Cincinnati Bengals vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview (12/18/22): Betting Odds, Prediction, Depth Chart

Last year the Bengals were one of the worst teams to ever make it to the Super Bowl. This year? They are a serious Super Bowl contender behind the backs of an elite offense that is run by Joe Burrow. As for Tampa Bay, Tom Brady’s time may be running thin as they have been thoroughly outplayed with their playoff chances on life support. Can the Buccaneers get back on track?

Cincinnati Bengals vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Odds

Oddsmakers don’t think so as they opened Tampa Bay as a +2 underdog. Bettors are in agreement, shooting this number up to as high as 3.5 in some shops. Passing the key number of three was eye opening, but -3 is still out there should you believe in backing the Bengals. Their offense is equipped to exploit the Bucs defense with their high-powered pass attack and revitalized ground game.

Speaking of offense, oddsmakers were hesitant on the idea of points being put on the board by opening the total at 42.5. Bettors were quick to disagree, hitting the over up to as high as 44. This comes as a slight surprise with the way the Bucs offense has looked as of late, stalling out early and often and relying on opposing defenses to play back on a lead late to give the Bucs offense room to operate.

Cincinnati Bengals vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Prediction

The Pick: Bengals -3

With the total in question, my focus will shift to the spread by grabbing the key number of -3 in favor of the Bengals. Their offense is clicking at a consistent rate and their revitalized ground game has truly made this unit even more dangerous. Their offense currently ranks top-10 across the board in both Off Pass and Rush DVOA.

Even without stud receiver Tee Higgins in their last game out, the offense still hummed as they cruised past the Browns 23-10. While the Bucs are a far superior defensive unit in comparison to the lowly Browns, the Bengals should have little issue picking it apart with weapons all over the offense.

Especially if running back Joe Mixon continues to find success, unlocking the full potential of this offense as opposing defenses struggle to respect both offensive approaches. When Mixon finds success on the ground, this forces the defenses to get sucked in and leave star wideouts Chase, Higgins, and Boyd to get ample open opportunities in one-on-one situations.

While elite in all fronts, the Bucs defense has been reeling after getting gouged by Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy. Even with luck factoring in, it was eye opening to see how easily the 49ers could move the ball down the field. I can’t help but imagine the Bengals will have the same success should their offensive line hold up in protecting Burrow, a unit that has vastly improved throughout the year.

Betting Trends

  • Bengals are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 following a straight up win
  • Bucs are 1-9-1 ATS in their last 11 games

Key Injuries

Cincinnati Bengals Injuries: Tee Higgins (Q), Tyler Boyd (Q), Hayden Hurst (Q)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Injuries: N/A

Key Matchups

Can the Bengals defense take advantage of the anemic Bucs offense?

Tom Brady vs Bengals defense

While the Bengals offense should see continued scoring success, it’s their defense that will be the key metric to secure the win. This is a vastly improved unit in comparison to last year, ranking above average in both Def Pass and Rush DVOA. 

They now go against a Bucs offense that has drastically fallen off a cliff in production in comparison to last year. While average in Overall DVOA, they rank near dead last in Off Rush DVOA. Completely abandoning the run game, normally playing from behind after unsuccessful early game production.

It will be vitally important for the Bengals to generate pressure to the backfield as that has been the main catalyst to stopping Tom Brady. By forcing Brady into early low quality throws, this negates the downfield threat that Mike Evans and Chris Godwin possess.

Verdict

With an offense capable of keeping the Bucs defense reeling, I expect the Bengals to continue rolling while they are on their way to a playoff run.

Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart

QB: Joe Burrow
RB1: Joe Mixon
RB2: Samaje Perine
LWR: Jamarr Chase
RWR: Tee Higgins
SWR: Tyler Boyd
TE1: Hayden Hurst

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Depth Chart

QB: Tom Brady
RB1: Leonard Fournette
RB2: Rachaad White
LWR: Mike Evans
RWR: Chris Godwin
SWR: Russell Gage
TE1: Cameron Brate

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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