Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: NFL Picks

Steven Suarez

Thursday, October 24, 2013 5:27 PM GMT

Will the Buccaneers finally be able to win their first game of the season this Thursday? As they play host to Cam Newton and the Panthers.

Odds Overview

There's been considerable movement to the NFL betting lines throughout the week. The Panthers opened as seven-point favorites, but those NFL Odds have been moving down, with a line of 5.5 now out there for the taking. If you like Carolina here you've got to like that shift.

As for the total, it's in the 40 to 41 point range. The UNDER has hit the mark in four of Tampa Bay's six games so far this season, while it's been an even 3-3 split for the Panthers.

Live NFL lines can be found at SBRodds.com, along with more trends and useful statistics.

Carolina Panthers

Since a 22-6 road loss to Arizona, the Panthers have gone hard, beating Minnesota 35-10 on the road and overcoming St. Louis 30-15 at home. They easily covered the spread in both wins.

Cam Newton managed the offense exceptionally well. He hit 15-of-17 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown, while running for another 26 yards. DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert combined for 28 carries for 76 yards and a score, while Steve Smith caught five balls for 69 yards and a TD.

Carolina's defense was what was most impressive though. They chased after Sam Bradford all game long, sacking him four times and forcing three turnovers. In all, the Rams had 316 yards of total offense.

It was more of the same for a Panthers team that ranks third in the NFL for total defense. They rank #4 in stopping the run (84.5 YPG allowed) and #5 against the pass (217.7 YPG), making them one of the most balanced defensive units out there.

Will that dominant front seven make life difficult on Glennon this Thursday?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

You've been making quite a bit of bank if you've faded Tampa Bay throughout the season.

Not only are the Buccaneers still winless on the season, but they've also covered just one game against the spread.

Last weekend Tampa Bay lost 31-23 to the Falcons in Atlanta. They couldn't stop Matt Ryan at all and their comeback in the second half was too little too late.

Making matters worse, Doug Martin picked up a shoulder injury and is expected to miss a lot of time. There's a good chance he could be out for the season, meaning Mike James will step in and take over the running back duties.

One of the few positives to come out of Tampa Bay's loss was the connection between rookie Mike Glennon and Vincent Jackson. Glennon had 256 yards and two touchdowns, both of which were caught by VJax, who had 10 catches for 138 yards in total. We can safely expect another busy day for Jackson in Week 8.

[gameodds]16/226975/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Week 8 Pick

Credit Carolina for posting two dominant wins in a row, but we don't think the NFL betting value lies on their side this Thursday.

Instead, we are choosing a Tampa Bay cover for our NFL Pick.

The Buccaneers won both meetings straight up last season and we simply think this is too many points for them to be getting, regardless of their 0-6 record for the season. They've been competitive in every game at home so far, losing by just two to New Orleans and by three to Arizona while staying close to Philadelphia for three quarters.

Thursday night games tend to be sloppy, defensive battles, so we'll take the points and back Tampa Bay to get the cover.

NFL Pick: Buccaneers +5.5