Last week’s Thursday Night Football contest was a bit of a snooze-fest from a fantasy and prop bet perspective. However, it was an interesting tilt from a competitive standpoint and a solid way to kick off the year.
Either way, it’s on to Carolina for this week’s matchup between the Panthers and the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As always, MyBookie has a number of intriguing prop bets available for the game. Here are our favorites.
Christian McCaffrey Pass Receptions
Over 6.5 (-120)
Under 6.5 (+110)
The Pick: Over 6.5 (-120)
In two games versus the Buccaneers in 2018, McCaffrey hauled in 14 receptions on 16 targets. For the season opening loss to the Rams, he was the most heavily targeted Panther with 10 receptions on 11 targets.
There’s nothing to suggest he won’t be a huge part of the game plan on Thursday night versus Tampa Bay. We’re rolling with the Over and looking for McCaffrey to make a good amount of noise versus the Buccaneers defense to boot.
Mike Evans Total Receiving Yards
Over 72.5 (-115)
Under 72.5 (-115)
The Pick: Under 72.5 (-115)
Like the rest of the Buccaneers offense, Evans had a tough Week 1. He wound up with just two catches for 28 yards on five targets. While the Panthers lost to the Rams last week, none of the talented pass catchers on the other side went off.
To further bolster the case against Evans, consider that he had a combined 64 receiving yards in two games versus Carolina last year. The Tampa Bay passing attack was choppy last week, and the Panthers clearly focus on taking Evans out of the game. We like the Under.
Christian McCaffrey Total Rushing Yards
Over 88.5 (-130)
Under 88.5 (+100)
The Pick: Over 88.5 (-130)
The Buccaneers held 49ers backs to 98 yards on 32 carries last week. However, they weren’t able to hold McCaffrey in check last season. In the first meeting, he dropped a rushing line of 17/79/2. For the second meeting, he was held out of the end zone, but he still toted the rock 10 times for 106 yards.
Yep, McCaffrey has a solid track record versus the Buccaneers. While we’re confident Tampa Bay will make slowing him down a focal point, we don’t see them being successful. We like the Over as McCaffrey posts another solid game against the Bucs.
Cam Newton Total TD Passes
Over 1.5 (-180)
Under 1.5 (+150)
The Pick: Over 1.5 (-180)
Newton wasn’t great in last week’s loss to the Rams. The jury remains out on whether or not he’s back to 100 percent. The Buccaneers pass defense wasn’t exactly horrible last week, as Jimmy Garoppolo only threw for 166 yards, one score and a pick.
In two meetings with the Buccaneers in 2018, Newton threw for 247 and 300 yards with two TD passes in each. The latter performance came when he was clearly playing with a bum shoulder. Tampa Bay’s secondary was one of the worst in the league a season ago, so this isn’t a quick fix situation. We like the Over as Newton shows the rest of the league his arm is just fine.
Jameis Winston Total Passing Yards
Over 277.5 (-115)
Under 277.5 (-115)
The Pick: Under 277.5 (-115)
Winston was brutal in Week 1. He completed 20 of 36 for 194 yards, one TD and three picks, two of which were returned to the house. If Bruce Arians is going to work wonders with him as expected, it looks like it’s going to take awhile.
The pressure was already on Winston to answer the franchise signal caller question, but it has only intensified now. He made one start versus Carolina last season, throwing for 249 yards and two scores in a 24-17 win. We’ll look for him to respond to last week’s horror show with a better performance, but we also don’t expect to see him shoot the lights out.
Our Take On The Game Itself
As of this writing, the Panthers are 6.5-point home favorites. They’re clearly the better team on paper at this point. They managed to play the defending NFC champs tough last week, while the Buccaneers struggled versus another squad which is looking for a bounce back campaign.
Carolina should be able to get its first victory of 2019 on Thursday night. Covering the spread is a different story. While it’s a short week for both clubs, Tampa Bay has still had several days to hear about how horrible they are.
Arians is a solid coach and a good hire for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers will be properly motivated and keep this one closer than expected. A close loss in a hard-fought road game will be considered a step in the right direction. Panthers win, but Buccaneers cover.