It all looked plain sailing when the 49ers opened up their season with five straight victories but the three game losing streak which contained back-to-back road defeats to the Browns and Vikings before a home loss to the Bengals really got the naysayers expressing doubts.
San Francisco dismissed the doubters last week dismantling the Jaguars on the road 34-3 in what can only be described as a complete performance.
Tampa Bay also got their train back in on the tracks last week so to speak with a battling 20-6 win over the Titans ending a four-game losing slide, getting themselves back to 4-5 and into the race for the NFC title, the Bucs are only a half-game behind the Saints in the NFC South, and with the Saints on bye, they could take the division lead with an upset win this week.
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The last time these two teams met was back in Week 14 of last season when San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy was better known as Mr Irrelevant having been the last pick in the draft and unknown to the NFL world. Going up against what was then a Tom Brady led Buccaneers offence Purdy came away from that game with his reputation enhanced and far from being irrelevant. The 49ers won 35-7 and Purdy finished 16-of-21 for 185 yards, 2 touchdowns, and he rushed for a touchdown. At one point the 49ers led 35-0 a scoreline that Brady had never experienced before.
From that point, everything went right for Purdy and the 49ers until the NFC Championship game in which he got injured and the 49ers season ended with a whimper. As mentioned all concerned started the season well until that three game blip before Purdy and the 49ers rebounded last week picking apart the Jaguars defence for 296 yards and three touchdowns.
The 49ers won the turnover battle 4-0 and looked back to their best. Now Purdy gets another crack at a Tampa Bay team that was blown out in San Francisco last year with the 49ers rated favourites to the tune of -10.5 (4-5) by starsports.bet. The 49ers are seeking their seventh 30-point game this season. It would be their most through 10 games since joining the NFL in 1950.
All of the important component parts of the 49ers offence were present last week and when Purdy has his four elite playmakers in Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle available it’s a potent cocktail that he’s in control of. Here, Purdy faces a Tampa Bay defence that has become a real pass funnel and tends to run a heavy zone coverage and that’s the very type of defence that Purdy ripped to shreds last week versus the Jaguars. Purdy also tore apart the Jaguars’ blitz looks; the Bucs blitz at the NFL’s third-highest rate.
Bucs head could be caught between the devil and the deep blue sea here as when the Bucs have not pressured the quarterback since Week 5 they are allowing a league-high 77.5% completion rate and 9.2 yards per pass attempt (31st) with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. So, they are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t pressure Purdy here. Purdy leads the NFL in completion rate (79.1%) and yards per pass attempt (10.5 Y/A) without pressure this season.
All of that adds up to Purdy having a big game and whilst the over on his passing yards line set at +257.5 by starsports.bet is attractive there may be another even more profitable avenue open.
Looking at the Most Passing Yards On Sunday Market in the starsports.bet specials – it isn’t surprising to see the likes of C.J Stroud, Jared Goff and Tua Tagovailoa at the head of the market but given this match up the 14-1 on Brock Purdy looks a value play.
The quartet of elite playmakers that the 49ers have is led by RB Christian McCaffrey (CMC for short) who enters Week 11 leading the NFL in rushing yards (748), rushing yards after contact (512), first downs rushing (44), runs of 10+ yards (20), and yards receiving among running backs (339). CMC is almost matchup proof and he’s sure to be at the fulcrum of a 49ers offence where every play is designed to give it the potential to be explosive.
Although CMC’s scoring streak came to an end at 17 games last week he’s got every chance of getting back on the scoring trail this week and forms part of a TD Special at starsports.bet boosted to 5-1 for McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler (Chargers) and Josh Jacobs (Raiders) to all score a TD, with all three having good scenarios for doing so on Sunday.
78.0% of the San Francisco set of downs have led to another set of downs or a touchdown, the highest rate in the league. While the Bucs have been tough to run on the fact that San Francisco have their star offensive tackle Trent Williams back has helped and it should be remembered that the 49ers have 18 rushing plays that have gained 15 or more yards, second in the NFL.
We have seen how bad this Bucs defence can be against teams that can be explosive through the air, and the 49ers have weapons all over the field. CMC will also be used in the passing game out of the backfield and he like WR Deebo Samuel is extremely dangerous in the open field. The Bucs heavy zone defence tends to be vulnerable to receivers such as Samuel and that’s before we have got to the deeper threat of Brandon Aiyuk who over his last 17 games, has banked 1,207 receiving yards and seven TDs. Since their bye, Tampa Bay has allowed opposing wide receivers to catch a league-high 71.8% of their targets for a league-high 216.2 yards per game. Throw in a tight end in George Kittle who can be a little boom-and-bust but has a big upside when he does go boom against a Bucs defence that is also vulnerable to the position.
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Tampa Bay have been tougher than many analysts (me included)thought they would be to beat this season but they will be facing their biggest test so far this season against the 49ers. Not only are San Francisco formidable on offence they also have a defence that can also be described as elite with a pass rush that can only be described as fierce and was improved by the recent addition of Chase Young. Tampa Bay quarterback Baker Mayfield has been consistent of late and hasn’t dipped below 200 yards passing since Week 3 against the Eagles but the 49ers can like the Eagles get after the quarterback with pressure from the inside and outside and that’s when Mayfield fails to produce.
If the Bucs are to have any chance in this game then Mayfield will have to move the ball through the air as their running game is one of the worst in the league, and they face a tough 49ers defence with their main running back Rachaad White getting plenty of touches but failing to move the ball effectively behind an weak offensive line. Out of 28 running backs with 100 or more rushes, White is dead last in success rate (25.0%). If there is a role for White to play it will be in the passing game where over the last four games White has turned 20 targets into 19 catches, 228 yards, and a score.
Tampa Bay will need to approach this game aggressively offensively to have a chance and they are almost certain to have very little chance if they rely on their running game. The Bucs can’t afford to get too far behind in this game or as the Jags found out last week it will be curtains very early.
Therefore, Mayfield will have to trust his rapport with his wide receivers with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin his main targets. Evans in particular has enjoyed his link up with Mayfield recording a 6/143/1 stat line last week despite two first half drops including one for a TD when he was wide open. Mayfield has shown a willingness to throw to Evans even when he looks covered allowing him to use his size and strength to compete for the ball and he’ll need to do that here against a San Francisco secondary that have defended the deep ball well.
Despite the relatively the relatively low total for this game set at 42.5 it does have some shootout potential with the Bucs having served as a catalyst for explosive game environments before and the 49ers looked more than happy to play with some swagger on offence last week. Tampa Bay will have to go to the “pass happy” side of the offence if they are to attempt to keep up with the 49ers. If the 49ers do jump out to a big early lead then the Bucs are going to have abandon the run game completely and it’s hard to see San Francisco dropping another 30 points on defence that is susceptible to an elite offence.
BACK Over +42.5 Match Points 2pts at 20/21 (⭐
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BACK San Francisco to win by 7-12 points 1pt at 7/2 (⭐
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BACK San Francisco to win by 13-18 points 1pt at 7/2 (⭐
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BACK Brock Purdy over +257.5 passing yards 1pt at 10/11 (⭐
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PROFIT/LOSS (NOV 2023): PROFIT -9.48 points