Panthers vs. Buccaneers Odds & Pick: Tampa Bay A Week 2 NFL Teaser Candidate (Sept. 20)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady.
- Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is one of the best quarterbacks against the spread, especially as an underdog.
- Will Bridgewater and the Panthers be able to cover the number against Tom Brady and the Bucs?
- Raheem Palmer breaks the game down with updated odds below.
Panthers vs. Buccaneers Odds
With the addition of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette, expectations for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were sky high. Now after a 34-23 drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints, the Bucs are sitting at 0-1 and hope to right the ship against against another NFC South divisional opponent in the Carolina Panthers.
Desperation is a theme for both teams as the Teddy Bridgewater-led Panthers are coming off a season-opening loss of their own at the hands of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Since realignment in 2002, only 16 out of the 140 teams who have started 0-2 have made the playoffs — that’s 11.4%. Of course, there are two additional playoff berths this season (one per conference), but with an opening record with historically bad implications on the line, which one of these teams can get off the snide and avoid the 0-2 start?
Let’s find out.
Teddy Bridgewater has been historically great against the spread (ATS) throughout his six-year career. He’s 27-8 (77%) ATS overall and 17-3 against the number as an underdog — a role he finds himself in this Sunday on the road.
The Bucs saw Bridgewater as a member of the Saints last season, when the Louisville alum threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns with a 113.3 quarterback rating in that Week 5 matchup. Teddy doesn’t have that Saints offensive line to protect him this time, but given the weapons around him with Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel, you have to feel encouraged by a unit that finished eighth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA in Week 1.
That said, they’ll be facing a tougher defensive line this week, so we can expect a lot of runs and short passes to negate Tampa Bay’s pass rush.
Unfortunately for Bridgewater, he may see his winning record SU and ATS regress this season as this Panthers team doesn’t quite measure up to the Mike Zimmer- and Sean Payton-coached Vikings and Saints, specifically on defense.
The Panthers defense gave up six scoring drives, including three touchdowns on the first eight possessions against the Raiders. Carolina also couldn’t stop the run, allowing a 65% success rate on the ground (per Sharp Football Stats) as Las Vegas racked up 133 yards and three touchdowns on 31 attempts.
Derek Carr was 22-of-30 throwing for 239 yards and one touchdown as the Raiders had a 57% success rate in the passing game. Carolina had just a 6.7% pressure rate, was one of only three teams without a sack in Week 1 and the only team to not touch the opposing quarterback at all.
If the Panthers can’t stop the run or rush the quarterback, they could be in for a long day against this loaded Buccaneers offense. All things considered, this team will go as far as the offense takes it.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady’s season got off to the rocky start. In fact, based on how he’s performed recently, he might as well have been the guy he replaced in Jameis Winston. As I stated in my preview of the Bucs’ opening matchup, Brady’s -25 mark in Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement and -12.6% mark in DVOA over the second-half of the 2019 season were nearly identical to Winston’s -32 mark in DYAR and -12.6% mark in DVOA, per Football Outsiders.
Nevertheless, last week was the third consecutive game in which Brady threw a Pick 6.
Fortunately, the Bucs now face a Panthers defense that struggled to generate a pass rush. According to ESPN’s David Newton, Brady has completed 71% of his passes since 2014 when not under pressure, so this has the recipe for a redemption game.
Although wide receiver Chris Godwin (concussion) has been ruled out, the cupboard is far from empty with Mike Evans, Scotty Miller, Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard.
The run game could also favor heavily in this matchup after Josh Jacob’s performance against the Panthers last Sunday. Ronald Jones and Fournette were underwhelming against the Saints, combining for 71 yards on 22 carries (3.2 yards per carry), but they should have no problem replicating Jacob’s output in this matchup. That’ll go a long way in taking pressure off Brady, who is still getting acquainted with his new receivers in Bruce Arians’ system.
One of the biggest positives for Tampa Bay is its defense.
The Buccaneers held Christian McCaffrey to 38 carries for 68 yards as well as six catches for 42 yards in two games last season. And the unit picked up where it left off in 2019, holding Alvin Kamara to 16 yards on 12 attempts in Week 1. Even with a young secondary, Drew Brees threw for just 160 yards on 18-of-30 passing, and the Saints offense finished with 4.1 yards per play — the second-lowest among all NFL teams last week.
One thing is clear: Brady doesn’t have to do it alone. If the Buccaneers don’t turn the ball over, creating points or short fields for opposing teams, they should be in a good position.
This is theoretically a good buy-low spot for the Buccaneers, but when your buy-low spot involves laying more than a touchdown against a division rival that’s still figuring things out with a new quarterback, that’s troubling.
The combination of Tampa Bay’s solid defense and loaded offense vs. a leaky Carolina defense is a huge edge in this matchup. Still, my model makes this Tampa Bay -6.25, so it feels like we’re paying a premium for a team that has yet to prove how good it is on the field.
I’m not willing to do that.
While my model may see an edge on Carolina from a numbers perspective, the edge I see on the field for Tampa Bay forces me to throw the numbers out. This is a pass for me.
If you absolutely have to make a play, I would recommend adding the Bucs to a 6-point teaser, knocking out the key numbers of 7, 6 and 3 to get them under a field goal at -2.5 — teasing the Cardinals down from -7 to -1 would make a good second leg.
PICK: Bucs -2 or -2.5 in a 6-point teaser