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Matchups Week 2: Buccaneers vs. Saints

Buccaneers vs. Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) vs. New Orleans Saints (1-0)

Spread: Saints +2.5.

Game Total: 45.5.

Team Totals: Saints (21.5), Buccaneers (24).

Weather: Dome

The Line Report

  •         This line opened as Saints +2.5.
  •         This line has gotten up to Saints +3, but its current consensus is Saints +2.5.
  •         DraftKings Pick’Em has the Saints +2.5.
  •         Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Saints +2.5.
  •         This total opened at 45.5-points.
  •         This total has moved down to 44.5 as of early Friday morning.

Notable Injuries

Saints: LT Trevor Penning (IR), RB Alvin Kamara (Questionable), RB Mark Ingram (Questionable), Edge Cameron Jordan (Questionable), CB Paulson Adebo (Questionable).

Buccaneers: RB Leonard Fournette (Questionable), WR Mike Evans (Questionable), WR Chris Godwin (Questionable), WR Julio Jones (Questionable), WR Russell Gage (Questionable), WR Breshad Perriman (Questionable), LT Donovan Smith (Questionable), RT Tristan Wirfs (Questionable).

The Saints Offense vs. the Buccaneers Defense

New Orleans’s offensive line vs. Tampa Bay’s front four is a strength vs. strength trench matchup. From a macro sense, it’s a relative stalemate. That said, backup LT James Hurst has been thrust into the starting lineup with No. 19 overall pick Trevor Penning sidelined. That creates some opportunities for the Buccaneers edge rush duo of Shaquil Barrett and Joe Tyron-Shoyinka.

The Saints have a top-tier skill group with a vastly improved wide receiver corps. The Buccaneers have one of, if not the best, linebacker duo in the league paired with a solid secondary with years of continuity. The Buccaneers are a rare matchup where the Saints won’t have a considerable skill group vs. coverage advantage. 

Notes and Observations

  • The Saints are 0-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Saints are 1-0 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Jameis Winston was dead last among opening day starters in play-action pass percentage.
  • Among opening day starters, Winston was eighth in air yards per attempt in Week 1.
  • Tampa Bay allowed the sixth-fewest rushing yards and the fifth-fewest receiving yards to running backs on opening day.
  • The Buccaneers allowed the sixth-fewest receiving yards on the ninth fewest receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • The Bucs surrendered the eighth-most receiving yards on the fourth-most receptions to tight ends last week.
  • The Buccaneers defense dominated the Cowboys in Dallas last Sunday Night, holding them to just three points.

The Buccaneers Offense vs. the Saints Defense

We must keep an eye on the Bucs’ injury report, as both of their offensive tackles are currently on it. The strength of Tampa Bay’s offensive line is their edge protection, while the strength of the Saints front four is their edge rush. The Buccaneers are worse off this year at center and left guard than last year, so there are opportunities for the Saints front in the interior. The Saints front four significantly impacted both wins against the Bucs last year.

We have to keep an eye on the injury report because every Tampa Bay wide receiver that could see meaningful playing time has a questionable tag as of early Friday morning.

Notes and Observations

  • The Buccaneers are 1-0 against the spread this season.
  • The Buccaneers are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Tom Brady is 0-4 against New Orleans as a Buccaneer.
  • Per The Edge, Brady was 20th in play-action pass percentage on opening day.
  • Among opening day starters, Brady was second in air yards per attempt in Week 1.
  • The Saints allowed the sixth most rushing yards and the 12th fewest receiving yards to running backs on opening day.
  • New Orleans allowed the 16th most receiving yards on the 18th most receptions to wide receivers in Week 1.
  • The Saints allowed the 12th most receiving yards on the 18th most receptions to tight ends last week.

This is What You’re Betting On in Saints vs. Buccaneers

Before we begin, a few quick thoughts. The first is that both matchups between these two teams last year were significantly impacted by in-game injuries. In the second one in particular, where the Saints shut out the Bucs in Tampa, the Buccaneers lost their starting wide receiver corps in that contest. That had an evident impact on what Tampa could do on offense. Both of those games last year did not play normally, which is why they have minimal bearing on how I view this matchup this year, apart from the impact the Saints front four had. No game on the Week 2 slate has more relevant players on the injury report than this one, so be sure to keep an eye on that as we get closer to game time.

A bet on the Saints is a bet on a very well-built non-quarterback roster that is 4-0 against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers. New Orleans had a strong defense and offensive line last year, but their wide receiver group is much better now than it was a year ago. The Saints have one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL. Your concerns if you’re betting on the Saints are the inconsistencies of Jameis Winston (who also happens to be on the injury report) and that Sean Payton has been replaced by his long-time defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Payton is at least a borderline Hall of Fame head coach, so that is a big loss. A bet on the Saints is also a bet against Tom Brady.

A bet on the Bucs is a bet on Tom Brady continuing to defy the aging process. Tampa Bay’s defense was dominant last Sunday night in Dallas. If you’re betting on Tampa, you’re betting on their defense to continue performing at a high level. Since Brady came aboard, New Orleans has had Tom Brady’s number since he joined Tampa Bay, going 4-0 against the Buccaneers. If you’re betting on Tampa, you’re betting against that streak continuing. You’re also betting against Jameis Winston, who is a volatile quarterback capable of making game-altering mistakes.

Buccaneers vs. Saints Pool Picks

Winner/ Confidence Pool: If I were in three large field winner pools with weekly payouts, I would take the Saints in one as a small differentiator option and the Bucs in two. I expect this game to fall within that grey area between the middle and the bottom tier in my confidence pool ranks this week.

Spread Pool: I’m very aligned with our Chris Farley’s early take on this game. Tampa Bay -2.5 will be in my ATS tournament pool of options this week. That may change based on injury updates.

Survivor: This game should be avoided for survivor purposes.