The Carolina Panthers are in Tampa Bay tonight looking to exact revenge on a Buccaneers team who swept them in last year’s season series.
Tampa Bay has already blown its chance at sweeping anything this year vs. New Orleans and Atlanta, losing 16-14 to the Saints in Week 2 and 31-23 four days ago against the Falcons. Tonight is their last stand if they hope to salvage a winning regular against the division this season and time could also be running out for HC Greg Schiano with a team that seems on the verge of quitting any time.
WEEK 8 PICKS – THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
When bookmakers first released a line for this game back in the dog days of summer it was close to Pick `em and one sports betting outlet that we track suggested Carolina (-1) should even be favored. My how times have changed! The current line is Panthers -6/-6.5 and it seems fairly obvious that money is starting to flow heavily to the favorite in gameday NFL wagering.
Tampa has struggled with injuries and inefficiency at two key offensive positions and tonight we’ll get a chance to see what QB Mike Glennon, RB Mike James and WR Vincent Jackson can do against a Panthers D who ranks in the top five against both the pass and rush.
Carolina has quietly put together a nice little 7-3 run both straight-up and against the spread since Week 14 of the 2012 season and they’ve scored 23 points or more in seven of those ten games. Laying divisional road chalk can be a risky move but on the short week we’re seeing a 10-1 ATS record for teams who came into the contest off a ‘W’. There is some concern over who Carolina has beaten and wins against the Giants (1-6), Vikes (1-5) and Rams (3-4) should be taken with a grain but the list of teams Tampa has beaten is non-existent. It’s also worth noting that Carolina scored 30-plus points in each of those wins meaning that Ron Rivera and Cam Newton have no objection to bullying. Perhaps the last second lost in Buffalo Week 2 taught these Cats a lesson.
NFL PRIMETIME PICKS
In the past 13 games Carolina played against pass-happy offenses we’ve seen 12 overs and 1 under and as the Panthers work to clog up the lanes we expect to see Glennon testing the secondary. It’s just tough seeing how this home team will compete for 60 minutes and we don’t want to involve the Bucs in our Over/Under projection. The solution is to play Carolina’s team total OVER 23 and this play was six for six last week when all six road faves scored at least 24 points (31.7 avg). The other option is to simply lay the points and to kick off the week we’ve backed each for a unit.
Pick: Take the Panthers
Pick: Take the Panthers TT OVER 23