- The over has hit in 17 of the 28 games played by these two teams this season
- The Detroit Lions are 2-4 ATS at home this season
This is going to be a tough matchup for the Detroit Lions. They are an injury-hit team, with an interim head coach and nothing but pride left to compete for. The last three weeks they have done themselves proud, beating the Bears, pushing the Packers all the way and showing well for a majority of the game against the Titans.
However, much like last week, they are simply about to face a better team all over the field than them. On offense, they are slightly worse across the board and on defense, they are significantly worse than the Buccaneers.
No team in the NFL has allowed more points than the Lions (31.1 per game). They also allow the most yards and points per drive in the league, while ranking in the bottom five in a number of categories. The Buccaneers run game is by no means a regular threat, but against the Lions it has every chance to be. Even if they stack up against the run, then Brady and his army of receiving weapons can beat the Lions. It is going to be a long day for this Lions defense.
The only realistic hope for the Lions is if they can control the clock. The problem with that is the Buccaneers defense is among the best in the league, and the best when it comes to the run game. The Buccaneers allow an incredible 3.4 yards per rush attempt, which has seen teams attempt a league low 22.6 carries per game against them. It is going to be hard for them to sustain drives, which will leave their defense exposed.
While last week demonstrated huge warning signs for the Buccaneers, there was on positive. This team showed it is mentally tough and can fight back from a bad situation. To be down 17-0 at the half, score 31 points in the third quarter and win by four is impressive. It demonstrates this offense can be explosive and score points quickly.
Another big positive for the Buccaneers was the balance in their offense. Three receivers were targeted seven times, with Godwin and Fournette at five, Brate four, and both LeSean McCoy and Scott Miller seeing three. That kind of balance makes it hard for a defense to key in on one individual and prevents offenses from being able to be held down for 60 minutes.
The Buccaneers offense has not been fluid by any means, but when they face bad defenses they rack up points. The Lions might be among the worst they have seen so far, and although 31.5 is high, it is certainly in play. The biggest risk is that the Buccaneers get up by three touchdowns in the first half and step off the gas. The other concern is if they fall behind and get caught in a game where the Lions are killing the clock. However, I expect the Buccaneers to be able to get close to 40 points.
Getting to 40 should be enough to not only hit their team total, but to cover the spread as well. When it comes to the game total, the over is certainly in play. However, this defense could shut down a Lions offense which was held scoreless as recently as Week 11. The last four games have been profitable for the Lions offense, but not of the defenses they have faced are remotely close to the one the Buccaneers have.
NFL Expert Picks
1u – Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8.5 @ -114
NFL Free Picks
It's a festive week and we have plenty of football to get stuck into. There's no Thursday Night Football this week but we have the Vikings travel to New Orleans to face the Saints on Christmas Day. Saturday gives us a triple threat of football to wager on. The Bucs can secure playoffs if they beat the Lions. Elsewhere the Dolphins face the Raiders and the 49ers play the Cardinals.
Sunday sees a number of matches with playoff implications, the Rams @ Seahawks being the most important. We'll also see the Jets and Jaguars play, with fans of the New Yorkers praying that Jacksonville wins and puts them back in the hotseat for Trevor Lawrence. The Titans face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. Monday's game is a dead rubber in all reality, as the Bills travel to play the Patriots, with New England officially out of playoff contention.
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