To say that the Detroit Lions have had their way with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of late would be a massive understatement. To put things into terminology that fits the scenario, you could accurately say that the Lions have simply plundered the Bucaaneers with virtual impunity. Detroit has won two in row and four of the last five games straight up from the Buccaneers. They are 5-2 in their last seven against the Bucs. At Tampa Bay, the Lions have come away winners in their last three visits.
From a betting perspective, it's also been all Detroit. The Lions are 10-2 against the spread in their last dozen games against the Buccanneers. On their road trips to Tampa Bay, the Lions are on a 6-0 run against the spread. And the Lions are putting up points in these games as well. In their last six road games, the Lions have gone over four times. Detroit was a solid over play all during the 2017 NFL season, going 10-5-1 on the over/under.
Shared Misery - The Cleveland Browns were 0-16 during the 2017 season, but they didn't do anything that both the Lions and Buccaneers weren't familiar with. The Buccaneers were an expansion team in 1976, and they endured a first season to forget, going 0-14. The Bucs were shutout in their first two games and in five games during their lost season. They never scored over 20 points in a game all season long and held opponents under 20 points on just two occasions. Tampa Bay's losing streak eventually reached 26 games.
In 2008, things looked promising for the Lions after they were 4-0 in preseason play. But it was fool's gold. The Lions went 0-16 during the regular season, allowing 517 points, the second-most ever permitted by a team in NFL history. Detroit's points per game allowed average of 32.31 was third-worst in the NFL since 1960. Eight times the offense failed to score 20 points. The 0-16 campaign was part of a longer stretch that saw the Lions go 5-47, the worst 52-game record in league history.
Dead Even - In the past 11 games between Tampa Bay and Detroit, the Buccaneers own a slight 6-5 edge straight up, while the Lions show a solid 9-2 advantage against the spread. Tampa Bay won four games in Detroit. Detroit won three games at Tampa Bay. On the scoreboard in those 11 games, the difference couldn't be much thinner between these two teams. Detroit has scored an average of 21.2 points per game during the 11-game run. Tampa Bay has posted an exact 21 points per game over the same span of time.
Winston Worries - The more Jameis Winston gets into his NFL career as the Tampa Bay quarterback, the more concern he seems to give the Buccaneers brass, both on and off the field. Winston will miss the first three games of the 2018 regular season under NFL suspension for a groping incident involving an Uber driver, the latest brush with the law for Winston in a troubling past that extends back to his Florida State days. This is the fifth legal or disciplinary issue involving Winston since 2012.
On the field, his numbers are also alarming. The Buccaneers are 1-9 straight up in Winston's last 10 starts and 2-7-1 against the spread. He was intercepted 11 times last season, and has been picked off 44 times in 45 career NFL games. Winston also led the NFL in 2017 with 15 fumbles. He's fumbled 31 times in three NFL seasons, and 25 times in the past two seasons. On those fumbles, Winston has turned the ball over to the opposition 17 times.
If you are a believer in lost causes, Bovada has Winston at odds of +6000 to be named the NFL's MVP in 2018. He's also been assigned odds of +15000 to lead the league in passing yardage. BetOnline puts Winston at +12500 to lead the league in passing and +3300 to be NFL MVP. Over at MyBookie, you'll get odds of +4000 to play on Winston earning the MVP award and +1800 on him topping NFL QBs in passing yardage. Bet365 sets the odds on Winston leading the NFL in touchdown passes at +6600.
It's Fitz - With Winston sidelined due to disciplinary reasons for the first three games of the regular season, if betting on Tampa Bay games is something you have in mind early this season, then you might want to do some scouting during the preseason of his backup, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick, 35, does have a history of successful pinch-hitting during his NFL career. He started three games last season and was 2-1 with seven TD passes and three interceptions. But for his career Fitzpatrick is 48-70-1 as a starter.
Matt Man - The Lions have no such concerns under center. Matthew Stafford is coming off another solid year as Detroit's quarterback, but he's not getting much sunshine from the oddsmakers when it comes to the wagering odds governing QB opportunties. Stafford, who threw for 29 touchdowns last season, is the co-ninth betting choice at Bovada to lead the NFL in TD passes this season at +1600. He's given a much better chance at leading the league in passing yardage, slotted in as the fifth betting choice at +1000.
Bovada puts Stafford well down the list in their future book on the NFL MVP. He's the co-13th choice in the wagering at +3300. Bet365 offers a prop bet on Stafford's passing yardage for 2018, setting the total at 4250.5 yards. You'll get -125 odds if you bet the over and -110 should you play the under. Stafford threw for 4446 yards in 2017. Bet365 has Stafford at +1400 to lead the NFL in TD passes and +1200 to top the NFL in passing yardage. He's at +3300 to be the NFL's MVP.
Zeke's Sacks - During the 2015 NFL season, Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah finished third in the NFL with 14.5 quarterback sacks and looked ready to be a dominant defensive performer for years to come. But when he recorded just two sacks in 2016, some wondered whether Ansah was a one-hit wonder. In 2017, Ansah tied for eighth in the NFL with 12 sacks, so is he on the rebound to greater things? If you think so, Bet365 has a wager for you. They've pegged Ansah at +1400 to lead the NFL in sacks this season.