The NFL Week 2 betting board kicks off with an NFC South showdown on Thursday night when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Carolina Panthers. Oddsmakers opened Carolina as a 5-point home chalk but the line has since jumped to Panthers -6.5.
If you’re betting the NFL top handicappers odds for Bucs at Panthers, here are the angles you need to know:
Bruce Arians was supposed to straighten up a Bucs offense which showed promise in 2018. Tampa Bay brought in the former Cardinals head coach and so-called quarterback whisper to help organize the pieces of former No. 1 overall draft pick Jameis Winston.
Week 1 didn’t produce the results Tampa Bay was hoping for, with the Buccaneers scoring just 17 points in a loss to San Francisco and Winston finishing with 194 yards on 20-of-36 passing with one touchdown and three interceptions. Whatever Arians was whispering, Winston obviously wasn’t hearing.
The Buccaneers now run into a Carolina defense that while coming off a 30-27 loss to the L.A. Rams, did well considering the number of turnovers the Panthers offense had in their season debut. Carolina coughed the ball up three times – two fumbles, one interception – and that left the stop unit playing more than 33 minutes.
While a single Week 1 result may not warrant a wager, the Bucs’ were fighting tooth and nail with the Niners before surrendering 25 points in the second half. Last season, Tampa Bay had one of the worst stop units in the league and finished 2018 allowing 12.9 average points in the final two quarters, including 7.1 points in the fourth.
Carolina kept it competitive with the Rams Sunday by posting 24 points in the final 30 minutes, including 14 points in the final frame. The Panthers weren’t outstanding in second halves last season but did average a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Sound on the ground
Both Tampa Bay and Carolina has success rushing the football in Week 1. Carolina tallied 127 gains on the ground, thanks to a huge day from running back Christian McCaffery, who finished the day with 128 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Tampa Bay, which has struggled to find a consistent rushing option in recent years, also had success handing he ball off against the 49ers. Running back Ronald Jones II carried the ball 1 times for 75 yards and backup Peyton Barber tacked on an additional 33 yards rushing for a Bucs attack that totaled 121 yards on the ground.
Given that game plan – and lack of faith in Winston – this game could come down to who pounds the ground the most. Books have the total set at 50 points, however, the Bucs and Panthers have played Under the number in five of their last six meetings going back to the 2016 season.