Tom Brady earned his first win in a Buccaneers uniform last Sunday by taking down the Carolina Panthers and is now trying to start up a little winning streak when he brings Tampa Bay into Denver to take on the Broncos. Vic Fangio's club has seen better days as they were one of the teams hit the hardest in an injury-filled Week 2. After losing Von Miller prior to the opener, Denver then saw receiver Courtland Sutton go down for the year with a torn ACL. Quarterback Drew Lock will also be sidelined for this matchup and the foreseeable future after suffering a shoulder injury.
Lock's absence now thrusts Jeff Driskel into the starting role under center. The veteran came in under duress last week and was able to complete 18 of his 34 passes for 256 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He'll need to have a repeat performance of that showing and get some contributions from the likes of rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy to really go toe-to-toe with Brady and his collection of receivers. Speaking of those pass-catchers, Tampa Bay will be getting back Chris Godwin after the Pro Bowl receiver missed Week 2 due to a concussion.
Below, we'll be diving into all the betting angles for this matchup and give you all the latest information to have you wagering wisely this weekend. All odds via William Hill Sportsbook.
How to watch
Buccaneers (-5.5) at Broncos
This line opened Buccaneers -6.5 and the market was quick to move toward Denver. That drove the number down a half-point pretty quickly on Monday and hung at Buccaneers -6 for the bulk of the week. Thursday saw it fall again to -5.5, where it currently sits.
The pick: Buccaneers -5.5. Despite an 0-2 record, Denver has been strong ATS this season (2-0). With Jeff Driskel in line to start for the Broncos, however, it's hard to see them going toe-to-toe with Tampa Bay. Driskel was 0-3 ATS as the starter for the Lions last season. When Tom Brady was favored by four-plus points on the road last season with the Patriots, he went 5-1 ATS and 6-0 SU.
Over/Under 42.5 points
The O/U opened at 43.5 and dipped a half-point on Thursday, then it fell another half-point by Saturday morning.
The pick: Over 42.5. The Over is 14-2 over the Buccaneers' previous 16 contests and is 2-0 with Tom Brady under center through the early portions of the 2020 season. The offense is getting Chris Godwin back and with Denver banged up on all sides of the ball, they should be able to really pile up points.
First half: Buccaneers -3, O/U 21
The pick: Buccaneers -3. Tampa Bay's offense came out of the gate extremely hot in Week 2, scoring 14 points in the first quarter and went into the locker room at halftime with a 21-0 advantage. While Denver's defense may not be as poor as the Panthers, the Bucs should cover that field goal spread rather easily, especially with a number of question marks on the offensive side of the ball for the Broncos.
Tom Brady total passing touchdowns: Over 1.5 (-120). On average, Denver's secondary is surrendering two passing touchdowns a game this season. Brady also gets a boost with Chris Godwin back in the fold after missing Week 2.
Leonard Fournette total rushing yards: Over 57.5 (-110). Fournette is establishing himself as the top dog in the Buccaneers backfield and enjoyed a breakout performance in Week 2, rushing for 103 yards and two touchdowns. He also ripped off a 46-yard run in that winning effort. That big-play ability gives him a chance to hit the Over with one handoff.
Leonard Fournette total receptions. Over 2.5 (-120). Tom Brady looked Fournette's way five times last week and the back was able to haul in four of those targets. Brady has shown over his career that he will dump the ball off running backs so even with Godwin back I expect him to look Fournette's way in this one.
Noah Fant total receptions: Over 3.5 (-150). Fant was targeted five times in Week 2 and came down with four receptions. Those targets should only increase with Courtland Sutton sidelined for the year. As long as he's efficient, the Over should hit.
Melvin Gordon scores a touchdown (+180). If Denver gets into the red zone, expect them to look Gordon's way. He has five carries in that area of the field this season and had a rushing touchdown to his name. He also was targeted twice and came down with a touchdown reception there as well. Gordon is heavily involved when the Broncos are looking to score.