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Tampa Bay Bucs Betting Odds Preview

After three straight losing seasons, including a 4-12 season a year ago, it was time for a change in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers cleaned house after last season, firing head coach Greg Schiano and his staff.

Not long after former Chicago Bears boss Lovie Smith took over the reins, bringing with him Leslie Frazier to run the defense and Jeff Tedford to run the offense. Tampa Bay has a solid coaching base to turn the corner, but the on-field personnel still appears to need some work to challenge in the NFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds to Win NFC South: +550 at Bovada
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds to Win Super Bowl: 66/1 at Bovada
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Regular Season Win Total: 7 at Bovada
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Props: Mike Evans to Win Offensive ROY 6/1 at Bovada

Tampa Bay began last season with Josh Freeman at quarterback, but that didn’t last long. Mike Glennon actually made the most starts at QB for the Bucs but he’ll begin this season as the backup. To lead the offense Smith brought in Josh McCown. Last season with the Bears McCown turned a Jay Cutler injury into more regular playing time and in eight games put up some solid numbers with 1829 yards passing, 13 touchdowns and one interception.

McCown will still have some pretty good weapons in Tampa Bay. Vincent Jackson will team with newly drafted Mike Evans, giving McCown two very big, quick receivers. The draft also will supply him with a reliable tight end in Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

The Tampa Bay running game was expected to be a major strength last season, but quickly stalled after a season-ending injury to Doug Martin. A torn labrum limited Martin to six games, but now that he’s healthy a return to the form that saw him rush for 1450 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie is expected.

On defense the Bucs surprised people in the offseason when they cut ties with cornerback Darrelle Revis just one season after trading for him. They didn’t take long to replace him, though, as they went out and signed Alterraun Verner who is coming off a breakout season with Tennessee.

Tampa Bay also dipped into the free agent pool to grab veteran defensive end Michael Johnson, who had 11.5 sacks just two years ago with Cincinnati. Despite the veteran signings the biggest piece of the Tampa Bay defense remains linebacker Lavonte David. Last season David had a team-high 144 tackles, eight sacks and six interceptions. He’s also drawn high praise from Lovie Smith, who has compared him to Buccaneers legend and Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks.

Not surprisingly the Bucs were a sinking ship for bettors last season with a 6-10 record ATS. They also were 4-4 ATS at home, 2-6 ATS on the road, and 2-2 ATS as the favorite.

NFC South Odds at Bovada as of August 5
New Orleans Saints -150
Atlanta Falcons +450
Carolina Panthers +450
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +550

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the 2012 season with a 7-9 SU and 9-6-1 ATS record, a step in the right direction from a 4-12 season the year before. Tampa Bay will try to take another step forward and fight for a playoff spot under head coach Greg Schiano this season.

Odds to Win NFC South: +500 at Bovada
Regular Season Win Total: 7.5 at Bovada
Betting Props: Doug Martin to win NFL MVP (66/1) at Bovada

Through the first 10 games of the season last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked great on offense and were looking like the surprise team of 2012. Tampa Bay was 6-4 SU and 8-2 ATS over its first 10 games with the OVER going 7-2-1 over that stretch. But the Buccaneers eventually fizzled down the stretch, finishing 1-5 SU and 1-4-1 ATS with the total going UNDER in five of those six games.

Josh Freeman’s surface numbers of 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns look good, but his 17 interceptions and a few terrible games along the way have people questioning if he is the quarterback that can get this team to the next level. No one is questioning running back Doug Martin after his breakout campaign as a rookie last season in which he rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns and tacked on 472 receiving yards as well. Martin will once again be the primary weapon of the offense.

Tampa Bay finished with the best rushing defense in the league, allowing just 82.5 rushing yards per game. Part of the reason for that was that defenses were having too easy of a time throwing the ball to worry about running it, as the Bucs were dead last in passing yards allowed with 379.9 yards per game. Tampa Bay addressed the issue this offseason by trading for Darrelle Revis, one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. If Revis can return healthy from his knee injury, he should give the defense an immediate boost.

The Buccaneers showed flashes of brilliance last season, and could compete for a wild card spot if they find more consistency in 2013.

NFC South Odds at Bovada as of August 3
Atlanta Falcons +130
New Orleans Saints +150
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +500
Carolina Panthers +550