Saints vs. Buccaneers Betting Predictions

New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Divisional Round
New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay, NFL Betting Predictions, Divisional Round, January 17

Almost like clockwork, it is time for yet another matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The two teams opened the season against each other and two months later, they played again, both times New Orleans won. Now two months after their last meeting, the two rivals meet in the NFL Divisional Round, and there’s no reason to believe the Saints cannot win again.

Saints vs. Buccaneers Betting Odds

We have seen Tampa Bay’s offense come to life over the last four weeks with four straight games with at least 400 yards of total offense and two with 500-plus yards. The Buccaneers did not look nearly as strong in their previous two meetings with the Saints, but this is clearly a much different Tampa Bay team. Tom Brady knows how to win in the playoffs and it is clear that he is finding a good rhythm and chemistry with his receivers. The offense is humming at the right time, and Tampa Bay is well equipped to face this talented Saints defense. The challenge will be the Buccaneers defense, which was exposed by a third-string quarterback last week in Washington. Tampa Bay’s passing defense ranked 21st during the regular season and it is a major weakness the Saints can exploit this week. Tampa Bay must be able to slow down the Saints’ passing game without allowing Alvin Kamara to take over the game with his physical rushing style.

New Orleans’ offense is not what it once was, but it’s hard to argue against Brees’ success this season. The Saints aren’t the same explosive passing offense, but Kamara’s presence as a versatile running back has kept the Saints a difficult offense to defend. Kamara was New Orleans’ leading rusher and receiver this year and added 21 total touchdowns more than a third of the total offensive touchdowns the Saints scored this season. The good news for New Orleans is that Michael Thomas scored his first touchdown of the season last week and the Saints’ top receiving threat is finally looking healthy again. He’s one of the key weapons who can help Brees pick apart this Buccaneers passing defense and keep the chains moving. The Saints’ defense will be in for a challenge, though, against a Tampa Bay offense that has found its groove. New Orleans ranked fifth in the league in passing defense, led the NFL in interceptions and held every team it faced – including the vaunted Chiefs – to less than 300 passing yards.

The football betting sites in New Jersey had a difficult job setting the over/under for this NFL Divisional Round game. The legal sports betting sites in New Jersey set the over/under at 51.5 points, which seems a bit low for this game. The Saints scored at least 29 points in their last three regular season games before facing a tough Chicago defense and scoring 21 last week. Tampa Bay’s defense won’t present the same challenges, which means New Orleans should be closer to 30 points again this week. The Buccaneers have scored at least 30 points in their last four games, and though New Orleans is a stiffer defensive challenge, Tampa Bay should have chances to score in the high 20’s. That already puts us nearly 10 points above the starting over/under, so this is going to be the highest payout of the NFL Divisional Round predictions. I’m betting over 60.5 total points in this game at +255 odds.

Saints to win

The Saints are deserved three-point favorites at the NFL betting sites in New Jersey due to their superior defense. New Orleans is in a comfortable spot with the NFL Divisional Round odds because I think the Saints will likely win by at least one touchdown in this game. While Tampa Bay’s offense has rounded into form since the bye week, the defense has not taken the same steps. The Buccaneers are in for a difficult matchup with Brees and the Saints passing game and we’ve seen lesser quarterbacks than Brees put up big passing numbers against this unit. Tampa Bay’s best chance is to put pressure on Brees, but with how quickly the quarterback gets the ball out of his hands, that will be a challenge. New Orleans’ defense won’t put up the same performance against Tampa Bay that it did twice earlier this season, but the Saints will get enough stops to win. I’m fairly comfortable doubling the NFL Divisional Round spread for this game and betting New Orleans laying 6.5 points at +180 odds.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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