Buccaneers vs Vikings Pick, Odds, Prediction | NFL Week 1
Getty Images. Pictured: Baker Mayfield (left) and Kirk Cousins (right).
Buccaneers vs Vikings Odds
Buccaneers vs. Vikings odds have the home team, Minnesota, installed as a five-point favorite.
The Buccaneers face a tall task this season in their first year without Tom Brady. Baker Mayfield is taking over at quarterback for Tampa Bay as he continues to try to revive his career. Meanwhile, the Vikings are coming off a 13-win campaign. Can they keep it going in 2023 without Dalvin Cook and possibly regression in the luck department?
Let's make our Buccaneers vs. Vikings pick for NFL Week 1.
It feels like everyone is radically bearish on the Bucs despite their roster not being wildly different from 2022. Obviously, quarterback is the most important position and they are moving on from arguably the greatest of all time in Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield, but this still projects to be a top-10 defense and an offense that is fairly loaded at the skill positions.
Questions remain about the offensive line, but Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage combine to form one of the better WR trios in the NFL. Defensively, the Bucs finished 13th in DVOA and 11th in EPA despite ranking 22nd in adjusted games lost. The core of the defense remains intact with front-7 studs like Lavonte David, Vita Vea and Shaq Barrett, as well as secondary players like Jamel Dean, Antoine Winfield and Carlton Davis.
As for the Vikings, it's been harped on constantly just how lucky they were in 2022 — they finished 27th in DVOA and 15th in point differential, but won 13 games. This team is poised for general regression after going 11-0 in one-score games last season.
I was unimpressed with their offseason additions. They let veterans like Za'Darius Smith, Patrick Peterson, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Eric Kendricks walk and really only added ED Marcus Davenport and slot-CB Byron Murphy.
Bet Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota at FanDuel
Murphy and Davenport are solid and have potential, but they aren’t going to change the fundamental outlook of the defense. The Vikings completely overhauled their secondary as they will be starting an almost entirely new cornerback room. This is not a recipe for success against the Bucs receivers. Keep an eye on whether the Bucs target Viking linebackers in coverage. Minnesota struggled to defend receiving backs, ranking 22nd in DVOA against RB passes.
The Vikings will be relying on Jordan Hicks and Brian Asamoah. Hicks was 52nd out of 70 LBs in coverage grade in 2022, and Asamoah only played 122 snaps his rookie year. This could be an edge for Tampa as it has one of the best route-running RBs in Rachaad White. White was 12th receiving grade last season, according to PFF.
Offensively, the Vikings have done nothing to convince me that their run game will be improved. Their offensive line finished second in both blown blocks on passing plays and running plays in 2022, according to Sports Info Solutions, and they also finished 25th in Adjusted Line Yards, according to Football Outsiders. Alexander Mattison isn’t going to be able to overcome being hit at or behind the line of scrimmage.
This is a terrible matchup for the Vikings' run game as the Bucs defensive front finished the year eighth in adjusted line yards despite missing Vita Vea for four games. The Bucs added DT Calijah Kancey in the first round of the draft, so it is clear they want to continue to be dominant up front.
If the Vikings can’t generate some semblance of a run game, they could spend the entire night in 3rd-and-long — a recipe for disaster against Tampa's elite pass rush.
Buccaneers vs. Vikings
Betting Picks & Predictions
This is best WR corps Baker Mayfield has played with in his career and I expect him to be good enough against an extremely young Vikings defense. Mayfield has been a disaster throughout much of his NFL career, but he has shown glimpses of competence and did have a great season back in 2020.
We aren’t asking Mayfield to be Patrick Mahomes here, as I think the Bucs defense will be able to anchor the team and keep the game close.
As long as Mayfield can avoid turnovers, I expect the Bucs to be in this game and have a chance to win. I will be on them at +6 and will be sprinkling the moneyline.
Fade the overrated Vikings and back a talented Bucs team that no one seems to believe in.