Thursday Night Football Betting Preview: Tampa Bay Bucs vs. Carolina Panthers - Week 2

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Thursday, September 12th - 8:20PM ET - Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Betting Line: Carolina -6.5, Total 49.5

Week 2 of the NFL regular season kicks off with  an NFC South showdown between the Bucs and the Panthers. Both teams lost their home openers against NFC West opponents. Someone's 0 will go this week. Keep reading to find out who I believe that will be.

The Panthers hosted the Rams in Carolina last week. It was a slow start to the game. Neither team scored in the first quarter. The Panthers rallied back from a 16-3 deficit to come up short in a 30-27 loss.

Christian McCaffrey had a ridiculous game. He ran the ball 19 times for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns. McCaffrey also caught 10 passes for 81 yards.

Cam Newton completed 25-0f-38 passes for 239 yards. He did threw one intercepted and no touchdowns. Newton was sacked three times in the game and lost one fumble.

Carolina's pass defense held up for the most part. They held the Rams offense to 186 yards and a passing touchdown. They picked off Goff once and sacked him once.

It was in the running game where the Panthers defense struggled. Todd Gurley II rushed the ball just 14 times and gained 97 yards. Gurley did not see the end zone, but Malcome Brown, who averaged 4.8 yards on 11 carries scored twice. By the time the final whistle was blown, Carolina gave up 166 rushing yards. Only Miami and Atlanta allowed more rushing yards in Week 1.

For Tampa Bay, it was a much uglier game. Jameis Winston passed for 194 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. He was sacked three times and fumbled twice.

Ronald Jones lead the rushing corps with 75 yards on 13 carries. The Bucs rushed for 121 yards, but did not see the end zone.

Tampa Bay lost the game 31-17. Despite what the score suggests, the Bucs' defense held up. Jimmy Garoppolo passed for just 166 yards and a touchdown. The Niners averaged just 3.1 yards per carry. They rushed for just 98 yards as a unit.

Unfortunately for the Bucs, Winston's two picks were taken back to the house.

The Bucs are 1-5 in their last six trips to Carolina. They're an even 3-3 against the spread in those games with four of those games going Under. The last time the Bucs visited the Panthers, the lost 42-28. They're currently on a 7-game losing streak on the road. Since December 2016, the Bucs are 4-15 straight up on the road.

Carolina has lost their last four games at home. They failed to cover in three of those games. Prior to the last four home games, the Panthers were 13-4 straight up at home.

It's important to give some context to those losses. Carolina's last four home losses were against Seattle, New Orleans, Atlanta, and the Rams. Three of those losses were by three points a piece. The other was a 14 point loss to the Falcons.

Carolina is the stronger bet here. They played a tough game against the reigning NFC champions last week and are facing a bad team with a shaky quarterback. Take the Panthers on the moneyline. They should handle their business against the Bucs.