New Orleans at Tampa Bay Lines, Free Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Thursday,December 8, 2016 8:13, EST in

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the stories of the NFL the past month or so as they have climbed into a tie for first place in the NFC South with Atlanta. Any shot New Orleans has of winning the division would take a win in Tampa on Sunday. But the Bucs are favorites on NFL lines.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay Lines, Free Pick & TV Info

When: Sunday, Dec. 11, 4:25 PM ET
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
TV: Fox
RadioNew Orleans / Tampa Bay
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Bucs -2.5 (51)

Why Bet on New Orleans?

The Saints (5-7) lost 28-13 at home to Detroit last week. The Lions’ Golden Tate exploited a coverage breakdown on third-and- long for a 66-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Detroit was clinging to a six-point lead. The Lions also became the first team in 60 Saints home games to stop Drew Brees from completing a touchdown pass, although tight end Coby Fleener had a pass bounce off his hands at the goal line. Brees finished 31 of 44 for 326 yards and was intercepted three times, once each by Glover Quin, Tavon Wilson and Miles Killebrew.

The Saints only played six snaps in the first quarter after failing to convert twice on third-and- 1. The first time, Brees took the blame for allowing a shotgun snap to bounce off his hands (he recovered, but was flagged for intentional grounding). The second time, running back Tim Hightower got stuffed. Brandin Cooks didn’t have a catch in the first 29 minutes. Michael Thomas’ 2-yard catch was the only catch by any receiver in the first 29 minutes as the Saints fell behind 13-3 early and never caught up.

Saints TE Josh Hill suffered a broken fibula against the Lions. It is a tough turn of events for a player who had been taking over the starting job in the last several weeks. With Hill out for the season, Fleener should have steadier snap and route totals moving forward.

The Saints play three of their final four games against division opponents, including two meetings with the Buccaneers. Brees leads the NFL in passing yards (3,913), touchdown passes (30), completions (357), attempts (500) and completion percentage (71.4).

Why Bet on Tampa Bay?

The Bucs (7-5) have won four consecutive games and are tied with Atlanta for first place in the NFC South. Tampa Bay knocked off San Diego 28-21 last week as quarterback Jameis Winston threw a touchdown pass, running back Doug Martin rushed for a TD and linebacker Lavonte David returned an interception for a score. Keith Tandy intercepted Philip Rivers in the end zone with 2:56 left.

The Bucs outscored the Chargers 21-7 in the second half. They’ve also beaten Chicago, Kansas City and Seattle in their winning streak. Winston completed 20 of 30 for 280 yards. Winston has been pressured on 35 percent of his dropbacks this season, fourth-highest in the NFL. He has an 87.1 Total QBR when pressured this season, 21 points higher than anyone else. It would also rate as the highest QBR when pressured since the data was first tracked in 2009.

Bucs WR Cecil Shorts tore his right ACL, MCL and PCL, and dislocated his knee vs. San Diego. It’s a career- threatening injury. With Shorts’ injury, plus Adam Humphries being in the concussion protocol, newly acquired Josh Huff will be called upon, along with Freddie Martino and Russell Shepard.

Tampa offensive coordinator Todd Monken said RB Jacquizz Rodgers will be in “a more expanded role” this week against the Saints. Rodgers returned from a foot injury last week to run seven times for 29 yards and catch one pass for 21 yards. He was also playing late in the win over the Chargers, ahead of Doug Martin. But Martin is still the No. 1 back. Fellow RB Charles Sims (knee) will also be activated off I.R. in time for Sunday’s game, but he figures to see most of his work as a pass catcher with the Bucs’ wide receiver depth chart shredded by injuries.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay Free Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Underdog is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
Under is 7-1 in the last 8 meetings in Tampa Bay.

Take Tampa on NFL odds and go under the total.