Monday Night NFL Preseason Picks: Bengals vs. Buccaneers

Jason Lake

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 12:12 PM UTC

Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 12:12 PM UTC

Jameis Winston was a mixed bag in his first preseason game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His second crack at the NFL odds is Monday night's matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.

It's already happening. Jameis Winston showed some flashes in his debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he was also wayward at times, going 9-of-19 for 131 yards and an interception in Saturday's 26-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings (–3.5 at home). Winston also ran eight yards for a touchdown at the end of the second half before calling it a day. And his performance at the post-game press conference? Top shelf.

Of course we shouldn't expect too much from a rookie quarterback in his first preseason game. But you know all about the narrative surrounding Winston and how much risk the Buccaneers assumed when they selected him first overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. Perhaps we should fade Winston until proven competent, starting with Monday's game (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tampa Bay is a 1.5-point home fave on the NFL odds board with Cincinnati getting the early burst of support on the consensus reports.


Seminole Vesicle
If you happen to bet on college football as well, you may have already made a healthy sum at Winston's expense. He led the Florida State Seminoles to a 13-1 SU and 3-11 ATS record last year. The Buccaneers might not attract the same amount of chalk as the Seminoles, but Winston has nonetheless been swimming in red ink since winning the 2013 Heisman Trophy.

Let's not get too high and mighty, though. When it comes to the football plays themselves, Winston has a much higher level of understanding than you'd expect from someone his age. If he can continue to build on that knowledge and execute the game plan... well, that's always been the clarion call for Winston, hasn't it? We'll believe in it when we see it.


Stop Us If You've Seen This Play Before
With Saturday's loss, Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith falls to 19-21-1 ATS in preseason play. Smith's opposite number on the Bengals, Marvin Lewis, improved to 26-22-1 ATS after beating the New York Giants 23-10 last Friday, cashing in as a 2.5-point home chalk. Not a bad preseason result against Tom Coughlin and the G-Men. Apparently Coughlin served up some plays that Cincinnati's defenders had already seen during their joint practices. That was generous of him.

Be that as it may, the Bengals looked very good in this game. Andy Dalton and the first unit didn't even need three minutes to reach the end zone, then Josh Johnson and the second unit took over and did just enough to keep Cincinnati on top. As long as the Buccaneers are intent on playing Winston for the entire first half (or more) before giving Mike Glennon the ball, Cincinnati's QB depth gives us all the excuse we need to recommend the Bengals for your Week 2 NFL picks. May the prolate spheroid be with you.

Free NFL Pick: Take the Bengals +2 (–105) at GTBets

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