2016 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Season Win Total Prediction
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 6-10 last year, finishing fourth the NFC South for a fifth straight season and missing the playoffs for an eighth straight year. Is there any reason to expect either of those streaks to end in 2016? Tampa has a wins total of 7.5 on NFL odds under new coach Dirk Koetter.
Let’s Take a Closer Look at the 2016 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Season Win Total Prediction
Total Win/Loss Odds Overview
This is no longer Lovie Smith’s team — it’s Koetter’s, which means the clock starts ticking now, as Koetter’s two predecessors got only two years each before they were fired. The pressure is on, including the question of how QB Jameis Winston will produce in his sophomore season.
It was quite a surprise when the Bucs fired Smith since the team improved by four wins last year. But ownership was concerned about the Buccaneers’ regression on defense, the struggles in the secondary, their record the past two seasons, the high number of penalties and the disappointment of some of Smith’s coordinator hires. Smith inherited a bad defense with Tampa Bay. Since the start of 2011, the Bucs’ D ranks second-worst in opponent scoring and last in opponent completion percentage and opponent QBR. The Bucs also were so pleased with the work that Koetter did with Winston that they didn’t want to lose him so they promoted him to head coach. Under Koetter’s direction last season as offensive coordinator, the Bucs finished fifth in the league in offensive yardage — ahead of the New England Patriots.
Why Betting On The Over?
Winston looks like a future superstar and finished second to Rams running back Todd Gurley for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. The former Heisman winner from Florida State had a stellar rookie season, despite throwing a pick six on his very first attempt and just having a terrible first game in the NFL against Tennessee.
Winston passed for 4,042 yards and 22 touchdowns — both franchise records by a rookie — in 16 games after being selected with the top overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. In Week 11 against the Eagles, Winston threw five touchdowns with no interceptions, joining Ray Buivid (Dec. 5, 1937) as the only rookie QB in NFL history to accomplish that feat.
During the 2015 offseason, the Buccaneers chose to decline running back Doug Martin’s option for 2016, basically leaving the young back with a “prove it” season ahead of him. Fortunately, he stepped up in a big way. After a few disappointing seasons, Martin rushed for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns, while also catching 33 balls for 271 yards and another score. Martin was rewarded with a big new contract this offseason.
Even though Koetter has a background in offense, Tampa Bay placed a major focus in the offseason on improving the defense, which allowed the seventh-most points in the league last season. The Bucs added defensive end Robert Ayers and cornerback Brent Grimes in free agency and spent four of their seven draft picks on defense. Mike Smith, the new defensive coordinator, plans to have several players playing multiple positions in a bid to have a faster, more versatile defense. That will start with the pass rush.
Why Betting On The Under?
Wide receiver Louis Murphy suffered a torn ACL in Week 7 against the Redskins and underwent surgery, effectively ending his season. He also did not participate in any of the team’s mandatory minicamp practices. The Bucs really need a No. 3 receiver behind Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, and Murphy has the versatility to line up in the slot and outside, along with starting experience.
Winston needs to improve his decision making in the red zone. Tampa Bay finished with 379.5 yards per game last season but was 20th in the league in points per game (21.4), making all those big plays futile too often. Winston had the league’s second-worst red-zone efficiency — completing 42 percent of his passes there — and the team was 22nd (52.9 percent) in red zone conversion.
The NFL didn’t do the Bucs any favors with a tough start with back-to- back road games at Atlanta and Arizona, a home game against defending Super Bowl champion Denver, and a Monday night game at Carolina in the first five weeks of the season. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Bucs go 1-4 during that stretch. The Bucs also have two West Coast trips (San Francisco and San Diego) and play host to Seattle the week before leaving for San Diego.
My Betting Prediction
This team is definitely on the right track. Go over the total in mobile NFL betting as the Bucs will go 8-8 and finish second in the NFC South.