Last season the Bucs found themselves playing a losing battle with then head coach Greg Schiano. Now that Tampa has an established coach in Lovie Smith, will they start the turnaround this season? The NFL Odds are not giving them much love this summer.
Super Bowl (+5000)
The NFL Odds from Bovada for the Bucs this season are somewhat surprising. After a season going 4-12 SU and firing their head coach, the Bucs are only 50:1 to win the Super Bowl. Compared to other teams with similar records from last season, this is actually a pretty solid price for this team. They have better Super Bowl Futures Odds than teams like the Dolphins, Texans and Jets, three teams that might all be better than Tampa this season. However even though you likely won’t be putting the house on Tampa to win the Super Bowl this season, you might find value in betting them ATS. With Smith coming in to be their coach, their defense is going to be a very strong unit this season. As long as the offense can somehow move the ball, the Bucs may shock some NFL Bettors this fall.
Tampa’s biggest offseason addition was that of Michael Johnson. Johnson comes over for about $8 million per season to ad some pass rush to an already very good defensive front. Along with Adrian Clayborn and Gerald McCoy, this adds a lot of sack and turnover potential to the Bucs’ defense. In a division that likely won’t have many –if any- good offensive lines, Tampa could be undervalued some in those five divisional games. While they likely won’t win the division over the likes of the Saints, they could at least give them some good games this season. On top of the nice addition to the defensive line, the Bucs also added Alterraun Verner, the standout corner from the Titans. Even though they spent most of their offseason gold on the defensive side of the ball, as we’ve seen time and again in the NFL, it’s much easier to rebuild a defense, especially if you’re a defensive coach. However the Bucs’ offense is what’s going to be the cause for concern this season.
NFC South (+550)
For being such a big underdog in the NFL odds, the Bucs’ price to win the NFC South is pretty solid. It might take an injury to Drew Brees for it to actually have value, but either way after a four-win season, the Bucs are almost assured to top that. However, it might be hard to score points in central-Florida this season. The Bucs have not let on anything about what their QB situation is going to look like this year. Mike Glennon started the entire season last year and was underwhelming for Tampa. This summer Smith brought in his old quarterback from Chicago in Josh McCown, who proved to be a solid QB in the right system last season in Chicago. If McCown can run this offense like he did in Chicago under Marc Trestman, the Bucs are going to have value through the roof. However even if he performs, the Bucs have questions at the skill positions too. Will Doug Martin continue to get the bulk of the touches from the backfield, and will Vincent Jackson continue to perform at a high level at age 31?