Cleveland is still searching for their 1st. win of the preseason. Can they get it at the expense of the Buccaneers in week 3 ? Find out as we breakdown this game & serve up our NFL picks.
Cleveland Browns 0-2 SU
Cleveland Browns are after back-to-back losses in the preseason, still searching for their first win. They opened with a 20-17 loss to the Washington Redskins before moving on to a narrow 11-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills; both losses coming at home and, in turn, going against NFL betting expectations as home favourites.
The Cleveland Browns wrap up the preseason on the road with a stop in Tampa Bay before closing preparations at Chicago in week 4 of the preseason.
In lieu of the winless preseason, the quarterback controversy in Cleveland continues as Johnny Manziel gives the organisation something to think about in week 2’s 11-10 loss to the Bills. Manziel went 10-of-18 for 118 yards and a touchdown while Josh McCown, the presumed starter until recently, went just 7-of-10 for 57 yards all while throwing two interceptions. At the end of the day, Manziel finished with a solid 94.2 QBR while McCown had a subpar 44.6 QBR.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-1 SU
Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off an eyebrow-raising win over the Cincinnati Bengals in week 2 NFL Betting, coming through as the 2-point home chalk in 25-11 win that saw Top draft pick Jameis Winston shine brightly before his new-fangled fans in Tampa Bay.
Monday’s home victory over the Bengals is being heralded as a positive step for the rookie quarterback, the likely starter for Tampa Bay. Not to mention it marked the first win by the franchise at Raymond James Stadium since 2013, both including preseason and regular season. Last term, the Bucs finished 2-14 SU but 0-8 SU at home.
Winston played for almost the entire first half and went 8-of-13 for 90 yards, which included an 80-yard scoring drive. On the downside, Winston was sacked late in the first half after which he was seen to visibly limp off the field. It remains to be seen what his status is for the coming week’s clash with the Cleveland Browns, whether he’ll be fit enough to play.
NFL Betting Verdict
Most odds makers are delaying the release of NFL betting lines for this game, given the uncertainty hanging over Jameis Winston. Bet365 has just gone to press though with a 3-point spread with the hosts to the good, and the total is chalked at 41.5.
Cleveland Browns might offer some value for your NFL picks as the 3-point underdogs in this game. For one thing, both Manziel and McCown are sure to give it their all when they get their turn on the field, to extend the quarterback controversy further. Winning this game might be the deal breaker for which quarterback gets to start the season as the No.1 shot-caller.
That said the Bucs are fired up after winning their first home game in ages. Assuming Jameis Winston is fine and gets more snaps in week 3 NFL betting, the Bucs might be in good stead to win their second consecutive home game, second straight win in two years at home. Lovie Smith is sure to be mindful of his prize draft pick though after the injury scare against the Bengals. It would be a huge blow to lose Winston prematurely, before the rookie gets a chance to show what he’s really made of in the NFL. We’re backing the Bucs on our NFL picks, regardless.
NFL Picks: Bucs -3