Flush off a Week 11 bye, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are raring to get back into the thick of the playoff race down the stretch. Standing in their way of a third straight win that would move them above .500 are the underwhelming Cleveland Browns (3-7), whose 2022 campaign is hanging by the slimmest of threads.
As per the betting online odds, the Buccaneers (5-5) are the firm road favorites priced at -170 on the moneyline compared to the hosts at +148. The point spread is set to a field goal while the total is pinned to 42 points.
Read on as we preview Sunday’s matchup between the Buccaneers and Browns for our weekly lock bet NFL predictions below. You might be surprised by the side we’re locking down for our bets.
Buccaneers vs Browns NFL Odds & Lines
- Spread: Buccaneers -3 (-110)
- Moneyline: Buccaneers -170 | Browns +148
- Over/Under: O42 (-110) | U42 (-110)
Brissett’s Last Hurrah
Brissett is coming off one of his better statistical performances of the season, throwing for 324 passing yards (his first time above 300 in 2022) and three touchdowns in Week 11. However, it wasn’t enough to beat the Buffalo Bills and the Browns succumbed to their second straight loss and seventh of the season.
Cleveland isn’t where it hoped to be at this point of the season despite the efforts of journeyman quarterback Brissett. Through 11 weeks, the Browns find themselves off-pace in the AFC North and several spots out of the conference’s playoff frame.
The Browns’ salvation (slim as it is) won’t fall on the affable 29-year-old Brissett’s shoulders. His time is nearing its end. That was always the nature of his awkward gig as the temporary No. 1 starter for the Browns, the 11-game placeholder until Deshaun Watson’s suspension expires.
Ironically, Brissett’s final start brings him full circle, pitting him against the quarterback [Tom Brady] he backed up in his first year in the NFL with the New England Patriots in 2016. The non-ironic nature of this matchup, though, is the way the NFL betting markets stack up against the Browns, installing the Buccaneers as the clear-cut road favorites.
— Stephen (@Scuba_Steve26) November 23, 2022
Buccaneers Look to Keep Momentum Going
It’s been tough sledding this season for Brady and Co., but things appear to be finally coming together for them as they enter Week 12 riding the momentum of a two-game winning streak.
The Buccaneers defeated the Los Angeles Rams 16-13, getting revenge for last season’s playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champions. They extended that winning form with a 21-16 win at the expense of the surprisingly hot Seattle Seahawks in Munich, Germany.
Tampa Bay is in first place in the NFC South behind a modest 5-5-0 record. However, its advantage is negligible. With the Atlanta Falcons (5-6) and New Orleans Saints (4-7( both winning in Week 11 and closing the gap in the table, the pressure is well and truly on the Buccaneers to continue their positive run of form.
22 years ago today, Tom Brady made his first career pass in the NFL.
The rest is history 🐐 pic.twitter.com/Ee5FoxheIZ
— ESPN (@espn) November 23, 2022
Buccaneers vs Browns Prediction
Considering the fact that both these teams have had their fair share of struggles in 2022, the sheer size of the NFL line could have some bettors wary. Especially where the Buccaneers are concerned seeing as they’re on the road.
But the reality of it is that the Bucs’ struggles can be chalked to injuries, namely on the offense. Brady hasn’t had a full complement of weapons since the start. The Bucs’ defense, however, is sound and has been throughout. They allow the fewest passing yards, rank fifth against the run and fourth in points allowed at 18.7 ppg.
If we contrast the Browns’ struggles, their concerns run deeper. The first problem is an inconsistent offense. Brissett is an average signal caller and the passing game can only go as far as he can take it. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are powerhouses in the run game, but even the ground game is inconsistent.
And, rather crucially, the Browns’ defense is showing cracks of late. Since Week 3, opponents have been scoring willy-nilly against them, averaging 28.1 ppg. In the last two games, that number has jumped out to 35 ppg on average. Yikes!
Taking all into consideration, the Bucs should come through with the win at FirstEnergy Stadium. They’re the better team all around with the better quarterback, offense and defense.
Backing the Bucs at -170 is a bit pricey (bet $170 to win $100). So, for better value we’re locking down the Bucs here for our NFL picks against the spread to cover as the field goal favorites.
“The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.”