The Carolina Panthers enter week 8 with a new outlook on the season. After a slow start, the Panthers have regrouped and are playing much better football behind an improved quarterback and ferocious defense. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have yet to win a game and right now are suffering from some serious injuries to key personnel heading into this Thursday night football game.
The opening point spread for this game had the Panthers listed as (-6.5) point favorites and the early bets were focused squarely on the road team. In fact over 70 percent of the early wagers are on the Panthers. Despite the public push this line can still be found at (-5.5) at the top-rated sportsbook BetOnline, which is very interesting movement.
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Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are winless on the season, but they are giving it their all on the field. They’re losing by an average of less than six points per game, and half of their defeats have come on field goals in the final two
Rookie QB Mike Glennon has looked impressive in limited starts. The rookie has improved every game and in Tampa’s most recent loss to the Atlanta Falcons, he finished the game with a season-high 90.7 passer rating. Tampa Bay will be without Doug Martin out of the backfield but it could be argued this will not be as a significant loss as it would seem. In Martin’s absence, the rookie Mike James rushed 14 times for 45 yards. Without Martin the Bucs could focus on passing the ball and that is actually where they are better at.
On the other side of the ball Cam Newton is learning how to share the wealth on offense. In the last four games, Newton has completed 45 percent of his passes to Smith and Olsen. LaFell and Ginn have increased their production to 35 percent. But the Bucs may have his number.
The Bucs held Carolina to just 10 rushing yards on the game, tying a team record, and was particularly hard on QB Cam Newton, who had put up enormous numbers against Tampa Bay’s defense during his eye-opening rookie campaign in 2011. Newton threw for 303 yards but was intercepted twice, sacked three times and allowed only four rushing yards on five carries. This game could be closer than people think.
Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Trends
The latest NFL betting trends for this game reveal that the Panthers could be in a position to continue their winning ways. The favorite is 9-2 against the spread (ATS) in the last 11 meetings and that is just the start of trends in favor of Carolina. The Buccaneers are 10-27-1 ATS in their last 38 home games, 2-6-1 ATS in the last nine games against the NFC and 0-4 ATS in the last four games overall.
The Panthers are 5-1 ATS against a team with a losing record, 6-2 ATS in the last eight games against the NFC and 7-3 ATS in the last ten games on the road and overall.
Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Predictions
The Buccaneers have yet to win, but that actually makes them a team to watch this week since Winless underdogs (NFL Week 6 or later) are 64% ATS since 1992. James will be able to do just fine out of the backfield without Martin and that will allow Glennon to air it out and attack the vulnerable part of the Panthers defense. Newtown struggles in Tampa and this game will come down to the wire.
NFL Week 8 predictions and Picks Against the Spread
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