Buccaneers vs Steelers Week 6 Picks and Predictions: Tampa Bay's Defense Will Overwhelm Pickett

Tampa Bay is riding a six-game away winning streak and will look to feast on a rookie quarterback that is making his first home start in Pittsburgh. Find out more on why the betting edge lies with Tampa in our Buccaneers vs. Steelers betting picks.

Phil Naessens - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Phil Naessens • Betting Analyst
Oct 16, 2022 • 08:16 ET • 4 min read
Lavonte David Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Week 6 of the NFL season is already here, and we have a terrific non-conference NFL clash when the 3-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet the 1-4 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tampa Bay snapped a two-game losing streak with a 21-15 home victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has suffered four consecutive losses and hopes to get back on track when it welcomes the Bucs. Who will win this non-conference NFL clash?

Find out in my free NFL picks and predictions for this Week 6 showdown between the Buccaneers and Steelers on Sunday, October 16.

Buccaneers vs Steelers best odds

Buccaneers vs Steelers picks and predictions

Tampa Bay head to Pittsburgh for only the fifth time in franchise history, and taking the Bucs to cover the spread is my best bet for this contest. The Buccaneers enter Heinz Field with a 2-0 ATS record as the away favorite, going up against a Steelers' side owning a 0-1 record as the home underdog with a rookie quarterback under center.

The strength for Tampa Bay is currently its defense. This unit is No. 3 in overall DVOA while allowing just 16.6 points per game. The Bucs possess the top-ranked DVOA passing defense alongside a 29th-best rushing defense, and they’ll send shivers down the spine of Steelers QB Kenny Pickett.

Pittsburgh has seemingly moved on from Mitch Trubisky and has decided the future is now. Pickett threw the ball 52 times last week against the Buffalo Bills, completing 34 passes for 327 yards and an interception. He’ll have no easier time against the Bucs' defense, who have only allowed an average of 217 passing yards per game this season. 

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady and his offense have underwhelmed due to injuries, and having every wideout on the roster hitting the injury report is nothing new for Brady and the Bucs.

Brady has thrown just one interception, and that’s remarkable considering the offensive line injuries and, of course, the injuries to all of his offensive weaponry. The Steelers passing defense leaves much to be desired. They allow 299 passing yards per contest, and if any of the Buccaneers' injured receivers show any sign of a pulse, they’ll eat against a defense allowing 2.2 TD receptions per contest.

The Bucs' defense is going to lead the way on Sunday. They’ll be uber-aggressive against a rookie QB making his first home start in a town he dominated as a college player at Pitt. The Steelers O-line has been okay, but Pickett was knocked to the turf three times last week and now goes up against a Tampa defense ranked third in sacks.

From there, it will be all about Brady and who suits up. Look for running back Leonard Fournette to play a larger role against a Pittsburgh defense that's allowing 123 rushing yards a contest. Fournette opened the season with 127 against Dallas but has been hampered by a nagging hamstring and hasn’t had the carries he enjoyed since opening night.

The Tampa Bay defense will lead the way, Brady will work with what he has, and the Bucs will score enough to cover the spread on Sunday.

My best bet: Buccaneers -8.5 (-108 at WynnBet)

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Buccaneers vs Steelers spread analysis

The spread is my best bet, and I found some interesting numbers that I’d like to share with you. I’ve had great success betting on the Steelers as the underdog over the years.

Dating back to 2007, Pittsburgh is 48-25-1 ATS as the underdog and 14-3-3 ATS as a home dog. Since 2020, the Steelers are 11-8-1 ATS overall and 3-0-1 as a home underdog, but Ben Roethlisberger isn’t walking through the door, and reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt won’t return until late October.

Brady hasn’t faced the Steelers as a member of Tampa Bay, but he met them plenty while in New England. Brady is 12-3-0 against Pittsburgh and holds the top spot in Pittsburgh Steelers history in QB wins, passer rating, completion percentage, and other opposing QB categories. This version of the Steelers is likely the worst Pittsburgh defense he’s ever faced, and dare I say, I believe he has better playmakers in Tampa Bay than he did with the Pats.

Tampa Bay is 5-1-0 ATS over its last six away games, and the Bucs have covered the oddsmakers' number in five of their six previous meetings. Conversely, Pittsburgh is 0-3-1 ATS over its last four contests and 0-3-1 ATS after losing by more than 14 points.

Buccaneers vs Steelers Over/Under analysis

The total opened at 43.5 and now rests at 45 points. That’s a significant move for mid-week, and I like the Under way more now. 

For all its big-time playmakers, the Bucs' offense ranks 13th in offensive DVOA. Chris Godwin and Julio Jones are on the injury report, but both played last week, and I expect them to suit up on Sunday.

One key for Pittsburgh is RB Najee Harris. After posting an impressive rookie campaign, the Steelers’ second-year back has rushed for 222 yards with one TD. That’s a far cry from the 1200-yard-seven TD rookie campaign, and if ever there was a chance to get back on track, Sunday would be it.

Tampa Bay allows 115 rushing yards and just under a rushing TD per game. If Harris can find a hole or two, he could have a big game that will affect the clock more than the scoreboard.

Time of possession is something I find valuable when looking at totals. Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh rank 28th and 29th, respectively, and it's difficult to score points in the NFL when you don’t have the ball.

Finally, the Under is 5-1-0 when Tampa Bay faces a home team with a losing record and 4-1-0 over the Buccaneers' past five games. Meanwhile, the Under is 5-1-0 over their past six home contests, and the Under is 3-2-0 this season.

Buccaneers vs Steelers betting trend to know

The road team is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings head-to-head. Find more NFL betting trends for Buccaneers vs. Steelers.

Buccaneers vs Steelers game info

Location: Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA
Date: Sunday, October 16, 2022
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET

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