The San Francisco 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were among the worst teams in the NFL last season. But the former was without it’s highly-paid, budding star quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo who went down with a knee injury early and missed most of the season.
For Tampa, the 2019 season needs to mark a turning point for its once-star quarterback Jameis Winston. Now the accepted starter with Ryan Fitzpatrick moving to South Florida, Winston has got to show he can be a top QB in the NFL and through four seasons that hasn’t been the case.
Winston would have likely gone over 4,000 yards passing last season had he played in every game. But the main reason he was benched at times was his inaccuracy. In four seasons, Winston has thrown 58 interceptions in 56 career games but has completed 61.6 percent of his passes
San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, September 8, 4:25 p.m.
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
Spread: Tampa Bay (-1 at -119)
San Francisco 49ers
With Jimmy G back coupled with last season’s emergence of George Kittle at tight end, this season could be exciting for the 49ers. Kittle will have promising rookie Kaden Smith to work with at tight end as well.
The receiving corps for the 49ers is young but quick, with rookies Jalen Hurd and Deebo Samuel to see a ton of snaps each. Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin are also viable passing options, as is newly-acquired running back Tevin Coleman.
San Francisco’s defense is also much improved, headlined by the arrival of second-overall pick Nick Bosa and veteran corner Jason Verrett. The 49ers defense set a record for fewest turnovers caused last season with just seven takeaways. Richard Sherman was hit hardest, recording zero interceptions for the first time in his career.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs were one of the top passing offenses in the league last year consistently gaining over 300 yards in the air. Winston or not, Tampa’s offense had an air of explosiveness to it at times.
This year should be no different. Breshad Perriman joins Chris Godwin and Mike Evans as Winston’s top targets while rookie Scott Miller will be tasked with replacing Adam Humphries in the slot. Tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard have the potential to be the most dynamic duo in the NFL at the position.
On defense, the Buccaneers got a career year from Cleveland leftover Carl Nassib. He’ll be joined at linebacker by fifth-overall selection Devin White. On the line, losing Gerald McCoy hurts but he’s replaced by Ndamukong Suh. Vita Vea is also poised for a breakout season at nose tackle. Tampa’s secondary is still extremely young with three rookies this season but what Tampa lacks in experience it makes up for in speed.
The two teams trended under towards the end of last season and even made significant improvements to their defense in the offseason.
Tampa held its final three opponents in the preseason to 15 points or fewer, including the Browns to just 12 in their Week 3 contest. In the 49ers third preseason game, they held the Chiefs vaunted offense to just 17 points and Patrick Mahomes to just 126 yards in the air on 8 of 10 passing.
But if either team can get its passing game going into overdrive, it will make for a point-heavy afternoon in central Florida.
Pick: Definitely take the under here, though it won’t be by much. As for the spread, the game happening in humid Tampa is an advantage for the Bucs against a weaker 49ers defense. So take the Bucs with the spread to win what should still be a close ballgame.