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NFL Thursday Night
Pick - Analysis
The winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the 3-3 Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night in an attempt to finally get into the win column. The Bucs are a team we expected much more from this year but they stumbled out of the gate and things have gone from bad to worse. They now start a rookie QB and will be without running back Doug Martin. The short week of preparation can't help matters.
The Carolina Panthers will attempt to get over the .500 mark for the first time since 2008. At 3-3, the Panthers, to this point, look like a legitimate team. Their wins were decisive, albeit against bottom feeder NFL teams, but two of their 3 losses came in close games, one by a point and one by 5, against the Bills and Seahawks.
The Panthers have been getting it done with defense. Their yards per point number defensively is among the best in the NFL at 21.8 and they rank 2nd in the NFL in points allowed at 14 ppg. When you compare those numbers to the Bucs offense, with a 20.5 yards per point number and a ranking of 31st in points scored, 15 ppg, the logical conclusion would be that the Bucs figure to have a hard time finding the end zone on Thursday Night.
But as bad as the Bucs offense has been, the defense has been at least respectable. They rank 14th in the NFL in points allowed and are #5 against the run. This game doesn't look to be one where we will see many points scored. Our model has this one an 18-12 game with the Panthers on top when using full season stats. When only using data from the last 4 games, the margin increases to 22-11. Either way, a game that plays out like those scores suggest, gives the Bucs the chance to at least cover this number.
Currently, betonline still has +6 on the Bucs as of Wednesday morning. We'll offer two opinions for this game. We'll go UNDER the total of 40 and we'll take the Bucs +6 or better. The stronger of the two plays looks to be the under as points figure to be at a premium.
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