Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints Predictions

Sun 1/17 6:40 ET
Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11-5
12-4
Saints
New Orleans Saints
Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Point Spread Pick

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It will be an NFC South rivalry showdown when the New Orleans Saints host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during divisional-round action in the NFL playoffs on Sunday evening. Can the Saints beat the Bucs for a third straight time this season? That is not an easy task for any division rival — especially not when the opponent is six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. It is true that New Orleans hammered Tampa Bay 38-3 in the most recent meeting, but this just isn’t the same Bucs squad that was on display back in early November. They have won five games in a row and have outscored opponents by a combined 81 points during this stretch; that’s 16.2 points per game for those counting. The Bucs have exceeded the 30-point mark in four of their last five, even against the stout defense of the Washington Football Team last weekend. Brady has 16 touchdown passes compared to only one interception during the winning streak.

The Saints really haven’t been the same since Drew Brees’ rib injury in Week 10. They have lost only twice since then, but it has not been overly encouraging — they haven’t defeated anyone with a winning record since that Week 9 victory over Tampa Bay. In the playoffs, give me a red-hot Brady over a close-to-retirement Brees any day of the week. Tampa Bay is 3-1-1 ATS in its last five as an underdog and 6-2 ATS in its last eight after gaining more than 350 yards of total offense in its previous outing. The Saints are 1-5 ATS in their last six against opponents with winning records and 1-4 ATS in their last five playoff home games. Take the Bucs and the points.

Computer Picks

Game Totals Pick

That’s not to say that Brees is going to get completely shut down, even though Tampa Bay boasts the No. 6 overall defense in the NFL and No. 1 against the run. Wide receiver Michael Thomas is rounding into form and found the endzone for the first time this season while going for 73 yards on five catches against Chicago last weekend. For the Bucs, both Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin have five touchdowns in the past four contests. New Orleans star defensive end Trey Hendrickson missed last week’s game and is questionable for this one. I expect this to be an appropriate shootout between two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. The over is 22-9 in the Buccaneers’ last 31 overall, 25-9 in their last 34 on the road, and 10-1 in their last 11 against the NFC South. It is also 4-1 in the Saints’ last five against opponents with winning records. Additionally, the over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings between the two teams and 4-1 in Tampa Bay’s last five trips to New Orleans. Look for this one to go over the total.

Computer Model Picks & Projections

The Pickswise supercomputer creates pre-game probabilities using machine learning techniques as inputs to a Monte Carlo approach. This means we simulate a sporting event 10,000 times, catering for the deep range of outcomes and probabilities within a given event. We first predict the performance of each individual player based on hundreds of algorithmic variabilities which we use to run our event simulations. The probabilities themselves are dynamic in nature and are updated as new information such as team news, weather conditions, and movement within betting markets become available. We consider a value bet as one which identifies a discrepancy between our projections and the prevailing betting markets. The ability to consistently identify anomalies between our consolidated projections and sportsbook odds provides you with an increased chance of being a successful gambler and having longterm success.

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