NFL Betting Preview: Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
The situation strongly favors Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers are coming off a bye and are playing at home for the second consecutive game, whereas the Vikings are on the road for the second consecutive week. Tampa Bay is coming off a humiliating 48-17 home loss to Baltimore that resulted in the mass exodus off paying ticket holders at halftime. “We are a better football team. That game didn’t say that,” coach Lovie Smith said. “But we’re doing some good things, better things behind the scenes, and hopefully we’re going to put it together and we’ll eventually see that in a game.”
Minnesota arrives in town with an anemic offense that is averaging 17.1 points per game at 5.2 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 5.7 yards per play to a mediocre offensive squad. The Vikings are incapable of throwing the ball as they are averaging just 5.6 yards per pass play against teams that would combine to allow 7.0 yards per pass play. Put Minnesota on foreign soil and its quarterbacks are averaging a woeful 5.2 yards per pass play this season.
One of the biggest reasons for Minnesota’s offensive struggles has been its offensive line, which has allowed nineteen sacks over the last three weeks. In fact, Minnesota’s gunslingers have amassed a pathetic 46.8 Quarterback Rating over the span against teams that would allow a 94.4 Quarterback Rating. Overall, Tampa Bay’s defense, which is 0.2 yards per play worse than average, possesses a 0.3 yards per play advantage over the Vikings’ attack.
Tampa Bay should have success moving the ball against a Vikings’ stop unit that is allowing 4.5 yards per rush play, 7.0 yards per pass play and 5.9 yards per play on the road. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are averaging an impressive 5.8 yards per play at home, while also garnering 5.3 yards per play on the ground. Overall, Tampa Bay has a significant advantage on the ground against Minnesota’s front seven, and I fully expect coach Smith to have implemented a run-heaving offensive game plan for today’s game.
From a technical standpoint, Minnesota is a money-burning 1-7-1 ATS in its last nine October games and 2-8 ATS in its last ten games in Week Eight of the regular season. The Vikings have also dropped six straight games in the series, including going 0-6 at Raymond James Stadium where they have been outscored 190-105. With Tampa Bay standing at a profitable 6-2 ATS following a bye week, take the Buccaneers on the money line and invest with confidence.
NFL Betting Preview & Free Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) (-110)
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