Season Win Total Seem Overcooked For Buccaneers

Monday, July 11, 2016 9:47 PM UTC

Monday, Jul. 11, 2016 9:47 PM UTC

Tampa Bay Buccaneers hang on a 7.5 season win total across sportsbooks for 2016. Do they crack the total or not? Find out as we break down the NFL schedule and serve up choice NFL picks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2015 Look Back
Jameis Winston’s rookie season got off to an abysmal start when he led the Buccaneers to a forgettable 42-14 loss to Marcus Mariota and the Titans. But the No.1 NFL draft pick in 2015 refocused and rallied the Bucs to a decent 6-10 finish by season-end, a run that included a brief stretch in which Bucs fans flirted with a potential wildcard spot in the playoffs.

When all was said and done it was a so-so season by a rookie quarterback, not enough though to keep Lovie Smith in charge of the Bucs. In a bold move, Tampa Bay fired the head coach. Dirk Koetter moves from offensive coordinator to the head coach role reportedly while former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is named the defensive coordinator. Ironically, the Bucs open their season with the Atlanta Falcons, which should be an interesting homecoming for the Falcons cast-off as the Bucs attempt to get their campaign off to a positive start.

Expectations are modest for the Bucs overall with odds makers hanging their season on a 7.5 projected season win total. The OVER is priced at +135 NFL odds while the UNDER is priced at -165 NFL odds. That hefty-leaning towards the UNDER can be placed at the foot of the NFL schedule, which looms rather daunting to be fair.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers are faced with a much tougher NFL schedule this season. One that ranks fifth on the strength of schedule scale based on last season’s win-loss record of the field of opponents slated and is represented by a 0.543 winning percentage of the opposition combined. A significant upgrade in difficulty from last season’s third easiest NFL schedule that was represented by a 0.425 winning percentage from the season prior. Consider as well the fact that at least 10 of their opponents last season eventually finished with subpar or losing records that 6-10 SU result is debatable. To put it bluntly, were the Bucs really as good for the six wins or were thy only as good as their opponents were bad (each for various reasons)?

With these key notes in mind, we serve up this game-by-game preview of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and offer up choice NFL picks with a view towards determining the best bet for season win total bettors.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 NFL schedule Game-by-Game Predictions at a Glance

Week 1 vs.  Atlanta (away) Sunday, September 11
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers swept the series with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015, winning 23-20 in overtime (away) and 23-19 (home). Indeed, the latter was their last win of the season. There are those that would argue they were lucky to get away with the win at the Georgia Dome earlier in the season too. In any event, this is a brand new season and a tough start, make no mistake. It’s a road trip to the Georgia Dome where Dan Quinn and the Falcons will be looking to get off to a bright start – just as they did last season before the wheels came off. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith might know the Falcons well from his time there until being fired in 2014; but this is a different Falcons side in some respects, entering its second year with defensive guru Dann Quinn. Our money is on the hosts unless proven otherwise.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 0-1


Week 2 vs. Arizona (away), Sunday, September 18
Following a tough divisional rival in week 1 the Buccaneers take on one of the best teams in the NFC, the Arizona Cardinals on the road. No ifs or buts about it, this is going to be a brutal matchup for the Bucs, one we don’t see how they could possibly factor. The Cardinals are just better on both sides of the ball. Could be a long day.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 0-2


Week 3 vs. Los Angeles, Sunday, September 25
The Los Angeles Rams descend on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 3 NFL betting, in what could be a more even matchup given the fact that the Rams are still developing, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. It’ll be an interesting matchup between the 2016 No.1 NFL draft pick Jared Goff and the 2015 No.1 NFL draft pick Jameis Winston, assuming the Rams go with their prized pick of course. It’s still up in the air. In any event, this is a bit of a tossup, but with Winston having a year under his belt and home advantage we’re leaning to the Bucs, ever so slightly.

NFL Picks: Win
Record 1-2


Week 4 vs. Denver, Sunday, October 2
A third road trip in four weeks isn’t ideal, but that’s what the NFL schedulers deal the Bucs. This isn’t the exact same side that won the Super Bowl now that Peyton Manning is retired and Brock Osweiler left for Houston, but the defense is sure to be formidable and get at Jameis Winston. Then there’s the altitude which can give even the best quarterbacks in the league fits.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 1-3


Week 5 vs. Carolina (away), Monday, October 10
A fourth road trip in five weeks of the NFL season. Talk about no love for the Bucs. Carolina is a tough assignment on any day, never mind following three road trips across the country. The Bucs get one additional day’s rest with a Monday Night primetime slot, but that’s not going to help. The Panthers swept the series and outscored the Bucs 75-33. Need more be said?

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 1-4


Week 6 BYE


Week 7 vs. San Francisco (away), Sunday, October 23
The San Francisco Niners hired Eagles cast-off Chip Kelly in the offseason, in a bid to restore the Niners to their former glory days. Bold and optimistic spring to mind considering the debacle in Philadelphia following the 2015 Chip Kelly experiment that ultimately landed the head coach in the dole queue. Still, we can’t write off Chip Kelly entirely. He did have two very good seasons in Philadelphia and, perhaps, he’s learned from his mistakes in 2015. This is a matchup he will fancy winning and that makes it a bit of a tossup on our NFL picks.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 1-5


Week 8 vs. Oakland, Sunday, October 30
The Oakland Raiders descend on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 8 of the NFL betting season. This is the beginning of a three-game home stretch for the Bucs and they’re sure to be optimistic about their chances particularly in this matchup. Granted the Raiders have a lot going for them right now with Derek Carr proving he’s the real deal and a lot of offensive weapons that could light up. But it’s a long trip for the Raiders, which could be to their detriment. Should be a close game but the Bucs do enough to get the win at home.

NFL Picks: Win
Record 2-5


Week 9 vs. Atlanta, Thursday, November 3
It’s a quick turnaround and a short week with the Atlanta Falcons descending on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After the Bucs finished bottom of the NFC South in six of their last eight seasons, the series sweep by the Bucs can’t sit well with Dan Quinn. This is a matchup he reckons his Falcons should win.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 2-6


Week 10 vs. Chicago, Sunday, November 13
The Chicago Bears haven’t been a great team in recent seasons. John Fox is a good coach with a record of success that’s nothing to sniff at but we’re still talking about a side led by Jay Cutler, one now without Matt Forte and other offensive baubles. With the added rest ahead of this game, the Bucs should have the advantage at home.

NFL Picks: Win
Record 3-6


Week 11 vs. Kansas City (away), Sunday, November 20
Arrowhead is one of the most formidable stadiums in the NFL, a place that wins are hard to come by for the opposition. The Chiefs finished the season strong winning ten straight and finishing 11-5 SU. They also decimated the Houston Texans in the wildcard round. To all intents and purposes, this could be a tough day for Jameis Winston and the Bucs.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 3-7


Week 12 vs. Seattle, Sunday, November 27
A date with the Seattle Seahawks following a date with the Kansas City Chiefs is cruel and unusual punishment in our books. No love for the Bucs at all by the schedulers. Just saying. Seattle may have lost some players in the offseason, but they still figure to be a huge factor in the NFC race. They had a solid record of finishing seasons strong. This should be a beat down of the hosts.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 3-8


Week 13 vs. San Diego (away), Sunday, December 4
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hit the road in week 13 NFL betting, descending on Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Philip Rivers is coming off a disappointing season with the Chargers, who finished 4-12 and at the bottom of the pile in the AFC West. Have the Chargers improved much in the offseason? This could be one of those games that go against the grain. Rivers has a good record against the Bucs but Jameis Winston and the Bucs could put paid on that with a rare road win.

NFL Picks: Win
Record 4-8


Week 14 vs. New Orleans, Sunday, December 11
The New Orleans Saints defeated the Bucs down the stretch In 2015, winning 24-17 at the Superdome. It proved to be the beginning of a negative trend for the Bucs, a run of four straight losses to close the season. This is the first meeting between these divisional rivals, a second follows in a fortnight at the Superdome. Saints were abysmal last season and finished 7-9 SU. Where they’ll be in 2016 remains to be seen and a lot about this week 14 NFL betting clash depends on where the Saints are in the playoff race, if at all. Still, Drew Brees and the Saints have won eight of the past nine meetings with the Bucs. The loss at the Superdome was a shocker, which they put right with a win in Tampa. We expect Sean Payton and the Saints to restore order in this rivalry.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 4-9


Week 15 vs. Dallas (away), Sunday, December 18
Dallas Cowboys are coming off an awful season in which they twice lost their starting quarterback to injury, with the last proving season-ending. Assuming Tony Romo is healthy the Cowboys should win this game on the road. Supposing the Cowboys have to play without Tony Romo the Bucs will certainly fancy their chances. Working on the former assumption, we’re shading this as a loss of our NFL picks.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 4-10


Week 16 vs. New Orleans (away), Saturday, December 24
It’s the second meeting between this pair in three weeks. The Bucs served up a stunner at the Superdome last season, shocking the Saints and NFL betting markets when they won 26-19. It was even more surprising given the fact that it was week 2 of the season and Jameis Winston, playing in only his second pro-game, was coming off a horrendous loss to Marcus Mariota and the Titans in week 1. In any event, it would be crazy to assume the Bucs pull off another stunner at the Superdome, right?

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 4-11


Week 17 vs. Carolina, Sunday, January 1
Loss. Loss. Loss. How can it be anything but a loss at the Bank of America? The Panthers are the NFC South champs and the popular NFL pick in various NFL betting circles to top the NFC Conference as the favourites at +400 (a position they jointly share with the Seattle Seahawks in outright betting markets mind). If all goes to plan, the Panthers should be playoff bound by now and looking to close the season strong.

NFL Picks: Loss
Record 4-12


NFL Season Win Total Predictions. Clearly, we’re nowhere nearly as optimistic as the NFL betting markets are where the Bucs are concerned. By our game-by-game preview, the 7.5 season win total does seem overcooked. On one hand, the Bucs did finish 6-10 last season but it was behind a very easy NFL schedule in the context of the league. What’s more, the bulk of their opponents experienced huge struggles of their own for various reasons. Having a much tougher schedule in 2016 only makes a repeat of 6-10 SU quite a tough ask, never mind cracking the 7.5 season win total. As such, we’re shading the UNDER 7.5 for our NFL picks with the -140 NFL odds that represent the best price currently trading at sportsbooks.

Free NFL Picks: UNDER 7.5 at -140

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