Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Las Vegas Raiders Odds & Predictions

October 25, 4:05 PM EDT

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
TB -5/LV +5
Bucs- 240 / Raiders +200

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come into Allegiant Stadium to take on the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. Coming off the bye at 3-2, this is a fork-in-the-road moment for the Raiders, a chance to score a marquee win in their new stadium and city to point upward at 4-2. They certainly raised some eyebrows two weeks back with their scorching 40-32 road-win over the previously-unbeaten champion Chiefs. They have their work cut out with an incoming Tampa bunch that was electric in their own right last week, pounding Green Bay 38-10, and really dominating after falling behind 10-0. Who can get it done this week?

Tampa Rounding into Shape?

It’s entirely possible that between key new players getting more-accustomed and some injured players returning that Tampa could start improving moving forward. We see Chris Godwin back in the fold at receiver, giving an increasingly-comfortable Brady another big-time option. We see Brady incorporating Rob Gronkowski more in the mix. Ronald Jones, II. is starting to click and had a big game against the Packers. And last week, fans got to see what a peaking Tampa defense can do, as they completely took over the game against Green Bay.

The Buccaneers have different paths to victory at their disposal. A few times this season, it has been Tom Brady putting up big numbers that was responsible. In other spots, they’ve run the ball well. A few times this season, this defense’s stoutness and big-play ability was what helped get the win. And for the purposes of this game, it’s this Tampa defense that seems to distinguish the Bucs in this equation. Even with the loss of Vita Vea, the front is still a marauding one and can do a lot of damage. With guys like Devin White, Lavonte David, Jason Pierre-Paul, and 2019 sack-leader Shaquil Barrett, they can really make life hard on quarterbacks. Then on the other sideline, you have a Raiders’ defense with some potential, but a line and secondary that still needs time to come around fully. Tampa’s defense looks like it’s already there.

How the Raiders Can Make it Tough on Tampa

There are a few things that the Raiders could benefit from before even hitting the field. Tampa is going from moist Florida to the bone-dry desert, facing a rested team. Tampa is coming off a draining run of games—a protracted battle with the Chargers, followed by a grind on the short week against the Bears, and then the track meet against the Packers. Maybe a cross-country trip to face an AFC team will catch them sagging a tad.

Items of more promise for the Raiders include the play of Raiders’ QB Derek Carr, the growth of his offensive line, and the development of the pieces around him. With Joshua Jacobs at RB, an impactful TE in Darren Waller, and a bevy of uprising receivers, Carr is starting to see the potential pay off. Against the Chiefs, we saw him finally get some chemistry with first-rounder Henry Ruggs, III., who caught a couple of long balls. Getting Bryan Edwards back will help, and along with Devontae Booker, Hunter Renfrow, resurgent Nelson Agholor, and others, it’s a lot to hurl at opposing defenses, even ones as rigid as Tampa’s.

The Main Issue for the Raiders

One could even argue that at home with these conditions, the Vegas offense could be more-explosive than Tampa’s. It just comes down to which defense you think is more-bankable. And I’m not sure that now healthier, Tampa’s offense is all that much worse than the Raiders, keeping in mind that what we saw against the Chiefs doesn’t always surface. So far this season, there have been two impressive offensive showings by the Raiders, sandwiching three so-so ones. But even if both offenses are clicking on Sunday night, which defense makes you feel better? Between being banged-up and some draft picks not panning out just yet, the distance between the offense and defense on the Raiders exceeds what is seen on the opposite sideline.

Tampa Bay at Las Vegas Prediction 10/25/20

It's understandable why the Raiders would be appealing in this spot, getting points in a foreign road-spot for Tampa, while rested after a pretty thorough win over the defending champs. Maybe I just smell a rat and think that on a very basic level, the Raiders haven't been able to equal Tampa's rate of improvement on both sides of the ball. And if Tampa's recent run and this setting somehow render them a bit deflated, it's going to be an uphill battle. I just don't sense that come down this week. I'll take Tampa.

Free Pick: 
Take the Bucs -5