Oddsmakers Favor Buccanners in NFL Week 1 Over Panthers

Steven Suarez

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 9:48 PM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014 9:48 PM GMT

In what appears to be one of the more difficult matchups to locate value, the Buccaneers entertain Cam Newton and the Panthers in Week 1 action. How are the NFL betting odds shaping up early in the week, and where should we go with our sports picks?

* * U P D A T E * *
What a change.

At first release, it was the Panthers that were favored by 2.5 points, but it's been a complete role reversal. Now we find the Buccaneers as 2.5-point favorites at home for Week 1.

We agree that Tampa Bay should be favored. There have been a lot of personnel changes in Carolina, and we're not sold on the Panthers being as successful as they were last season, especially since Cam Newton's been banged up.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers have made some nice additions, namely bringing in a proven coach, so we think there's still value here, regardless of the shift.
Free NFL Pick: Buccaneers -2.5


Did Carolina over-achieve in 2013-14? It's hard to say just yet, but it's safe to say few expected the Panthers to win as many games (12) as they did.

Though they ultimately came up short in the playoffs, Carolina has a nice foundation to build off of. The Panthers will therefore want to open up the season in style, especially since they'll be in front of their home fans.

Right now, the NFL odds show Carolina as an underdog of two points for this trip to Tampa Bay, while the total is holding pretty steady at 39.

Tampa Bay in 2013-14 Regular Season: 4-12 SU, 6-10 ATS, -6.3 margin of victory

Carolina in 2013-14 Regular Season: 12-4 SU, 9-6-1 ATS, +7.8 margin of victory

Confused as to why the Buccaneers are favored after looking at those statistics above?

Well, Tampa Bay did upgrade over the offseason. The franchise signed Josh McCown and he'll immediately step in as the starter over young Mike Glennon, and Doug Martin is locked in as the feature back and should produce good numbers. It's a talented wideout crew too, headlined by Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, two monsters who catch everything and anything that comes their way.

The Buccaneers also made some changes to their defense, but their biggest change was at the head coach position. In steps Lovie Smith, who was last a head coach with Chicago, where he had quite a bit of success.

Carolina, meanwhile, didn't do much to address their offensive personnel over the summer. Cam Newton's still entrenched as the starting QB, while DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart remain as a duo in the backfield, but it's going to be up to the likes of Kelvin Benjamin, Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant, not to mention tight end Greg Olsen, to get the job done as the top wideouts. It's not the most star-studded corps out there.

When you take all of that into consideration, you could see why oddsmakers are thinking the way they are. Check back soon to see which ATS selection we'll be adding to our NFL picks.

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