Bucs-Panthers Over/Under Offers Betting Value
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ndamukong Suh
Buccaneers at Panthers Betting Odds
- Odds: Panthers -7
- Over/Under: 49
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: NFL Network
Odds above as of Thursday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can exclusively bet every NFL spread this season at reduced juice (-105).
The over/under in this week’s Thursday Night Football matchup between the Bucs and Panthers opened at 51 and immediately got hit with under action — for good reason.
This total is really based on the Buccaneers’ defense from last year. While I don’t expect Tampa to be great on D, it’s not a stretch to envision it being better than last year’s team, which ranked in the bottom-three according to most metrics.
Todd Bowles is now the D-coordinator and the additions of free-agent Ndamukong Suh and first-round pick Devin White should help his 3-4 scheme find better success compared to what we saw from Tampa last season.
Bowles’ defense is predicated on pressure and confusion, something that Cam Newton has struggled with in his career.
The concern with taking the under here — which I did when it was at 50 (get alerts for all of my bets when I make them in The Action Network app) — is that it may take some time for this unit to find its footing. But I’ll bet on the defensive pedigree of Bowles, especially with a total this high.
While the Bucs allowed 31 points last week against San Francisco, that’s a very deceiving number. Seventeen of those 31 points came via defensive touchdowns and a field goal from a drive that started on Tampa’s 33-yard line.
Bruce Arians cited his desire to work with QB Jameis Winston as a major factor for him taking the Bucs job. I do expect Winston to have a career year under Arians, but I think he will struggle again this week.
The biggest knock against Winston is his decision-making, and the Panthers should employ an aggressive gameplan to keep Winston off-balance.
Ron Rivera has mentioned this week that Gerald McCoy will see increased snaps against his former team after hearing from his defensive linemen, who complained they were not in the best position to apply pressure on Jared Goff against the Rams.
I am expecting that to translate to significantly fewer dime packages than we saw against the Rams to counter their 4-WR sets. The concern is that the Bucs’ pass-catching weapons could thrive against man coverage, but I’m betting on Winston not being afforded the time to get the ball out efficiently.
Another factor to consider: The familiarity of divisional opponents, especially on a short week. A few years ago, divisional unders on Thursday night were basically an auto-play, but the market has since adjusted.
In this matchup, the familiarity may help, but this is a play on both of these defenses being undervalued because of their recent history. My numbers make this game Panthers -6.8 with a total of 48.
As I said earlier, I hopped on Under 50 — and 50 is a key number in over/under betting since the NFL changed the extra point rules in 2015. If you missed that number, I still like Under 49, but it’d be a smaller play for me there.
PICK: Under 49