Buccaneers vs 49ers Week 14 Picks and Predictions: Niners Can't Be Stopped

San Francisco are winners of its last five and will look to keep the streak going when it plays host to Tom Brady and Tampa Bay on Sunday. Find out where the betting edge lies in our Buccaneers vs. 49ers betting picks.

Last Updated: Dec 11, 2022 8:15 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Christian McCaffrey San Francisco 49ers NFL
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The NFC South-leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the top team in the NFC West when they clash with the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday.

The Niners are coming off their eighth win of the season and will face a 6-6 Bucs squad holding onto playoff hopes in spite of a subpar start to the season. San Francisco demolished the Miami Dolphins at home in Week 13, with backup Brock Purdy playing the majority of the contest after Jimmy Garoppolo left with a season-ending foot injury in the first quarter.

The 2022 draft’s “Mr. Irrelevant” will now get his first start against none other than Tom Brady, who set yet another career record last weekend when he broke a tie with Peyton Manning for the most fourth-quarter comebacks in NFL history (44).

Tampa Bay heads into Sunday’s matchup as a 3.5-point underdog as it confronts one of the best defenses in the league. Here are my best free NFL picks and predictions for the Bucs vs. 49ers on December 11.

Buccaneers vs 49ers best odds

Buccaneers vs 49ers picks and predictions

The Niners looked ripe for an upset at the start of their home contest with Miami last weekend. Not only did the Dolphins reach paydirt on a 75-yard pass from Tua Tagovailoa on the opening play of the game, but San Francisco lost Garoppolo to injury when he went down on a sack during the Niners’ opening drive.

San Francisco settled for a field goal, then sent out former Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy on the following series. The last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft responded by leading his team all the way down the field and recording his first career touchdown on a three-yard pass to Kyle Juszczyk.

Purdy finished the game with 210 yards on 25-of-37 passing, with two TD passes and one interception. The rest of San Francisco’s points came on field goals and a 23-yard fumble return by Dre Greenlaw with 1:53 remaining to put the Niners up 33-17.

San Francisco’s defense stepped up to force four Dolphins turnovers, including two interceptions and a lost fumble by Tagovailoa. Tua was also sacked three times — each time by Nick Bosa — for a loss of 20 yards while playing behind a hobbled offensive line. One of those sacks resulted in the fumble that Greenlaw scooped up for a score.

San Francisco snapped a five-game winning streak by Miami while facing former assistant Mike McDaniel in his first year as an NFL coach for the Dolphins.

The Buccaneers are also dealing with injuries to their line, with right tackle Tristan Wirfs sidelined last Sunday with a high ankle sprain and questionable for this coming week. On defense, Tampa Bay played without Antoine Winfield Jr., Mike Edwards, and Sean Murphy-Bunting. All three of them are questionable for Week 14.

While Tampa Bay is 3-1 over the last four games, the offense has had a tendency to start sluggish in the first half and wait until late in the game to finally find a spark. Against another NFC West foe, the Los Angeles Rams, the Bucs settled for a pair of field goals in the first half and did not score a touchdown until nine seconds remaining to seal a 16-13 victory.

They generated similar offensive output against New Orleans last weekend, as the team failed to reach the end zone until the three-minute mark in the fourth quarter when Brady hit rookie Cade Otton for a one-yard touchdown pass. The 45-year-old QB then found first-year player Rachaad White for the game-winning score with three seconds left, resulting in a 17-16 victory.

The end zone should be even more difficult to reach against San Francisco, whose defense has held opponents to an average of 11.4 points in the Niners’ last five games.

The team has also been especially dominant against the run, keeping all of their five previous opponents to under 68 yards on the ground. That’s problematic for Tampa Bay, whose rushing offense ranks dead last with 3.3 yards per attempt. Lead running back Leonard Fournette is also questionable for Sunday with a foot injury.

To push the ball down the field, Brady will need a big game through the air, but the Niners rank 12th in opponent passing yards per outing and are tied for sixth in sacks per game.

San Francisco has also found a rhythm on offense lately, building leads of seven points or more in the first half in each of its last three — and one of those halves primarily featured Purdy, who reeled off two touchdowns by halftime.

Kyle Shanahan will know how to properly utilize his new starter and complement him with the bevy of weapons surrounding him, particularly Christian McCaffrey, who had 146 yards from scrimmage against Miami.

The new San Francisco acquisition is likely in for a performance similar to Nick Chubb’s 116-yard rushing, 16-yard receiving excursion in Cleveland’s 23-17 overtime win over Tampa Bay.

With the way San Francisco looked against Miami, even with Mr. Irrelevant whisked onto the field unexpectedly, the offense should be fine against a battered Bucs defense.

Look for the Niners to build a decent-sized lead at halftime, covering the 2.5-point first-half spread, as the Bucs struggle to figure out San Francisco’s defense. But as Brady has shown multiple times this season, the second half is when the Bucs turn it up, so don’t count out a late comeback as the final minutes tick away.

My best bet: 49ers -2.5 first-half (-110 at DraftKings)

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Buccaneers vs 49ers spread analysis

The line opened between three and 6.5 points for the Bucs vs. 49ers and has settled at 3.5 in favor of San Francisco.

The Niners are 13-3 against the spread in their last 16 versus the NFC and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall, while they own an 8-2 ATS record in their last 10 home games.

The Bucs have not fared quite as well against the spread this season. They boast a 3-8-1 ATS record overall in 2022 — the worst mark in the league — and are 2-3 ATS on the road. Tampa Bay is also 2-5-1 ATS in non-division games and 1-2 ATS in its last three games.

Brady was born in the Bay Area and grew up a Niners fan but has faced his childhood team just three times in his career, going 2-1 in the process.

Sunday will mark his second road matchup with the Niners. The last time he played in San Francisco was in 2016, when the Patriots bested Colin Kaepernick and company 30-17 at Levi's Stadium.

The Buccaneers own a 7-18-0 record in their lifetime series with the 49ers and lost 31-17 in their most recent meeting in 2019 — Brady’s final year in New England.

Buccaneers vs 49ers Over/Under analysis

The total for this game opened between 37.5 and 41.5 at most sportsbooks and has wavered around 37 throughout the week. 

The Under is 4-0 in the Buccaneers’ last four games overall and 5-0 in their last five road contests, as well as 16-5 in Tampa Bay’s last 21 versus the NFC. However, against teams with a winning record, the Over has hit in seven of the last 10 Bucs matchups.

The Under is 6-2 in San Francisco’s last eight home games, 8-3 in the 49ers’ last 11 versus the NFC, and 14-6 in their last 20 games overall. The Under has also hit in seven of the 10 games in which San Francisco has been favored in 2022.

Not only do the Niners allow the fewest total yards, rushing yards, and points per game in the NFL, but they surrender an average of 0.9 passing touchdowns per contest, tied for the third-best rate in the league.

Brady took three quarters to find the end zone last week against New Orleans and got his only touchdown of the game against another NFC West foe, the Rams, with nine seconds remaining in regulation.

He should have a much tougher time against this Niners stop unit, while San Francisco should be able to stay low to the ground on the other side of the ball and move the chains behind McCaffrey in the backfield.

Buccaneers vs 49ers betting trend to know

The Under is 5-0 in Tampa Bay’s last five road games and 4-0 in the Bucs’ last four games overall. Find more NFL betting trends for Buccaneers vs. 49ers.

Buccaneers vs 49ers game info

Location: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Date: Sunday, December 11, 2022
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
Opening odds: 49ers -4.5, 37 O/U

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