Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#263 Carolina Panthers 48.5 vs.
#264 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8
Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 1:00pm EDT
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Written by Adam Rauzino

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Carolina Panthers in an NFC showdown Sunday afternoon from Raymond James Stadium. The Panthers were competitive in a 34-30 home defeat to the Las Vegas Raiders last week, but have a tougher opponent in this one. The Buccaneers will look to rebound from a 34-23 road loss to the Saints. Tom Brady is the subject of discussion after tossing two picks, but will the GOAT rebound in his second game in a Bucs’ uniform? Each team recorded a win in the two-game season series in 2019.

Panthers Fall to Raiders, Bridgewater Shines in Carolina Debut

The Carolina Panthers head into this tough matchup on a losing note. They were three-point dogs in a tough 34-30 home loss to the Raiders last week. This is not the Panthers team of the past. New coach, new QB, and plenty of new defensive players. Teddy Bridgewater was solid in his Panthers’ debut, collecting 270 passing yards with one touchdown. The 27-year old was handed the #1 role after a stellar season with the Saints replacing an injured Drew Brees.

The Panthers' biggest name on offense is now Christian McCaffrey. The 24-year old running back has established himself as one of the best in the NFL and accumulated 1387 rushing yards in 2019. McCaffrey will probably see a ton of carries again this week after posting 96 yards in the season opener.

Former Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson was terrific in his Panthers debut, earning 115 receiving yards. The 27-year old WR tallied 779 yards with the Jets in 2019. The Panthers offense cannot be taken lightly with Bridgewater at the helm and their 388 total yards in week one is an encouraging accomplishment.

The Panthers' defense isn’t quite the threat it was in the past. Star linebacker Luke Keuchly retired and they struggled against the run in 2019. Shaq Thompson is a defensive stud and should be a leader in the linebacker position. Thompson made a remarkable 12 tackles in Sunday’s loss.

Carolina could be an improved team and still finish last in the NFC South in Matt Rhule’s first year as head coach. The Panthers averaged 21.3 points last season, ranking them 20th overall. They allowed an average of 29.4 points, placing them down at 31st in the NFL.

Brady Rusty, Bucs Clobbered by Saints

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been in the spotlight since Tom Brady departed the Patriots to join the Bucs. The expectations are high but they were not met in a 34-23 road loss to the Saints last week in a game that had the Bucs labeled as four-point dogs. Tom Brady clearly wasn’t in sync with his receivers which is understandable considering there was no preseason. The 43-year old future Hall of Famer accrued 239 passing yards with two touchdowns but threw two interceptions which is a rare sight from him. Brady should be much better this week.

The Bucs have a solid young RB in Ronald Jones II. The third-year back rushed for 724 yards last season and saw 17 carries for 66 yards last week. They also signed Leonard Fournette off waivers right before the season started and he might not be ready for full action yet. Brady has a ton of weapons at his disposal led by Mike Evans. The star WR was surprisingly only targeted four times last week. Evans has been one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL and earned over 1110 yards in 13 games in 2019.

Tampa Bay has playmakers on defense. They were effective against the rush last week and will be challenged again by the dangerous McCaffrey in this one. Keep an eye out for Lavonte David who is a tackling machine along with Shaquil Barrett who made a whopping 19.5 sacks in 2019. They have one of the fastest defenses in football from sideline-to-sideline. Lack of experience is the main concern, especially in the secondary.

The Buccaneers are obviously expected to contend for a title and it is too early to judge them after one game against another contender on the road. Tampa Bay ranked third in the NFL with 28.6 points in 2019. They squandered an average of 28.1 points, pegging them 28th overall.

Best Bets for this Game

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Full-Game Side Bet

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I am taking the points with the Panthers in this one. This is a large spread and while the Panthers aren't a huge threat, they are going to be a competitive team this season. Carolina was able to score 30 points against the Raiders last week, and this Tampa Bay defense allowed an average of 28 points per game in 2019. Carolina’s offense should be a strength led by star RB Christian McCaffrey and Teddy Bridgewater was able to collect 270 passing yards in his Panthers debut. Tampa ranked 30 against the pass last season.

Furthermore, Tom Brady will perform better in this one but it could still take another few quarters for him to find a comfort level. Carolina outscored Tampa Bay 37-26 in the second meeting last season and I expect them to keep this one close.

Prediction: Carolina Panthers +9

Full-Game Total Pick

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This game will yield plenty of offense. The Bucs’ defense can’t be trusted. They were awful last season and gave up 34 points in week one. Carolina is still dangerous from an offensive standpoint and the combination of Bridgewater and McCaffrey should lead to a big output. The over is a convincing 6-1 in the Panthers’ last seven games overall.

In addition, the Carolina defense is going to be exploited this season. They have now squandered at least 28 points in eight straight games and Brady will be able to have more success this week against a mediocre Panthers secondary. The over is 6-0 in the Buccaneers' last six divisional games.

Prediction: Over 47.5

Full-Game Prop Bet

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The Panthers' offense should score over 20 points. The Panthers offense is going to surprise teams this season and last week a strong performance. They tallied 270 passing yards along with 128 rushing yards and the Bucs defense didn’t stand out at all last week. Carolina also did not commit a turnover in week one. The Bucs have good players on defense but just can’t seem to put it together.

Prediction: Panthers Team Total Over 18.5

Half-Time Total Bet

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The over on the first half total is a solid play. The Panthers scored a solid 15 points in the first half in their season opener. They were the worst defensive team in the first half in the NFL last season. They allowed an average of 14.9 points in the opening half. Also, the Buccaneers weren’t much better as they squandered an average of 13.2 points which placed them 25th in the NFL. 

Prediction: Over 23.5
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.