Saints vs. Buccaneers odds: Picks, insider predictions from expert who's 9-2 on Bucs games

Are you ready for some football? You better be because coming out of the chute in Week 1 is a divisional contest between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints. Kickoff is Sunday at 1 p.m. ET from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Bucs will play without star quarterback Jameis Winston, who is serving a three-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The Saints are 9.5-point home favorites, up from a -7 open and the largest spread of the week. The Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, has ticked down from 51.5 to 49.5. But before you make your picks on this contest, you need to see what R.J. White has to say.

In 2017, he cashed big in the world's most prestigious handicapping tournament, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest, tying for 18th out of 2,748 contestants with a 52-29-4 mark against the spread.

He is focused on the NFL season right now and is on a remarkable 9-2 hot streak on his spread picks for or against the Buccaneers. Anyone who has followed his advice is up big.

Now, he has scrutinized Buccaneers vs. Saints from every possible angle to reveal a strong point-spread pick that he's sharing only over at SportsLine.

White knows that taking the reins on Tampa Bay's offense is Ryan Fitzpatrick, the 35-year-old veteran entering his 14th NFL season. Fitzpatrick has started 119 games, including three last year. With so much experience as a pro starter, the loss of Winston will not be an overwhelming obstacle for the Bucs.

Running back Peyton Barber is the Bucs' top backfield option, beating out Ronald Jones in training camp. He didn't take a handoff in the final preseason game, but did notch 34 rushing yards on five carries in the regular season dress rehearsal against the Lions. Tampa Bay also has Pro Bowl wideout Mike Evans, who has 17 total touchdowns the last two seasons.

Just because the Bucs have a capable backup QB and plenty of offensive weapons doesn't mean they can stay within a 9.5-point spread. Pushing 40 and showing no signs of wearing down, Drew Brees returns for his 18th pro season. Last year, he eclipsed the 70,000-yard mark. He also tossed 23 touchdown passes to raise his career total to 488.

The Saints' receiving corps is top-notch, starting with Michael Thomas. The third-year speedster capped off a five-score, 1,245-yard season with his first Pro Bowl appearance last year. 

The breakout start of not just the Saints, but the entire NFL in 2017, was Alvin Kamara, who took home Rookie of the Year honors. Amassing 1,554 yards from scrimmage -- 728 on the ground -- the 5-foot-10 running back scored 13 touchdowns. To keep Kamara fresh, Coach Sean Payton will lean on former New England Patriot Mike Gillislee to carry the backfield load with Mark Ingram suspended.

White is leaning Over, but he has found a crucial X-factor that determines which side of the spread you should be all over in this one.

So which side of the spread should you back for Buccaneers vs. Saints? And what crucial X-factor determines the spread? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to be all over, from the expert who's on a monster 9-2 Bucs heater, and find out.

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