Buccaneers vs. Lions Predictions and Expert Picks for the Divisional Round: Will Baker Mayfield or Jared Goff Advance to the NFC Championship?

Will Tampa Bay or Detroit advance to the NFC Championship Game? In our Buccaneers vs. Lions predictions, our experts make their picks and best bets.

When the Detroit Lions beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-6 in Week 5, you would have had a hard time believing that these two teams would later have a rematch in the Divisional Round. But 15 weeks later, the Lions are coming off their first playoff win in 32 years, and the Buccaneers have made it further into the postseason with Baker Mayfield than they did with Tom Brady last year.

In our Buccaneers vs. Lions predictions, our team of betting experts give out their favorite bets for this playoff duel between Baker Mayfield and Jared Goff, including their picks against the spread and player prop bets.

Buccaneers vs. Lions Odds

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  • Spread
    Lions -6.5
  • Moneyline
    Buccaneers +250, Lions -300
  • Total

Buccaneers vs. Lions Predictions and Expert Picks

Kyle Soppe: The Buccaneers have gone 15 straight games without allowing a rush to gain more than 20 yards, the longest such streak since the Chicago Bears ripped off 16 straight, bridging the 2000 and 2001 seasons, Brian Urlacher’s introduction to the NFL.

Both Baker Mayfield and Jared Goff are playing at an elite level, but these run defenses have been as consistent as anything, which leads to an early prop angle if you’re so inclined.

Jahmyr Gibbs is in the 2024 fantasy football first-round discussion, but with a healthy David Montgomery, the rookie averages just 12.4 carries per game when the Lions are favored.

If we are to assume that the splash run is going to be difficult to come by, Gibbs is in a tough spot to make the most of limited volume — under 46.5 rushing yards in seven of eight games this season when failing to notch a run of 20+ yards.

Pick: Jahmyr Gibbs under 46.5 rushing yards (-110 at DraftKings)

David Bearman: I correctly picked the Los Angeles Rams to keep it close against the Lions last week, but I also think they’re a much better team than the Buccaneers. Yes, they just blew out the Philadelphia Eagles, but who hasn’t over the last month of the season?

This is the same Bucs team that struggled to beat the Carolina Panthers twice and needed a rally against the Atlanta Falcons to keep their hopes alive. While they’re hot, winners of six of their last seven, so are the Lions, who will be playing at home once again.

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This matchup wasn’t close in Tampa in Week 6, and I don’t think this game will be any different.

Pick: Lions -6.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

Brian Blewis: I’m having a really hard time picking a side in this matchup, as I’m not a believer in either team.

On one hand, the Buccaneers beat up on an Eagles team that seemingly quit on the season — they looked completely disinterested in winning that game.

The Lions meanwhile, were outplayed by the Rams last week despite their 24-23 win. The Rams gained 91 more yards of offense and 1.6 more yards per play, but settled for field goals in their three red zone trips, and got the short stick of the officiating, as Detroit got bailed out by a couple of non-calls defensively.

Having said all of that, the Lions are playing a worse team than they defeated last week, and I’m pretty confident they can beat Tampa Bay at home.

The only issue is that this spread is a little too much for my liking, so I’m going to put Detroit in a six-point teaser with the Chiefs. That way, all I need is for the Lions to win, and for the Chiefs to not lose by nine points or more.

Pick: Lions -0.5, Chiefs +8.5 (-120 at DraftKings)

Jason Katz: Sam LaPorta suffered a scary-looking knee injury in Detroit’s Week 18 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Fortunately, he escaped with just a hyperextended knee and a bone bruise. He probably would’ve missed last week’s game had it been a random regular-season game, but in the playoffs, he played through the injury.

LaPorta wasn’t 100%, but he still played 80% of the snaps. Most importantly, he made it through the game without a setback.

Heading into the Divisional Round, LaPorta was already practicing fully on a Wednesday. I’m expecting him to be much more involved this week than he was last week when he caught just three passes for 14 yards.

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LaPorta saw 11 targets when these teams played back in Week 6. He only caught four passes but still reached 36 yards, more than his line for this week.

The Bucs allowed 63 receiving yards per game to tight ends this season, just one yard per game behind the Denver Broncos for the most in the league. The way to beat Tampa Bay is through the air. Jared Goff should be airing it out plenty, and when the ball isn’t going in Amon-Ra St. Brown’s direction, it is probably going to LaPorta. I think we win this in the first half.

Pick: Sam LaPorta over 34.5 receiving yards (-110 at BetMGM)

Katz: Rachaad White has gone over 15.5 rush attempts in 10 games this season, including last week against the Eagles. So, why are we on his under? Let’s look at what those 10 games have in common. The Bucs won nine of them.

In losses, White went over this number just once. That outlier game was Week 9 against the Houston Texans where Tampa was leading for the first three quarters.

The Bucs are 6.5-point underdogs on the road against the Lions this week. Additionally, Detroit is a pass-funnel defense. It allows the second-most passing yards per game, but the fewest rushing yards per game. Tampa Bay is not going to run White into a wall over and over again.

This season, the Buccaneers registered a 58% neutral game script pass rate. They throw when the game is competitive and run to salt it away. Unless they surprise us all and take a lead into the second half against the Lions, I expect White to finish in the 10-12 carry range.

Pick: Rachaad White under 15.5 rush attempts (-110 at BetMGM)

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