Time: 8:20 p.m. EST
Betting Pick: Under 48.5
After the Buccaneers and Panthers, each lost at home in Week 1, the two teams will look to get back on the good foot. This NFC South rivalry hasn’t had much sizzle over the last few seasons. However, it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top with the victory in the Thursday night tilt.
Odds Analysis: Bucs at Panthers
The total on this game actually opened at 52.5 a while back but has since gone down to 49.5. And it makes plenty of sense, considering the two teams are playing on a short week. Carolina actually saw a half-point increase from 6.5 to 7.0 at some books while getting 80 percent of the public bets.
Bucs Betting Form
Jameis Winston is in a make-or-break contract year, so a quick rebound would certainly help his case going forward. Winston has been sacked at least three times in each of the last four matchups against the Panthers, including a total of 10 over the last two. Not to mention, this year’s matchup will have one fierce Carolina player coming his way.
The Bucs will need to keep bodies on former defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who is now with the Panthers. While McCoy has downplayed the matchup against his former team, you’d expect him to create some havoc upfront. And McCoy is the type of guy that makes friends quick – look for his Panthers comrades to back him up in this one.
Panthers Betting Form
Christian McCaffrey ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns while adding 10 catches (on 11 targets) for 81 yards in the opener. The Bucs can expect to see a heavy dose of him, and why wouldn’t they? McCaffrey had 150 total yards in each of the two meetings against Tampa Bay last season.
Tampa’s run game isn’t as good as what LA showed in Week 1. The Rams’ running backs gained 150 yards on 26 carries (5.8 YPC) but look for the Panthers’ run defense to rebound quick. Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones will have some difficulty getting it going on the ground. In turn, the defense will be able to focus on stopping Winston through the air.
Betting Pick: Under 48.5
The public is down on Winston and the Bucs, but that Week 1 performance wasn’t as bad as we think. Two of their touchdowns were called back and two Winston passes were returned for touchdowns. On the flip side, Cam Newton is a bit dinged up and the Panthers might rely more on the running game.
Both teams will be a little more cautious with the play by running the ball and running shorter routes. We shouldn’t see too many big plays on the short week, and that certainly bodes well for the total going under.