Monday Night Football Week 5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers – Free Prediction and Preview
The NFC South takes center stage on Monday Night as both teams in this contest are desperate for a victory. The Panthers Super Bowl hangover appears to be in full swing as they find themselves in a three-way tie in the bottom of the division.
Carolina opened the game as – 4.5 favorites. As of this writing, the current odds are Buccaneers +5.5 (-109) and Panthers -5.5 (-111) at BetOnline.ag (Full Review). The Panthers have gotten about 55 percent of the betting action. The odds are at -5 or -5.5 at most sportsbooks.
The total opened at 46 points. At BetOnline.ag, the total is 46. The number hasn’t moved much off the opener, though at some sportsbooks the number is 45.5. Since opening, over 60 percent of wagers have come in on the over.
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Tampa Bay – Sophomore Slope for Winston?
After a big 31-24 victory to start the season at Atlanta, the Buccaneers have lost three straight to see their record fall to 1-3. Quarterback Jameis Winston III looked a lot more accomplished in his rookie year and has been one of the primary reasons for their slide.
Although Winston did rush for a touchdown in last week’s 27-7 loss to Denver, he played poorly, like most of his teammates. He turned the ball over three times, including two interceptions and gained just 179 yards passing on 17 of 35 throws.
Defensively, they have also had issues. The Buccaneers lowest point total allowed this season is 24 points. They have given up 27, 37, and 40 points in their last three games.
To make matters worse, they are missing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (calf injury), who is easily their best player on defense. Without him, their pass rush will suffer.
Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton Sidelined
The Panthers have an identical record to the Buccaneers at 1-3 after falling to the Falcons 48-33 in Week 4. Their only win this season was a blowout victory in Week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Cam Newton suffered a hard hit in last week’s game and will be out on Monday night with a concussion. Backup Derek Anderson will take the reins. Anderson has experience as a starter and is one of the stronger backups in the league.
He can’t replace Newton, but he has been in the system awhile and shouldn’t have issues moving the ball against a weak Tampa Bay defense that is missing their top pass rusher.
I have a hard time predicting how this game will play out when it comes to which side will cover. The Panthers are in an excellent spot after losing last week. It’s an ideal bounce-back spot for them, even with Anderson, instead of Newton under center.
However, I think the total is a much better play, as I don’t want to place a wager on Tampa Bay and I could see this one coming down to a field goal. Carolina’s secondary was exposed last week in their loss to Atlanta – I expect a much better performance this week.
Mike Evans is still a downfield threat that could give the Panthers issues, but the Buccaneers are also likely to be without their two top running backs. Carolina won’t push the ball downfield with Derek Anderson, even though he is one of the better backups around. They will rely on their defense.
It’s much easier to figure out how a game will play out from a pace and scoring perspective, compared to which side will win. That’s what we are doing here.
Pick: Under 46