12/22/2011 4:02:00 PM
With only nine wins between them, the Bucs and Panthers meet
up in Carolina this weekend. Cam Newton and his troops are favored to win their
second straight but, oh boy, has it been an ugly couple of months for Tampa
A promising 4-2 SU start is now long forgotten, with the
Buccaneers losers of eight consecutive games. Included in those defeats was a
38-19 setback to these very same Carolina Panthers in Week 14.
Let's start this preview off with a closer look at the
earlier meeting. Cam Newton dominated the headlines with four total touchdowns,
including three rushing scores – he finished the day with 204 passing yards and
Carolina looks for season sweep
The Panthers came out flying from the start in that game,
getting out to an early 24-14 lead. They also played solid defensively against
Josh Johnson, who was filling in for an injured Josh Freeman.
Johnson was 16/27 for 229 yards with a TD and an INT and,
for the most part, Carolina was also able to shut down Tampa Bay's run game.
LeGarrette Blount finished with only 19 yards on 11 carries.
Along with their dreadful straight up losing streak, the
Bucs have been equally bad against the spread. They've failed to cover in four
straight weeks and are a miserable 2-9 ATS over their last 11 matchups.
For this reason, you'd expect the Panthers to be
considerable favorites at home this weekend and they are. The line started out
at 7.5 but is quite different depending on which sportsbooks you use; 5Dimes
and Pinnacle have Carolina favored by 9 while others betting sites like
matchbook and bet365 have 7.5 for the taking.
There's no shot whatsoever of the Panthers making the
postseason, but it's still been an exciting season for fans.
Cam Newton has absolutely shattered all expectations and is
clearly the right guy to lead this team forward for the long haul. It's pretty
scary knowing he's only a rookie and thinking about how special he could turn
out as he grows further.
However, this upcoming game seems like one that the Bucs
will hang around in. They've been super disappointing, I get that. Yet this
cannot be the way they want to end the year.
Buccaneers in line for a surprisingly good outing
This is a team that beat the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta
Falcons earlier in the season, so we know they can get it done. Raheem Morris
is obviously having immense trouble getting his players motivated and it's
showing on game days.
The future of Morris at the helm is not looking good at all,
but I still think it'll be Tampa Bay that stamps out the ATS cover in Week 16.
As the week goes on, expect the public to continue banking
on Cam Newton and the Panthers. I will not be doing the same as I believe the
Bucs will have enough to at least stay close.
FREE Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers +9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 1-4 ATS in last 5 road games and
0-4 ATS in last 4 overall
Carolina Panthers are 5-2 ATS in last 7 games as the
Buccaneers are 3-7 ATS in last 10 trips to Carolina
Favorite is 7-1 ATS in last 8 head-to-head meetings