ML & Spread Picks for Panthers vs. Buccaneers

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 7:44 PM GMT

Here’s an in-depth overview of the NFL odds that are currently trading for Panthers vs. Buccaneers and choice NFL picks for your consideration in this NFC showdown. 

Carolina Panthers +110, (+1.5)

Preseason NFC South Ranking: Third, 2-2 (1-1 home, 1-1 away)
2013 Season NFC South Ranking: First, 12-4 (7-1 home, 5-3 away)
2013 Division Record: 5-1
All indications are pointing towards a slow start on the season for the Carolina Panthers after an offseason that ravaged their offensive line, decimated their wide receiving corps and forced positional changes that simply looked horrendous in preseason action. Cam Newton desperately needs to find the right chemistry with his made over offensive line if he’s to lead his Panthers to a consecutive NFC South title. And if that doesn’t complicate things on the field for him, ankle surgery in the offseason along with reports of a recent rib injury sustained in preseason only cast further doubt on his ability to perform at the level he did last season.

All these concerns were conspicuous in the third week of preseason when the Panthers descended on the Patriots only to be blown out of Gillette Stadium 30-7. The Panthers put in an abysmal deposit: they were outgained 405-271; they allowed three quarterbacks to direct scoring drives, and Newton was held off the scoreboard as he completed 8-of-12 passes for 88 yards and three sacks. Not until the dying minutes of the game did Joe Webb score a 3-yard touchdown to prevent the Panthers the embarrassment of being bagled.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -130, (-1.5)

Preseason NFC South Ranking: Fourth, 1-3 (0-2 home, 1-1 away)
2013 Season NFC South Ranking: Fourth 4-12 (3-5 home, 1-7 away)
2013 Division Record: 1-5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope to open a new chapter in 2014, put some distance between the abysmal 4-12 output of last season by beginning with a statement-making win over the Carolina Panthers at home. Preseason wasn’t encouraging to the say the least with a 1-3 record, which included a 0-2 record at home. However (for all preseason sceptics), they did win the most important game in week 3 against the Bills quite convincingly.

On the day when starters get the most playing time, the Buccaneers romped to a 27-17 victory over the sluggish Bills on the road. Josh McCown combined with receiver Mike Evans to score a 24-yard touchdown all while completing 13-of-16 passes for 112 yards. As well, the promising running back Doug Martin scored 1-yard touchdown.

Newly appointed coach Lovie Smith is expected to do wonders with the Buccaneers this season, quantifiable improvements that could make the Buccaneers relevant in the NFC South. Any doubts about the Buccaneers at quarterback with the combination of Josh McCown and Mike Glennon might be premature when the passing offense shaped up well in its dress rehearsal, most importantly, Vincent Jackson and rookie Mike Evans impressed. D-Line also impressed, recording five sacks, four of which were on EJ Manuel.  

 

NFL Betting Verdict
As things currently stand, the Buccaneers are the nominal favourites at -130 to win straight up at home and the 1.5-point faves against the spread.  At first glance, it does seem a bit surprising the Bucs would have the edge over the Panthers when their respective 2013 seasons say otherwise – the Panthers were the class of the NFC South last season while the Bucs were the dunce. On further consideration, the NFL betting odds do make sense.

Let’s face it: it’s the first week of NFL betting, which means some allowances have to be made for what is historically an unpredictable start to football betting. Home advantage counts, the excitement and euphoria of football deprived home fans since spring creates a heady atmosphere that favours a home team.

On a more personal level, any on paper advantage Cam Newton might have over his Bucs opposite is neutralised by the questions surrounding his health. What’s more, the concerning state of Panthers’ offense doesn’t inspire much in the way of market or betting confidence either. By and large, the expectation is that it will take some time for Newton to find his rhythm with his refurbished receiving corps and we agree with that assessment.

From an NFC South perspective the Bucs are poised for a bounce-back season. Love him or hate him, Josh McCown is a no-nonsense quarterback. He can make the Buccaneers offense relevant and with a defense that looks much improved from last year, they have a real chance to open the season with a big home win against the divisional standard.

 

NFL Free Picks
Past perceptions divide betting opinion on this game, prompting an inclination towards the Panthers amongst many. For our money, we’re going with the bookies (like Bookmaker) on this game and backing the Bucs instead on our NFL picks to both win straight up at -130 and cover as the 1.5-point favourites. Additionally, we’re of the impression this game could turn into a defensive tug-of-war between these two outfits and that has us leaning towards the under 39.0 as well. 

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":290574, "sportsbooksIds":[19,1096,139,93,43,238,999996], "LineTypeId":5, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]