Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. Carolina Panthers (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: Monday, October 10, 2016, 8:30 PM EST
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
TV: ESPN, DirecTV 206
by Badger, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TB +4.5/CAR -4.5
Over/Under Total: 44.5
Not many would have predicted that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers would both be sitting at the bottom of the NFC South standings four weeks into the season, but thatís exactly the situation they are in when the Bucs travel to Bank of America Stadium for a date with the rival Panthers on ESPNís Monday Night Football.
Carolina has lost two straight, and they looked extra bad and also watched Cam Newton get knocked out of the game with a concussion in last weekís, 48-33, drubbing at the hands of NFC South rival Atlanta. With Newton in the protocol and likely out for Mondayís game, veteran backup Derek Anderson will be calling the signals for the Panthers when they try and get off the schnid at home in primetime on Monday Night Football.
Tampa hasnít won since the opener, losing three in a row including last weekís, 27-7, loss at home against Denver. Jameis Winston has struggled since the opener, but the Bucs defense hasnít been helping at in any capacity at all allowing 32 points per game (31st in NFL). So while they will catch a break by not having to face the reigning league MVP in Newton Monday night, the Bucs defense has yet to play well enough for it to even matter.
The cloud surrounding Newton and his concussion and his availability has caused this game to still be off the board at a majority of the sportsbooks in Las Vegas. There are a few online books that list a point spread for this game already, with Carolina minus -4.5 at home the number that most books have on this game currently.
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Of course, the same can be said of the over/under total. Itís off the board completely right now out in Vegas, but you can find the same books on the Internet that are listing a side listing the total at 44.5 or 45 currently.
In addition to Newton nursing a concussion, a key part of the Panthers offensive line T Michael Oher missed the last game in the concussion protocol and has yet to be cleared for playing on Monday. So thereís no telling what the Panthers will try and do against the weak Tampa defense on Monday.
These divisional rivals have a long history against each other, and itís a history that has been dominated by Carolina the past three years. The Panthers have swept the series for three years going 6-0 SU and 8-2 SU in the last 10. The Panthers have also cashed for bettors at a 7-3 ATS clip over the same 10-game span.
The favorite in the head-to-head series is a rock-solid 13-4 ATS over the years. But the strongest betting trend goes to the under, which is 11-5 in the last 16 games in the series played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Badger's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: It is never my preference to try and give betting suggestions when a quarterback of Newtonís caliber is doubtful. But heís not the only Panther banged up and doubtful to questionable. The Panthers are learning the hard lesson that is playing with the target on their backs. However, if there was ever a defense youíd want a banged up line and backup QB to face, itís the Bucs. I still think the Bucs and Winston will get a few scores on the strong Panther defense, but Anderson and the Panthers are going to be able to answer. If I play anything on this game, I might play the over of 44.5.
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