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After opening as 5.5 favorites for Thursday Night Football against the Tampa Bay Bucs, the Carolina Panthers are now favored by 7 points at While Caesars Sports Book currently has the Panthers set as a 6.5 point favorite for the Thursday Night game (8 PM on NFL Network).

The total in this game has been reduced after opening at 51.5 across most sports books. Currently the total is holding at +/- 49. This change is no surprise with a chance for thunderstorms during tonight’s game, combine with a trend of totals going UNDER in the series.

Five of the last 6 games between Tampa Bay and Carolina have resulted in an UNDER total.

Thursday Night Football – Game Preview

The beginning of the end for Jameis Winston…

Jameis Winston was awful against the 49ers on Sunday. He threw 3 interceptions, including a pair of pick-sixes. He was also under constant duress, taking a ton of hits from the San Francisco pass rush and being taken down for a sack three times.

It’s only week two, and buzz has already started about life for the Bucs after Winston. Unless things turn around quick, many expect the team to move on from their former first round draft pick.

An 0-2 start would almost guarantee this game being the beginning of the end for Winston as a Buccaneer. Coach Bruce Arians will want to find HIS guy soon to execute the high flying aerial attack offense that he is known for. With a talented receiving corps already in place, Arians is not going to settle for a QB who looks so lost in the pocket.

Carolina will be hungry for a win in week 2…

The Panthers played a tight game with the defending NFC Champs on Sunday. After going down by 10 in the first half, the Panthers offense woke up in the second half and nearly stole the game from the Rams.

Christian McCaffrey led the charge for the Panthers, putting up 209 total yards of offense and two scores.

Cam Newton, on the other hand, was not very effective. The Panthers QB threw zero touchdowns in the game, turned it over twice, and rushed for -2 yards on the ground. Newton needs to play better for the Panthers to sniff the playoffs this year.

The Rams escaped the onslaught by McCaffrey with a 30-27 win at Carolina. Carolina will be determined not to start the season 0-2 on their home field, and Ron Rivera’s team knows the importance of keeping pace with the Saints in the division.

The Trends

  • The Total has finished UNDER IN 5 of the last 6 games between the Panthers and Bucs
  • Tampa Bay is 0-5 in their last five games on Thursday Night
  • Carolina leads the all-time series 23-14-0 vs. Tampa Bay
  • Tampa Bay is 5-14 against the spread in their last 19 prime time games

Props Network Pick

Both QBs were terrible in week one, and Thursday night football is a showcase for terrible-ness. I expect a bumbling mess of a game with both teams having trouble in the same areas on offense. They both can’t pass the football, and they both turn the ball over.

On defense a slight advantage goes to Carolina, who in week-one faced a far superior Rams Offense. I don’t expect Jameis and the Bucs to have similar success, especially on a short week.

Also the Panthers D might get a “revenge game” boost from veteran DT Gerald McCoy, who signed with Carolina after being released by the Bucs. McCoy, who was chosen No. overall by Tampa in 2010, will be hunting for sacks against his former squad.

This game could come down to who has the best player, and the best player tonight will be Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey is a one-stop-shop for yards in the Panther’s offense. In week 1 he finished with 19 carries for 128 yards on the ground AND 10 receptions for 81 yards through the air.

If Aaron Donald and LA Rams D allowed this much production, will McCaffrey face any resistance from the Bucs? The 3rd year RB should take over this game, allowing the Panthers to control the clock.

McCaffrey’s potential to dominate, plus Winston’s likelihood to throw more INTs than TDs, should equal a WIN for the Panthers with trends pointing towards the total going UNDER.

THE PICK: 6-Point Teaser taking Carolina -1 point & UNDER 56 Total points in the game

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