The timing of Derek Carr’s right shoulder injury couldn’t have worked out any better for the intrigue around this matchup.
Carr has yet to be ruled out, but he didn't return in last week's game and the Saints could again turn to Jameis Winston against his old Bucs squad in a matchup of 2-1 NFC South teams.
Oddsmakers point to the Saints (3-point favorites) inching out a close win over the Bucs regardless of who starts, but let’s dig a little deeper into the odds.
Saints vs Buccaneers Week 4 Opening Odds
The quarterback situation is a bit difficult to assess with Carr qualified as ‘week-to-week’ with an AC joint sprain in his right shoulder.
But why risk Carr’s season-long health by rushing him back out there against a Bucs defense that is 10th in the NFL with 3.0 sacks per game, especially when you have Winston?
The opening odds signal that oddsmakers are comfortable with either QB suiting up for the Saints, listing them as -158 moneyline favorites.
Returning superstar running back Alvin Kamara (suspension) might have something to do with that.
The Saints offense has averaged just 17.7 points per game (25th), but Chris Olave, Michael Thomas and Rashid Shaheed have provided enough juice to squeeze out a 2-1 record.
If Kamara can help rejuvenate a Saints rushing attack averaging just 3.4 yards per carry (and add to the passing attack), New Orleans could be in for its highest point total of the young season.
While the offense has been suspect at times, the defense has not.
New Orleans is top-10 in the NFL in: opponent points allowed, opponent yards per game allowed and takeaways.
With the total points listed at 39.5, points are expected to be at a premium in this game, and that could lean in the Saints’ favor.
Tampa Bay has plenty of weapons in Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rachaad White, but QB Baker Mayfield and the Bucs looked a bit helpless against the pressure from Philadelphia’s defensive front on Monday Night Football.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.