The Buccaneers feel as if they’re in free-fall mode after losing two straight to the Steelers and Panthers. Despite this, they remain atop the NFC South as they take on the Ravens. I’ll give some of my favorite bets you can sweat along with for this Thursday Night matchup.
When it comes to how these teams start games, the Ravens and Buccaneers are on two opposite ends of the spectrum. The Ravens average 15 points per game while the Bucs are at just 7.7! If you think that 7.7 points in the first half isn’t a lot, well, you’d be correct. The Bucs have only averaged more first half points than the Giants, Commanders and Colts (sheesh). Defensively, the Bucs haven’t allowed much in the first half at 9.3 points. However, we also have to consider the lack of offensive fire power this team has faced. Aside from the Chiefs, the Bucs have seen the Falcons, Steelers and Panthers in their last three games. Combined, they averaged 18.6 points in those games (despite the Bucs going 1-2).
The Bucs have also struggled to cover the spread in the first half, posting just a 2-5 record. The Ravens haven’t dominated the first half spread going 3-3-1 but again, we’re talking about to vastly different offenses in this scenario. While the Ravens have a number of offensive players that are questionable, the Bucs have already ruled out Russell Gage and Cameron Brate. Gage has been Brady’s favorite red zone target when healthy, leading the team with nine targets. If the Ravens can once again get out to a fast start, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Bucs fall to 2-6 against the spread in the first half.
As mentioned, Brady’s favorite red zone target will be absent in this game. Thus, we should be looking elsewhere for someone to score. Evans at +125 is where I’ll land. He’ll see CB Marlon Humphrey on the majority of his snaps, as long as he ends up playing. Humphrey did practice in full on Wednesday but is dealing with a hamstring injury. In coverage, Humphrey has been targeted against 31 times, allowing 22 receptions for an average of 7.8 YPR and has yet to be scored on. That said, Evans does have the size advantage, as he usually does. Evans has also drawn the second most red zone targets on the team with six. Of the eight touchdowns that Brady has thrown, seven of them have come from inside the red zone. The Bucs continue to throw at the highest rate in the league, making this Evans prop one of my favorites of the night.
Otton will once again be used as the TE1 in this offense with Brate ruled out. This will be the third game we’ll see Otton in this role and he’s been great in the prior two games. When getting top billing, he’s drawn 12 targets and made 10 receptions for 107 yards. His receiving yards feels a bit low, seeing as he’s easily gone over this number in both games in which he was the starter, with 43 and 64 respectively.
Last week without Brate, Otton lined up as a receiver on nearly half of his snaps, doing so 46% of the time. He saw a good chunk of his snaps lined up in the slot, logging 25 of 60 snaps there. This was a nice boost from his first start back in Week 5, where he lined up as a receiver on only 29% of his snaps. Otton has seemingly earned the trust of Brady and has even seen three red zone targets. With such a low number set, I think this is a great opportunity to take advantage of someone who’ll take advantage of his expanded role in Week 8.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment.