Buccaneers 2020 Betting Record
Point Spread: 12-8
They went all in for 2020 and it paid off. The Buccaneers practically changed their name to the Tom Brady Buccaneers in the off-season marquee news, bringing on Tom Terrific and his best friend Rob Gronkowski. They signed Antonio Brown off the street and a one-year layoff.
The result was a trip for a team to a Super Bowl in their own city, followed by a boat parade in celebration of the team’s second Super Bowl victory. But heading into their bye week, it wasn’t clear they would beat their 9½ projected wins for the season, and their opening Super Bowl odds of +1000 seemed stingy.
After losing the season opener to the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay scraped back with three straight wins against subpar competition. They covered the spread in the first two contests but had to comeback from a 17-point deficit to beat the Chargers, doing so by a touchdown while most spreads were 7½.
Nonetheless, that win gave them a lead in the division over the Saints who held the tiebreaker. Going into a short week, they prepared for the first of their handful of primetime games.
Point Spread: 2-2
That game on a short week came against the 4-1 Chicago Bears thought by many to be not as good as their record. Catching just over a field goal, the Bears upset Tampa Bay in that Thursday primetime game, sending them into a tie for the division lead.
They bounced back nicely though, handing the Packers their first loss of the season in a dramatic 38-10 beating, and a 45-20 domination of the Raiders in Las Vegas, easily covering both. But laying a big number against the Giants, they managed only a marginal win.
Still, they held serve with the Saints in their division and looked to close out the divisional series by winning back the other half of the tiebreaker.
Point Spread: 2-2
That did not work out according to plan, as the Saints trounced the Buccaneers 38-3 on Sunday Night Football. The much-ballyhooed start of Antonio Brown didn’t yield much, and the Bucs didn’t come close to covering as three-point dogs.
While they ran the Panthers (and former QB Teddy Bridgewater) out of the building, back-to-back losses to the Rams and the Chiefs left them with a 7-5 record. Looking up at the 10-2 Saints, the Bucs went into their delayed bye week with the prospect of fighting the Bears for a wild-card spot.
(Against the Chiefs, it was a tight contest which would later earn a lot of scrutiny as the pre-match of the Super Bowl, where the Chiefs were laying 3½ points and won 27-24.)
Point Spread: 2-2
Fortunately for Tampa Bay, that final short stretch to end the season came against losing opponents. Playing two against the Atlanta Falcons, one at Detroit and hosting the Vikings, the Bucs plowed through all four, easily covering the number in three of those games.
The wins were not effortless. Kicker Dan Bailey developed a case of the yips, Leonard Fournette was a mysterious healthy scratch one week, and they had to claw back from a 17-point first-half deficit against the Falcons. But they did so, securing a playoff spot in their second-to-last game, and winning out against Atlanta in their finale to edge out the Rams for the number-five seed.
Point Spread: 3-1
Divisional Record: 4-2
Conference Record: 8-4
Wild Card: Buccaneers 31, Washington 23
What was shaping up to being an NFC East redemption story came to a sad end. With Alex Smith, the Washington Football Team earned both the title of the worst division in the league but also some respect heading into the wild-card game as the underdog.
But Smith was unable to play in the game, giving way to Taylor Heinicke who did fight back in garbage time to cover for Washington. Tampa Bay backers only with the best of the number managed a push or a win.
Divisional: Buccaneers 30, Saints 20
As short underdogs against the team that twice owned them during the regular season, the Bucs extracted their revenge against the Saints in a dominating victory led by the defense forcing four turnovers.
Conference Championship: Buccaneers 31, Packers 26
Although they had defeated the Packers 38-10 earlier in the season, that was widely seen as an aberration, a wake-up call that sparked Green Bay into earning the top seed and its right to host the NFC Championship game. The Packers were laying a solid three points.
Tampa Bay dominated the game mainly on defense, but still managed to score 31 points in spite of Tom Brady’s three interceptions. In a widely-criticized second half, the Packers fell flat in their comeback attempt over several fourth-quarter drives.
Super Bowl: Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 9
Still the underdog to the reigning world champs, the Buccaneers put on a clinic against the Chiefs, who were laying a pricey field goal as the favorites of Super Bowl LV. A poorly officiated first half was only the minority of the reason the Chiefs lost, having collapsed in the second half.
The Bucs more than graciously took advantage of Kansas City’s shortcomings, and once again hung 31 on their opponent. The lauded Chiefs’ offense scored only three field goals.
Full Season Grade: A+
Looking Ahead to Next Season
When you win it all, it’s hard to criticize a team for needs, but the price of success usually comes at the cost of free agency. Tampa Bay faces contract negotiations with OLBs Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David, as well as running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Chris Godwin.
They could also use backup at edge pass rusher, or even at running back, and have a comfortable amount of cap space in which to work. (They rank 10th among teams for salary-cap space.) The Bucs, of course, pick dead last in the upcoming draft.
Their offense is stacked with skill-position players as long as they can continue to foot the bill for Tom Brady and whoever else he convinces the general manager to sign. They’ll also return a solid offensive line and should bring back a workable top-tier defense as well.
Predicted Record for 2021 Season: 11-5
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