It’s a battle of two very different teams with vastly different expectations heading into the year. The 49ers are lauded to be Super Bowl favorites in the NFC as per several major betting apps in the USA. It roster is among the most elite from top to bottom in the NFL and they have a few players at the top of their position. Tampa Bay came into the year with lower expectations but still with the feeling like they could take the NFC South. With nine games in the books, Tampa Bay is not out of it but they certainly need a win here.
San Francisco comes into this game after snapping a three-game skid by demolishing the AFC South favorite Jacksonville Jaguars. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, exited its bye week with four straight losses before finally securing a win over the Tennessee Titans last week.
Each team needs this win but the Buccaneers might need it a bit more. There are a few matchups to watch as these two NFC foes face off for the 26th time in history where the 49ers own a 19-6 all-tme lead.
Mike Evans vs the 49ers Secondary
You can’t talk about the Buccaneers without mentioning the single greatest wide receiver in Tampa Bay history and future hall of famer, Mike Evans. Thus far this year, he’s racked up 737 yards and six touchdowns, well on his way to his 10th straight 1,000+ yard season to start his career. He’s averaging 81.9 yards per game this year and his O/U for this game is set at a meager 58.0.
Thus far, 11 receivers have gone over that mark against this 49ers secondary. In four games this year, two receivers have hit that mark in the same game. With Chris Godwin opposite him, Evans is set to have a good day yet again. Evans has faltered in terms of his receptions O/U on the road to this point but this is a game to forget about that. Evans is due for another strong game against a secondary that allows a good chunk of yardage to receivers.
Christian McCaffrey vs the Entire Buccaneers Defense
It may come as a shock but Christian McCaffrey is still very, very good and is able to take over a game. His ability to be the bellcow for an offense paired with a dynamic pass-catching game is unmatched in the NFL. The Buccaneers’ linebackers have their work cut out for them in this one.
Heading into this matchup, the Buccaneers have actually done well at limiting the impact of running backs. Only twice have they allowed over 100 yards to the running back position and those were to the Eagles and Falcons, two teams known for running it. Throughout the year, they’ve held running backs to under 4.0 yards per carry in seven of their 10 games. Most surprisingly, Tampa Bay has yet to allow a rushing touchdown to a running back all year.
The rushing yards O/U for McCaffrey in this one is set at 74.5. While he’s better than anyone the Buccaneers have faced to this point, only one running back eclipsed that mark (D’Andre Swift). McCaffrey is going to get his and is still a great Anytime TD bet but it will be difficult to hit that 74.5 yard mark.
San Francisco vs the Spread
At home this week, the 49ers are a massive favorite with spreads upward of (-11) being found on the top betting sites. How has each team fared against the spread thus far this year?
Tampa Bay is 6-3 this year, a little better than their actual mark of 4-5. Obviously, this week’s spread is a bit more vast than they’ve seen thus far this year but Tampa has gone 4-2 ATS as an underdog. On the road, Tampa Bay is 4-0.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are 5-4 ATS thus far this year and has been a favorite every single week. Oddly enough, San Francisco has been favored by 10+ twice already this year and covered both times. At home, they’re 4-1 ATS.
This week’s game has a lofty goal but the 49ers should be able to cover. Playing at home and getting most players healthy will be key. If Trent Williams can get back, it’s all but locked up.