The Titans and Buccaneers are set to collide in the second round of NFL preseason games this week. Find out where the value bets are to be had as we preview this intriguing clash of potential playoff contenders this season.
Tennessee Titans vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Saturday, August 21, 2021 – 7:40 PM ET at Raymond James Stadium
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Lose Preseason Opener
Tampa Bay’s much anticipated title-defense campaign got off to a disappointing start after they lost 19-14 to the Cincinnati Bengals. Bruce Arian’s side failed to deliver on the NFL odds as the 6-point home chalk. Not least of all, it didn’t provide the best optics for the reigning Super Bowl champions in front of their fans and ahead of the start to their 2021-22 NFL campaign which they’re hoping will ultimately deliver a second straight Super Bowl. By the NFL futures, Tampa Bay is the second-best bet at +600 with DraftKings Sportsbook to win the Lombardi after top faves Kansas City Chiefs at +500.
Having said that it was merely a preseason game. So, there’s really no reason to panic or go to any crazy lengths such as abandoning the ship or the like if the Buccaneers are your choice NFL pick to win SBLVI. Bearing in mind Bruce Arians rested most of his prized starters for the better part of the proceedings – a move adopted by many NFL coaches in these preseason games that generally mean little and have no bearing on the upcoming season – the result was hardly a shocker.
Brady got in a few snaps and went 1-of-2 for 9 measly yards and he took a sack on the last of his snaps. All in all, the regulars played merely one series before giving way to the newbies and other prospective talents looking to clinch a spot on the roster permanently. Journeyman quarterback Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin and rookie Kyle Trask all took turns on the field. Scoring came from Vaughn’s two-yard touchdown early in the first quarter and from an 16-yard interception return by Joe Jones early in the fourth quarter.
Tennessee Titans Get Off To Bright Start
The Titans have been consistent over the last two seasons, ever since Ryan Tannehill took over the reins. The Titans were eliminated in 20-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the playoffs last season. According to top online sportsbooks, they’re one of the season’s contenders, albeit tipped modestly at +3000 to win SBLVI.
Mike Vrabel’s Titans got off their preparations for 2021 off to a stellar start behind a commanding 23-3 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on the road – a win that went against the NFL odds when all was said and done. The Titans entered the game as the 2.5-point road underdogs only to crush the point spread without so much as a squeak from the Falcons.
While the Titans fielded a watered down side, they nevertheless proved to be the more disciplined and controlled team through all three phases of the game, which largely accounted for the lopsided victory. Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill didn’t feature in this game. In his stead, Logan Woodside and Matt Barkley took turns and both showed some positives for Vrabel to take into consideration. Woodside went 10-of-15 for 84 yards and a touchdown while Barkley went 5-of-8 for 54 yards and a touchdown.
The real story of the game though was the defense, which imposed its will on the Falcons with impunity. Defense was a problem last year for Tennessee, especially the pass rush. Against the Falcons, the Titans recorded five sacks for a loss of 31 yards for Atlanta.
On the downside, the Titans didn’t leave the game without injury. Backup running back Darrynton Evans injured his knee in the first quarter, while DE Trevon Coley, S Brady Breeze and LB B.J. Bello were forced out of the game with various injuries.
NFL Preseason Odds and Lines
For a second straight week the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host a preseason game in front of their delighted fans who are still basking in the glow of their Super Bowl victory. Bookmakers tip Tampa Bay as the faves in money-line betting and as the standard field-goal home chalk at DraftKings Sportsbook. The total, in the meanwhile, is project to 37 points with OVER favoured at -115 and the UNDER priced at -105.
NFL Predictions and Picks
Where are the value NFL picks to be had? Well, as with all these preseason games, much is up in the air. A lot depends on coaching decisions and the physicality and intensity with which each team approaches this clash.
Both teams are due to hold joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday and those sessions will shed further light on this matchup, at least as far as the Buccaneers are concerned. Arians made it clear any roster decisions are going to be made after those two practices, suggesting he’s unlikely trot out his starters if midweek practices are too physical or intense. Arians was cautious in week 1, so if he were to be cautious again it wouldn’t be surprising.
Vrabel wasn’t as cautious in Tennessee’s preseason opener as his counterpart was, but it remains to be seen whether he adopts a cautious approach this time around. Indeed, Vrabel’s side sustained some costly injuries which would suggest winning this game won’t be as important as getting out of it unscathed.
Bearing in mind the Bucs did have a pretty intimidating defense last season, Vrabel might take a page from the “play it cautious” book and go easy with his selections at the weekend. He’s suggested that a few newbies, who’d sat out week 1 against the Falcons, would get a turn on the field. That level of inexperience could be a factor.
All told, everything about this game right now feels like it might be a bit of a scuffle that will result in a low-scoring affair. Thus, the choice bet is to take the UNDER 37 in total betting markets.
NFL Pick: UNDER 37 (-105) with DraftKings