Tampa Bay (8-7) has gotten hot at the right time of year, winners of four straight and a victory away in the week 17 Saints at Bucs betting matchup from winning the NFC South. New Orleans (7-8) obviously needs a victory to keep their division hopes alive, but they are also in a 4-way tie of teams a game back from the final wild card spot.
Tampa Bay is a -2.5 favorite on Sunday as they go for the season sweep of the Saints. Tampa Bay was able to get a 26-9 win in week 4 in New Orleans as +4.5 underdogs, and have now won three in a row in the series. A slight 53% of the betting public likes the Buccaneers at home in this spot.
Why the Saints Have Value at +2.5
Even though public betting is fairly evenly split, the Saints do seem like they should be slightly bigger underdogs on Sunday which could be a trap on TB. The Bucs are red hot while the Saints have lost four of their last six – including their last three on the road all by 8+ points.
The Saints are a dangerous team to bet against in week 17 because they have their backs against the wall. A loss not only puts New Orleans out of the division race, but it likely ends their wild card chances as well because as it is the Saints only have a 14% chance of making the postseason. Tampa Bay kind of has a game in hand considering they finish the season against the 2-13 Panthers.
New Orleans has done some good things on offense lately which means they could potentially hang with Tampa Bay if the Bucs offense is rolling again. Derek Carr has completed over 67.5% of his passes in seven of the last eight, and has eight TD passes the last three games. WR Chris Olave has 114+ receiving yards in three of his last four.
Why the Bucs Have Value at -2.5
New Orleans has held opponents to 6 points in two of their last three games – but those teams were the Giants and Panthers who are a combined 7-23 this season. The Saints have also given up 30+ points to two of their last four opponents that aren’t two of the five worst teams in the NFL.
Tampa Bay has momentum, and they’ve hung 29+ points in three straight games powered largely by the play of Baker Mayfield. The Tampa QB has 8 TDs against 0 INTs in the last three games – two of those being relatively tough road contests in Green Bay and at Atlanta. Mayfield was 25/32 (78.1%) for 246 yards and 3 TDs in the first meeting with the Saints this year and that was on the road.
Tampa Bay’s defense has stepped up a bit, holding opponents to 20 points or less in three of the last four. They held Carr to 127 yards passing in the first meeting even on 37 attempts and the Saints also ran the ball for just 70 yards in that game – once again on their own turf.
Free Week 17 Saints at Bucs Betting Preview
This could be a trap game because Tampa Bay looks like way too easy of a play. Mayfield has come into his own though and the Saints play their second straight road game after traveling to L.A. last week – albeit for a Thursday night game. Have to go with the better team at home here.
Free Pick: Tampa Bay -2.5