Carolina Panthers (0-0, 0-0 ATS) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0, 0-0 ATS)

ATS= against the spread

BETDAQ Line: Tampa Bay -2, -2.5 (both markets offered) (37.5)

Significant Injuries

Carolina: QB Cam Newton (questionable– ribs)

Tampa Bay: DE Da’Quan Bowers (out– abdominal), S Bradley McDougald (out– knee), DE William Gholston (out– shoulder)

Recent Trends

Carolina is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games vs. NFC South opponents

Carolina is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Week 1 games

Tampa Bay is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. NFC South opponents

Tampa Bay is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 Week 1 games

The favorite is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings between these 2 teams

The UNDER is 7-0 in Carolina’s last 7 games vs. NFC opponents

The UNDER is 4-0 in Tampa Bay’s last 4 games vs. NFC South opponents

The OVER is 5-1 in Tampa Bay’s last 6 home games

Three reasons to back Carolina

1. Carolina’s defense ranked second only to Seattle in both yards allowed and points allowed last season, while the Bucs had the single worst offense in the league statistically. As mismatches go, this is about as big as they get.

2. In addition to having the superior defense, the Panthers also have the better quarterback in this matchup, as Cam Newton is a former Pro Bowler who can hurt a defense with both his arms and his legs, while Tampa QB Josh McCown is a journeyman who has played on 8 teams in his 11-year career.

3. The Bucs have one of the worst offensive line situations in the NFL, and they’re facing a front seven that is quite possibly the league’s best. The Panthers will be getting to McCown before he even has time to hand the ball off.

Three reasons to back Tampa Bay

1. New Tampa coach Lovie Smith has a track record of turning out stellar defenses and he inherits plenty of talent in Tampa, so I expect the Bucs to be a hard-nosed defensive team that is well-suited to take on a one-dimensional offense like Carolina’s.

2. Cam Newton’s inaccuracy as a passer has been a major problem for the Panthers over the past two years, and that problem could be exacerbated this season because of Carolina’s subpar receiving corps, a unit that does not include a single player who was on the team last season.

3. Tampa quarterback Josh McCown has top-notch skill-position talent at his disposal and he’ll be facing a Carolina secondary that returns just 1 starter from a year ago. Don’t be surprised if McCown burns the Panthers deep several times, as the Bucs have two receivers (Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans) who have built their reputations on making plays downfield (Evans built that reputation in college, but still…).


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