2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Preview
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a chance a couple of years ago on a young head coach and young quarterback, and they lost. Now, after a disastrous 2011 season, the coach is gone, replaced by former Rutgers HC Greg Schiano, although the QB is still there. Schiano’s objective will be to coach up Josh Freeman a bit, surround him with a little more talent, and improve on defense. Can all that be done in one season? Not likely. But then again, the Bucs have been one of the more schizophrenic teams of recent seasons, going from 9-7 to 3-13 to 10-6 to 4-12 just in the last four years. So maybe they’re due for a rebound.
Last Season in Review
Tampa Bay actually started 3-1 last year, and after upsetting New Orleans in Week 5 they sat at 4-2. But that was it; after that the Bucs did not win another game, instead losing their last 10 in a row. And we can’t even say they were losing close games, because eight of their losses came by 11 or more points. We can say, though, that they played a tough schedule, with eight games vs. teams that eventually made the playoffs, plus games vs. the Bears, Titans, Cowboys and two against Cam Newton and the Panthers.
Tampa ranked 21st in the league in offense last year at 319 YPG, but just 30th in rushing at 91 YPG.
Defensively the Bucs ranked 30th overall at 394 YPG, and dead last vs. the run, allowing 156 YPG on the ground.
So overall Tampa ranked 31st in total yardage at -75 YPG and last in total rushing at -65 YPG.
Around the league last year teams that got outrushed covered the spread just 31 percent of the time. Tampa, by no coincidence, went 4-12 ATS last year.
Also, as Bucs games averaged 49 points, seventh-most in the league, they played 10-6 on the totals.
Individually Freeman, in his third season as a pro, completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,600 yards last season, but his 16 TD passes were overshadowed by his 22 INTs.
Tampa was busy this off-season, parting ways with TE Kellen Winslow, their starting center, a starting LB and two starting safeties, and adding WR Vincent Jackson, former Saints OG Carl Nicks, TE Dallas Clark and former Lions CB Eric Wright.
Then at the draft they used the seventh overall pick on Alabama S Mark Barron, the 31st pick on Boise State RB Doug Martin and the 58th pick on Nebraska LB Lavonte David. All three should step right in and start.
But the Bucs took a hit when DE Da’Quan Bowers, who led the team in tackles for losses last year, popped an Achilles over the off-season; he might be out for the year.
2012 Buccaneers Schedule
Going by last year’s W/L records Tampa will play the sixth-easiest schedule in the league this season. But to our eyes it looks tougher than that. They’ve got six games against teams that made the playoffs last year, plus dates with Dallas, San Diego and Philly. Their first two road games are at the Giants and Cowboys, and during the second half of the season they go Chargers-Panthers-Falcons-Broncos-Eagles-Saints. They’ll be very lucky to split those six games.
2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Odds and Prediction
BetDSI is listing the Buccaneers at +1200 to win the NFC South this season, 35/1 to win the NFC and 75/1 to win the Super Bowl, while Bookmaker has tagged Tampa with a regular-season wins ‘over/under’ of six (O -130/U even).
The Bucs have a new head coach and new coordinators; the defense was terrible last year, and might not be any better this year; and they had a helluva time trying to run the ball. But as crazy as this sounds, there might be some value at that +1200 price on Tampa to win the NFC South this season.