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Preview and Picks for Bucs at Panthers on Thursday Night Football

After somewhat of a damp squib last Thursday on Opening Night of the NFL returns for a second edition of Thursday Night Football as the Buccaneers head to Carolina to take on the Panthers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers

Bank of America Stadium, 8:20pm ET Thursday September 12th, 2019

Thursday Night Football seemed to show a little bit more last season and we saw points scored a plenty. However, the general feeling is that Thursday Night Football can often be dull one-sided affairs. After what we saw in Week 1 that would seem more than possible again this week. Jameis Winston literally threw the game away for the Buccaneers last week, as he handed two touchdowns to the 49ers. However, the run game with Ronald Jones actually looked reasonably effective, and therefore, I expect to see the Buccaneers being a little more circumspect this week. The bright spot for the Buccaneers last week was just how good that defense looked, and I do not believe it was a fluke.

Similarly, the Panthers looked best when Christian McCaffrey had the ball in his hand. At times Cam Newton’s throwing motion looked a little off and on a short week I am expecting the Panthers to look to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible. Additionally, despite giving up 30 points the Panthers defense is very talented and I expect them to have success getting to Winston in this game.

Games between these two have seen the under hit on 10-of-18 occasions since 2010. In that time just three games go over the 50-point mark, with two of those being back in 2011. This is a game between two teams whose defense is the better unit, with quarterbacks with questions marks, and coming off games in which their run games looked good. This has all the feeling of a slow, low scoring game in Carolina

3u – Under 49.5 Total Points @ -110

This game is huge for both teams, but the Panthers have a tremendous advantage coming out of the gate. They are coming off a home game and do not have any travel concerns. In addition, these two teams have trends of starting fast and slow. The Panthers have won 52.6% of the first half of their games going back to 2010. In contrast, the Buccaneers have won the first half in just 37.9% of games. I expect the Panthers to come out sharper in the first half while the Buccaneers look to avoid costly mistakes early in the game.

2u – Carolina Panthers -3.5 First Half Spread @ -120

The Carolina Panthers allowed a touchdown to Rams tight end Tyler Higbee last week, and they nearly let him score a second. Meanwhile Cameron Brate was in the end zone twice for the Buccaneers only for them both to be called back by touchdown. Trying to pick which tight end scores in this game for the Buccaneers is tough. Therefore, I am going to put a unit on both and hope at least one comes through.

1u – OJ Howard Anytime Touchdown Scorer @ +225

1u – Cameron Brate Anytime Touchdown Scorer @ +650

I fully expect McCaffrey to be a major part of this offense again. He led the team with 11 targets in the first game ad had 81 receiving yards. He should have every chance of repeating that against a team that allowed 33 yards through the air to Tevin Coleman in the brief time he was in the game last week.

1u – Christian McCaffrey Over 57.5 receiving yards @ -112

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