We’re going to examine Saturday’s NFL preseason game between Tampa Bay and Minnesota. Read our intriguing betting preview article on this contest that culminates with a point spread pick.
Bucs Preseason Opener in Minnesota on Saturday
The Vikings host the Buccaneers on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota, The opening kickoff is slated for 8:00 PM ET, and the NFL Network will televise this contest. According to current NFL betting odds, Minnesota is a 3.5 points favorite and the posted total is 36.0 across the board.
This contest will be the much anticipated debut of Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston. There’s been an abnormal amount of hype leading up to this contest considering it’s a preseason game, and all due to Winston who was a #1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The former Florida State star comes with a lot of baggage, but there’s no denying the physical talent he possesses.
Vikings with a Leg Up
Minnesota has the luxury of already playing a preseason game. Contrarily, this will be Tampa Bay’s preseason opener. Minnesota participated in the annual “Hall of Fame Game” in Canton, Ohio last Sunday. Historically, teams have fared pretty well when playing in their second game, and are facing an opponent in its preseason opener. It must be noted, the Pittsburgh Steelers failed in that role on Friday, suffering a 23-21 loss at Jacksonville, and failing to cover as a 1.5 point underdog. However, Minnesota is a home favorite coming off a win, and Pittsburgh was an away underdog coming off a loss. Preseason home favorites of 5.5 or less, coming off a win in their previous game, versus an opponent playing in their preseason opener, resulted in the home favorite going 11-4 ATS (73.3%) since 1983.
Both Lovie Smith (Tampa Bay) and Mike Zimmer (Minnesota) enter the second year as head coaches of their respective teams. Each also garnered their coaching reputations on the defensive side of the ball. As a matter of fact, during their first preseason campaign with their current teams, Zimmer went 3-1 under the total, and Smith was 4-0 under the total. Smith has gone 20-21 straight up and 18-21-2 ATS in preseason games during his NFL head coaching career. The vast majority of those games came as the head honcho in Chicago from 2004 through 2012.
The Vikings franchise has had a plethora of success in preseason home games. They’ve gone 34-16 (.680) straight up in that exact role since 1990. Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer has placed a bit more emphasis than most on winning in the preseason. Minnesota has gone a perfect 5-0 SU and a stellar 4-1 ATS during preseason games with Zimmer in charge. I already alluded to a team’s advantage of already playing in a preseason game, versus one that hasn’t. I’ll have a very small lean on the home favorite for one of my NFL picks. Since the point spread in this contest is currently identical at all the major sportsbooks, I chose 5Dimes due to the least amount of juice required for this specific wager.
NFL Picks: Play on Minnesota -3.5 (-105) at 5Dimes