The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV, the second in the organization’s history and first since 2003. Let’s have a look at what lies ahead for the Buccaneers so you can plan your bets against their NFL Team Totals odds.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ready for Another HUGE Year: Season Betting Preview
Defending the Crown
The Bucs managed to capture the Lombardi Trophy in their first season with 43-year-old Tom Brady under center and second with Head Coach Bruce Arians. The Bucs made moves throughout the season for Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, and Leonard Fournette, among others, all of which proved to be invaluable throughout the postseason.
Not only did Tampa Bay dominantly win the Super Bowl, but they also became the first defending champion to bring back all 22 starters for the following season— they are the team to beat in 2021, having enjoyed their first full offseason together and gotten more practice with one another.
The NFC South
The Saints will be playing without Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, who retired this offseason. Former first-overall draft pick Jameis Winston is expected to get the starting nod, with Taysom Hill serving as an off-speed pitch. New Orleans is known for their high-scoring offense but has built one of the most productive defensive units in the league and will back themselves against any team.
The Falcons traded All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans on June 7, leaving Calvin Ridley as Matt Ryan’s premier target. The Falcons were terrible on defense, allowing the most passing yards per game to their opponents; they are still a far cry from being competitive atop the division, and expectations should be low.
The Panthers acquired QB Sam Darnold in a trade with the New York Jets, allowing Teddy Bridgewater to sign with the Denver Broncos in the process. The return of a healthy Christian McCaffrey will improve the Carolina offense tremendously, but Darnold will have to take a third-year leap to make any noise in the playoff conversation.
Schedule and Predictions
Tampa’s over/under has been set at 11.5 wins in a 17-game season; they finished 11-5 last season, suggesting that the oddsmakers think they will have the same kind of season, just with an extra game on the schedule.
Excluding divisional matchups, Raymond James Stadium will play host to the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and Buffalo Bills. Of these, they should take down the Bears and Giants comfortably, but I do not think that Brady will match the scoring of Josh Allen and the Bills. I am less confident in the Cowboys and Dolphins games, but I think they will win their opener against Dallas and drop a disappointing result to the Dolphins in Week Five.
The Bucs will hit the road for bouts with the Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team, Indianapolis Colts, and New York Jets. The easy wins on this list are against the Eagles and the Jets, although the rest are unappealing propositions—Washington played Tampa Bay tighter than anyone else in the playoffs and proved that they could hang with the best, ending Pittsburgh’s 11-0 streak last season. I also suspect that the Rams will hold serve at home, though I think Brady steals a close one in his return to Foxborough and beats the Colts in Indy.
The Bucs would be at seven wins before counting divisional games, meaning that they would have to go 5-1 against their rivals to hit the over; I suspect they will do exactly that, losing to New Orleans at home in Week 15 as Jameis Winston gets his revenge by throwing a party in his old stomping ground. This would put Tampa Bay at 12-5 and atop the NFC South heading into the postseason.
I would back Tampa Bay to reach over 11.5 wins in 2021, following the results of the schedule breakdown. I think Tom Brady might take a LeBron James-like approach of easing through the regular season and turning it on in spurts, but largely saving himself for the postseason. Giovani Bernard will help a lot in third-down passing situations, which the Bucs will continue to be great in.
The NFC South used to be one of the fiercest divisions in football but is nowhere near that anymore, and only the Saints could rival the Bucs for first place. Bet on Tampa to hit the over and take the division easily.