Tampa Bay at New Orleans Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

Posted by Kenny Bell on Wednesday,December 21, 2016 9:13, EDT in

Crucial game in the NFC South on Christmas Eve as Tampa Bay visits New Orleans. The Bucs need a win to keep their division and wild-card hopes alive. The Saints need a miracle to somehow reach the postseason but it’s mathematically possible. And the Saints are home betting favorites on NFL odds.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Saturday, Dec. 24, 4:25 PM ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
TV: Fox
Radio: Tampa Bay / New Orleans
Stream OptionNFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Saints -3 (52.5)

Why Bet on Tampa Bay?

The Bucs (8-6) are a game behind Atlanta in the division after losing last Sunday night 26-20 in Dallas to see their five-game winning streak end. Jameis Winston threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns but had four turnovers, including an interception that led to Dan Bailey’s 38-yard field goal that gave Dallas a 23-20 lead early in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay’s last chance ended on downs at its 20, and the Bucs’ got just one first down on their final three possessions.

Doug Martin had 16 carries for 42 yards. TE Cameron Brate caught 5-of- 8 targets for 73 yards and a touchdown. Brate was held to one catch in the first half. He got inside position in the red-zone and scored a 10-yard touchdown to give the Bucs a third quarter lead they couldn’t hold.

The Bucs’ streak of five straight games of holding opponents to under 21 points — their longest since 2009-10 — ended, with Dallas gaining 449 yards, second-most this year against Tampa Bay. Bucs DE William Gholston (elbow) expected to miss Week 16 against the Saints. Gholston suffered a dislocated right elbow late in the loss to Dallas. He will likely return this season, especially if the Bucs make the playoffs, but coach Dirk Koetter said he is unlikely to be ready for this week. Gholston has 3.5 sacks in 585 defensive snaps this season.

The Bucs close the season by visiting the Saints and then hosting the Carolina Panthers on New Year’s Day. Atlanta, meanwhile, does the reverse, visiting Carolina on Sunday then closing out with a trip toNew Orleans. The Bucs win the NFC South if: they finish 2-0; Atlanta finishes 1-1 OR they finish 1-1; Atlanta finishes 0-2. If the Bucs go 2-0, they’re all but guaranteed at least a Wild Card spot.

FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Bucs a 98% chance of making the playoffs if they win their last two games. If the Bucs go 1-1, the resurgent Packers (8-6) could spoil things by beating the Vikings but losing to the Lions. That would give Detroit the NFC North title and Green Bay the final wild card spot instead of the Bucs.

Why Bet on New Orleans?

The Saints (6-8) beat the Cardinals 48-41 last week. Drew Brees threw for 389 yards and four touchdowns in the highest-scoring game in the NFL this season. Brees, who had no TDs and six interceptions his previous two games, completed 37 of 48 with no picks. It was Brees’ 21st career game with at least four TD passes and no interceptions, tying Tom Brady for most in NFL history. Brandin Cooks caught seven passes for a career-best 186 yards for the Saints, including touchdown plays of 65 and 45 yards.

The Saints — who have become known for both their dynamic offense and their maddening inconsistency over three years — went from scoring one total touchdown in losses to the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to tallying six of them vs. Arizona. Brees’ performance was all the more impressive considering Arizona had not allowed a 300-yard passing game to any quarterback all season.

New Orleans has placed Saints placed LB Stephone Anthony on injured reserve with a knee injury, ending his season. A 2015 first-round pick, Anthony followed up a mostly down rookie campaign with an all down sophomore season in which he was ultimately benched.

So what do the Saints need to make the playoffs? A miracle. They have to win this week and then next against the Falcons in Atlanta. But the Saints also need six other games to break their way. This coming Saturday, the Redskins (7-6- 1) must lose to the Bears; and the Packers (8-6) must lose to the Vikings (7-7). Then on New Year’s Day, the Redskins must lose to the Giants, the Packers must lose to the Lions, the Vikings must lose to the Bears and the Buccaneers must lose to the Panthers.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans Expert Pick: New Orleans Saints

Saints are 9-3- 1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Buccaneers are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 Saturday games.

The Saints lost 16-11 in Tampa less than two weeks ago but get payback here.