Saints -3 over Bucs
The Bucs started 2-0 SU & ATS but those wins were against the Bears and Vikings — two teams who are a combined 0-6 SU & ATS. Both of those games were also closely contested contests that went down to the wire, and that was despite Tampa having a combined +5 turnover edge. Last week they faced a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the Eagles and they looked a lot more like the team who was lined as a 6.5 win team rather than the 2-0 team they started the season as.
Tampa couldn’t handle the Eagles front four, couldn’t run the ball, and as a result Mayfield was running for his life the whole game and reverted back to his typical turnover prone self. I don’t expect the Bucs to be able to handle the Saints defensive front either. The Saints have an elite defense that is very under the radar, they have held each of their last 11 opponents to 20 points or less. The Bucs offense has been bad — dead last in yards per rush, #30 in red zone percentage, and #27 in yards per play allowed. For this bettor, Tampa is nothing but a ‘bet against’ moving forward, despite their 2-1 start.
The Saints dominated the Packers for the first three quarters, but then fell asleep at the wheel in the final frame after Derek Carr got hurt and Jameis Winston had to relieve him. Winston was unable to generate any offense, only 96 total yards once he came in, and the Saints punted on five straight possessions. It’s surely worth noting that stepping in unexpectedly in a big road game isn’t an easy spot for any backup. With a full week to prepare, I am very confident in the former #1 overall pick to play much better in this game if Carr is unable to go.
The betting market downgraded the Saints with the QB change, but I do not agree with the downgrade. Derek Carr is a fine QB, but he’s far from elite, I don’t view Winston, who I have graded as the best backup in the league, as much of a downgrade. New Orleans are also getting Alvin Kamara back from his suspension this week and they will have a gameplan with Taysom Hill taking snaps as well. Bottom line, this is a great buy low spot on the Saints after their fourth quarter meltdown last week, and the Bucs are still a bit overvalued after their 2-0 start. Buy low, sell high. Take the Saints.