#305 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – over Detroit Lions 12:00 PM CT
The Buccaneers lost the turnover battle 4-1 last week and still won vs. a team fighting to stay in the playoff race. The Buccaneers put up 542 yards in that game and this team has won four of the past five games with big offensive numbers, including averaging more than 30 points per game the past six games. While the 6-7 Buccaneers have only one win against a team with a winning record, they do have four road wins and the three road losses were one-score games vs. likely playoff teams. The Lions have dropped six straight games in a miserable season and while many of the recent games have been competitive, they also haven’t had to face many great offensive teams in recent weeks facing the Bears twice in the past five games while also playing at Washington.
Detroit has been held to 20 or fewer points in four of the past five games and every team that has defeated Tampa Bay this season has scored 27 or more points with the Lions topping 27 just twice in 13 games this season. After an encouraging first start on Thanksgiving, David Blough struggled last week with two interceptions while taking five sacks and while Tampa Bay’s defense will provide him with a more favorable matchup, the Lions have posted only 4.7 yards per play the past three games for one of the worst averages in the league. Tampa Bay’s defense has 12 sacks the past three games as while Jameis Winston has been a consistent turnover risk this season, the Buccaneers rank fifth in the NFL in creating 22 turnovers and big plays could go against Detroit as well. In his career Winston’s QB Rating is 10 points higher in his road starts while posting far lesser interception rate and a fast indoor field will be beneficial to a Buccaneers offense with several big play threats. Tampa Bay has covered in two thirds of its games as a road favorite since Winston joined the team including winning by 17 two weeks ago similarly priced in Jacksonville.
Detroit is just 9-13 ATS as a home underdog since 2015 while featuring 6.6 yards per play allowed at home for the worst mark in the NFL this season. There are three other 3-win teams right now and all of those teams have a decent chance to win this week as the Lions have an incentive to continue to slide to better its draft positioning for next season while reaching .500 has been a noted and realistic goal for a Buccaneers team that is playing at a much higher level than the season record suggests. This line has climbed too high to stay in the mix for a rated pick but will be our lean for today’s free pick.