Tampa Bay Buccaneers Predictions for Playoffs and Best Bets with Super Bowl Odds
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have moved on from the short and sweet Tom Brady era and have managed to sneak into the postseason with a 9-8 record this year. Baker Mayfield has had the best season of his career, eclipsing 4,000 yards for the first time and throwing a career-best 28 touchdowns. In the Wild Card Round, Tampa Bay ousted the defending NFC Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, 32-9. They held the punishing Eagles to just 42 rushing yards, and 0-9 on third downs, as their defense rose to the occasion and Mayfield continued his promising season in Tampa Bay. A visit to Detroit will be an even tougher test, but the Buccaneers are confident they can extend their unlikely playoff run. There is plenty of money to be made on Tampa Bay futures, so let’s find out the best way to attack these juicy odds.
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Odds to win the divisional round: +235
Odds to win the NFC: +1000
Odds to win the Super Bowl: +3000
The Buccaneers built an offensive line worthy of protecting the greatest NFL player of all time, and Baker Mayfield has greatly benefited from the increased protection. Almost any NFL quarterback can effectively read defenses when given time to stand and think in the pocket, and Mayfield is no exception. His 4,044 passing yards, with 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, led the Buccaneers to their third straight NFC South title, and he has proven he can beat even the upper echelon of the NFL. One of his favorite targets has been Mike Evans, who eclipsed 1,000 yards for the 10th season to begin his career. Evans is capable of making big catches, and his 1,255 yards was more than any single season total under Brady. Mayfield’s willingness to consistently feed his best pass catcher the ball has led to wins, and there is no doubt a similar formula will be employed against the Lions. Chris Godwin could be the best second option in the league, as he too eclipsed 1,00 yards for the third straight season. The duo of Evans and Godwin stretches opposition defenses, which has allowed the Buccaneers to spread the ball and find the single coverage down the field. The dominance in the pass protection has led to sustained offensive success for the Buccaneers. And with Tackle Tristan Wirfs being named to his first career Pro Bowl, the league has recognized the work the line has put in. While the run game still has plenty of work to do, with their 88.8 rushing yards the lowest total in the league, an effective passing game has compensated. The Buccaneers offense can adapt to whoever is thrown in front of them and is more than capable of making a deep playoff run.
On defense, the Buccaneers have filled up the tackle box, prioritizing stopping the run over limiting the balls thrown over the top. Defensive tackle Vita Vea was named to his fifth career Pro Bowl, and the Buccaneers 48 sacks were the 7th most in the league. In the secondary, the Buccaneers have struggled to limit the deep balls going over their heads, but it hasn’t been because of Antoine Winfield, who had the best season of his career, Winfield’s ability to consistently shut down opposing receivers in single coverage has allowed the Buccaneers to give help to their weaker corners and safeties, and having even one lockdown safety down the field can open up the possibilities for head coach Todd Bowles, who still calls plays on defense for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay’s ability to shut things down in the red zone, where their weak secondary cannot be exploited, has led to them giving up plenty of yards but keeping opponents out of the endzone. They have the third best red zone defense, allowing a touchdown on just 42.6% of trips. And if they can keep that mark below 50%, they will have a great chance at pulling off another upset.
Path to the Super Bowl
The Buccaneers will be heading to Detroit to take on the Lions, who just won their first playoff game since 1992. Detroit will be buoyant after their victory, but they are fully aware that the job is not done and a less than stellar Buccaneers squad provides an excellent opportunity to sneak into the NFC Championship. Detroit has a potent passing attack that will surely be licking their lips at the prospect of facing a vulnerable Tampa Bay secondary, and the Buccaneers will need to be nearly perfect down the field to keep this one close. In the NFC Championship, the Buccaneers will either host the Green Bay Packers or take a trip to San Francisco to take on the Super Bowl frontrunners. Obviously, the inexperienced Packers side is their preferred opponent, but the Buccaneers match up nicely with the 49ers, who live and die by the screen plays and short passes, something Tampa Bay has been solid defending against. In the Super Bowl, whoever emerges from a crowded AFC playoff picture will be a tough matchup for Tampa Bay, but the Buccaneers have been defying expectations all season long, and they will hope to do so one again.
It’s been difficult to contain my excitement surrounding the Buccaneers, and I am salivating at the prices on offer for Tampa Bay. In the divisional round, the Buccaneers have plenty of value with +235 odds attached to their victory, and I expect them to sweep aside the Lions and move on to the NFC title game. Tampa Bay will find themselves in a high scoring shootout against Detroit and have an impressive 2-1 record when both teams score 20+ points. Their ability to force opponents into 3rd and longs, while shutting the door in the red zone, will stifle the Lions offense, and the +235 odds available are too good to pass up. Tampa Bay is +1000 and +3000 to win the NFC and Super Bowl, respectively. And while I cannot truthfully say I expect them to do so, I expect them to do so more than the 10% and 3% of the time needed to breakeven on a longshot wager. Tampa Bay is built like a team to win the Super Bowl, with solid receivers, an elite offensive line, and quality coaching to get the best out of their unproven role players. These odds are too good to pass up, and I expect the Buccaneers to pull off at least one more upset before they hang up the cleats for the season.
Best Bet: Tampa Bay Buccaneers ML vs the Lions +325
Tampa Bay to win the NFC +1000
Tampa Bay to win the Super Bowl +3000
Take a shot on the proven Buccaneers talent!
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