Oct 8, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate (84) makes a catch against Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers vs Raiders Pick, Preview

It’s the “Gruden Game!” But there’s so much more to Sunday night’s matchup between Jon Gruden’s current team, the Las Vegas Raiders, and his former squad, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Nevada.

Neither team has won a playoff game since they met in Super Bowl XXXVII nearly 18 years ago, but both are above .500 and in playoff contention right now.

With Tampa Bay laying 3.5 points as of press time on Thursday, let’s break it down.

Tampa Bay vs Las Vegas Odds: Raiders +3.5 Total 52 at BetRivers | Matchup Report 

WHY THE BUCS CAN COVER THE SPREAD

Editor Note: This game has been moved to Sunday afternoon after originally being scheduled for Sunday Night.

It’s been a roller-coaster ride early in the Tom Brady era, but they do seem to be putting it all together now. The run defense is absurdly effective and should be able to shut down star Raiders back Josh Jacobs, while that deep, elite pass rush could have a field day with Derek Carr.

It also helps the Bucs’ cause that the entire Raiders offensive line is dealing with a COVID-19 scare this week. Put it all together and it’s hard to imagine Las Vegas scoring many points.

Meanwhile, Brady’s stacked arsenal of weapons is getting healthier and running back Ronald Jones II has finally broken out. He should have a fun time against a Raiders run defense that ranks 31st in DVOA.

WHY THE RAIDERS CAN COVER THE SPREAD

The line has moved across a key number due to the COVID-19 situation with the Raiders, which could lead to plenty of value if it turns out to be a false alarm.

Ultimately, Las Vegas is still getting four points at home, which seems weird considering its 3-2 record. And let’s not forget that the Raiders are coming off a bye week, so they’ve had extra time to prepare for a game Gruden is going to really want.

BUCCANEERS RAIDERS PICK

Too many factors point to the Bucs. If you can buy back a point and grab them with just three points counting against you, consider that to be safe. After all, neither team has been consistent or predictable this season.

But the Raiders did seem to be playing over their head before the bye and now the offensive line is in a potentially awful situation. Throw in some glaring matchups advantages for Tampa Bay’s offense and the Buccaneers have to be.

For what its worth (for you trend believers), there are lots of OVER trends in play here including seven straight vs conference foes and five straight as home dogs for the Raiders, along with 15-3 streaks for the Bucs on Sundays and 20-8 in Tampa Bay’s last 28 road games.

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. He was a lead contributor to an earlier incarnation of NationalFootballPost.com and was happy to return when new management revived the brand in 2020. Based in Toronto, he's covered the NFL since 2008 and has been a national NFL writer at Bleacher Report since 2012. He despises all 32 NFL teams equally but remains a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors. He can be reached at Brad@NationalFootballPost.com

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