A pair of 1-0 NFL teams will meet this week when the Buffalo Bills visit the Carolina Panthers. Game time is 1:00 EST on Sunday, September 17 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. The game can be seen locally on CBS.

The Panthers are listed as 7.5-point favorites in this game. That’s up considerably after Carolina opened as 4.5-point favorites. The over/under is listed at 42.5 points. Click here for a full list of Week 2 betting odds and links to game previews.

Bills vs Panthers Game Preview & Betting Odds

Both teams had a relatively easy game in Week 1. Buffalo faced the lowly Jets, winning 21-12 at home. The final score doesn’t necessarily reflect how one-sided this game was. The Bills more than doubled the Jets in first downs and nearly did the same in total yards. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor returned from concussion protocol in time to make the start, which was great news for the Bills against the Jets and moving forward.

The Panthers, meanwhile, traveled west to San Francisco and had little trouble beating the 49ers 23-3. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton didn’t play much during the preseason and looked a little rusty in Week 1. As a result, the Panthers were more focused on getting the ball to their running backs than they were trying to get the ball to their wide receivers down the field. With Newton still working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, it’ll be interesting to see if that becomes a recurring theme with Carolina’s offense.

These two teams rarely play each other, not meeting since 2013. However, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott spent the last six seasons as Carolina’s defensive coordinator. Buffalo’s new GM Brandon Beane was also worked for the Panthers from 1998 until being hired by the Bills, including several years as director of football operations and the last two as assistant GM. Clearly, there’s a lot of familiarity between these two teams, which adds an interesting dimension to this matchup. 

Free Pro Football Pick Against the Spread: Buffalo +7.5

This spread is way too big for my liking. I agree that the Panthers should be the favorites, but I don’t feel confident in Carolina winning by more than a touchdown, so I’ll lean toward the Bills in this game.

For starters, both teams looked good defensively in Week 1. Admittedly, neither team was challenged that much, but both teams look solid on that side of the ball. That translates to a close, low-scoring game, making it less likely that either team will be able to win by more than a touchdown.

Click on the link for more free NFL betting predictions from our experts on staff.

Both teams will also be focused on running the ball and may be hesitant to throw the ball deep with their quarterback. The Panthers may not be ready to let go of the reigns on Newton, so I would expect a lot of short routes and use of the running backs in the passing game. The Bills will likely employ a similar strategy, although they may try to take one or two shots deep with Jordan Matthews.

With all that in mind, this game is too close to call, which is why a spread of 7.5 points is a little ridiculous. If Newton were fully healthy, I could maybe side with the Panthers. But without that advantage, these teams are too evenly matched and I just can’t swallow that many points. The smart bet here is with the Bills.