Tom Brady has helped turn the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into a major contender, as he has them sitting in first place in the NFC South halfway through the 2020 NFL season. With star receiver Mike Evans already in tow, Brady gained another weapon when former New England teammate Rob Gronkowski ended his one-year retirement to join him in Florida. Brady is expected to add more ammunition to his arsenal when the Buccaneers host the division-rival New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football. Kickoff from Raymond James Stadium is set for 8:20 p.m. ET. 

Tampa Bay (6-2), which is coming off a 25-23 road win over the New York Giants on Monday night, should have beleaguered wide receiver Antonio Brown in the lineup for the first time since signing the seven-time Pro-Bowler in late October. The 32-year-old, who played one game with Brady in New England last year before being released, is hoping to help his new team avenge a season-opening loss and end New Orleans’ four-game winning streak. Tampa Bay is a three-point favorite in the latest Buccaneers vs. Saints odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under is 51. Before locking in any Saints vs. Buccaneers picks, you should see the latest Sunday Night Football predictions from SportsLine’s proven model. 

The model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up over $7,600 for $100 players on top-rated NFL picks since its inception five-plus years ago. It’s off to a strong 15-8 roll on top-rated NFL picks this season. The model enters Week 9 on an incredible 111-73 run on top-rated NFL picks that dates back to the 2017 season.

The model ranked in the Top 10 on NFLPickWatch in three of the past four years on straight-up NFL picks and beat more than 95 percent of CBS Sports office pool players three times during that span. Anyone who has followed it is way up.

Now, the model has set its sights on Bucs vs. Saints. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the NFL lines from William Hill and trends for Saints vs. Bucs:

  • Buccaneers vs. Saints spread: Tampa Bay -3
  • Buccaneers vs. Saints over-under: 51 points
  • Buccaneers vs. Saints money line: Tampa Bay -220, New Orleans +190
  • TB: Buccaneers are 0-5 against the spread in their last five Week 9 games
  • NO: Over has hit in all seven Saints games this season

Why the Buccaneers can cover

Brady is a huge reason why Tampa Bay has an effective passing game. The 43-year-old is fourth in the NFL with 2,189 yards and tied for third with 20 touchdown passes. Over his last four contests, Brady has thrown nine TD passes without an interception and has been picked off only four times in 2020 – twice in the season opener against New Orleans.

Brady’s reunion with Gronkowski did not start well, but the former New England teammates have been clicking of late. A five-time Pro-Bowl tight end who joined the Buccaneers after one year of retirement, Gronkowski made a total of 12 catches for 140 yards and zero touchdowns over his first five games. But he has hauled in 14 passes for 181 yards and three TDs over the last three, scoring in each contest. 

Why the Saints can cover

While Tampa Bay figures to have Brown in the lineup, New Orleans is expecting Michael Thomas to return from ankle and hamstring injuries. The 27-year-old Thomas, who had an NFL-record 149 receptions last campaign, hasn’t played since making three catches for 17 yards in the Saints’ season-opening victory over the Buccaneers. Fellow wideout Emmanuel Sanders, who is second on the team with 304 receiving yards, will play Sunday after missing two games with the coronavirus.

Having Thomas and Sanders to target should benefit Drew Brees, who has been limited in practice this week due to a shoulder injury. The 41-year-old has thrown 13 touchdown passes and just three interceptions this year. Brees is first in the NFL with a completion percentage of 73.1 and looks to join Len Dawson (six, 1964-69) and Steve Young (four, 1994-97) as the only players to lead the league in the category for at least four consecutive seasons.

How to make Buccaneers vs. Saints picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning over on the total. In fact, it says Brady and Brees will combine for four touchdown passes. It also says one side of the spread hits nearly 60 percent of the time. You can only get the pick here. 

So who wins Saints vs. Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football? And which side of the spread hits almost 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Saints vs. Buccaneers spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $7,600 on its NFL picks, and find out.

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