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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints - 12/31/17 NFL Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
New Orleans Saints (11-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)
Date & Time Sunday December 31, 2017, 4:25 PM (EST)
The Line
The Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7.5 -- Over/Under: 50
TV Channel
FOX
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NFL | New Orleans Saints (11-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)
USA TODAY Sports

We have an NFC South showdown on tap in week 17 NFL action, as the New Orleans Saints face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from Raymond James Stadium.

The New Orleans Saints will look for a win to lock up the division title after climbing to 11-4 with a 23-13 win over Atlanta in their last outing. Drew Brees threw for 239 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 21 of 28 passing, while Mark Ingram led the team in rushing with 44 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Alvin Kamara added 32 rushing yards, while Ted Ginn Jr. added 4 catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. Michael Thomas caught 4 passes of his own for 66 yards, while the aforementioned Kamara led the team with 7 catches for 58 yards. Defensively, the Saints combined for 5 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble that they also recovered, all while giving up just 331 yards of total offense and over 26 minutes of possession to Atlanta in the win. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will simply be looking to finish the year on a high note after dropping their 5th straight game in their last outing by a final score of 22-19 to the Carolina Panthers. James Winston threw for 367 yards and a touchdown on 21 of 27 passing, while Peyton Barber led the team with 51 rushing yards on 13 carries. Mike Evans led the team with 107 yards and 6 receptions, while Chris Godwin added 3 catches for 98 yards. Adam Humphries and Cameron Brate each added 3 catches while Bobo Wilson contributed a touchdown grab in the losing effort. On defense, the Bus combined for a pair of sacks and an interception while holding Carolina to a 4 for 13 mark on 3rd down and 255 yards of total offence in the loss. 

New Orleans is 13-3 ATS in their last 16 division matchups and 13-4 ATS in their last 17 road games while the over is 13-3 in their last 16 games against a team with a losing record. Tampa Bay is 4-9-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 division matchups while the under is 4-1 in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record. The home team is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these two teams. 

The Bucs are just trying to put forth a solid showing for their fan base to finish the year, but I don’t think that’s enough here. A Saints win here would lock up the division and ensure a home playoff game, while a loss would leave the door open for the Panthers to sneak in. I think New Orleans has enough going for them offensively and should be able to catch a down Bucs team and add to Tampa’s misery here with a road win and cover to close out the year.

Pick:
New Orleans -7.5

Chris has been a sports fan from when he was old enough to pick up a basketball and was a standout offensive lineman throughout high school and college. Chris uses that same instinct, determination and drive to analyze trends and statistics to find and produce winners on a consistent basis. Chris has been writing for Sports Chat Place since 2016 and covers a wide array of sports from college and pro football, college basketball, hockey and baseball.

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