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Vegas oddsmakers like Bucs this week
Posted Sep 29, 2011 by Ira Kaufman
Updated Sep 29, 2011 at 12:48 PM
BY IRA KAUFMAN
TAMPA—The last time the Buccaneers were favored by this many points, Jon Gruden was making his final appearance as Tampa Bay’s head coach.
The Bucs, 2-1, are favored by 10 points heading into Monday night’s home matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, off to an 0-3 start with quarterback Peyton Manning sidelined by a neck injury.
Tampa Bay’s hasn’t been this prohibitive a favorite since the final game of the 2008 regular season, when the Oakland Raiders entered Raymond James Stadium as 11-point underdogs. The Bucs dropped a 31-24 decision to complete an 0-4 December that left them outside the playoff picture with a 9-7 record.
The last-season collapse led to the dismissal of Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen a few weeks later. Two months after the loss to the Raiders, Tampa Bay released Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn, Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard and Cato June in a veteran purge.
“They’re a tremendous group of guys,’’ Colts coach Jim Caldwell said Thursday, referring to the Bucs. “It’s a very young team that plays with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. You can tell they believe in what they’re doing. They run after people on defense and from an offensivel standpoint, they control the line of scrimmage. They have great special teams and it’s a heck of a team.’‘