It is always interesting to see what Las Vegas thinks of your team heading into the season. Vegas is usually spot on in terms of what they predict. As of today, Vegas has their Super Bowl odds out, division winner odds, conference winner and each team’s win/loss total. We will get to all of those, but first I want to start off with the win total.
Heading into the 2018 season, Vegas has set the Buccaneers win total at 6.5, which is down from 8.5 last year. However, over 6.5 wins is the favorite in the betting world. When the odds originally came out, I was a bit surprised. I expected it to be 7.5 or maybe even 8.5. The first thought that popped in my head was, “how can a team who improved in so many different areas, only be projected to win 6.5 games?” Well, I thought about it for a second and found the answer right away. Vegas doesn’t believe in head coach Dirk Koetter to turn things around after an abysmal 5-11 season, and to be honest, it’s hard to blame them. They also haven’t bought into Jameis Winston as he heads into his fourth season. Some other reasons for the low projection, is that Tampa Bay has the fourth toughest schedule in 2018 and also plays in the best division in football.
Tampa Bay isn’t the only team projected at 6.5 wins. The Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears and the New York Jets are also at 6.5. Tampa Bay is clearly better then every single one of those teams and it’s really not even close, but it goes to show you what Vegas really thinks of Dirk Koetter. If I were to place a bet, I am taking the over of 6.5 all day. So many things went wrong last season and the team still managed to win five games. With all the additions, and a healthy Jameis Winston, I would be shocked if they only won one more game in 2018.
As mentioned before, Tampa Bay plays in the toughest division in football. All three teams outside of Tampa made the playoffs last year and will surely be back in the hunt this season. Vegas currently has the odds at 11/2 for Tampa Bay to win the NFC South. They have the worst odds out of all three teams. New Orleans is 7/4, Atlanta is 2/1 and Carolina is 3/1. Those numbers tell me that Vegas is giving Tampa Bay no chance to win the division.
As far as the conference is concerned, Tampa Bay has 25/1 odds to win the NFC, which is the fifth lowest in the conference. The only teams lower are the Lions, Redskins, Bears and Cardinals. There are a few questionable teams ahead of them, such a the Giants, 49ers and Seahawks. I would give Tampa a better shot to win the NFC then all three of those teams. Talent wise, I think it is worth the risk to throw a little bit of money on this.
For Tampa Bay fans, this will be a real kick in the behind. Every season the ultimate goal is to win the Lombardi Trophy, but in 2018, Vegas is giving the Cleveland Browns the same odds as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There are only seven teams in the entire league that have worse odds than Tampa to hoist the trophy this season.
It would have been interesting to see how Vegas would have reacted to a coaching change. After all, we may still get that opportunity if the team fails to win at least eight games this season.