Antonio Brown is expected to make his highly anticipated in Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints in a crucial NFC South matchup on Sunday Night Football.
Photo by @NYPostSports (twitter)
- First place in the NFC South is on the line as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football as betting favorites
- NFL season betting record: 6-8-1; -3.24 units
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Sunday night’s clash at Raymond James Stadium
First place in the NFC South standings will be on the line on Sunday Night Football, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints as 4.5-point favorites. The Buccaneers currently sit atop the standings with a 6-2 record, while the Saints closely trail at 5-2 after racking up wins in each of their past four outings.
Weather is not expected to be a factor, with warm temperatures and high humidity in the forecast for game time, which is set for 8:20pm ET at Raymond James Stadium.
New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds
|New Orleans Saints||+4.5 (-110)||+188||O 50.5 (-110)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-4.5 (-110)||-220||U 50.5 (+110)|
*Odds taken from DraftKings on 11/08/2020.
Line Movement and SNF Trends
The betting line has remained largely steady this week with the Bucs opening at -4.5 at most sportsbooks, but with some oddsmakers opening them favored by as few as 2.5 points. Conversely, the total has steadily fallen since opening as high as 55.5 to its current position at 50.5.
That downward movement defies the trends when New Orleans plays, with the OVER paying out in each of the Saints’ first eight games, and total points finishing at 51 or higher in seven of those contests, including a season-opening 34-23 win over Tampa Bay at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The New Orleans Saints defeat Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-23!!! Saints start the season 1-0. #WhoDat pic.twitter.com/xKoCZA59fI
— NewOrleansSaintsFans (@NolaSaints_Fans) September 13, 2020
This week marks the first time the Buccaneers have hosted a Sunday Night Football matchup since 2008, and their first overall SNF appearance since 2016. Tampa Bay has struggled badly in prime time, going 2-8 SU over their past 10 SNF appearances, and averaging just 15.1 points per game over their past eight appearances.
The Saints have fared far better in Sunday night matchups, winning outright in 13 of 16 appearances, including four of six on the road, but fell short in their first SNF appearance of this season, a 37-30 loss to the visiting Green Bay Packers as 3-point home chalk back in Week 3.
Brown Strengthens Vaunted Bucs Receiving Corps
With Tom Brady swinging into winning form, the Buccaneers have run up the score with regularity in recent weeks. Tampa Bay has scored 31 or more points in each of his three home games to date, and tallied 38 or more points three times in its past five outings. Brady has joined the NFL passing leaders with stellar performances during that stretch, connecting on 14 total TD passes, including seven scores in two home outings.
Bruce Arians talking to the media right now… he says that WR Chris Godwin will likely play against the Saints on sunday night.
“I would anticipate him probably playing.”
Tom Brady’s weapons:
• Mike Evans
• Chris Godwin
• Antonio Brown
• Rob Gronkowski
• Scotty Miller pic.twitter.com/XtMV4jlWii
— Jordan Moore (@iJordanMoore) November 6, 2020
The 43-year-old has been buoyed by a wealth of downfield options, including Rob Gronkowski and Mike Evans. Brady is likely to have even more weapons at his disposal as Chris Godwin makes his return after missing time with a broken finger, and Antonio Brown makes his highly anticipated debut with the Bucs. The return of Godwin and arrival of Brown are timely against a Saints pass defense that ranks 31st in the NFL with 19 total scoring passes allowed, and given up seven passes of 48-plus yards over their past five games.
2020 NFL Divisional Odds Tracker
New Orleans took steps to bolster its defense by acquiring LB Kwon Alexander ahead of this past week’s NFL trade deadline, but he is not expected to be available to face his former team on Sunday night. However, the Buccaneers will have to avoid the slow starts they survived against Las Vegas and New York. Tampa Bay spotted both the Raiders and Giants early leads before dominating after halftime, but are unlikely to be so lucky if they stumble out of the gate against the Saints.
Thomas Makes Return, but Saints Defense Must be Better
While the Buccaneers will have both Godwin and Brown in the lineup, the Saints are expected to welcome back star receiver Michael Thomas, who has been sidelined since the team’s Week 1 win over Tampa Bay. The Saints sport an impressive 14-2 SU record in their past 16 with Thomas in the lineup, including seven straight victories on the road. Thomas has also enjoyed some big performances against Tampa Bay, averaging over 130 yards per game in three outings prior to this year’s Week 1 meeting.
Michael Thomas is set to return Sunday vs. Bucs and be active for the first time since Week 1, per @diannaESPN pic.twitter.com/flGkXzl46K
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) November 6, 2020
The return of Thomas should also provide a lift to Saints pivot Drew Brees, who has been the focus of criticism and suggestions that he is washed up. But while the 41-year-old has not been prolific, he has been efficient, tossing two scores in each of his past two outings while leading the Saints to narrow victories. However, the Saints have proven to be a massive betting disappointment this season, covering just twice in eight outings. And while the Saints have won four straight, they have claimed victory by a combined margin of just 15 total points in those contests, largely against inferior competition.
The Pick: OVER 50.5 (-110)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.