The San Francisco 49ers look to keep their momentum going when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit on Sunday. The 49ers ended a three-game losing streak with a 34-3 win over Jacksonville last week. Tampa Bay ended a four-game losing streak with a 20-6 victory over Tennessee. The Bucs are still in the hunt for the NFC South title, trailing New Orleans by a half-game. The Buccaneers vs 49ers preview notes the NFL odds this week have the 49ers favored by 12 with a total of 41.5.
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
Line: San Francisco -12
Bucs Need Defense to Play Well
The Tampa Bay defense has been pretty solid for most of the NFL season. They’ve been the key to Tampa’s victories this season, allowing 12.2 points per game in the Buccaneers’ victories. They allow 24.8 points when Tampa Bay losses, so the Bucs will go as far as the defense takes them.
The Buccaneers allow plenty of yards, but have done a good job of clamping down when needed. Tampa Bay is one of the NFL stat leaders today in defensive yards per point, ranking No. 3 in the NFL. The Buccaneers allow a point for every 18.4 yards allowed.
Tampa Bay is solid against the run, allowing 3.7 yards per carry to teams averaging 4.1 yards. Against the pass, Tampa Bay isn’t faring as well, giving up 266.9 yards per game and 7.1 yards per pass attempt. The Buccaneers defense has helped itself with forcing turnovers. Tampa Bay is tied for third by forcing 1.8 turnovers per game.
The Bucs are nothing to get excited about offensively. Tampa Bay is averaging 19.8 points per game, which is 2.3 fewer points than their opponents allow on average.
The running game has been brutal, averaging 78.1 yards per game and 3.1 yards per rush. That puts a lot on the shoulders of Baker Mayfield, who has been decent. The Bucs are averaging 228.6 passing yards per game.
Have 49ers Turned Corner?
San Francisco was being mentioned as one of the top couple of teams in the NFL until its three-game losing skid. That’s now a thing of the past and the team showed what it can do by thumping Jacksonville on the road.
The 49ers are averaging 28 points per NFL game against teams allowing 21.8 points per game. San Francisco runs the ball for 134.7 yards per game and throws for 248.7. Those are solid numbers for a team that is supposed to be carried by the defense.
The defense has certainly done its job, holding teams to 15.9 points per game. The 49ers are allowing 4.0 yards per carry, but teams don’t run against them much.
San Francisco sees 20.7 runs and 38.2 passes per game. The 49ers are allowing 221.4 passing yards per game. But the 49ers are No. 1 in the NFL in defensive yards per point, forcing teams to travel 19.2 yards to score a point.
The National Football League scores show the 49ers are still 5-3-1 against the spread even after the losing streak, so they’re capable of beating up on people. Their last two wins were by scores of 34-3 and 42-10 against Dallas. Those types of scoring margins definitely help out in the stats department.
What to Expect
The Buccaneers vs 49ers preview expects Tampa Bay to be the latest team to throw a lot more often that it runs against the 49ers. As bad as Tampa Bay is with the ground game, it doesn’t even make sense for the team to try running much.
A few running plays here and there to keep the defensive line from teeing off on Mayfield every play is all that’s needed. The Bucs need to utilize the short pass before the pressure comes.
The 49ers are going to mix things up offensively. Keeping the Tampa Bay defense off-balance can overcome a little bit of the Bucs’ defensive prowess against the run. The 49ers will work on preventing 3rd-and-long situations and make the defense play a guessing game.
Who to Bet On?
The Buccaneers vs 49ers preview notes the point spread is a little on the high side. But San Francisco is one of the teams capable of covering double-digit spreads on a frequent basis. When the 49ers win, their average margin of victory is 21.7 points. The NFL odds this week have them favored by 12 and they’re already 2-0 against the spread as a double-digit favorite.
But with both teams ranking in the top three in defensive yards per point, there could be a lot of moving between the 20-yard lines and then seeing the defenses step up. At least, that’s the way to bet this one. Take the under 41.5 in this spot.