NFL Week 5 Against the Spread Picks: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, 10/9/11, 4:05 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  San Francisco -2.5
Current Betting Line:  San Francisco -3
Opening Total:  41
Current Total:  41.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 13-3 ATS on the road

Tampa Bay heads West on a three-game winning streak that includes a 24-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts as 10-point home favorites on Monday Night Football.  “It really wasn’t pretty the whole time, but that’s us,” commented Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman.  The Buccaneers came away with a 21-0 win in last year’s meeting as 3.5-point road underdogs, holding the 49ers to just 189 yards offensively.  Freeman helped the franchise snap an eight-game losing streak in San Francisco with two touchdowns.  The team is now solely focused on opening the season with a 4-1 record for the first time since the 2005 campaign.  Tampa Bay is 13-3 ATS on the road and the ‘under’ is 10-7 in those contests.

The Buccaneers have done a solid job against the run this year, ranking 11th in the league, which will prove useful in trying to contain 49ers running back Frank Gore.  The unit held Gore to 23 yards on 12 carries a year ago.  On the other side of the ball, running back LeGarrette Blount is leading the charge for a rushing attack that is averaging 117 yards per game.

San Francisco is 3-1 on the season and needs to win the turnover battle to be successful, doing so in each of its first three wins.  The 49ers are currently tied with the Detroit Lions for the league’s best turnover differential at plus-eight.  The team is also undefeated when not throwing an interception.  Defensively, the 49ers have forced 11 takeaways, while committing just three turnovers on offense.  There’s no doubt that the team must take care of the football due to ranking 28th in the league in total offense.  San Francisco is 19-13 ATS over the last two-plus seasons, while the ‘under’ is 18-17 in those games.

The 49ers will definitely try to get Gore going in the early stages of this game, as he gained a season-high 127 yards on 15 carries in the team’s 24-23 win over the Philadelphia Eagles as 9.5-point road underdogs last week.  He was limited to just 2.5 yards a carry in the first three games.  San Francisco’s secondary has been remarkable, not just with interceptions, breaking up 31 pass plays, which is the most in the NFL.  First-year head coach Jim Harbaugh has his team focused on winning.  “It’s a great character builder for a young team,” commented Harbaugh.  “That’s the way we wanted them to play.”

Bettors will find that the Buccaneers are 6-1 ATS as an underdog, while the 49ers are 4-10-1 ATS in October.

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