It’s only one game so we shouldn’t be too concerned. Or should we? Thanks to several costly mistakes by Jameis Winston, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers let a winnable game slip away last week. A pair of pick-sixes proved costly in the 31-17 loss to the Niners. The Carolina Panthers woke up too late in their opening-day loss, but Christian McCaffrey looks like he’s ready to carry the load. Neither team wants a 0-2 start giving this NFC South confrontation added incentive. Current NFL odds have the Panthers favored by 6.5-points for this Week 2 Thursday night game from Bank of America Stadium. The game will air on NFL Network at 8:20 p.m. ET.
NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6.5
Carolina Panthers -6.5
Tampa Bay at Carolina Odds Analysis
The Panthers opened -6 with the line quickly wagered to -6.5 with the home team absorbing a majority of the early action. Carolina made a run at the Rams last week scoring 24 second half points, however, the Panthers were unable to overcome their early misfortune and came up short as a 1.5-point dog on the closing line. The Bucs closed as a 1-point favorite against the Niners, but turnovers and missed opportunities led to a 31-17 loss. There has been some pullback on the total, which opened at 51 and currently sits at 50.
Tampa Bay Odds
The Bucs played well enough to beat the Niners last week, but you can’t control turnovers and costly ones by Winston proved their undoing. One pick-six is harmful, but two is crushing and Tampa wasn’t able to overcome the miscues. The Bucs played well enough defensively, holding the Niners to an average of 3.1 yards per rush and 256 total yards, allowing the under to cash on the total of 51. Dating back to last season the under is 6-1 in Tampa’s last seven regular season games.
A lot of teams have enjoyed success against the Bucs over the years and you can count Carolina in that group. The Panthers lost the last meeting between the clubs, but they are 9-3 straight up and 8-4 ATS over the last 12 encounters. We often associate the Panthers and the NFC South with a lot points, however, these teams have played below the closing total in five of their last six meetings and in eight of the previous 11 games. Carolina lost last week 30-27 as a 1.5-point dog, but they did cash the over on a total of 49.5.
Bruce Arians was lured out of retirement to work his magic with Winston. If Arians can’t get the enigmatic signal-caller straightened out, who can? Winston has shown flashes of brilliance since being drafted first overall in 2015, but there just hasn’t been enough and he’s in a make-or-break season at the end of his rookie deal. The Bucs have stuck with Winston through poor play and off-field shenanigans, but he’s still making mistakes he shouldn’t be making at this stage of his career. Three interceptions with two of them returned for scores were a backbreaker last week. And Winston also fumbled twice. It wasn’t the start he or the team was looking for. Now, you have to wonder about Winston’s confidence and if it isn’t shot to hell. He’s thrown 61 interceptions during his career completing just 61.4 percent of his passes.
Tampa’s last regular season victory was against the Panthers in Week 13 of last season when Winston played an error-free game. Completing 20 of 30 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns, Winston led the Bucs to a 24-17 decision as a 3.5-point dog. As well as Winston played in that game, it was Tampa’s defense that came up large with four interceptions of Cam Newton. The Bucs were able to silence Newton, but they had difficulty with McCaffrey, who ran for 106 yards on 10 carries in addition to 55 yards on nine receptions. McCaffrey was a workhorse last week with 209 yards from scrimmage and he’ll give the Bucs’ defense fits all night. The teams played below the closing total for the fifth time in the last six meetings.
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