The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are headed to Nissan Stadium in Nashville this weekend, as they will face the Tennessee Titans in a matchup of two teams seeking their first preseason win. Join us for our NFL preseason odds series, where our Buccaneers-Titans prediction and pick will be revealed.
Tampa Bay rallied from nine points down to take a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter last week against the Miami Dolphins. However, the Buccaneers were held scoreless for the final 19-plus minutes, with a 53-yard field goal by Miami kicker Jason Sanders with under seven minutes left being the difference in a 26-24 game.
Tennessee also dropped its preseason opener, as the offense stalled out after showing early promise. After taking a 10-7 lead in the second quarter, the Titans were shut out for the final 2 1/12 quarters of a 23-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
NFL Preseason Odds: Buccaneers-Titans Odds
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: + 3 (-115)
Tennessee Titans: -3 (-105)
Over: 38 (-110)
Under: 38 (-110)
Why The Buccaneers Could Cover The Spread
Given how many key pieces Tampa Bay was missing against the Dolphins — including star quarterback Tom Brady, who won’t be playing again on Saturday — a two-point loss doesn’t seem all that bad. After a forgettable 2021 preseason, Kyle Trask started 2022 on a positive note while filling in for Brady. The former Heisman Trophy finalist took the bulk of the snaps, completing 25 of 33 passes for 258 yards with one touchdown and an interception, while Blaine Gabbert completed all five of his pass attempts for 56 yards and a score. Adding to the optimism for Tampa Bay quarterbacks is the fact that the Titans gave up 259 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions on 80% passing last week while going up against Baltimore’s backups.
On the other side of the ball, Tennessee’s inability to score in three of four quarters against the Ravens highlights an opportunity for a Tampa Bay defense that struggled plenty itself last week to get back on track. More playing time for rookie quarterback Malik Willis or returning start Ryan Tannehill would seem to give the Titans a boost offensively, but it’s uncertain how much either will play. Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel had yet to name a starter as of Friday morning.
Why The Titans Could Cover The Spread
While a 13-point loss to the Ravens generates some concern, it’s also worth noting that Baltimore has been an elite preseason team in recent years, with its win over the Titans marking its 21st straight in the preseason. Tennessee’s offense seemed to click — at least more than the rest of the game — when Willis was on the field, scoring all 10 of their points while the rookie passed for 107 yards and rushed for 38 yards and a touchdown in about two-quarters worth of work. Going up against a defense that allowed Miami backup quarterback Skylar Thompson to throw for 218 yards and a touchdown without an interception last week will only help his chances of having a strong performance.
Tannehill, who didn’t play in the team’s first preseason game, had a solid week of practice. The veteran completed 38 of 52 passes during the 7-on-7 and team periods of this week’s joint practices and threw four consecutive touchdown passes on Thursday during 7-on-7 red zone situations. The ideal scenario for Tennessee bettors would be for Tannehill to start and play significant snaps, with Willis handling the bulk of the duties in the second half or middle quarters. Third-stringer Logan Woodside struggled when on the field last week, throwing two interceptions with no touchdowns while completing less than 60% of his passes and averaging just 4.25 yards per attempt.
Tampa Bay will be missing Julio Jones on Saturday, while fellow receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage didn’t practice this week. Standout right tackle Tristan Wirfs also left practice early on Thursday, meaning plenty of unproven players will be called upon to play notable roles against the Titans.
Final Buccaneers-Titans Prediction & Pick
The uncertainty regarding several key players’ availability on both sides makes picking either team to cover the spread, or cash on the money line, a difficult choice. If Tannehill does start, the Titans seem to have a notable edge, given the Buccaneers won’t have their starter, and Woodside will likely see the field less for Tennessee. With that still being up in the air as of Friday morning, though, it might be best to wait for an official decision to be announced before making a play on the spread. With two defenses that gave up a combined 49 points last week, a Tampa Bay offense that racked up 389 yards, and Willis potentially receiving more action, the over appears to be the safest bet here.
Final Buccaneers-Titans Prediction & Pick: Over 38 (-110)