This Sunday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7) will host the Carolina Panthers (6-5). Kickoff for this NFC South showdown is set for 1:00 EST at Raymond James Stadium and will be televised locally on FOX.
Oddsmakers currently have the Panthers listed as a 3.5-point road favorite with the total set at 55 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 13 NFL odds and for more links to our NFL previews.
Panthers vs Bucs Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Carolina enters off a hard-fought 30-27 home loss to the Seahawks. The Panthers had their chances to put Seattle away, but just couldn’t make the big play when it mattered the most. That’s now three straight losses for Carolina and what once looked like a sure playoff team at 6-2, is now going to have to scratch and crawl to the finish line to get to the postseason.
The Buccaneers come into this one off a 27-9 win at home over the 49ers, easily covering as a slim 1.5-point home favorite. Tampa Bay didn’t turn the football over for the first time since their Week 1 win at New Orleans. That was also the only other time they won the turnover battle this season. It was a nice win in what’s been a disappointing season.
This will be the second meeting between these two division rivals this season. The first came in Week 9 at Carolina, which the Panthers won 42-28 as a 6-point favorite. As you probably guessed given the score, the game flew past the posted total of 56.
Free NFL Betting Pick & ATS Predictions: Panthers -3.5
My early lean here would have to be to lay the points with Carolina. I was on the Panthers last week in their home loss to the Seahawks and I still think that was the right side, even though they didn’t cash. It was almost like Carolina got a little too comfortable in the 2nd half and give Russell Wilson and Seattle credit for making the plays when they mattered the most.
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I simply don’t see Carolina losing a fourth consecutive game and while I would love for this line to be -3, I’m fully expecting the Panthers to win here by at least a touchdown.
I think the perception is that Carolina is the better team, but this line has definitely been impacted by the fact that they come in having lost 3 straight and the Bucs entering off their best showing in months.
I just don’t think Tampa Bay has the kind of homefield advantage to expect anything outside of what we saw in the first meeting between these two teams. Carolina won that game by 14 points and it was a much bigger blowout than that. The Panthers had a 35-7 lead with over 4 minutes to play in the 1st half. At that point in the game Carolina had a 248 to 90 edge in total yards.
I’m sure some will get excited about how well the Bucs defense played against the 49ers, as they limited San Francisco to just 9 points. I just think that was more of poor execution by Nick Mullens and the 49ers offense. There’s really no other way to only score 9 points when you are average 5.7 yards/play. I think we all kind of fell into the trap that Mullens was decent after torching the Raiders on Monday Night Football, but turns out that was more of just how bad Oakland is on defense this year.
Just a few weeks ago we saw the Bucs hold a depleted Redskins offense to just 16 points and 286 total yards and then the very next week they allow 38 points to a Giants team at the time that had scored 20 or fewer points in 6 of their first 9 games.
I know the Bucs have a decent offense and I fully expect them to score here, but I think the Panthers defense can get off the field more times than not and chances are Tampa will do what they have all season long and turn the ball over multiple times. All of this should add up to a comfortable win and cover. Give me Carolina -3.5!