There weren’t too many fans picking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their bet on NFL futures within the NFC South. No, most fans would have chosen the Carolina Panthers, because that seemed like the most logical thing to do. The Panthers were expected to lead the South, while fans were anticipating that the Bucs would be ranking near the bottom of the division. But now 5 weeks into the season, the Bucs, the Panthers, and the Saints are all tied for last place in the NFC South. While it might not be surprising to see the Saints and the Bucs near the bottom of the South, seeing Carolina all the way down there is certainly jaw-dropping.
Last year, the Buccaneers finished the season with a 6-10 record, while the Saints were 7-9 when they said goodbye to the 2015 season. So, seeing both of these teams begin 2016 by losing three games, is as understandable as seeing a bird flying. On the other hand, the Panthers lost just one game during last year’s regular season, so seeing them start 2016 by losing three was about as expected as seeing the Philadelphia Eagles begin the year by going undefeated. 2016 has proven to be chock full of surprises and it’s doubtful that the NFL will stop what has been one of the least predictable seasons it quite some time. Interestingly enough, the Panthers and the Bucs will be squaring off this Monday Night to see who the worst team in the South is. Trying to predict the 2016 season has proven to be a pain so far, but let’s see what the top sportsbooks are predicting for this Monday night.
Week 5 – Monday the 10th of October
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6 (-115) 46 (-110) +210
Carolina Panthers -6 (-105) 46 (-110) -260
Despite the fact that the Panthers have been playing pitiable football this season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have actually been playing worst, and the top sportsbooks agree. However, if you still feel uncomfortable picking the Panthers over the Bucs, then you might be comfortable picking a wager on the totals line. Right now the Panthers are averaging 27.2 points per game, while the Bucs are only putting up an average of 19.2 points per contest. Defensively Tampa Bay is allotting 32 points to their opponents – the 31st worst average in the NFL – while the Panthers defense is giving up 29.5 points in there contests. It’s safe to say that the Panthers and the Bucs both sport pretty feeble defenses, so it’s likely both Tampa Bay and Carolina will be having a field day on offense.
One thing gambling fans – as well as fantasy football fans – should be on the lookout for is the Panther’s injury report. In Carolina’s Week 4 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Newton left the game early after suffering a devastating blow to the head. Newton got banged up pretty bad the first weeks of the season and those hits have cumulated in a concussion. Newton didn’t participate in team practices on Thursday, so it is more than likely that he will be out Monday. Within Newton out, the top sportsbooks might have to adjust the odds for this matchup.