Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers Betting Odds Preview - NFL Week 11

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers Betting Odds Preview - NFL Week 11

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be visiting the Carolina Panthers this weekend for an important AFC South contest. At 5-4 the Buccaneers would seem the obvious choice against the 2-7 Panthers. Perhaps it’s time to think again as the Panthers are favored to win this game with a 2 point spread and an over/under of 48.5 points. On the road Tampa Bay has been 2-2 while the Panthers are 1-4 at home this season. So why would Carolina be favored to win this game? There are actually quite a few reasons why the Panthers could win this weekend.

First, let’s look at the history between these clubs. Since 2001 Carolina has a 13-8 record against Tampa Bay. Last season Carolina won both games against Tampa Bay. This season Carolina lost to Tampa Bay in Week One 16-10 but held Tampa Bay to just 3 points in the second half and had more total yardage on fewer plays. Since that game Carolina has gone on to improve their defense and their rushing game, two obvious weaknesses in Week One.

Second, looking at mutual opponents there seems to be both an improvement in Carolina and perhaps even evidence that Carolina might actually be the better team. Both teams have played New Orleans; the Panthers won 35-27, the Buccaneers won 35-28. Both teams played the NY Giants; the Panthers lost 36-7, the Buccaneers lost 41-34. Both teams played Dallas; the Panthers lost 19-14, the Buccaneers lost 16-10. Both teams played Washington; Carolina won 21-13, Tampa Bay lost 24-22. Even if one were to argue that many of these teams are pass dominant teams and Carolina has the better pass defense so they should look better, that cannot be said about Washington and the Giants have a better than average running game as well.

Third, offensively these teams produce nearly the same passing and rushing activity on average per game. Tampa Bay has a slight edge but only by an average of 32 total yards more per game. However, defensively there is significant disparity between the teams. Carolina is ranked in the middle of the league for pass and run defense, both at 16th. Tampa Bay has the worst pass defense ranking in the league but the best run defense in the league. Does that average also make defense a tie at an average of 16th? Not really, Tampa Bay has allowed about 30 rushing yards less against per game but they have also allowed about 100 yards more in passing per game on average than Carolina.

Now in fairness to Tampa Bay, and because the spread is set so low there are two important reasons to consider picking Tampa Bay to win this week. First, they were the underdogs in Week One and still won, second, they score an average of 28.9 points a game to Carolina’s 18.1 average points score per game. The points against average is 23.2 for Tampa Bay and 24 for Carolina.

However, Carolina has only had two games this season where the spread was 2 points. They were a 23-22 loss to Chicago and a 30-28 loss to Atlanta. Tampa Bay had a 24-22 loss to Washington and that was their only 2-point game all season. Playing Chicago and Atlanta that well should say a lot about Carolina. Therefore if you are picking Carolina to win then also pick them to cover the spread. Carolina hasn’t had a game go over 48 points since Week 4 (excluding last week because the NFL said one of Denver’s TDs shouldn’t have been called a TD). However, Tampa Bay has been scoring at least 30 points over the past few weeks but this is probably because they have been playing very weak defenses. Picking the under is the best option this week.

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