Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings Odds
The Minnesota Vikings look to continue their surprising start to the 2012 season when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, October 25th. They will also be looking to put an end to a five-game losing streak to the Bucs that dates back to 2001. Tampa Bay won in Minnesota 24-20 last season, coming back from a 17-0 halftime deficit to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Taking a look at the odds for Week 8, I find a line of Minnesota -6.5 over Tampa Bay and a total set of 41.5 points.
The Vikings (5-2, 4-0 home) have given their fans a lot to cheer about thus far, especially inside Mall of America Field. They are currently in second place in the NFC North division pending the outcome of Monday’s game between the Lions and Bears. They would be in first place with a Chicago loss, and almost everyone picked them to finish last in the division in 2012.
Minnesota is coming off a 21-14 home victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. It never trailed in this one after Adrian Peterson got the scoring started with a 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The Vikings were actually outgained 206-356 for the game, but they came away with two big turnovers in their own territory, and stopped both of Arizona’s fourth down attempts.
Christian Ponder did not have his best game, going 8 of 17 passing for 58 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Peterson picked up the slack, rushing 23 times for 153 yards and a score. Percy Harvin caught four balls for 37 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown pass from Ponder.
The Vikings rank just 23rd in the league in total offense (335.7 yards/game), averaging 132.3 yards on the ground and 203.4 through the air. They have been winning behind an improved stop unit that ranks 8th in the league in total defense (319.7 yards/game).
The Buccaneers (2-4, 0-2 road) are still in search of their first victory away from home this season. They have been extremely competitive this year, and could easily have a few more wins under their belts. All four of their losses have come by 7 points or less, including a 28-35 setback at home against the New Orleans Saints last week.
Tampa Bay squandered a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter, allowing the Saints to score 28 unanswered points before making a rally late. Josh Freeman found Dallas Clark on a 3-yard touchdown pass with 4:10 to play to cut the deficit to seven. The Bucs would get the ball back one more time, but on the final play of regulation, Mike Williams caught a touchdown pass that was nullified by an illegal touching penalty after he had stepped out of the back of the end zone.
Josh Freeman completed 24 of 42 passes for a career-high 420 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Doug Martin rushed 16 times for 85 yards and a score. Vincent Jackson had a monster day receiving, catching seven balls for career-high 216 yards and a touchdown. However, he was tackled on the 1-yard line after a 95-yard reception, and the Bucs would fail to score on that possession.
The Bucs rank 20th in the league in total offense (346.7 yards/game) and 25th in total defense (399.0 yards/game). They have been tremendous against the run (76.0 yards/game), but horrible defending the pass (323.0 yards/game).
The Bucs are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 meetings with the Vikings. The Over is 6-3 in the last 9 meetings.