Saints vs. Buccaneers Week 9 Predictions, Odds, Preview

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It's nice to see that SNF is slated to be a matchup between two teams that play some quality football when they are on, and not whatever the NFC East calls it whenever one of their teams steps onto the field.

It's a first place battle between the Saints and Buccaneers, and I'm sure the fawning over the two future HOF QB's involved in this game will see no bounds.

Most of it is deserved though, as Drew Brees and Tom Brady have been trading the All-time TD passes record back and forth this year, and the competitive nature of both of them will likely have each side wanting to out-duel the other in their last scheduled meeting this season.

It's still got to be about winning the game first though, as Tampa holds a half-game lead on New Orleans in the NFC South race, and should the Saints win this contest they'll have swept the season series and hold that always critical tiebreaker should it come to that.

So who wins the rematch?

Betting Resources

Future Hall of Famers Drew Brees (L) and Tom Brady square off on Sunday night in Tampa. (AP)

Saints-Buccaneers Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: Tampa Bay -4.5
  • Money-Line: Tampa Bay -220, New Orleans +190
  • Total: 51.5
  • Odds Subject to Change

    2020 Betting Stats

    (Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under - O/U)

    New Orleans

    • Overall: 5-2 SU, 2-5 ATS, 7-0 O/U
    • Road: 2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS, 3-0 O/U
    • Offense PPG: 29.4 (Rank 7)
    • Defense PPG: 28.1 (Rank 23)
    • Offense YPG: 385.9 (Rank 10)
    • Defense YPG: 328.4 (Rank 8)

    Tampa Bay

    • Overall: 6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS, 5-3 O/U
    • Home: 3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS, 2-1 O/U
    • Offense PPG: 30.9 (Rank 4)
    • Defense PPG: 20.6 (Rank 7)
    • Offense YPG: 368.4 (Rank 14)
    • Defense YPG: 299.5 (Rank 3)

    Over vs. Under
    Handicapping the Total

    Hard to put substantial weight into what we saw from these two in their first meeting, as it was Week 1 after a year with no preseason etc, and Brady was playing his first game in a different uniform.

    The 34-23 win by the Saints can't completely be ignored though as it was the Saints defense who won the turnover battle 3-0 that day, including housing one of the two INT's they snatched off Brady.

    Since then, it's been all about Tampa's play on the defensive end that has helped the Bucs get to where they currently stand, even if that defensive unit has probably gotten a little overhyped in recent weeks.


    All the great numbers Tampa's defense has put up since then were at the forefront of complaints for Tampa backers on MNF last week, as they gave up too many first downs to an awful Giants squad, including a 4th and very long late to help the Giants push that game 'over' the total as well.

    Those that used Tampa's great DVOA numbers (and other defensive metrics) as support for a Bucs ATS or 'under' play last week are going to likely be a little hesitant to go to that well again this week with Drew Brees and not Daniel Jones sharing the field with Tampa this week and you can understand why.

    Brees and company have a long, proven track record of putting up points – even if it's largely from dink-and-dunk mode now with Alvin Kamara doing it all – and the Saints are 7-0 O/U on the season as it is.

    I'm sure that perfect 'over' mark for New Orleans will be brought up quite a bit for those bettors looking to take the high side of this total this week, but if you've read any of my pieces over this season (or previous years) here at, you'll know I'm not the biggest believer in continually riding long streaks of any kind to begin with.

    Which brings me to the play on this total this week, as it is an 'under' that I will be backing here.

    All streaks eventually come to an end, and when you've got a unit that ranks out as good as the Bucs defense does in a variety of ways, them coming off a disinterested performance vs the Giants and seeing a division rival for the 2nd time here clearly puts the advantage in their hands in my view.

    They've got a much better idea about this dink-and-dunk game the Saints prefer to employ – Kamara has 556 receiving yards this year and leads the NFL by a wide margin with 533 YAC (yards after catch) – and the Bucs will definitely have a beat on that.

    Tampa's defense still leads the league in opponent rushing yards per attempt too at just 3.2 per try on the ground, so Brees and the Saints may not find much offensive success at all in this one if Kamara can't get going.

    This run of 'overs' has come against some very suspect teams of late with Detroit, L.A. Chargers, Carolina, and Chicago being the last four opponents for the Saints, and none of those defenses can really hold a candle to what Tampa brings to the table. The notion that Tampa's D was a little lackadaisical in their effort against the Giants knowing this game was on deck is also a possibility to consider as well.

    At the same time, the Saints own defense is pretty strong against the run (opponents rush for just 3.6 yards per attempt, 3rd best in the NFL) and the Bucs are always looking to be as balanced as possible on offense. New Orleans defense forced three turnovers in that first meeting, and while the Bucs attack is much improved since then, forcing turnovers is what this Saints defense has thrived on for years.

    But take away the pick-six Brady threw in that first meeting and that 34-23 final we saw in the first meeting stays 'under' this total, as making sure to get the key number of 51 to go 'under' makes a whole lot of sense here as well. Since I generally subscribe to flipping the side and total results in division rematch games to begin with (if they make sense), looking low here and having the Saints cash their first 'under' ticket of the year is something I've got no problem getting behind.

    Even after missing the best of the number from earlier in the week, the 'under' still looks to be the correct play. And one that could potentially be waited on with Sunday action pushing the number higher again as the Saints perfect 'over' run gets thrown around a lot.

    Head-to-Head History

    • Sep. 13, 2020 - New Orleans 34 vs. Tampa Bay 23, Saints -4, Over 48.5
    • Nov. 17, 2019 - New Orleans 34 at Tampa Bay 17, Saints -5, Over 50.5
    • Oct. 6, 2019 - New Orleans 31 vs. Tampa Bay 24, Saints -3, Over 46

    Saints vs. Buccaneers
    Handicapping the Side

    Flipping the side result would suggest backing the home side in this game, and that too is the only way I could look at this game. The spread of -4.5 is a little tricky in that this could easily finish as a three-point win for Tampa, but with New Orleans on a 1-5 ATS run as it is right now, there are just too many holes in their game to confidently do anything but take the Bucs ATS here.

    I do actually prefer the 'under' look though as a close battle with first place on the line tends to lend itself to lower scoring contests, and one where every point matters. Considering Tampa is 2-1 ATS at home this year and that lone loss came by the hook against LAC, it would have to be Bucs or nothing for me.

    But passing on the side here is what I'm ultimately doing, as I've got much more faith in both defenses stepping up in a game that means so much to both sides here. Neither side particularly wants to get involved in a shootout-type affair because it will put far too much pressure on each offense to produce on each drive, and holding a point spread ticket on either side is going to bring plenty of uncomfortable moments in that case.

    A Tampa Bay ML play is an option I'd much rather get behind if you are willing to lay that chalk to begin with.

    Key Injuries

    New Orleans

    • QB Drew Brees: Shoulder - Probable
    • DB Justin Hardee: Groin - Questionable
    • WR Michael Thomas: Hamstring - Questionable
    • RB Ty Montgomery: Hamstring - Questionable
    • LB Kwon Alexander: Acquired - Doubtful
    • DT Sheldon Rankins: Knee - Out
    • C Nick Easton: Concussion - Probable
    • WR Marquez Callaway: Ankle - Probable
    • WR Emmanuel Sanders: COVID-19 - Probable
    • RB Alvin Kamara: Foot - Probable

    Tampa Bay

    • DE William Gholston: COVID-19 - Questionable
    • G Ali Marpet: Concussion - Out
    • WR Chris Godwin: Finger - Probable
    • WR Antonio Brown: Suspension Served - Probable
    • RB Kenjon Barner: Suspension Served - Probable

    Saints vs. Buccaneers - Predictions

    • Score Prediction: Buccaneers 24 Saints 20
    • Best Bet: Under 51

    2020 Sunday Night Football (SNF) Betting Results

    Betting Results

    Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS)

    • Home-Away: 6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS
    • Favorites-Underdogs: 3-5 SU, 2-6 ATS
    • Over-Under: 3-5
    2020 Sunday Night Football Betting Results
    Week Matchup Line/Total Score ATS-Total
    1 Dallas at L.A. Rams Pick 'em, 51 20-17 Underdog-Under
    2 New England at Seattle Seahawks -4.5, 45 35-30 Favorite-Over
    3 Green Bay at New Orleans Saints -3, 52 37-30 Underdog-Over
    4 Philadelphia at San Francisco 49ers -8, 45.5 25-20 Underdog-Under
    5 Minnesota at Seattle Seahawks -5.5, 54 27-26 Underdog-Under
    6 L.A. Rams at San Francisco 49ers +2.5, 51.5 24-16 Underdog-Under
    7 Seattle at Arizona Seahawks -3.5, 55.5 37-34 (OT) Underdog-Over
    8 Dallas at Philadelphia Eagles -10, 43.5 23-9 Favorite-Under
    9 New Orleans at Tampa Bay - - -
    10 Baltimore at New England - - -
    11 Kansas City at Las Vegas - - -
    12 Chicago at Green Bay - - -
    13 Denver at Kansas City - - -
    14 Pittsburgh at Buffalo - - -
    15 San Francisco at Dallas - - -
    16 Tennessee at Green Bay - - -
    17 TBA vs. TBA - - -

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