NFL Picks: Panthers vs. Buccaneers Betting the Spread

Joe Freda

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 8:01 PM GMT

We continue our featured coverage of NFL Week 8's Thursday Night Football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In this installment, we look at the point spread for the game to assess its sports betting value.

Follow our complete coverage of the Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Monday Night Football game! First, check out our Opening Odds Report!

Thursday’s pro football betting has the Carolina Panthers visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with Cam Newton and Co. listed as road ‘chalk’ by NFL odds makers. Early wagers have lifted the pointspread a ‘hook’ from six to 6.5, making it time to choose a side.

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Panthers regaining steam

Carolina has notched 30 points or more in three of its last four matchups, while ranking seventh in the league for rushing (130.2 YPG). Panthers placekicker Graham Gano has added his share of success, hitting 9-of-9 field goals – including a 3-for-3 mark from 50 yards or more.

Carolina’s Cam Newton has seen his season’s highest completion percentages in his last two games, connecting a combined 35-of-43 attempts. The Atlanta native has thrown 10 touchdowns, while guiding his offense to convert 34-of-74 third downs – ranking in the league’s top trio of clubs (45.9 percent).

Ron Rivera’s club has tightened up its defense, quietly being one of the NFL’s best - allowing 13.8 PPG and 302.2 YPG. Panthers safety Mike Mitchell has grabbed three interceptions this month, while forcing two fumbles in last week’s 30-15 victory for Carolina as 7.5-point home ‘chalk’ over the St. Louis Rams.

Bucs hope to end slide

Tampa Bay has failed to come up with a victory all year, while ranked nearly last in scoring (14.5 PPG) and total yards (297.8 YPG). Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon has been under center for three straight starts, lifting his passer rating each time out.

Glennon has thrown a pair of touchdowns in each of his last two outings, breaking the 250-yard barrier in passing as part of both contests. Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson has been Glennon’s favorite target, catching all four touchdowns as part of a combined 19 receptions.

The Buccaneers have had their moments on defense, holding foes to 20 PPG over their three home dates. Greg Schiano’s squad has given up a stingy 88.8 YPG of rushing overall, ranking fifth in the league, while linebacker Lavonte David has notched 30 tackles and 1.5 sacks in his last four contests.

Back Tampa Bay as a home dog

I am adding the Buccaneers to this week’s NFL picks, taking an early position on the home dog in this divisional duel.

Tampa Bay gets its chance for a nationally-televised stage in trying to make up for a dismal season, while catching the Panthers in a challenging spot. The Buccaneers edged Carolina in last September’s home affair, with a 16-10 triumph as a three-point underdog – controlling the ball for 37 minutes and picking off Cam Newton twice.

Carolina has seen its club start to hit some solid mid-season strides, but is overvalued given the short rest between these foes. Newton and Co. were blown away in last season’s sole Thursday matchup, losing a 36-7 contest to the New York Giants – despite topping the New Orleans Saints in a 35-27 triumph over the prior weekend.

For your sports betting picks, look for the Panthers to have another letdown here, while Tampa Bay adds a cashed ticket to its 3-2 spread record in Carolina’s last five visits to “The New Sombrero.”

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NFL Pick: Bet the Buccaneers on the spread, +6 (-110) available at William Hill

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