Free Picks Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Detroit Lions

Buccaneers at Lions NFL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Lions, NFL, Ford Field

For the fifth consecutive game, the Lions (5-9) find themselves as underdogs. They’re also home underdogs for a fourth time in their past five matchups at Ford Field. This week, the Buccaneers (9-5) come to town, seeking a tune-up before the playoffs. Tom Brady will see the league’s worst pass defense, while the Bucs’ top-ranked run defense can feast on the Lions’ woeful backfield.

Lowly Lions are underdogs again, while Bucs have something to play for

Pretend for a moment that you play for the Detroit Lions. What are you thinking ahead of this Week 16 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

For one thing, you’re out of the playoff race, so you inherently have nothing to play for as a team. Your quarterback (Matthew Stafford) is battling a rib injury and is only weeks away from his impending free agency, while your defense folded to the Titans last week en route to allowing 463 total yards and 46 points. Things aren’t great right now.

So when you look across the field and see the playoff-bound Buccaneers, who are 9.5-point favorites (-110 at 888Sport) on various betting sites, perhaps you should question who is playing for what. Some Lions players might be playing for a job down the road, sure, but the Buccaneers are playing for playoff seeding right now.

Tom Brady and the Bucs should be particularly hungry after narrowly defeating the Atlanta Falcons last week — failing to cover a 6-point spread in a 31-27 win. Detroit, meanwhile, happens to be a 9.5-point underdog this week for a third consecutive game. The Lions were trounced last week, but they covered by 2.5 against the Packers the week before.

When examining particular matchups in this game, the advantage leans heavily in Tampa Bay’s favor. The Buccaneers allow the fewest rush yards per game (77.8) and the Lions gain the third-fewest (92.6). Tampa Bay also ranks in the top 10 offensively in turnovers, passing yards and points, while Detroit’s defense is in the bottom six in all of those categories.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that Detroit is 10-3 against the spread in its past 13 meetings with Tampa Bay. First off, the Bucs covered as favorites in last year’s matchup — and everything changes now that Brady is in town.

Stats

  • Tampa Bay is 5-5 ATS in its past 10 games
  • The OVER has cashed in five of the Buccaneers’ past 10 games
  • Detroit is 5-5 ATS in its past 10 games
  • The OVER has cashed in six of the Lions’ past 8 games

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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University). You can follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHorrobin

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