Buccaneers-Panthers Betting: Does Tom Brady Still Have It?

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Carolina Panthers in their home opener. As of this writing, 55 percent of bets are on the Bucs, while 90 percent of the money is on the Panthers.

Date: Sunday, September 20
Time: 1:00 pm ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, Florida
Line: Buccaneers -8.5 (-110)
Over/Under: 47.0 points (-110)

Key Injuries

For the Buccaneers, Chris Godwin will sit out. Godwin is recovering from a concussion he sustained last week vs. the Saints.

The Panthers will miss two key defensive linemen: rookie Yetur Gross-Matos (out with a concussion) and veteran Kawann Short (foot). Carolina will also be without guard Dennis Daley.

Who Will Step Up for the Bucs With Godwin Out?

Scotty Miller is expected to see an expanded role in Week 2, though Justin Watson will likely line up in the slot for Tampa Bay with Godwin out. Watson could be a nice, cheap DFS that most aren’t focused on.

In other news, Mike Evans, who was hindered by a hamstring injury leading up to Week 1, ultimately suited up last week and he’s set to play again in Week 2. He found little success in the opener, though much of that was a result of cornerback Marshon Lattimore blanketing him.

Evaluating the Running Back Situation

Talk all offseason about how Ronald Jones III was going to be the man in Tampa Bay came to a halt with the addition of Leonard Fournette. Yet, Jones was at least the lead guy on Sunday. He played 31 snaps, which was 48% of the plays, and netted 17 carries and three targets. Fournette only played eight snaps, seeing five carries and one target, and LeSean McCoy, who didn’t receive a carry but was targeted once, saw 24 snaps.

Fournette’s responsibilities are likely to grow as the season progresses, though it’s likely that his extra slices of the offense will come at the expense of McCoy rather than Jones. The former USC trojan is a matchup-dependent RB2, though check to see if rival fantasy owners view him as less than that and a trade opportunity may be present.

Can Carolina’s Defense Get to Brady?

Many are expecting Brady and the Buccaneers to bounce back but how difficult will the Panthers’ defense make that for Arians’ club? Carolina’s pass rush isn’t ferocious but it’s solid. They were one of just three teams that did not get a sack in Week 1 and they barely touched Derek Carr while he was in the pocket.

Expect Brady to have time to throw the ball behind his new offensive line, something that didn’t really happen last week against the Saints.

Prediction: Buccaneers Win, Cover, Stay Under

  • Buccaneers 27-17

Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater is 10-0 against the spread as an underdog of 3.5-points or more, per ESPN. I don’t expect that trend to continue, as I’m taking the Bucs -8.5 today. Tampa Bay’s underrated defense should lockdown the Panthers and Brady should get into the type of rhythm needed to get the team back on track.