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How Frank Reich’s Firing Impacts Panthers, Bettors

How Frank Reich’s Firing Impacts Panthers, Bettors article feature image

The Carolina Panthers made an in-season coaching change for the second straight year, firing Frank Reich after just 11 games.  The Panthers named special teams coordinator Chris Tabor interim head coach, and he'll roam the sideline this week when they visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

According to Action Network Director of Research Evan Abrams, 36 teams have made in-season coaching changes since 2004, and they are 17-19 straight up and 20-16 against the spread in the first game after axing a head coach. That includes the Las Vegas Raiders this year, who blew out the New YorkGiants, 30-6, in their first game under interim head coach Antonio Pierce.

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Teams in general typically have more success the week after moving on from their head coach. They hit at a 55.6% clip ATS, which is far better than the 37.4% mark prior to the coaching change (125-209-6).

Bettors didn’t expect much of the Panthers this year, hamming the under on their projected win total (7.5). 87% of all bets and 97% of the handle backed the under, which was the highest percentage for any team. according to BetMGM.  The public was spot on as the Panthers (alongside the Bengals) became one of the first teams to cash the under for a win total in their 17-10 loss to the Titans on Sunday.

Only one other coach in NFL history has been fired in fewer games than Reich as the San Francisco 49ers jettisoned Pete McCulley after just nine games in 1978. Other notable head coaches fired after short stints include Urban Meyer by the Jaguars in 2021, Bobby Petrino by the Falcons in 2007 and Lou Holtz by the Jets in 1976. Reich’s numbers were the worst of any of those coaches straight up (1-10) and against the spread (2-8-1).

Meanwhile, this will be Tabor's second stint as an interim head coach. He previously helmed the Chicago Bears for a single game in 2021 when former coach Matt Nagy tested positive for COVID-19. The Bears lost 33-22 to the San Francisco 49ers in that game, failing to cover as four-point home ‘dogs.

Reich is the second head coach to be fired this season, joining former Raiders coach Josh McDaniel. This offseason may see a ton of teams looking for new leadership as ESPN’s Adam Schefter predicts as many as one-third of franchises might move on from their current coach.

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