The best NFL betting pick this weekend comes to you from Raymond James Stadium, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. Who should you wager on? Let’s take a look.
While New Orleans enters this game with the playoff pedigree, it’s the Bucs that they’re chasing in the standings. Tampa Bay is doing it on both sides of the ball, with solid play all across the field.
One concern though, has to be the play of young quarterback Josh Freeman. While Freeman is most certainly improved from his rookie season, he still has a lot of room to grow. On the season, he’s completing just 59 percent of his passes, and has thrown just five touchdowns to three interceptions. Luckily he’s got big wide receiver Mike Williams to play pitch and catch with. The veteran from USC leads this team with 19 catches, and has three scoring grabs on the year.
Not to be outdone, the Saints are still putting up points, but not quite at the astounding pace they did a year ago.
As for New Orleans, they once again have one of the best passing games in the league, thanks to quarterback Drew Brees. The veteran has once again been phenomenal, as he’s thrown for 1,410 yards and nine touchdowns this year, and has thrown for at least 230 yards in each of his games. The problem for New Orleans though has been the run game, especially without injured back Reggie Bush. The Saints rank just 31st in the NFL, averaging only 75 yards on the ground per game. The Saints will need more balance to beat quality teams going forward.
While history may tell you to take New Orleans, the Sports Betting pick here is Tampa Bay. And the reason is their defense.
Right now, the Buccaneers rank in the Top 10 in total defense (306 yards per game), and more importantly passing defense, allowing just 187 yards per game. With last year’s top pick Gerald McCoy getting pressure on the quarterback at tackle, it has allowed the defensive backfield to have a field day. Cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib have been excellent this year, as they’ve combined for five interceptions total so far.
In the end, New Orleans is just too banged up, and really isn’t playing good football right now. They’ve combined for just 34 points in their last two games, a surprisingly low number for such a strong offensive team. At least they were last year.
These may be the same New Orleans Saints that won the Super Bowl last year, but they look like a completely different team on the field right now. Expect Tampa Bay to come out and dictate this game early at home.
Take the Buccaneers as your pick.