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Posted on 11/30/2007 1:34:45 PM
By: CappersPicks.com NFL Football Handicapping Staff
Football Betting – Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints
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Preview- The oddsmakers are so lazy when it comes to Tampa Bay. It’s always between three and six points. Maybe it’s because they don’t exactly know how to judge a team led by Jeff Garcia and a guy named Earnest Graham. Or maybe it’s because New Orleans has been the most erratically talented team this season. In any case, this game has massive implications for the NFC South. Tampa got the win last time, crushing New Orleans 31-14. Can the Saints rebound?
Tampa Bay Offense vs. New Orleans Defense
Jeff Garcia is likely not going to play this weekend, which is a smart decision considering that Charles Grant and Will Smith will be blitzing whomever’s at quarterback for the Bucs. The starting quarterback has a deep back bruise, and Gruden will bench him to preserve him for the playoffs (if they get there). That thrusts Luke McCown into the starting job.
That is not necessarily a bad thing, however. New Orleans’ defense has been awful this year. They allow 22.9 points per game, 95.8 rushing yards on average and have the a cellar dwelling secondary that ranks twenty-sixth in the league. Tampa’s Joey Galloway loves to burn the slow and inexperienced corners of the Saints and all Luke has to do is use the force and bomb it down field for his ageless speedster.
Earnest Graham will get a heavy workload up the middle as the Bucs steer away from the edges. Graham is a big body that breaks through initial contact fairly well. He is averaging 4.1 yards per carry and will push the line against a weak interior defense that gets steamrolled when they have to pull guys out of the box to make up for their inadequacies in the secondary.
New Orleans Offense vs. Tampa Bay Defense
Which offense is going to show up? The one that Carolina and Jacksonville asked for in the 31 and 41 points? Or the one that scored ten against Houston? Nobody knows! Isn’t guessing fun, kids?
Drew Brees was regarded as one of the best in the business, but the loss of Deuce McAllister has made teams focus so much on the passing game. The Tampa-2 defense matches up very well against the gameplan for New Orleans because it takes away everything underneath. The Saints average 266.6 passing yards, but will have trouble against a solid secondary that only gives up 188.6 yards per game. That’s good enough for fifth-best in the NFL.
The Tampa betting faithful, who have been rewarded by a 7-4 ATS record, can rest assured that Gruden and Monte know exactly how to play New Orleans. They face them so often that Reggie Bush is going to be no big surprise to them. Look for the linebacker corps of the Bucs to be busy as they spy Reggie as the secondary shuts down Marques Colston and the weak receiving corps of the Saints.
NFL Betting Trends
-Tampa Bay is 3-11 SU in its last 14 road games
-Tampa Bay is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing New Orleans
-New Orleans is 4-10 ATS in its last 14 games
-New Orleans is 1-7 ATS in their last 5 games when playing Tampa Bay
This will be a slow and messy game as Tampa plays conservatively on offense, patiently waiting for their chances to score. New Orleans, desperate for wins, will get frustrated after an exhausting first quarter and that will force Brees to take on too much responsibility to win this game. That, ladies and gentleman, spells D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for the Aint’s as Brees throws some big picks and turns the momentum clearly in Tampa’s favor. With a full week of first team practice, Luke will be ready to roll against a terrible New Orleans secondary.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4) vs. New Orleans Saints (5-6)
Sunday, December 2nd — Superdome, New Orleans — 4:15pm EST
NFL Betting Opening Line: New Orleans -3 (42)
NFL Betting Free Pick: Tampa Bay 23 New Orleans 20
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