The Bucs have been red-hot, fresh off a 38-3 beat down of the Bears, they've now won 4 in a row and are widely considered the best of second best team in the league. Sounds like a perfect time to fade them. The model through a strength of 3.14, which is good for a 1 unit wager. The line has again shifted toward the model, now sitting at 4.5. We typically post our recommendations every Tuesday, and that's when you should be betting.
Tom Brady, at 44 god damn years old, has been the best quarterback in football this season. His PFF passing grade of 91.0 is best in the league, he's gaining 7.5 yards per attempt, and completing 67% of his passes (0.7% above expectation). He has 21 big time throws and only a single turnover worthy play this season, a ratio that should be outside of what is physically possible for a human being. Brady gets rid of the ball in 2.37 seconds on average, which is 2nd fastest in the league. This makes it virtually impossible to get pressure on Brady -- he's been under pressure on just 22.4% of dropbacks, which is second best in the league. The team leaders by projected targets: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and Leonard Fournette. Absent is Antonio Brown, who will miss his second straight game with an ankle injury. Gronkowski hasn't played since week 3 and is questionable, but he practiced all week (as limited each day) and should be good to go. Fournette has gained control as the lead back for the Bucs, with Ronald Jones chipping in as the change of pace option. The offensive line is one of the best in football -- there simply isn't a weakness to attack. Overall, they're the best offense in football by both DVOA and EPA/play. The defense is solid up front -- Shaq Barrett leads the way with 35 pressures, followed by LB Devin White (17), Vita Vea (15), and Ndamukong Suh (15). Levonte David is consistently one of the better linebackers in football, and he should return for the first time since week 5 (ankle). On the back end, Antoine Winfield Jr and Jordan Whitehead are a solid safety tandem, but they've caught the injury bug at cornerback. They brought in Richard Sherman, who immediately got hurt. That then put Dee Delaney into a starting role, who had hardly played in his 3 year career. Delaney then -- you guessed it -- got hurt. It looks like Sherman has a decent shot to return -- he practiced all week as limited and is questionable. Delaney didn't practice all week and is also questionable, but it isn't easy to play after missing practice the entire week. Jamel Dean is the one starter who hasn't been injured (knock on wood), and has been his usual solid self. The Bucs blitz more than any team in the league, which has helped mitigate issues at cornerback. Overall, they're the 7th best defense by DVOA and EPA/play.
Jameis Winston is sitting at 23rd in PFF grades (73.3), completing 58.9% of his passes (4.3% below expectation), and gaining 7.4 yards per attempt. Winston is known for his 30 interception season -- he's thrown just 3 this year, but his 6 turnover worthy plays indicate there's some luck involved in that number. When he threw 30 interceptions, his turnover worthy play rate was 5.4%. This year it's 3.3%, 20th best in the league. Though he's clearly improved from a -- how do I put this -- don't-throw-the-ball-at-guys-who-aren't-wearing-the-same-jersey-as-you perspective -- he's still putting the ball in harms way more often than we'd like to see. Winston's aDOT is 10.0, 3rd highest in the league, and just 36.4% oh his passes have traveled less than 10 yards, 2nd lowest in the league (behind Brady). The team leaders in projected targets: Marquez Callaway, Alvin Kamara, Kenny Stills, and Adam Trautman. The story going into the season was how bad the Saints receivers are sans Michael Thomas, but Callaway has stepped up and Kamara is one of the best receiving backs in football. Winston has a 132.5 passer rating when targeting Callaway and 137.6 rating when targeting Kamara. Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead are arguably the best tackle combination in football, but the interior of the line is weak. They're also now without LG Adrus Peat (pectoral). Overall on offense, they're 20th in DVOA and EPA/play. DE Cam Jordan, DE Marcus Davenport, LB Demario Davis, and rookie LB Pete Werner have contributed toward a very impressive front 7. They also get back David Onyemata fron suspension, a DT who had an 88 PFF grade last season, 49 pressures, and 31 defensive stops. It's officially unfair how good they are up front. At corner, Marshon Lattimore has struggled from a consistency perspective outside of his rookie 2017 season, but this year has been nothing but positives. They are weak behind Lattimore at corner, though Marcus Williams and Malcolm Jenkins are both solid safeties. The defense is 3rd in DVOA and 4th in EPA/play. Only the Bills have allowed touchdown drives less often than the Saints (14.9%). The Bucs are as good as it gets, but if anyone can slow them down, it's this defense.