Redskins-Bucs Betting Preview: Will Alex Smith Keep Pace With Tampa?
Brad Mills, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Alex Smith
Betting odds: Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Spread: Buccaneers -3
- Over/Under: 51
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: After opening at a pick ‘em, this line has gradually moved towards Tampa Bay since Sunday night. At the time of writing the Bucs were getting just more than 50% of bets, but 80%+ of the money, which has helped them move all the way to -3. The Sports Insights’ line predictor tool believes that they’ll move to -3.5, too (see live betting data here). —Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Alex Smith is not known as a gunslinger. In games against opposing quarterbacks who can chuck it, Smith has struggled to cover.
According to our Bet Labs data, Smith is 5-10-2 against the spread in the regular season when facing an opposing offense that is averaging at least 300 passing yards per game. Tampa Bay leads the league in passing, averaging 357 yards per game. — John Ewing
As John noted, Smith and the Redskins face a high-flying Bucs team averaging 28.6 points per game. In Smith’s career, he has faced a team averaging at least 28 PPG on 13 different occasions and is 5-8-1 ATS, failing to cover the spread by 4 PPG. — Evan Abrams
If the Redskins get down early, there may be an opportunity to profit on Washington in the second half.
In his career, Smith is 90-73-10 (55.2%, +12.6 units) against the second-half spread. He is the third-most profitable 2H QB in the NFL behind Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson.
Whether Smith is winning (46-39-2) or losing (45-35-8) at the half, he has been profitable to bettors in the second stanza. — Evan Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Buccaneers’ wide receivers vs. Redskins’ secondary
Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin are perhaps the league’s most dynamic trio of outside receivers, and they have a great matchup. Although the Redskins rank eighth with a Pro Football Focus coverage grade of 77.7, they will likely be without cornerback Quinton Dunbar (shin), who missed Weeks 7-8 and exited Week 9 early after aggravating his leg injury.
Replacing him on the outside will be a combination of Greg Stroman and Danny Johnson, seventh-round and undrafted rookies, respectively, who have allowed a cumulative 15-252-3 receiving line on 22 targets and 142 coverage snaps.
Whenever Evans, D-Jax or Godwin lines up against Stroman or Johnson, the Bucs will have the potential to hit a big play. — Matthew Freedman
Which team is healthier? Bucs
The Bucs aren’t 100% healthy — they sent a bunch of defenders to IR this season — but the only questionable players thought to be at risk of missing Sunday’s matchup are running back Ronald Jones (hamstring), cornerback M.J. Stewart (leg) and defensive end Vinny Curry (ankle).
Meanwhile, the Redskins are arguably the league’s most-injured team. Running back Chris Thompson (ribs, out) will join Paul Richardson (shoulder, IR) on the sideline, while Jamison Crowder (ankle) and Jordan Reed (neck) didn’t manage to get in a full practice on Wednesday or Thursday.
Left tackle Trent Williams (thumb) and right tackle Morgan Moses (knee) could join starting guards Shawn Lauvao (knee, IR) and Brandon Scherff (pec, IR) on the bench.
DFS edge: Evans has largely worked as one of the league’s most-productive receivers this season. Overall, he ranks among the league’s top-10 receivers with 18.45 PPR points per game (10th), 786 receiving yards (5th) and 1,118 air yards (4th).
A potential shadow date with Josh Norman awaits Evans, but that didn’t stop Julio Jones (7-121-1) and Odell Beckham Jr. (8-136-0) from having big games vs. the Redskins.
Having FitzMagic under center also works in Evans’ favor, as the WR has posted an average 5-71-0.3 receiving line with Jameis Winston at quarterback compared to a 5.4-93-0.6 line with Fitzpatrick since 2017.
Bet to watch: Over 51
Buccaneers overs just might be my favorite bet each week for the rest of the season.
The Bucs have a killer combination of high-scoring offense (28.6 points per game) and exploitable defense (34.4 points per game allowed), which has driven an NFL-high seven of their games to the over.
The Bucs are also banged up on defense. Middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (knee, injured reserve) is out, as is backup middle linebacker Jack Cichy (ankle, IR). In the secondary, strong safety Chris Conte (knee, IR) and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder, IR) are out. Slot corner M.J. Steward (foot) missed Week 9 and is questionable to play.
With two exploitable defenses, I like both offenses to score enough combined points to hit the over. — Matthew Freedman
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.