After meeting in the NFC Wild Card game last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Football Team will take the field together once again. While the Bucs are still trending upwards, Taylor Heinicke and the Football team are trending way down.
Washington’s defense has taken a massive step back, and Heinicke has been as inconsistent as they come. The Football Team is just 2-6 this season, 1-7 against the spread (ATS), and they’re catching 9.5 points at home in this matchup.
But perhaps that’s too many points. Tampa Bay is just 3-5 ATS this season and 0-4 ATS on the road. The Bucs are coming off a bye, though, so maybe Tom Brady and co. will have the juice to cover this large number.
With that said, let’s dive in to our Buccaneers vs Washington predictions and picks.
All NFL gameday odds and lines are current as of 11:00 a.m. ET on Friday, November 12.
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Buccaneers vs Washington Prediction
On Sunday, Brady and the electric Tampa offense will play the most overvalued defense on the planet.
Prior to the season, the Football Team were favorites to win the NFC East on the back of their defense. That unit now ranks No. 30 in Football Outsiders’ defensive DVOA and No. 31 in EPA per play allowed.
It’s the secondary that’s been truly awful. Other than the Lions, no defense has been less efficient at defending the pass.
The Football Team ranks No. 30 in PFF’s coverage grades, and although they rank second in PFF’s pressure grades, the pass rush hasn’t had time to get home.
Considering Tampa passes more than any team (66.9%) and Brady gets the ball out quicker than any quarterback, I’m expecting a blood-bath. Brady and the Bucs downfield passing offense might score 50 in this game.
However, I’m not sure if the team covers. Therefore, I’m looking to other areas for value.
Prediction: Buccaneers 32, Washington 22
Buccaneers vs Washington Best Bets
Best Bet: Buccaneers Team Total Over 30.5 (-120) at BetMGM
Wager: 1 Unit
The Bucs are averaging 32 points per game. In the four games since playing New England, where the team only scored 19, Tampa has averaged 35 points per game.
As mentioned, the Football Team is terrible. Specifically terrible at defending the pass.
As such, the Football Team has allowed close to 29 points per game this season. They’ve failed to cover in four consecutive games and have allowed 30+ points in three of those matchups.
If Matt Ryan and the Falcons can score 30 on Washington, Brady and the Bucs will do so with ease, especially since Brady has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league by EPA per play.
This is our NFL bet of the day.
Best Bet: Washington Football Team +10 (-120) at BetMGM
Wager: 0.5 Units
Despite everything I’ve said, I can’t help but bet the Football Team in this spot.
Home underdogs catching over seven points have covered at a 55% rate since 2005, and I can’t help but to bet this one if they’re catching double digits.
As mentioned, Tampa Bay is 0-4 ATS on the road this season. Since Brady become the Bucs QB, Tampa is just 4-7 ATS as a road favorite. Plus, the Football Team have covered in four of their last six games against Tampa, including in last year’s playoff game.
I hate this play, but this is too many points for the Football Team. I’ll keep my wager smaller, however, and wouldn’t bet this if it dropped below 10.
Tanner McGrath’s 2021 NFL Betting Record: 10-12, -2.05 Units
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