomas and Drew Brees healthy, the unit is even more dangerous.
In the regular season, the Buccaneers employed the top run defense in the NFL (80.6 rushing yards allowed per game) but didn’t sport the most statistically successful secondary (21st with 246.6 average passing yards allowed).
Having said that, the Saints need to greatly utilize their weapons through the air, especially running back Alvin Kamara out of the backfield. Kamara is one of the more versatile backs in the league and could make plays from anywhere on the field, and if you’re going to get him involved, you’re better off doing it through the air given the strength of Tampa Bay’s front seven.
For what it’s worth, Drew Brees threw for 222 yards and four touchdowns when he faced the Tampa secondary in Week 9.
I understand, the Buccaneers are red hot and have won five consecutive games. However, I just can’t get over the fact that the Saints swept them in the regular season, which included a blowout 38-3 win on the road in primetime.
Despite Tampa’s array of offensive weapons and strong defense, Sean Payton is a fantastic coach and should find a way to oust this Bucs squad for the third time this year and do so by over three points.
Given the weapons in and around either offense, I’ll also say the over will hit as well. Both teams have hit the over 10 times this season while the Bucs’ average total (53.0) is above the current total (51.5).