The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints book-ended the standings in the NFC South division last season, as the Saints finished on top, while the Bucs wallowed in the bottom. The two teams will lock horns this Sunday for their respective season openers, hoping to start the 2018 NFL season on the right foot. Will the Saints avoid getting upset at home? Or will the Bucs get a rare win over New Orleans?
Betting Preview for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New Orleans Saints NFL Season Week 1 Game on September 9, 2018
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
When: Sunday, September 9, 2018, 1:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: FOX
Betting on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6)
Ideally, the Bucs will open their 2018 NFL season with Jameis Winston as their starting quarterback. Instead, it will be veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick that will be directing the offense on the field for Tampa Bay, thanks to Winston’s three-game suspension. Last season, Fitzpatrick had 1,103 passing yards and seven touchdowns against three interceptions on a poor 58.9 completion percentage.
It’s so convenient for the Bucs, however, to have someone like Mike Evans downfield as a primary target for Fitzpatrick against the Saints. Evans, who signed a lucrative extension deal with Tampa Bay over the summer, paced the team in 2017 with 1,001 receiving yards to go with five touchdowns on 135 receptions.
The Bucs’ backfield carries some question marks with it, as rookie Ronald Jones has failed to impress in the preseason, paving the way for Peyton Barber to be the likely Week 1 starter.
Over the offseason, the Bucs retooled their defense that finished last in total defense and sacks in 2017, as they added the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul, Beau Allen, and Vinny Curry. They will soon find out whether those are enough to contain the high-octane offense of New Orleans.
The Bucs are 2-2 ATS in their last four games in New Orleans.
Betting on the New Orleans Saints (-6)
Speaking of convenience, the Saints still have Drew Brees, meaning their offense are going to be prolific yet again. Last season, Brees passed for 4,334 yards and 23 touchdowns with with eight interceptions. With Brees under center, the Saints were able to finish fourth in scoring offense with 27.9 points per game and second in total offense with 390.4 yards per contest.
The Saints’ attack will be missing the suspended running back Mark Ingram to start the season due to suspension, but at least they still have second-year tailback Alvin Kamara in the backfield. Kamara had an amazing rookie season in 2017 in which he rushed for 778 yards to go with eight rushing scores. He also had 826 receiving yards and five touchdown catches.
The Saints’ defense improved big time in 2017, and should continue to trend upwards this year with their impact-making rookies a year ago now more mature and experienced.
The Saints, who allowed 21.4 points per game last year, are 3-2 ATS in their last five games against Tampa Bay.
New Orleans wins, 27-17.
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