Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints 9/13/20 NFL Picks, Predictions, Betting Tips, Week 1
Game: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Date: 4 p.m., Sunday, September 13, 2020
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans LA
Odds/Point Spread: New Orleans -4.0
There is always a façade of importance in the NFL’s opening week. The overwhelming optimism of 32 teams and their fans creates an energy and a focus that magnifies everything about Week 1. It’s mostly bogus; there’s nothing in NFL history that suggests that an opening week win is a prerequisite for a Super Bowl title or even a playoff spot.
That said, everything about Tampa Bay’s trip to New Orleans in Week 1 screams: BIG, IMPORTANT GAME.
Tom Brady’s decision to sign with Tampa Bay this offseason tilted the odds of everything in the league. From Super Bowl odds to divisional odds, Brady’s presence with the Bucs makes them an instant contender and a team to be reckoned with heading into the 2020 season.
Unfortunately for Brady, he’ll be running smack into the three-time defending NFC South champion New Orleans Saints in his debut. Drew Brees leads one of the deepest, most talented rosters in the NFL. And I am certain that Brees and head coach Sean Payton have had a singular focus on this matchup with the Bucs since the 2020 schedule was released in early May.
Not only will this game feature two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, it will also be stacked with several of the best offensive players in the league. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski are Pro Bowl pass catchers and matchup nightmares. Michael Thomas is one of the best receivers in football, and Alvin Kamara one of the NFL’s most versatile weapons.
Throw in two daring, aggressive, give-no-f*#ks, offensive-minded head coaches, and this one should be a shootout from start to finish.
With all of the focus in this game on the quarterbacks and offensive firepower, the winner might just be the squad whose defense makes the most disruptive plays.
Tampa Bay was No. 30 in passing defense and No. 29 in points allowed last year. They did make strides in their front seven and were the No. 1 rushing defense in the league (mainly because they were so easy to throw on). Still, this has been one of the league’s worst defenses for nine years running, and there is plenty of room for improvement.
The New Orleans defense has finished in the top half of the NFL in each of the past three seasons. They were No. 11 in total defense and No. 4 against the rush last year, which helped them to an 11-5 overall mark against the spread.
The Saints generally benefit from one of the two or three best home field advantages in the NFL. However, if the league doesn’t allow fans in the stands in early season games because of the coronavirus pandemic, then New Orleans will be robbed of one of its biggest weapons. That will also help Brady relieve the pressure and emotion of his first game with a new team.
I don’t like either side in this game. I will likely take a wait-and-see approach with Brady and the Buccaneers because the public will be all over them. The early action on this game is heavily tilted toward Tampa Bay, and this line has come down from an open of 5.5 to its current number around 4.0. With or without fans in New Orleans, I’m not keen on betting against the Saints in the Superdome. They are the more complete and experienced team and will treat this game like a playoff contest.
I feel like both offenses are going to be in attack mode early in this game. Payton and Bruce Arians are smart enough to just put the ball in their Hall of Fame quarterbacks’ hands and let them work their magic. This total is only going to grow larger as we get closer to the season. If you can get it below 50.0 then I think that’s the way to play it.
Who will win the Buccaneers/Saints NFL game against the spread?
Robert Ferringo’s Pick: Take ‘Over’ 49.5 and lean New Orleans (-4).
NOTE: Robert made these picks and predictions in May. Things can and will change in the four months between May and September. These May predictions may or may not match his rated Week 1 picks released to his clients on Thursday, Sept. 10.
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