There was a time when Tampa Bay visiting the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in December would be a guaranteed win for the home team. That’s not necessarily the case in the week 15 Bucs at Packers betting matchup however. For one, Brett Favre nor Aaron Rodgers are walking out of that locker room for Green Bay and also the forecast is a balmy 45°F a week before Christmas.
While he may not be Favre or Rodgers, Packers QB Jordan Love is playing better as of late in his first year as a starter. On the flip side, Baker Mayfield seems to have found a home in Tampa Bay as well. Both of these teams are 6-7, and oddsmakers have Green Bay a -3.5 favorite as they try to get another big home win and stay alive in the playoff race.
Why the Bucs Have Value at +3.5
Most people would concede these two teams are fairly evenly matched so the hook on Tampa Bay +3.5 looms pretty large here. The Bucs have won back-to-back games and although Green Bay is at home, they are also on the short week after a 24-22 loss on the road against the Giants on Monday Night.
New York beat the Packers behind a very efficient day from QB Tommy DeVito who was 17/21 for 158 yards with a TD and 0 INT. That will be the game plan for Mayfield on Sunday as he has helped Tampa Bay average 23.3 ppg over their last three. Mayfield will be starting vs. the Packers for the third time in the last three years and with his third different team, the first time that has happened since 1950.
Green Bay has had some success over the past five weeks, but they’ll also give up some points allowing 20+ in four of their last five. Tampa Bay ranks 23rd in the NFL with just 304.4 total yards/game, so they’re looking at this contest as an opportunity to crack things open a bit.
Why the Packers Have Value at -3.5
Momentum is incalculable, but there is a bit more to Tampa Bay’s two game win streak. One of those victories came 21-18 at home against Carolina – the worst team in the NFL – while the other was a late 29-25 victory over a Falcons team that has lost four of their last six.
There are two things to take away from Tampa Bay’s win over Atlanta – one being that Mayfield completed less than 50% of his passes for the second straight game and the other being that Falcons QB Desmond Ridder threw for 347 yards. That’s not a fluke considering the Bucs’ pass defense ranks 30th in the NFL which points to a solid day from Love.
Green Bay had plenty of chances to take home a victory on Monday which would have stretched their win streak to four games. Love put the team up 22-21 with 1:33 left but the Packers defense could not hold on. Either way that was the first loss in December for GB coach Matt LaFleur, something he’ll like to pick back up on vs. the Giants.
Free Week 15 Bucs at Packers Pick
Tampa has won two in a row, but each of those victories are kind of a mirage as Mayfield has actually struggled going 14/29 in both contests. The Packers are on the short week, but they’ve been great in December under LaFleur which should continue by at least a TD on Sunday.
Free Pick: Packers -3.5