Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

TNF - Buccaneers at Panthers

LAST WEEK

The Buccaneers (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) lost their first season opener since 2015 in last Sunday’s 31-17 home defeat to the 49ers as one-point favorites. Neither team scored an offensive touchdown in the first half as San Francisco kicked two field goals and Tampa Bay returned an interception for a score midway through the second quarter for a 7-6 halftime lead.

Tampa Bay never led again as San Francisco scored 25 second half points, including a pair of pick-sixes thrown by Buccaneers’ quarterback Jameis Winston. The lone Bucs offensive touchdown came on a Winston scoring connection with wide receiver Chris Godwin from 10 yards out, as the former Penn State standout led Tampa Bay with 53 yards receiving. Ronald Jones III produced 75 yards on the ground, but Winston’s three interceptions proved to be the difference as Tampa Bay fell to 1-4 ATS since last season as a home favorite.

The Panthers (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) started last season with an impressive 6-2 record, but lost the next seven games before falling shy of the playoffs at 7-9. Carolina dropped to 1-8 in its past nine regular season games, including four consecutive home defeats following Sunday’s 30-27 setback to the Rams. Los Angeles jumped out to an early 13-0 lead before Carolina rallied back to cut the deficit to 23-20 on Christian McCaffrey’s two-yard touchdown run in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

Cam Newton failed to throw a touchdown pass in his first regular season action since Week 15 last season, as the Panthers’ quarterback racked up 239 yards, while getting intercepted once. McCaffrey stood out by rushing for 128 yards and two scores, while hauling in 10 receptions for 81 yards. Carolina had its five-game home opener winning streak snapped, as the Panthers dropped their first game of the season at Bank of America Stadium since a 12-7 defeat to Seattle in 2013.

SERIES HISTORY

From 2009-17, this series ended in a sweep with Carolina grabbing both meetings in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017, while the Bucs claimed both matchups in 2010 and 2012, while edging the Panthers by a combined four points in a 2016 sweep. Last season ended that trend of sweeps as the home team captured each game.

Carolina outlasted Tampa Bay in Charlotte, 42-28 in Week 9 as six-point favorites, while sailing OVER the total of 55 ½. The Panthers jumped out to a 35-7 second quarter lead, highlighted by two short McCaffrey touchdowns before the Bucs came back to climb with seven points with three consecutive touchdowns. Newton connected with Curtis Samuel for the final touchdown to mark the fifth home win over Tampa Bay in the last six tries.

Winston sat out the first matchup with Carolina, but suited up in the second meeting at Raymond James Stadium in early December. Tampa Bay’s defense intercepted Newton four times, while Winston threw a pair of touchdowns in a 24-17 triumph as 3 ½-point underdogs. Following the high-scoring affair the first time around, the Buccaneers limited the Panthers to only one first half touchdown. Newton finished with 300 yards passing and two touchdowns, but the four picks did Carolina in, while the game easily stayed UNDER the total of 52.

The UNDER has cashed in five of the last six meetings, while three of the past five matchups in Charlotte have been decided by three points or less.

ARIANS IN JUDGMENT

Bruce Arians is coaching his first road game since 2017 with Arizona. The Buccaneers’ head coach owns a 3-7 record in his past 10 away contests in the role of an underdog dating back to 2015. Those three victories came at one of the hardest stadiums to win at in Seattle, while not covering once in any of the losses. In three games with Arizona at Bank of America Stadium (including two playoff games), Arians has lost each time by double-digits.

WEEK 2 ‘DOG SUCCESS

The first Thursday game in Week 2 is normally tough on both teams as they play with only three days of rest following the opener. Since 2015, the underdog has won outright four straight times in the Week 2 Thursday night affair, including three road victories by the Broncos (at Kansas City, 2015), Jets (at Buffalo, 2016), Texans (at Cincinnati, 2017) and Bengals (vs. Baltimore, 2018). Tampa Bay is the largest underdog in this situation as the biggest ‘dog was Houston, who was getting 5 ½ in a 13-9 triumph at Cincinnati.

HANDICAPPER’S CORNER

VegasInsider.com NFL expert Joe Nelson checks in with his thoughts on this NFC South, starting with Tampa Bay’s defensive performance in Week 1, “While the mistakes of the Buccaneers’ offense grabbed the headlines, the Tampa Bay defense that had many of the worst numbers in the league last season did a good job against San Francisco. The 49ers had only 256 total yards and gained only 4.3 yards per play with Jimmy Garoppolo held to 6.1 yards per pass attempt. San Francisco was held to 3.1 yards per rush as the Buccaneers had better overall numbers in the game save for the 4-2 turnover deficit.”

With both teams losing at home to NFC foes in Week 1, Nelson points out the importance of this game, “While plenty of teams have recovered from 0-2 starts, this game will feel like an early season elimination game for a pair of teams coming off losing seasons but with some support to be risers this season in the NFC picture. These teams will meet again in London in Week 6 as Tampa Bay doesn’t get a home meeting in this series for a rare division game overseas.”

“The urgency may be greater for the Buccaneers in the schedule as well as while a winnable game with the Giants is up next in Week 3, Tampa Bay plays last season’s NFC Championship participants on the road in Weeks 4 and 5. Carolina is on the road the next two weeks with Arizona and Houston before a home game with Jacksonville for a more manageable early season path,” Nelson notes.

PLAYER PROPS - According to Westgate Superbook

Total Gross Passing Yards – Jameis Winston (TB)
Over 275 ½ (-110)
Under 275 ½ (-110)

Total Touchdown Passes – Jameis Winston (TB)
Over 1 ½ (-110)
Under 1 ½ (-110)

Will Mike Evans (TB) score a Touchdown?
Yes +120
No -140

Total Receiving Yards – Chris Godwin (TB)
Over 59 ½ (-110)
Under 59 ½ (-110)

Total Completions – Cam Newton (CAR)
Over 22 ½ (-110)
Under 22 ½ (-110)

Total Touchdown Passes – Cam Newton (CAR)
Over 1 ½ (-160)
Under 1 ½ (+140)

Will Cam Newton (CAR) throw an Interception?
Yes -140
No +120

Total Rushing Yards – Christian McCaffrey (CAR)
Over 80 ½ (-110)
Under 80 ½ (-110)

Total Receiving Yards – D.J. Moore (CAR)
Over 60 ½ (-110)
Under 60 ½ (-110)

LINE MOVEMENT

The Panthers opened as 6 ½-point home favorites with a total of 50 at the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas on Sunday night. The side number has stayed the same, but the total has dipped to 49. There is no threat of rain in the forecast in Charlotte on Thursday night, while temperatures are expected to be in the high 80’s at kickoff.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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