The Carolina Panthers (0-1) will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) to get Week 2 underway on Thursday Night Football. Kickoff is set for 8:20 EST at Bank of America Stadium and will be televised on the NFL Network.
Oddsmakers currently have the Panthers listed as a 6.5-point home favorite with the total set at 50 points.
Click on the link for a full look at the Week 2 NFL odds and for more links to our game previews.
Panthers vs Buccaneers Betting Preview & Vegas Game Odds
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It was not the start Tampa Bay was hoping for under first year head coach Bruce Arians. The Buccaneers lost 31-17 at home to the San Francisco 49ers. It was a real defensive game, as neither team reached 300 yards of total offense.
It’s hard to put the blame on one guy, but it was not a good start to 2019 for Jameis Winston. Expected to make a big jump with Arians tutoring him, he looked like the same old guy. Wintson threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. The offensive line also gets some blame, as the 49ers racked up 3 sacks and landed a hit on Winston 7 times.
Lost in the defeat is how well the defense played. Tampa Bay held Jimmy Garoppolo to 166 yards and held the 49ers under 100 yards rushing.
It was a similar story for Carolina, as they too lost the 2019 season opener on their home field. To the Panthers credit, their loss did come against the defending NFC Champs in the Los Angeles Rams. Carolina ended up losing by just 3-points, but they also trailed the whole way.
The offense ended up putting up decent numbers, but it was a brutal start. Panthers fumbled on their first possession, went 3 and out on the next series, then missed a field goal (led to a Rams FG) and fumbled again (led to a Rams TD).
Cam Newton was 25 of 38 for 239 yards with 0 touchdowns and 1 pick. Maybe the more telling stat is he only attempted 3 runs, which might be a sign that he’s going to run less to try an avoid injuries.
Christian McCaffrey had a monster game in the loss. McCaffrey rushed for 128 yards and 2 scores, while also catching 10 passes for 81 yards.
These two NFC South rivals split their two games last year. Both came late in the year. The Panthers won 42-28 at home in Week 9, while the Bucs won 24-17 at home in Week 13. That win by Tampa snapped a 3-game win streak for Carolina in the series. Panthers have won 7 of the last 10 overall.
NFL ATS Predictions & Free Betting Pick: Panthers -6.5
My early lean here would be to lay the points with the Panthers. I know this might seem like a big number, but I would still take my chances with the home team laying less than a touchdown on Thursday Night Football. There’s such a huge advantage, even this early in the season, for the team that gets to host these games on just 3 days of rest.
Click here for more free NFL picks from our experts on staff.
I also just feel like the Panthers are the better team and there might be some overreaction to them losing at home to the Rams. More so with how the offense struggled to get anything going. Los Angeles has a pretty darn good defense.
I also am not reading too much into the Bucs strong defensive showing against the 49ers. San Francisco was really sloppy on offense and left a lot of points out there. Defense is also the unit that seems to have the most problems with playing up to their potential.
While I’m not a huge Cam Newton fan, especially if he doesn’t run as much, I like him a lot more than Winston. He just isn’t good under pressure and Carolina has a really strong defensive front. Panthers did a really good job of limiting Jared Goff and the Rams passing attack. Goff had just 186 yards on 39 attempts (4.8 yards/attempt). I could see this spiraling out of control for TB if they fall behind and have to throw the ball a lot.
Panthers are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 home games after giving up 30 or more points in their previous game. Bucs on the other hand have gone just 1-5 ATS last 6 after giving up 30 or more and are 0-5 ATS last 5 games played on Thursday. Give me the Panthers -6.5.