Betting the Bucs is a new segment that focuses on the gambling lines for each Bucs game during the season. We’ll take a look into different aspects of the game to help make your decision on whether to bet for or against the Bucs. We’ll also take a brief view at the slate of Sunday games around the rest of the league.
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The Line: Bucs -7, Over/Under 53
While they’re two different teams that do different things well, the Vikings in a way remind me of the Atlanta Falcons in the sense that they can be so unpredictable that it makes it tough to bet their games. Ironically enough, the Bucs next two games are against the Vikings and Falcons.
Looking at this Bucs-Vikings matchup makes me wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. And by that I mean – on one hand you have a Bucs team that has lost three out of four and has struggled offensively despite all their weapons. It’s been well documented that they haven’t been consistent, and yet even when calling play-action passes is one of the best things they do, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich calls it less than 30 other teams in the league. On the other hand, you have the Vikings, who have won five of six games while Kirk Cousins has thrown at least three touchdown passes in four of their last five.
Is this the week that the trending ways of each team revert back to what we know they are, or does the trend continue? Do the Bucs play their best football and the offense get in rhythm? Will Cousins cool off and turn the ball over? I’m not ready to bank on that yet, and Minnesota struggling to defeat a one-win Jaguars team last week actually makes it that more confusing, You can’t expect them to come out flat once again. And knowing they trail the Bucs by just one game in the wild card standings ups that ante that much more.
The Vikings have won their last two on the road, including a victory over the Green Bay Packers. They’ve also gone 4-1 ATS on the road this season, and that’s the trend that should be bought into. Tampa Bay on the other hand is struggling at home, and while they covered against the Chiefs two weeks ago, they’ve traded wins and losses covering the spread over their last four home games. If that continues, that means they won’t cover this week. I think the Bucs win, but not by enough.
The Bet: Vikings +7
Thank goodness the Bucs had the bye because I needed a week to recover from an absolutely horrible performance in Week 12. I was downright terrible going 0-7 on all my picks last week. Zero, zilch, nada, a goose egg, donut. That dropped my overall record 19-21-1. But you know what? When the going get tough, the tough get going, and you can’t just give up after one bad showing. Let’s regroup and get back over .500 with my picks around the rest of the league this week.
Titans -7.5 at Jaguars
Tennessee got walloped by the Browns a week ago while the Jags narrowly lost to the Vikings in overtime on the road. That was an anomaaly for both teams, and with the Titans having a lot to play for still, they relieve some anger on the Jags, who left their best with them last week.
Texans +1.5 at Bears
Though they lost last week, the Texans have won two out of three and are starting to get it together despite having no chance for the postseason. The Bears have lost six consecutive since beating the Bucs and look helpless. Houston gives them their seventh loss in a row.
Colts-Raiders Over 52.5
The Colts recently have become the team with all the high scoring games lately and have hit the over in six of their last eight. Playing in Las Vegas has made the Raiders play like a high rollers they’ve gone 4-1 on the over at home this season. We’ll see a lot of points I this one.
49ers -3 vs. Washington
This is more of a gut feeling than anything. I’m a big fan of the 49ers run game and their receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. I’m really happy that Alex Smith has made his way back into the league after all he’s gone through, but Washington as a whole isn’t a team that is threatening. The Niners bounce back after losing to the Bills to pull away and cover.