The Panthers traditionally take care of business early in the season against bad teams. Last year Carolina went 4-1 in its first four games, beating the Giants and Bengals along the way. Two years ago they disposed of the Bills and 49ers in Weeks 1 and 2, and three years ago Cam Newton and company blasted the 49ers, 46-27.
Tampa Bay looked like one of the worst teams in the league in Week 1, falling to the 49ers at home, 31-17, in a sloppy contest. Going into the season it was thought that quarterback guru Bruce Arians would help turn Jameis Winston back into a top signal-caller. But the first dance of the Arians-Winston marriage ended up with Winston tossing three interceptions, including two pick-sixes.
Buccaneers at Panthers -7
Over 49 (-110)
Moneyline: Tampa Bay (+240) Panthers (-305)
One thing that can be said about Winston is that he usually turns in a strong effort following a dud performance, though. Last year after throwing four interceptions against the Bengals, Winston turned in the best performance of his 2018 season the next time he saw the field – posting a 130.0 passer rating against the Giants.
Two years ago, after throwing three picks against the Vikings, Winston came back the next week and threw for 332 yards, three TDs and zero picks against the Giants.
The 49ers defense is thought to be vastly improved from last season with Nick Bosa and Dee Ford now in the mix, so maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that they had their way with Winston last week. Another excuse for Tampa Bay was that star receiver Mike Evans was getting over an illness, and he turned in one of his worst performances ever. Expect Winston, Evans, and the Bucs as a whole, to be much better this week.
I like Carolina to win this game outright, but the 7-point spread at MetroBet.us/Sugar is way too high. Carolina was just 7-9 against the spread last season.
The play: Buccaneers +7