Buccaneers Panthers Odds
This Sunday the Carolina Panthers will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a NFC South showdown. The Panthers will be looking to split their series with the Buccaneers after losing in Tampa Bay 16-10 back in Week 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 EST at Bank of America Stadium and will be televised locally on FOX. Oddsmakers have listed Carolina as a 1.5-point home underdog with the total set at 48.5 points.
Why Tampa Bay Will Cover:
The Buccaneers defeated the Chargers 34-24 this past weekend for their third straight win. At 5-4 overall Tampa Bay is above .500 for the first time this season. What’s been so impressive about the Buccaneers recent play is how convincingly they are winning. Each of their last four wins have come by at least 10 points.
In the first meeting between these two teams Tampa Bay relied heavily on their defense to beat the Panthers. The Bucs had just 258 yards of total offense, as Josh Freeman completed just 16 of 24 attempts for 138 yards and one touchdown. Freeman has since taken on a much bigger role in the offense. In his last five games he has thrown for more than 200 yards in every game and has an impressive 13 touchdowns to just one interception.
While we can expect a much better performance from Freeman in the second meeting against Carolina, we can expect a lot of the same from running back Doug Martin, who finished with 95 yards on the ground against the Panthers back in week 1. Martin has rushed for 454 yards and five touchdowns over his last three games.
Tampa Bay has scored at least 28 points in each of their last five games and if they get to that number on Sunday, they be in a prime spot to win this game and easily cover the spread. Carolina has really struggled to get anything going offensively this season. They come in averaging just 18.1 ppg and have been held to 22 points or less in five straight games.
The Buccaneers have been an excellent team to back when they are clicking offensively. Tampa Bay is 28-12 ATS in their last 40 games following a game where they scored at least 30 points. On the flip side, Carolina is a team you want to stay away from when things are going bad. The Panthers are 0-6 ATS in home games when they come in having lost at least 5 of their last 7 games.
Why Carolina Will Cover:
The Panthers have been one of the biggest disappointments this season. Many expected this team to contend for the division title, instead they are fighting for the worst record in the league at just 2-7. The Panthers were embarrassed at home 14-36 by the Broncos this past weekend, quickly putting an end to any momentum they gained with a 21-13 win at Washington the previous week.
While things aren’t going as planned, this Carolina team continues to fight and play hard and I fully expect them to do everything in their power to get a win over a division rival. The Panthers are a much better team than their record would indicate. Five of their seven losses have come by six points or fewer.
You also have to look at how well Carolina has played at home against the Buccaneers. They have won 3 of four at home and that really isn’t a big surprise when you are talking about two division opponents.
The key to the Panthers getting a win and covering the spread will be the play of quarterback Cam Newton and his ability to pick apart the NFL’s worst pass defense. The Buccaneers rank dead last allowing 321.3 ypg through the air. They are also going to need a big time effort out of their defense and given how well they played against the Bucs earlier this season, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they shut down the Buccaneers offense at home.
That blowout loss to Denver actually sets up a very favorable situation to back the Panthers. Carolina is 13-4 ATS over their last 17 games following a game where they allowed 35 points or more. You also have to factor in the Buccaneers struggles inside the division. Tampa Bay is just 1-5 ATS over their last six games vs the NFC South.