Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Date and Time: Monday, October 10, 2016, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Week 5 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu:
Buccaneers vs. Panthers TV Coverage: NBC
The Bucs Week 1 31-24 outright win as 3 point underdogs in Atlanta against the now division leading Falcons seems like eons ago. Since the team’s best effort of the young season, Tampa Bay has gone on to lose to the Cardinals, Rams and Broncos in embarrassing fashion. Sophomore Jameis Winston has regressed terribly having already thrown eight interceptions after throwing 15 all of last season.
His poor play has led to the Bucs owning a -9 turnover differential that has routinely put the defense in bad spots. Because of it, Tampa Bay has given up a whopping 32.0 points per game which checks in at No. 31 in the league rankings. When you pair that with an offense scoring just 19.2 points per game that’s likely without Doug Martin until after their Week 6 bye, it comes as no surprise to see the Bucs once again struggling even with a new coaching staff in place.
Before the season started, the Panthers were 10-1 choices to repeat as Super Bowl champions. In dropping three of their first four games played, Carolina now checks in at 22-1 and only -120 chalk just to qualify for the postseason. What a difference a year makes!
There’s still time for Ron Rivera to rectify the situation in Carolina, but that has to start this evening regardless of whether he has Newton or Derek Anderson under center leading the offense. Like tonight’s opponent, turnovers have been deadly with the offense committing 10 of them through the first four games leading to a -3 turnover differential. Tampa Bay’s forced a grand total of two takeaways, so if the Panthers continue turning the ball over in this game, it’s likely a lost season for the Super Bowl runner-ups.
Matchup to Watch
The Bucs’ defensive front seven was decimated by injuries last week against the Broncos. While they still only gave up 89 yards rushing to Denver, the absences of Gerald McCoy, Noah Spence, Lavonte David and Robert Ayers will be immensely felt if each is unable to give it a go on Monday night.
Carolina’s ground game was taken out of the equation last week due to game script, but it should definitely have the opportunity to run the football in this one. Should Cameron Artis-Payne, Fozzy Whitaker or Mike Tolbert have success, it would give some much needed support to Anderson who proved to be capable in the passing game last week in throwing a pair of touchdowns as well as two interceptions.
Buccaneers vs. Panthers Free Picks
Carolina has dominated the recent rivalry winning six straight and covering five of those games against the closing odds at BookMaker.eu. Should Derek Anderson get the start, he’ll look to move to 3-0 all-time against the Bucs whom he led the Panthers to defeats over back in 2014 when Newton was injured.
Due to the injuries Tampa Bay incurred last week, and the fact that each of these defenses rank No. 30 and 31 in the defensive yard per point rankings, I can’t help but think some points will get put on the board in this one. This is a must-have win for both of these teams so, I’d be willing to take the points more than I’d want to lay them.
Buccaneers vs. Panthers ATS Pick: Over 48 at BookMaker.eu
Buccaneers vs. Panthers Score Prediction: Panthers 31 – Buccaneers 27