The Pittsburgh Steelers will begin their 2023 preseason in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night.
Reports indicate that we'll see all healthy players for the Steelers, including Kenny Pickett, for at least a portion of the game. Baker Mayfield will get the start for the Buccaneers.
By the way, yes we're going to bet on the game. Just because it's preseason, doesn't mean there's no value to be had. Let's take a look at the odds and then I'll breakdown why we should all be backing the Steelers on Friday night.
Steelers vs. Buccaneers odds, run line, and total
Steelers vs. Buccaneers prediction and pick
It goes without saying that the Steelers are expected to be the much better team than the Buccaneers. Some are even predicting the Bucs will be a bottom three team in the league. That alone should tell you the Steelers have the depth to beat Tampa Bay, even in the preseason.
But, we need ot look deeper than just overall talent on a team when betting on them on preseason. We should instead be looking at how coaches perform in exhibition games. Some coaches use these games purely as an evaluation tool while others will do their best to win them.
Mike Tomlin leans more toward the latter, sporting a 37-24 record in the NFL preseason. The Steelers went 3-0 in the preseason last year and went 3-1 in the four seasons prior.
The opposite is true for Todd Bowles, who has a less than stellar 7-12 preseason record as a head coach, including 0-3 last season.
Tomlin wants to get some momentum for this team going as soon as possible, so I expect them to come out hot and take care of business against the Bucs on Friday night.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.