NFL Betting Picks Week 13: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
Bank of American Stadium – Charlotte, North Carolina

Sunday, December 1, 2013, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Carolina -8
Current Line: Carolina -7 (-120)
Opening Total: 41
Current Total: 41 1/2
Opening Money Line: Panthers -380 / Buccaneers +310
Current Money Line: Panthers -330 / Buccaneers +270 

Carolina looks for their 8th win in a row as they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday.
Carolina looks for their 8th win in a row as they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday.

The Carolina Panthers are 8-3 this season and only a game behind the New Orleans Saints for first place in the NFC South. Even though the red hot Panthers have won 7 straight games after a 1-3 start, and Carolina travels to New Orleans next week, the Panthers can’t overlook their opponent Sunday. The suddenly dangerous Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town. Tampa Bay has won 3 straight games after starting 0-8.

Since 2001, Carolina leads the series 14-9 against Tampa Bay. The Panthers won in Tampa Bay in late October 31-13 in a Thursday night game. Panther’s quarterback Cam Newton passed for 221 yards and two touchdowns along with 50 rushing yards and a touchdown. Since that game the Buccs began to play a lot better, including a near upset at the Seattle Seahawks, in which Tampa Bay led 21-0 at one point.  Tampa Bay went on their three game winning streak after that game.

Tampa Bay is coached by Greg Schiano. The Buccaneers have road losses at the Jets 18-17, Patriots 23-3, Falcons 31-23, and at the Seattle Seahawks 27-24 in overtime, along with home losses to the Saints 16-14, Arizona Cardinals 13-10, Philadelphia Eagles 31-20 and Panthers 31-13. Tampa bay has home wins over the Miami Dolphins 22-19 and the Atlanta Falcons 41-28, along with a road win last week at the Detroit Lions 24-21. Tampa Bay is 5-6 ATS and the total is 6-5 this season. The Buccaneers were 7.5 point underdogs at the Lions last week and the total was 48.5.

The Buccaneers took an early 3-0 against the Lions last week. Both teams scored two touchdowns in the second to make it 17-14 Buccs at halftime. Tampa Bay scored their last touchdown on a 48 yard pick six with less than a minute to go before halftime. Detroit scored midway through the third quarter to take a 21-17 lead. The Buccaneers scored early in the fourth to take a 24-21 lead.

The Lions had three more possessions but they ended with a blocked punt recovered by Tampa at the Detroit 22, a lost fumble at midfield, and an interception that bounced off receiver Calvin Johnson’s hands at the Buccaneer 3 yard line with 50 seconds left. Despite the miscues, the Buccaneers kept the Lions in the game with fourth quarter field goal misses of 35 and 50 yards. Tampa Bay ran out the clock to secure the win after the last interception. Detroit had five turnovers and Tampa Bay had none. The Lions had 390 total yards including 286 passing yards. The Buccaneers had 229 total yards including 207 passing yards. Tampa had 9 penalties for 67 yards.

Tampa Bay is being outscored 24-19 this season. The Buccaneers are #28 in scoring and #14 in points allowed in the NFL. Tampa Bay is averaging 303.4 yards per game including 193.5 passing and 109.8 rushing yards. The Buccaneers are #31 in total offense and #30 in passing. On defense, Tampa Bay is allowing 346.1 yards per game including 244.5 passing and 101.6 rushing yards. The Buccs are +10 in turnovers. Tampa Bay is 62/173 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 59/146. The Buccaneers have forced 24 sacks and allowed 28 this season. Tampa Bay has three defensive touchdown and has allowed one. The Buccaneers are averaging 81 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 58.

Tampa Bay released quarterback Josh Freeman after three games, and he is now with the Minnesota Vikings. Rookie Mike Glennon has started ever since then. Glennon has completed 62.5% of his passes for 1,782 yards with 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 31 rushing yards. He has been sacked 21 times this season.

Running back Doug Martin is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Martin was the leading rusher for the Buccs with 456 yards and a touchdown, along with 12 catches. Mike James has 60 carries for 295 yards along with 10 catches, and a touchdown catch. He also threw a touchdown pass but he out for the season as well with a knee injury. Bobby Rainey has 56 catches, 243 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 3 catches for 15 yards and a touchdown. Brian Leonard has 34 carries for 109 yards, along with 23 catches  for 164 yards.

Receiver Vincent Jackson has 58 catches, 888 yards and 5 touchdowns. Timothy Wright has 34 catches, 366 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mike Williams is out for the season with a hamstring injury. Williams had 22 catches, 216 yards and 2 touchdowns. Leonard has 16 catches for 124 yards. Tiquan Underwood has 13 catches for 274 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kickers Connor Barth (Achilles’ tendon) and Lawrence Tynes (staph infection) are both out for the season. Rian Lindell is the kicker for the Buccs. Nine defensive players, 4 tight ends, and 3 offensive linemen are on the injury report for Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Carolina is coached  by Ron Rivera. The Panthers have losses at home to the Seahawks 12-7, and road losses at the Buffalo Bills 24-23 and the Arizona Cardinals 22-6. Carolina hasn’t lost since that Arizona game. The Panthers have home wins  over the New York Giants 38-0, St. Louis Rams 30-15, Atlanta Falcons 34-10, and New England Patriots 24-20 along with road wins at the Minnesota Vikings 35-10, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-13, San Francisco 49ers 10-9, and last week at the Miami Dolphins 20-16. Carolina is 7-4 ATS and the total is 4-7 this season. The Panthers were 4.5 point favorites at the Dolphins and the total was 40.

Miami took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter against Carolina. The Dolphins kicked 3 second quarter field goals to expand the lead to 16-3. The Panthers kicked a field goal on the last play of the first half to make it 16-6. Carolina pulled to within 16-13 midway through the third. Miami missed a 53 yard field goal early in the fourth. Carolina would take the lead with 43 seconds left in the fourth quarter to make it 20-16. The last desperation drive for the Dolphins ended with a sack and time expired. It was the third straight fourth quarter comeback win for Carolina. The Panthers had 295 total yards including 136 rushing yards. The Dolphins had 332 total yards including 280 passing yards. The two teams combined for 14 penalties for 111 penalty yards. Each team had a turnover.

Carolina is outscoring teams 24-14 this season. The Panthers are #1 in the league in points allowed and #17 in scoring. Carolina is averaging 321.4 total yards per game on offense including 195.1 passing and 126.3 rushing yards. The Panthers are #26 in total offense and #29 in passing but #9 in rushing. On defense, Carolina is allowing 297.5 yards per game including 215.9 passing and 79.1 rushing yards. The Panthers are #3 in rush defense, #3 in total defense and #7 against the pass. Carolina is +10 in turnovers. The Panthers are 75/153 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 50/149. Carolina has forced 34 sacks and allowed 31 this season. The Panthers are averaging 34:01 minutes on time of possession. Carolina is averaging 44 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 51. The panthers have 2 defensive touchdowns this season.

Quarterback Cam Newton  has completed 61.7% of his passes for 2,353 yards with 17 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, along with 77 carries for 379 yards and 5 touchdowns. He has been sacked 31 times this season. This is largely due to the fact that the offensive line has four players out or on injured reserve.

Running back DeAngelo Williams has 151 carries for 610 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 19 catches for 160 yards.He is questionable with a quad injury. Mike Tolbert has 69 carries, 254 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 16 catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns. he is also questionable with a leg injury. Jonathan Stewart has 33 carries for 125 yards, along with 4 catches. He is questionable with an ankle injury. Other than Newton, no other back has more than 4 carries. It is unclear who will get the carries if Williams, Tolbert and Stewart can’t go.

Receiver Steve Smith has 51 catches, 581 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is probable with a knee injury. Tight end Greg Olsen has 45 catches, 526 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Brandon LaFell has 40 catches, 495 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ted Ginn has 27 catches, 422 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Receiver Marvin McNutt is questionable with an ankle injury The Panthers have 4 defensive players listed on the injury report including 3 defensive backs.

Tampa Bay is 5-0-1 ATS after a straight up win, 4-0 overall, 6-1-1 against teams with winning records, 6-2-1 after a cover, 19-7 against teams with winning home records, 5-2 after gaining 250 yards or less, 9=4 in road games, 2-7 in December, 1-4 in week 13, and 1-5 after allowing more than 250 passing yards. Five of the last six games in this series have gone over the total. However, the under is 9-4 in the last 13 games in Charlotte between the two teams.

Carolina is 5-0 ATS in NFC games, 4-0 at home, after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, against teams with losing road records, and against NFC teams, 6-1 overall, 5-1 after a straight up win and on grass, 13-3 against teams with losing records, 4-1 after failing to cover, 9-4 in week 13, and 37-18-1 in December. The favorite is 10-2 ATS in this series recently.

I don’t think Tampa Bay is as bad as their 8 game losing streak to start the season, nor are they as good as their 3 game winning streak. Tampa Bay lost 5 games by 8 points or less. They also won games against a Dolphins’ team at the height of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin scandal, a terrible Falcons team ravaged by injuries, and against a Lions team that shot themselves in the foot numerous times. The lack of healthy running backs is obviously a concern for both teams. I think this is a little too many points as Carolina will be looking ahead to next week’s showdown in New Orleans. Carolina wins on yet another late comeback.

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