Tampa travels north to North Carolina to face the Carolina Panthers tonight. Both teams lost Week 1. Carolina lost 30-27 at home to the Rams as 2 point dogs. (this was our only loser last week) Tampa lost at home to San Francisco 31-17. (this was one of our winners)
Tampa are 7 point underdogs. Most books are at 65 -75% Carolina wagers. Tampa was +6 at Carolina last year. Carolina won and covered the spread, 42-28. Jameis Winston did not play in that game. Cam Newton completed 19 of 25 passes for 247 yards and 2 TDs. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 24 for 40 243 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs. Carolina outrushed the Bucs 182-80 yards.
Carolina was 6-2 after the win and on a roll. Tampa fell to 3-5 with Winston having been benched. Both teams would struggle to finish the season. Tampa won 2 more games to finish a disappointing 5-11. Carolina would lose 7 of 8 and not make the playoffs at 7-9.
This year, both QBs are healthy but still having issues. Winston was 20 for 36 for 194 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs and a couple fumbles. Winston has a 7 QBR. Cam Newton wasn't much better. 25 of 38 for 239 yards 0TD and 1 INT. Newton has a 15 QBR.
The injury report from Week 1 saw Tampa come out almost completely healthy. Carolina's Safety Rashaan Gaulden missed practice this week and could miss the game.
Carolina had 23 rush attempts for 127 yards vs LA Rams. Last season, Tampa and LAR had similar Run Defenses. San Francisco ran 32 times for only 98 yards. Carolina has better OLine & RB than San Francisco. Expect around 30 carries for 150 yards from McCaffrey and the Panthers.
Both teams failed Week 1 largely because of turnovers. Both QBs accounted for the majority of them. Cam hasn"t won a start since November 4, 2018. 7 straight losses including a loss at Tampa.Winston didn't play in the Nov 4 game. Cam had shoulder issues last year. That explains the six straight games with ratings of 83 or less. This year he's supposed to be healthy. Winston's 5 turnovers doomed the Bucs. Two Pick6s for 14 points?! Tampa's defense only allowed 17 points.
So what happens tonight?
Which QB do you trust?
Tampa has a trio of young talented Cornerbacks. Vernon Hargreaves, MJ Stewart and Carlton Davis should hinder a struggling Cam Newton. The home crowd will boost the Panthers. Tampa's Pass Rush could be deciding factor. They will need more than a sack and a couple hurries to win this game. Carolina has a Top 10-12 OLine, a playmaker in McCaffrey and they are home on a short week. However this game will be played closer than expected.
CAROLINA 24 TAMPA BAY 20
BET TAMPA BAY +7