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NFL Week 1 49ers vs. Buccaneers: Niners haven't won in Eastern Time Zone in 5 years

The San Francisco 49ers haven't won a game in the Eastern Time Zone since Jim Harbaugh was their coach. They visit Tampa Bay on Sunday.
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The most evenly-matched game on the first Sunday of the 2019 NFL regular season, at least if you go by the pointspread, is the San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's a 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and the Bucs had been 1-point favorites on the NFL odds but it's now a pick'em as of this writing. The kickoff time is actually a break for the 49ers as the Bucs usually play home games at 1 p.m. ET, which of course is 10 a.m. Pacific time.

Perhaps our favorite NFL betting item in Week 1 is this: San Francisco has lost 12 straight games in the Eastern Time Zone. That includes 27-9 at the Bucs in Week 12 last year, falling to 1-4 ATS in the Niners' past five in Tampa. Jameis Winston threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns to lead Tampa Bay. Mike Evans caught six passes for 116 yards. Nick Mullens was the San Francisco quarterback that day and was 18-for-32 for 221 yards with a touchdown and two picks.

As far as I can tell, the Niners' last win in the Eastern Time Zone was Week 11 of the 2014 season, 16-10 at the New York Giants when Colin Kaepernick was still the team's quarterback and Jim Harbaugh their head coach. It you are wondering, the 49ers play three more games in that time zone this year: Week 2 in Cincinnati, Week 7 at Washington and Week 13 at Baltimore.

Sunday is Jimmy Garoppolo's first game that counts since he blew out his knee in Week 3 of last season in a loss at Kansas City. Jimmy G was rather up-and-down in training camp and the preseason. The Niners are hoping that this year's No. 2 overall pick, defensive end Nick Bosa, will play. He has been out for weeks with an ankle injury but practiced this week for the first time since Aug. 7.

This is also the Bucs debut of Coach Bruce Arians, the former Cardinals head coach who sat out last season. The hope is that he can turn Winston into a more consistent quarterback with a downfield passing attack. Top linebacker Lavonte David reportedly will play despite suffering a torn meniscus and undergoing arthroscopic surgery about a month ago. 

SportsLine's game forecast page projects a 27-25 Bucs win.

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