Panthers at Buccaneers betting for week two of the NFL season has Tampa Bay as a somewhat surprising -8.5 favorite. The Bucs’ struggles in week one against New Orleans were well documented, especially at the QB position as Tom Brady threw two INT’s.
Carolina did little to impress in week one either though, allowing 34 points at home to Las Vegas. Does the Panthers defense miss Luke Kuechly that much? Both Carolina and Tampa Bay were involved in high scoring matchups in week one so the total of 47 does seem on the low side.
Panthers Defense Ready to Bounce Back?
It was an uncharacteristic showing in week one for Carolina as they allowed 133 yards rushing to the Raiders while Las Vegas QB David Carr was also a very efficient 22/30 for 239 yards. The Panthers defense also failed to record a sack for the first time in nearly two years. One of the keys to slowing Brady and the TB offense is pressure.
On the bright side, Matt Rhule’s NFL debut did result in 30 points which would normally be enough to get Carolina a win. Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t his normal accurate self in going just 22/34 but he did throw for 269 and a TD in his first game as the Panthers QB. Christian McCaffrey ran for two scores, but had just 97 yards on 23 carries against what may end up being a very good Raiders defense.
Even with their defensive struggles in the opener, 8.5 seems like a lot of points coming into Panthers at Buccaneers betting. There’s a lot of new faces on both sides of the ball, but Carolina won 37-26 at Tampa Bay last season. The Bucs won 20-14 in the earlier meeting a year ago in Charlotte.
Tampa Bay Too Banged Up to Cover?
Carolina can score with you, but they’ll also give up points. Is Tampa Bay healthy enough to cover the -8.5 with Chris Godwin in concussion protocol and Mike Evans playing through a tricky hamstring? Evans was held to just 1 catch for 2 yards a week ago, although that reception did go for a TD.
Even though they didn’t show it in the week one 23-34 loss to New Orleans, one of the bright spots for Tampa Bay is that they are deep. Rob Gronkowski had just 2 catches for 11 yards and Leonard Fournette gained 5 yards on 5 carries. It’s possible Bruce Arians has yet to dip into his arsenal of majesty.
Another thing lost in Tampa Bay’s week one loss is that their defense wasn’t as bad as the 34 points allowed would indicate. One of the Saints TDs came on a Janoris Jefferson INT return and Drew Brees had just 160 yards through the air.
Panthers at Buccaneers Betting Free Pick
8.5 points seems like a lot in this meeting of division foes. Bridgewater had a rough feeling out process with his new team and no preseason – as did Brady. With McCaffrey such a dangerous weapon and Tampa Bay at less than full strength you have to take the points.
Free Pick: Panthers +8.5