Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick ATS
gCarolina Panthers (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Sunday, October 13, 2019 at 9:30AM EDT
Where: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
TV: NFL Network
Point Spread: CAR -2/TB +2 (BetAnySports)
Over/Under Total: 48
The Carolina Panthers take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFC South battle in the exotic location of London, England, on Sunday morning. It’s still relatively early in the season, but each of these teams has been through a lot already in the young campaign. In week 2, Carolina hit rock-bottom when losing at home to Tampa, 20-14, in a painful home MNF loss. Since then, however, they have won three in a row and look to make amends here, albeit on the road. Tampa, meanwhile, has won just one of three since beating Carolina, although that was a shocking 55-40 win over the Rams. With their only wins on the road, they look to do it again away from home. On Sunday, they lost to the Saints, 31-24, while Carolina is coming off a 34-27 win over Jacksonville. Who can notch the cover across the pond?
New Look Panthers
It was clear there was something wrong with the Panthers with Cam Newton behind center when they fell flat at home against Tampa in week two. With Kyle Allen in there, the offense has turned the page, and it’s been shocking to see a flamed out former blue-chipper reemerge and succeed at the highest levels possible. He hasn’t thrown a pick, is completing passes at an over 10% rate greater than Newton, and is making the best use of his considerable weaponry. They’re winning and looking vital on offense, which rubs off on the other side of the ball. In total, they look like a completely different team from the dysfunctional operation we saw a few short weeks ago.
It’s hard not to like how Allen jumped in there and established a rapport with his vast tools. It really helped that the line got healthier and started playing better. He works smoothly with Christian McCaffrey, who has morphed into a super-weapon on the ground and through the air. Allen gets him the ball a lot, and it just works, with McCaffrey a big-play threat whenever he’s on the field. Also, aerially, DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel have been useful in this offense, with TE Greg Olsen getting warmed up to the season lately. And different guys can step up, as we saw quarterback-turned-running back Reggie Bonnafon run for a long TD on Sunday.
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The Bucs can jump up and get you. But like any team trying to find its way after being in a prolonged funk, there are going to be speed bumps on the road to glory. After an offensive explosion in LA the previous week, the offense wasn’t quite able to take off last week, with Jameis Winston not having his best day with 15-27 completions with a low-key 204 yards, but he didn’t throw a pick. And the dicey Tampa defense didn’t show its teeth, allowing a big game to Teddy Bridgewater through the air, with the pass-defense once again holding the team back.
I still think you’re starting to see Bruce Arians’ handiwork paying off, as Winston has looked better in spots and should continue to improve with more familiarity in this offense. He is working well with his weapons, and with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, he has two outstanding receivers with which to work. With OJ Howard at tight end and running backs Dare Ogunbowale and Ronald Jones also useful aerial pieces, Winston is starting to connect better. While the run-game lags behind the pass, at least Jones has sprung to life some, making more big plays and looking better this season overall. This offense can put up points quickly and needs to be considered as a threat in this matchup. Granted, Carolina did a decent job keeping them in check when they played in Charlotte, so we’ll see how it goes this week.
Which Defense Can Step Up?
A significant drawback for potential Bucs backers is a pass-defense that can’t stop much. With Kyle Alen operating smoothly, trying to make his mark as an NFL commodity, this could be a problem-area for Tampa in London. You’re going to have a Tampa pass-defense on a long road trip, coming off two straight road games already and now having to turn up in London still fresh somehow. This might not be the best time to see Tampa thrive on this side of the ball. Guys like Carlton Davis, Vernon Hargreaves, Mike Edwards, and Jordan Whitehead are going to have to do a lot better job. The front-seven has some players. They’re strong at linebacker, and Shaquil Barrett has been a pass-rushing maven this season, with Ndamukong Suh still useful in the interior. The front-seven is going to have to play really well this week to help make up for the deficiencies in the back. And truth be told, they’ve been pretty solid against the run, which could be a byproduct of teams doing so well in the air against this bunch. Still, despite all their issues, they’re a group that does some things well and can make a lot of plays.
Carolina, conversely, has a pretty solid secondary. So far this season, guys like Eric Reid, Tre Boston, Javien Elliott, Ross Cockrell, and James Bradberry have been highly-serviceable against the pass, and that could go a long way this week in London. I think more was expected upfront with Dontari Poe, Gerald McCoy, Mario Addison, and others, as they’ve been a little dicey against the opposing run and losing Kawann Short didn’t help, though Addison has been getting to the quarterback well. Having a difference-maker like Luke Kuechly in the middle is a major asset. It’s been a big part of the equation that has led the Panthers to turn around what was shaping into a nightmare season.
Lay the Number on the Favorite
I thought Tampa was fortunate to get out of the last game with a “W” and will see that good fortune wane this week against a more on-point Carolina squad. I think the Panthers’ offense has more vitality and upside with Allen in there until Newton works out his physical and what might be mental issues. I think it’s going to be hard to separate Carolina from this newfound positive momentum that they worked so hard to get. I’ll take Carolina over what might be a road-weary Buccaneers team.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Carolina Panthers minus 2 points. Bet the Panthers/Bucs game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% bonus at an online betting site where credit cards work for deposits —> MyBookie!