Thursday Night Football Picks: Our Staff's Top Bets for Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
For the second week in a row, NFL schedule makers have graced us with a Thursday Night Football matchup that won't leave us snoring in the first quarter.
In Week 6, we get a matchup between the reigning champs -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- and the Philadelphia Eagles.
If nothing else, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts improves the watchability of the team dramatically. While Tom Brady is...ya know...Tom Brady.
In addition to an ever-growing abundance of top-notch content, our staff will be providing us with their favorite overall plays each week of the season.
For this piece, our staff will be covering whatever bets they feel strongest about for the Eagles vs. Buccaneers matchup -- no limitations. Let’s get to it!
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Picks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6.5 (-104)
I'm stunned the line isn't flirting with double digits. This Eagles team blew out a discombobulated Falcons team in Week 1 and had close games against middling 49ers and Panthers teams, but they got slammed by double digits when faced with elite opponents (Chiefs, Cowboys). Tampa Bay's defense is not quite what it was in 2020, but the offense is rolling and will be able to score on Philly at will.
-- Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass)
Philadelphia Eagles +7.0 (-115)
Many sportsbooks are reporting more than a 90/10 betting split in favor of the Buccaneers on Thursday night. Those betting splits sound eerily familiar to Tampa Bay’s last road game against New England. How did that work out for them? Tampa Bay has been a juggernaut at home, but they have not topped 24 points on the road yet. Is Tom Brady’s thumb worse than he says it is? Either way, I want to be on the side of the house in this one, not the betting public.
-- Mike Spector (@MikeSpector01)
Over 52.5 (-110)
On paper, these defenses have talent, but they've both given up their fair share of points. Tampa Bay has struggled against the pass all year long and features a banged-up secondary. Philadelphia, while they've been good at points statistically, has struggled against quarterbacks like Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes. With Tom Brady at the helm, he should be able to carve up this defense, while the Bucs secondary will ensure that Philadelphia scores enough to clear this 52.5 number.
-- Matt O’Leary (@MattOLearyNY)
The Buccaneers are averaging nearly five touchdowns per game and should have no problem scoring five or more touchdowns in this one. The Eagles have an exciting pass rush but the Buccaneers have been more than reliable in pass protection this season. If you take the pass rush out of the equation, the Eagles defense is very suspect. On the other hand, the same can be said about the Buccaneers. The defense has been extremely inconsistent and the offense has been better than advertised. I'm taking the Over!
-- Jason Radowitz (@Jason_Radowitz)
DeVonta Smith Over 5.5 Receptions (-140)
The Eagles are third in the NFL in pass rate over expected (PROE), and no team forces opposing offenses to throw more than the Bucs, who have faced the league's most pass attempts against and fewest rush attempts against. Smith is the clear No. 1 in Philadelphia. I expect both teams to play fast in this game (both in the top six in situation-neutral pace) and for there to be plenty of play volume and ultimately pass attempts. The Bucs' secondary is also banged up.
-- Ben Gretch (@YardsPerGretch)
If you’ve watched the Eagles at all this season, or if you’ve even seen highlights of Devonta Smith in Philadelphia, you know just how good the rookie receiver has been. Smith is the only real go-to option that QB Jalen Hurts has on the outside. The other option Hurts seems to like to rely on, tight end Dallas Goedert, is out this week. So, we can expect Smith to see a huge workload come Thursday night. In five NFL games, Devonta Smith has 39 targets. He’s had seven receptions each of the last two weeks and shows no signs of slowing down. We’re going to get a heavy dose of Devonta Smith come Thursday night and catching over 6 balls shouldn’t even be a challenge.
-- Brian Good (@BeGood1219)
Zach Ertz Over 43.5 (-110)
I'm opting for the yardage here as opposed to receptions because Ertz's line is set at 4.5 and the over is juiced to -140. Ertz was only able to turn six targets into one catch for seven yards last week, but the Buccaneers have allowed the second-most receptions to tight ends so far. While the production hasn't been great, Ertz has drawn more targets than Dallas Goedert in each of the last three games. Now with Goedert out tomorrow because of being put on the Covid-19 list, Ertz will be the main target in the middle of the field. Ertz should be due for an uptick in snaps and targets as the Bucs are one of the best teams defending the run, and the Eagles will likely rely on the pass to stay competitive in this one. He has also topped this number in two out of the last three weeks.
-- Tom Viera (@Tom_Viera)
Jalen Hurts passing yards prop is up nearly 40 yards from its number this week, so the books suspect he'll be having more opportunities to make plays versus this Bucs secondary. With Goedert likely out for this game, it's Zach Ertz's increased target and snaps that have my attention.
-- Geoff Fienberg (@gfienberg17)
Miles Sanders Under 35.5 Rushing Yards (-120)
We’ve seen it time and time again. Teams abandon their run game against this Buccaneers front seven. The Eagles' offense is already among the lowest in rush attempts heading into this matchup. Miles Sanders has rushed for under 35 yards in two of his last three games. I’d be surprised if the Eagles tried to establish a run game on Thursday Night. If anything, we could see Kenneth Gainwell have more receiving opportunities in this game. Sanders is the RB35 in rush attempts and the RB28 in rush yards through five weeks. This is not the week for him to find success on the ground.
-- Nate Hamilton (@DomiNateFF)
Jalen Hurts Over 274.5 Passing Yards, Kenneth Gainwell 10+ Receiving Yards, and Quez Watkins 3+ Receptions (+155) - DraftKings
This same-game parlay has three legs, but they're all in the same boat -- you can't run on the Bucs, but you can throw. No team has given up fewer rushing yards to both quarterbacks and running backs than Tampa, so running is not much of an option. That leaves the passing. So far, the Bucs allowed at least 275 yards through the air to every quarterback they've faced. On average, they've allowed opposing signal-callers to go for 69.6 yards more than their season averages. Jalen Hurts is averaging 273 passing yards in 2021, so 275 is far from a stretch. Tampa has also allowed the most receptions and fourth-most receiving yards to runners this season, so Gainwell should have no trouble gaining double-digit yards. Finally, Quez Watkins is fresh off a game in which he saw a career-best 82% snap share, and he's garnered 10 targets in his last two games. He could have a career game against a Bucs secondary that's allowed the most receptions to wideouts in 2021.
-- Elisha Twerski (@ElishaTwerski)