The Panthers (-286) play host to their NFC South rival Bucs as Week 2 kicks off on TNF. Carolina sits as the heavy favorite at -7, with the total set at 49 points. Last week, TNF plays went 3-2 for a 1.26-unit profit (if you placed to win one-unit per bet, with a minimum of one-unit bets). Here are some betting angles I’m looking at.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
CAROLINA PANTHERS VS. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (8:20 P.M. ET)
1st Half UNDER 23.5 (+100)
A Thursday night divisional game is typically a spot we can circle for a slow start, and you’ll notice that is a trend in the article. I’d prefer to lay -120 on U24 if we can get it just since that’s a crucial number, but 23.5 at even odds is appealing. Five of the last six meetings between these two teams have gone under Thursday’s total, which we’ll be able to lock in at 49.5 later in this article. Of those five unders, three of them have been game totals of 33 or less.
When we look at these two teams in Week 1, they also both got off to very slow starts. Tampa scored seven points first-half points against the 49ers, with a game total of 13, while Carolina scored just three against the Rams, with a game total of 16. The only reason the Bucs’ game even got close to touching the over last week was thanks to two pick-six throws from Jameis Winston, which was worth 14 points. The Bucs then tried to go to Ronald Jones, which actually worked — 13 carries for 75 yards. I expect Tampa to try and stick with what worked last week early in this one, and we know Carolina will be putting the ball in Christian McCaffrey’s hands. Lots of plays to keep the clock running.
Keep in mind how stiff teams were in the first TNF, SNF and MNF games, with all of the 1H unders cashing.
Highest Scoring Half: 2nd Half (-103)
Both of these teams opened it up in the second half last week, with the Bucs scoring 10 points, despite Winston’s crippling three interceptions. The Panthers really turned the gas on, going for 24 points after the break. If game-script holds, the Bucs should be playing from behind in this one, which should lead to a more rapid pace then we see in the first half. Sticking with the prime time game narrative from the 1H unders, all of those games did see the pace pick up in the second half. The potential for a garbage-time touchdown could also help us out. I was shocked to see the first-half favored as the half to see more points considering the total is set at 23.5 and the game total at 49 — implying a 25.5-point total.
Total Fantasy Points Scored: Christian McCaffrey OVER 27.5 (-115)
The ability to bet O/U on a player’s fantasy points is something unique to DK Sportsbook that’s pretty awesome. It’s basically a combo package of betting on CMC’s overall success, rather than honing in on yards, touches, scores, etc. In general, you’d hate to bet a running back over on his rushing yards and watching him go for 120 receiving yards or anything like that. I think McCaffrey has a big game, and this is a way to bet on it, isolated from how DFS works (you don’t need to rely on the rest of your roster to win).
CMC has dominated Tampa in the past, going over this number in both games against it last year, with an average of 33.4 DKFP. He was featured in a monster roll in Week 1, getting 29 touches (10 of which were receptions for a point), to go with 209 yards and two touchdowns — 45.9 DKFP. CMC could be the top overall fantasy option this season, and this number is still too low for him in this matchup.
Total Passing Yards: Jameis Winston UNDER 277.5 (-115)
I get that the Bucs may need to sling the ball late, but this number is set way too high for everything we saw out of these teams in Week 1. Winston was playing from behind at home against a horrible San Francisco defense, and he still threw for just 194 yards. In a game that saw 57 total points in the end between the Panthers and Rams, Carolina was able to hold Jared Goff to 186 yards through the air. Jameis has failed to throw for 278 yards in four of his last five games against the Panthers, and when Ryan Fitzpatrick got to face Carolina with the Bucs last year, he failed to reach this number.
Game Parlays: Moneyline and Total Points (49.5) — CAR/UNDER (+155)
We just watched Winston implode at home against a 49ers defense that was historically bad in 2018. I don’t see things improving much for him on a short week, on the road against a divisional foe. Carolina should win this game handily, which leaves us with the under. As mentioned, five of the last six between these two have landed under this number, and the primetime games haven’t been ideal spots for too many points. By going to the “Game Parlays” section, DK actually gives us a free half-point here, with the total set at 49 on the “Game Lines” page, but 49.5 in the parlay section. Take advantage of the crucial hook here on some nice plus odds.
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