Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Two 0-1 NFC South teams will look to get their first wins of the season here as the Carolina Panthers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football. Both teams had plenty of chances to win their respective openers, but both came up short due to a series of self-inflicted wounds. Oddsmakers opened the Panthers as close to touchdown favorites for this divisional rivalry clash.
Tampa is headed into a new era of football in 2019, with veteran coach Bruce Arians taking the reins this offseason after Dirk Koetter was fired. The franchise is counting on him to fix Jameis Winston, or else they might be forced to move on from the former first overall pick. The Buccaneers hosted the 49ers in Week 1, and were leading at halftime. The offense simply couldn’t get anything going for most of the day though, and Winston struggled with turnovers as they lost 31-17.
Carolina is coming off a season that was ruined by Cam Newton’s shoulder injury. With Newton back to full strength, they have high hopes for the 2019 campaign. The Panthers had a good opportunity to knockoff the defending NFC champions and pickup a signature win over the Rams in Week 1, but some poorly timed miscues ended up being the difference in the game and they lost 30-27.
Bucs Get Crushed
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ 2019 season didn’t get off on the right foot. They made a lot of changes from last year’s team, most notably firing Dirk Koetter. The Bucs had the fifth overall pick in April’s draft, and used it to draft LSU linebacker Devin White. There was a lot of excitement in Tampa this offseason due to the hiring of head coach Bruce Arians, but they fell flat on their face in Week 1. Playing the 49ers at home, they lost 31-17. Jameis Winston had a terrible game, throwing two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. That being said, it wasn’t all bad. The defense played really well for new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, limiting Jimmy Garoppolo to just 166 yards through the air and completely shutting down the 49ers’ running game.
— Luke Easterling (@LukeEasterling) September 9, 2019
The scoreboard says 31 points, but you can’t put that on the defense, as 14 of those points came directly off Winston interceptions. Winston was playing his first game in Arians’ system, so he was obviously going to need some time to get used to it. Tampa still has one of the best group of skill position guys in the league, and Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and O.J. Howard should stretch this Carolina secondary. Another important thing to note is that the Bucs had a flu-bug going around their locker room last week. Evans and other big name players had it, and the team should be much less sluggish now that they aren’t all dealing with an illness.
Panthers Come Up Short
Carolina is coming off a weird year. They started 2018 off 6-2 and looked destined for the playoffs, but completely collapsed as Cam Newton‘s shoulder deteriorated. The team lost seven of their last eight games and shut Newton down with a couple of weeks left. After the season Newton underwent surgery on his shoulder, which was obviously concerning.
Fortunately things didn’t turn into an Andrew Luck situation, and he was able to make it back for Week 1. The Panthers looked good at times, but ultimately made too many miscues and lost to the Rams. Christian McCaffrey looked great running the ball, but Newton struggled to get going and the Panthers lost two key fumbles. One key for the Panthers here will be getting Newton more involved in the running game. He barely ran the ball at all in Week 1, and that needs to change if this Carolina offense wants to have more success. It’ll be very interesting matchup-wise to see if Tampa’s new linebacking corp can contain him.
I like offensive coordinator Norv Turner and what he did last year, but I wasn’t particularly impressed with his gameplan against the Rams. One thing you’ll have to monitor here is the status of Greg Olsen. The veteran tight end was a big part of the offense in Week 1 and caught four passes, but he now has a back injury. He hasn’t practiced so far this week and as of right now it doesn’t look like he is going to play on Thursday. The secondary held up pretty well against Jared Goff, but they got shredded on the ground, especially in the second half.
- 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games overall
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. NFC
- 0-4 ATS vs. a team with a losing record
- 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall
- 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games following a double-digit loss at home
- 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games in Week 2
Updated on Sep 12 at 2:00pm EDT
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The Panthers have gone from -5 up to -7 while grabbing 75% of the bets. The Sharps may be on the side of the Buccaneers just enough to keep the line from going higher.
Injury / Weather Report
Tampa Bay’s Impact Injury Report
Out: Backup QB Blaine Gabbert
Carolina’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable: DB Rashaan Gaulden and TE Greg Olsen
Out: DE Bruce Irvin
Weather: Mid-80s at game time and it will feel like 93. No Rain.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Bucs and the points here. Tampa is coming off a disastrous opener, and now is the time to buy-low. Oddsmakers adjusted the spread too much, and there’s serious value here. The Panthers didn’t get Newton involved as a runner at all in Week 1, which is a serious mistake. Their run-defense also got gashes by Los Angeles, so Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones could have some success for Tampa. I’m not sure the Bucs will win this one outright, but they’ll at least be able to keep it close.
Prediction: Buccaneers +6.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the under a lot here. The box score says the Bucs gave up 31 points, but that’s misleading. Two of San Francisco’s touchdowns were pick-sixes that had nothing to do with the defense. Todd Bowles’ unit actually looked pretty good, limited Garoppolo to just 166 yards and shutting down the ground game. Carolina also held Jared Goff to just 4.8 yards per attempt, so I think both defenses will have some success.