The Minnesota Vikings travel to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, October 26th in a battle between two of the worst teams in the NFC. The Bucs have won six straight meetings with the Vikings, including a 36-17 road victory in their most recent clash in 2012.
Minnesota (2-5) suffered its third straight loss in a 16-17 setback at Buffalo last week. Tampa Bay (1-5) returns from its bye after getting demolished by Baltimore 17-48 at home two weeks ago.
Kickoff at Raymond James Stadium is scheduled for 1:00 EST Sunday afternoon with FOX providing the television coverage. If you are looking to bet on this game, you’ll find Tampa Bay as a 2.5-point favorite over Minnesota and a total set of 41.5 points.
My Early Lean: Buccaneers -2.5
I always look for good reasons to take teams following their bye weeks. They usually respond well, just as both the Chiefs and Saints did last week while covering their spreads against San Diego and Detroit, respectively. I believe there is some value here in backing the Bucs as only 2.5-point home favorites over the Vikings off their bye.
Tampa Bay had played two great games prior to its 31-point loss to Baltimore. It went into Pittsburgh and won 27-24 before falling in overtime to New Orleans on the road 31-37. Taking the Saints to overtime in the Superdome is no small feat as they simply do not lose there.
Sure, the loss to the Ravens is concerning, but that game got away from them due to big plays by Baltimore. The Bucs actually racked up 364 yards of offense in that loss, which is a very good output against that Baltimore defense. That loss is stuck in the minds of the betting public, which is why I believe there is some value in backing the Bucs here as less than a field goal favorite.
A lot of folks thought that Teddy Bridewater was the savior for Minnesota after he lit up the Falcons in a 41-28 home in on September 28th. He was hurt and didn’t play against Green Bay the next week as the Vikings lost 10-42. Many thought he would pick up right where he left off against an awful Falcons’ defense, but that hasn’t been the case.
The Vikings have been held to an average of 9.5 points per game in back-to-back losses to the Lions and Bills with Bridgewater under center. He went just 23 of 37 passing for 188 yards with three interceptions against the Lions and was sacked eight times. Bridgewater wasn’t any better against the Bills, going 15 of 26 passing for 157 yards with one TD and two picks while getting sacked six times. So, Bridgewater has thrown one TD and five picks in his last two starts while getting sacked 14 times.
The Vikings have been held to an average of 9.5 points per game in back-to-back losses to the Lions and Bills with Bridgewater under center. Bridgewater has thrown one TD and five picks in his last two starts while getting sacked 14 times.
Tampa Bay is a perfect 6-0 SU & 6-0 ATS in its last six meetings with Minnesota. The Vikings are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 road games vs. poor defensive teams that give up 27 or more points per game. The Bucs are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games following three or more consecutive overs. Tampa Bay is 19-6 ATS in its last 25 after gaining 99 or less rushing yards in three straight games. The Bucs are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games following a bye week.