The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) host the Cleveland Browns (2-3-1) on Sunday afternoon in a battle between two teams looking to get back to .500 on the season. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on October 21st at Raymond James Stadium. The game will be televised on CBS.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Bucs listed as 3-point home favorites. That line has remained unchanged changed after early betting, as Tampa Bay is currently available at -3. The total for this matchup is 49.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 7 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Bucs vs Browns Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Cleveland dropped to 2-3-1 on the season last weekend after getting destroyed 38-14 at home by the Chargers. The Browns were badly outplayed on both sides of the ball by Los Angeles, as QB Baker Mayfield had a tough time getting anything going offensively in this third career start. Mayfield has been very inconsistent after starting his career with a bang, as he has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns so far this season while completing just 55.6% of his passes. He certainly hasn’t had a ton of help from his receivers, as no Cleveland pass catcher currently has more than one touchdown catch on the season thus far. Overall, the Browns are averaging just 21.3 points per game (24th) on 366.2 total yards. They have really struggled to move the ball through the air, currently averaging only 228.5 passing yards per game (23rd).
Things haven’t really gone all that much better on the other side of the ball, as Cleveland is currently giving up 25.2 points per game on 406.5 total yards. The Browns have really been exposed on the ground by opposing teams, getting torched for 138.2 rushing yards per game (29th).
The Buccaneers lost their third straight game last weekend after falling just short in a tough divisional game against Atlanta. Tampa Bay led at several points throughout the game and played quite well offensively but couldn’t quite make up for their horrific defense, falling 34-29 to the Falcons. QB Jameis Winston looked fantastic in his second start after returning from a three game suspension to start the season, going 30 for 41 for 395 yards and four touchdowns. As a whole, the Buccaneers are currently averaging 28.2 points per game (8th overall) on 448.2 total yards. Tampa Bay has really moved the ball well through the air, as they currently own the NFL’s best passing offense and are averaging a ridiculous 368.4 yards per game.
There aren’t enough adjectives to fully describe how atrocious the Buccaneers have been defensively so far this season. Tampa Bay is currently dead-last in the NFL in pretty much every defensive category and just fired coordinator Mike Smith on Monday. Opponents are currently averaging 34.6 points per game against the Bucs (32nd overall).
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Tampa Bay -3
It’s tough to put a lot of faith in either of these two teams, as Cleveland has really struggled to score points while Tampa Bay is letting opponents score at will. I think the Buccaneers are the better play in this particular spot for several reasons, including their dominance against the spread over the Browns over the last several meetings (4-0 ATS over the last four games). Baker Mayfield will likely play much better this weekend against a brutal Tampa defense, but I’m still not sure he has enough weapons on offense after the departure of Josh Gordon. Winston has really settled in after Fitzmagic mania to start the year, as he was dominant last weekend and certainly did enough to lead his team to victory on the road over a tough Falcons team.
Click on the link for more free NFL picks from our experts on staff.
Both of these teams have been horrible against the spread lately, as Tampa Bay is 2-5 ATS over their past seven games against teams with a losing record. However, the Browns are just 3-11 ATS in their last fourteen games against teams with a losing record. Cleveland is also 3-10-1 ATS in their last 14 road games and 16-35-1 ATS over their last 52 games overall.
I’m likely going to stay away from this particular matchup, as I don’t trust either of these teams and don’t feel comfortable rolling with Tampa until I see if new defensive coordinator Mark Duffner can turn things around over the next several weeks. However, I have seen enough from the Bucs offense since the beginning of the season to go out on a limb and say that they *should* be able cover the number in this particular spot, especially in front of a rowdy crowd at Raymond James stadium. Tampa Bay has too many offensive weapons with Winston, Evans, Jackson, Godwin and Howard to lose a fourth consecutive game. Albeit reluctantly, I’ll take the Buccaneers.