Minnesota finally gets back on the field in the week 1 Buccaneers at Vikings betting matchup after suffering a first round home playoff loss last year to the Giants. That was a disappointing end to a 13-4 season for Minnesota, but there were also many people who thought that record was a fluke considering the team was 11-0 in games decided by one score.
The Vikings are -5 point favorites in Sunday’s season opener with 60% of public betting on the home team. That percentage actually seems kind of low, because not many people are expecting a whole lot from Tampa Bay in 2023 after Tom Brady has (finally) retired in the offseason. The Bucs were just 8-9 last season, but that was still good enough to win the NFC South.
Why Tampa Bay Has Value at +5
The line is moving away from the Bucs from a +7 open, which means there is some money on the visitors on Sunday. Sure, the instant Hall of Famer Brady has called it quits – but the 45 year old threw just 25 TDs last season after tossing 40+ in his first two years with Tampa Bay.
In Brady’s place steps Baker Mayfield, who may benefit from the stability that comes from being the clear cut #1 QB all preseason. Mayfield hit 63.6% of his passes in his four games with the Rams last year – not an easy task learning a system on the fly.
Mayfield will have some weapons on Sunday with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both healthy, and he gets to face a team that allowed more points (427) than they scored (424) despite their 13-4 record.
Why Minnesota Has Value at -5
Minnesota is going to come into the week 1 Buccaneers at Vikings betting matchup with a chip on their shoulder, because all they heard all offseason was how their 13-victory season was a fluke because they were on the winning side of so many close games. Instead of being scoffed at, that feat is actually impressive considering coach Kevin O’Connell was in his first season at the helm and he should be even better in year two.
Anybody who watched “Quarterback” on Netflix saw that Kirk Cousins was pretty banged up towards the end of last season, but he still went 31/39 for 273 yards and 2 TDs in the playoff loss to the Giants. Cousins has had an offseason of rest, looking to build on his 4,547 yard output in 2022.
Are the Bucs going to have an answer for WR Justin Jefferson? Tampa Bay did have the league’s 10th best pass defense last year but Jefferson transcends matchups after averaging 106.4 yards/game last year. Minnesota has also added WR Jordan Addison out of USC and has given TE T.J. Hockenson a contract extension so they have weapons.
Free Week 1 Buccaneers at Vikings Betting Pick
This is a game that Minnesota should win fairly easy at home, but it also feels like one of those contests that Tampa Bay somehow covers. It’s a surprise that “only” 60% of the betting public is on the Vikings in this spot, because who is really expecting much from Mayfield and the Bucs in 2023? The side has a scary feel to it, so playing the odds of a higher scoring game seems to be the way to go.
Free Pick: Over 46