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After Opening as 1.5-Point Underdogs vs Bucs in Week 6, Panthers Now 2-Point Favorites

Jordan Horrobin

by Jordan Horrobin in NFL Football

Updated Apr 7, 2020 · 1:52 PM UTC

Christian McCaffrey, Panthers RB
Christian McCaffrey is putting up MVP-like numbers so far this season. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr)
  • Tampa Bay beat Carolina, 20-14, on the road in Week 2
  • The Panthers won three-straight since and are favored to even the season series with the Bucs in Week 6
  • Christian McCaffrey versus the Bucs D is the matchup to watch

In a matter of hours, there was a 3.5-point swing in this weekend’s Carolina Panthers vs  Tampa Bay Buccaneers odds. The Panthers, formerly a 1.5-point underdog, now stand as two-point favorites for this pivotal NFC South matchup in London.

Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Over/Under
Carolina Panthers -125 -2.0 (-110) Over 48.0 (-110)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +105 +2.0 (-110) Under 48.0 (-110)

* Odds taken 10/08/19

The Panthers are hot right now, one of just three teams to win at least three-straight games. But they lost back in Week 2 at home against the Buccaneers, a team that seemingly looks different every week. So while the odds have changed — and could change again — is now the time to strike?

McCaffrey vs. Bucs D

It’s not exactly “analysis” to say Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has been an absolute stud so far this year. He’s averaging 173.2 all-purpose yards per game and has seven touchdowns. And if those numbers don’t speak for themselves, allow reigning All-Pro runner Todd Gurley to step in.

But there was one time McCaffrey looked human this year: against the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay held him to 37 rushing yards (2.3 yards per carry) and 16 receiving yards, as well as no touchdowns.

The Buccaneers are legit on defense, ranking second in the NFL in rush yards allowed (69.8 per game) and first in yards allowed per carry (3.1). They also have NFL sack leader Shaquil Barrett, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

It feels safe to say McCaffrey will do better than he did the first time against Tampa Bay, but the question remains whether he’ll do enough to have a marked impact.

Kyle Allen Hasn’t Lost … Yet

When Tampa Bay and Carolina last played, Carolina’s quarterback was Cam Newton. That’s no longer the case, as a Lisfranc injury has kept Newton sidelined the past three weeks and for the foreseeable future.

Newton went 0-2 in the first two weeks of the season, throwing no touchdowns and one interception. In his place, Kyle Allen has gone 3-0 with five touchdowns and no interceptions (in fact, he hasn’t thrown an interception yet in his career, through 121 pass attempts, though fumbles have certainly been an issue).

It’s worth noting that Allen faced two of the league’s weakest pass defenses in his first two starts (Arizona and Houston). Against a slightly better Jaguars’ pass defense last week — although, absent Pro Bowl corner Jalen Ramsey — Allen only threw for 181 yards and one touchdown.

The Buccaneers just so happen to have the league’s worst pass defence (323.6 yards allowed per game), so Allen is in good shape to put up solid numbers.

Decision Time

It’s no wonder oddsmakers have already flip-flopped — this is a tough matchup to call, especially because it’s a neutral-site game devoid of any potential environmental edge for either side.

As it stands now, Panthers -2.0 is the way to go. Bet on McCaffrey, an early 2019 NFL MVP contender, to bounce back against Tampa Bay while Allen feasts on the league’s most-generous secondary. There aren’t any major injury question marks that suggest this line is going to move much further in the Panthers’ direction, but if that happens, stick with them on any line -3.5 or below.

Pick: Panthers -2.0 (-110)

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