It’s a short week for the Cleveland Browns as the team plays its first road game of the 2017 preseason with a visit to Tampa on Saturday night. It’s the Buccaneers’ first exhibition home game. Check out Sports Interaction’s NFL preseason odds for the Browns vs. the Buccaneers.
Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Point spread: Bucs -3
Date:Thursday, August 24, 2017 @ 19:00
Location:Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
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Pardon Browns fans if they are a little giddy over their team being 2-0. Last year, the Browns were 0-4 in the preseason and of course finished a franchise-worst 1-15. The franchise hasn’t finished with a winning preseason record since 2013. Don’t go making Super Bowl plans yet, folks. Always remember that the Detroit Lions were easily the NFL’s most dominant team in the 2008 preseason and then went 0-16 when it counted.
Betting and Point Spread Analysis
Browns coach Hue Jackson had been betting poison in preseason football entering this year at 0-8 straight up and 0-8 against the spread dating to his one season as Oakland’s head coach. So at least he has the monkey off his back. Cleveland and Tampa Bay have split the past two exhibition matchups, and the Buccaneers lead the all-time preseason series, 9-7. The Browns lost in Tampa 30-13 last year. Jameis Winston had a nice game for the Bucs, throwing for 259 yards and two scores. Cleveland is 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings.
Now that we are in Week 3 of the preseason when the starters will play the most – and then not likely at all in Week 4 – the quarterback battles at a handful of training camps are being decided as coaches want to treat this game like a regular-season matchup. It’s expected that Jackson will name Brock Osweiler as his starter for the season ahead of this game. He has started both preseason games and been just so-so, but the Browns likely don’t want to throw rookie second-round pick DeShone Kizer right to the wolves even though he has been more impressive.
Second-year QB Cody Kessler started camp in the running for the job as well but no longer is. Cleveland opened the preseason with a 20-14 win over New Orleans and then beat the Giants ugly 10-6 on Monday night. Browns cornerback Breian Boddy-Calhoun scared fantasy football players around the world with a low hit on Giants star receiver Odell Beckham, a Top 5 fantasy pick without question, and knocking him from the game with an ankle injury.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are a chic pick to win the NFC South this season and reach the playoffs for the first time since 2007 off a 9-7 record in 2016. They also have HBO’s “Hard Knocks” cameras following them around all preseason. Tampa opened the preseason with a 23-12 loss in Cincinnati but bounced back with a 12-8 victory in Jacksonville last Thursday.
Jameis Winston, a rising star, completing 21 of 29 passes for 196 yards and had one sure touchdown dropped vs. Jacksonville. Winston’s completion percentage has jumped from 59 percent last preseason to better than 71 percent in 2017 but he hasn’t thrown a TD yet. The Bucs’ starters dominated Jacksonville’s by outgaining the Jags 240-59 in the first half.
Browns at Bucs Prediction
Tampa Bay 27-9