Betting The Bucs is a weekly segment that focuses on the gambling lines for each Tampa Bay game during the season. We’ll take a look into different aspects of the game to help you make your decision on whether to bet for or against the Bucs. We’ll also break down various prop bets to take before you watch on Sunday.
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The Line: Bucs – 10, Over/Under 48
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The Bucs are an ugly 1-3 against the spread this season. Their lone cover came in Week 2 at home over the Falcons. Am I ready to jump ship on Tampa Bay when it comes to the spread? Not just yet. There’s a similarity here in which the Bucs face a lesser opponent with the Dolphins, much like how they covered against the Falcons.
What works even more in the Bucs favor is that offensively, Miami doesn’t match Atlanta’s talent. If Tampa Bay was able to put Atlanta away on a very high spread, they’ll be able to do so with Miami. Their pass rush came back again with four sacks last week, so I expect Joe Tryon-Shoyinka to dominate against Austin Jackson, which will help the secondary that everyone is so worried about. You can’t beat the secondary if you’re not even able to attempt passes.
The Dolphins statistically have one of the worst offenses in football. They are second to last in yards per game and points per game, while upgrading slightly to 29th in the league for sacks allowed per game. This is the exact opponent that the Bucs need with all of their injuries piling up. I think the pass rush takes advantage of this matchup with a big performance.
As frustrating as it’s been to see the Bucs not cover the spread much, they’re still 5-1 against the spread at home in their last six. The only non-cover came in the season opener against Dallas this year. I still like those numbers, and the fact that Tom Brady and the Bucs offense are coming off their worst performance of the season. They had no issues moving down the field, it’s just red zone execution that hurt them. But the Bucs can go 50 percent in the red zone during Week 5 and still be okay. If and when the Bucs get out to a double-digit lead, they won’t let the Dolphins come back.
If the Bucs can’t cover this week, I refuse to pick them again on Thursday on the road against the Eagles.
The Pick: Bucs – 10
Since we looked at the grand scheme, now let’s press our luck on the best prop bets. Place your money on a few of these to enhance your viewing interest.
Bucs 1H -6 (-120)
The thought of the Bucs leading by a touchdown at halftime almost feels too good to not take up. I don’t think the offense is happy by any means about their performance over the last two weeks, so they make a statement by opening with multiple scoring drives.
Mike Evans TD (+110)
Tampa Bay has sure missed Rob Gronkowski in the red zone, but let’s not forget that Mike Evans led the Bucs with 13 touchdowns last year. It’s time to get him the ball near the goal line again. Evans’ two scores came at home two weeks ago, and both were in the red zone. The Bucs need to feed him the ball when they get down there.
O 2.5 Field Goals (-210)
Red zone efficiency needs to improve, but the rate may not hit 100 percent. If we are believing the Bucs can make 4-5 trips to the red zone, one or two of those drives could stall. As a result, Ryan Succop will get a chance or two in Week 5. As for the defense, they’ll implement a bend-don’t-break philosophy, giving the Dolphins a couple field goal opportunities.
Chris Godwin O 4.5 Receptions (-167)
In four games, Chris Godwin has alternated each week going over and under five receptions. Weeks 1 and 3 he went over, Weeks 2 and 4, under. If the run continues, he’ll get five catches again in Week 5. After a relatively quiet game last Sunday night, Godwin is due for a bigger game with a lot of targets.