New Orleans Saints (7-8) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7)
As Week 17 draws near in the NFL regular season, its final match-up has immense playoff implications: New Orleans Saints (8-7) will visit Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7). This high-stakes Sunday showdown at Raymond James Stadium and broadcast live by FOX is sure to provide plenty of drama – both fans and bettors keeping an eye out for NFL free picks will find this game especially captivating given both teams’ current standings.
New Orleans Saints offense this season has been marked by both exceptional moments and periods of inconsistency, both rushing and receiving departments. Alvin Kamara has been central to their ground attack with 649 yards rushing and five touchdowns over 12 games at an average of 3.8 yards per attempt; his role will be paramount against Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense as his ability to identify openings and convert modest plays into substantial gains will be vital. Chris Olave has emerged as an invaluable receiver for quarterback Derek Carr.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive has shown remarkable proficiency, particularly in the passing game. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been key to their success, throwing 3,598 yards and 26 touchdowns with an outstanding 96.2 passer rating – combined with wide receiver Mike Evans who has recorded 1,163 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns this season, they form an effective offensive force on offense. Rachaad White serves as their primary running back, amassing 873 rushing yards and six touchdowns himself.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Game Info
|Sunday, December 31, 2023 at 1:00 PM ET
|Raymond James Stadium
|NFL Game Pass
Derek Carr QB vs. Baker Mayfield QB
The veteran Saints quarterback, Derek Carr, has shown flashes of his Pro Bowl form this season when healthy. In 15 starts, he passed for over 3,400 yards while completing 67% of his throws. His quick release and timing in the short passing game remains crisp. Carr also has the arm talent to threaten downfield, with 19 touchdowns and a 93.6 rating this year. The one knock is turnovers – his 8 interceptions are a bit high. But he protects the ball well overall and has the situational awareness that comes with experience. Getting Carr back provides a huge boost and gives the Saints someone who can exploit mismatches against the Bucs’ defense.
On the other side, Baker Mayfield has given Tampa much-needed stability since taking over the starting duties. He showed funky movement skills early on but now looks comfortable inside and outside of the pocket. Mayfield can get hot and carry the offense for stretches when he gets into a rhythm. That was on full display last week when he tossed for over 300 yards and 3 scores efficiently. He has built chemistry with top targets like Evans and White too. Mayfield will need to be patient and decisive against the Saints pass rush while leading productive drives.
NFL Odds/Point Spread: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 160, Total Odds: 42
The betting odds point to a closely contested game, with the Buccaneers slightly favored. The over/under set at 42 suggests a moderate-scoring game, aligning with both teams’ recent performances. Bettors should consider these odds while also factoring in the recent forms and head-to-head statistics of the teams.
New Orleans Saints Betting Trends
The Buccaneers enter this game with strong recent form against the number, posting a 7-2 ATS record in their last 9 overall. The over has hit in 4 of Tampa Bay’s previous 5 matchups as well. However, the Bucs have struggled in home games with the Saints, going 0-5 ATS in their last 5 home matchups between the teams. The under has hit in 5 of Tampa Bay’s last 6 games at Raymond James Stadium too.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Trends
Tampa Bay has been strong ATS, with a 7-2 record in their last 9 games. Despite this, they have a concerning trend of 0-5 ATS in their last 5 home games against the Saints. Their ability to cover the spread in recent games, combined with their overall season performance, makes them a solid pick, especially at home.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12/31/23 Betting Picks
Considering the data and trends, this matchup is poised to be a tightly contested affair. The key battle will be between the Saints’ offense, led by Carr and Kamara, against the Buccaneers’ defense. Similarly, Mayfield’s connection with Evans will test the Saints’ secondary. Given the stakes and the teams’ recent forms, this game could go either way.
In terms of betting, the Buccaneers, with their better overall record and strong ATS performance, seem to be the safer bet. However, the Saints’ recent ATS record against Tampa Bay cannot be ignored. For prop bets, focusing on individual performances like Kamara’s rushing yards or Evans’ receiving yards could offer value. The over/under is tricky, but given the defensive strengths of both teams, the under might be a more appealing option.
For those utilizing top bookie software, careful consideration of these insights is advised to make informed bets.