The 2018 NFL schedule rolls into week 8 with a solid lineup of games taking to the gridiron including a few that will have an impact on the playoff picture. One of those contests, which looks great on paper from a sports betting view for sports handicappers features the Carolina Panthers traveling south to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a divisional NFC South battle. As the Panthers fight to stay alive in the playoff picture after losing three straight contests since last winning against this same team, the Buccaneers will look to play spoiler at home.
In that week 9 matchup, the Panthers offense was just too much for the Buccaneers defense finishing with six total touchdowns. That includes five first half touchdowns to push the Panthers lead to 35-14 at the half. A lead the team would not give up despite allowing two second half touchdowns. For the Panthers Cam Newton threw for 247 yards to go with 33 rushing yards while throwing two touchdown passes.
Meanwhile in the loss, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 243 yards to go with four touchdown passes and two interceptions. One of those interceptions came on the Buccaneers second possession of the game with the scored tied at 0-0. Two plays after receiving the ball on a punt, Fitzpatrick threw his first inception. Ten yards later and three plays Alex Armah found the end zone giving the Panthers their first score of the contest.
Here are the keys to the game for both the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colt matchup on Sunday November 25th, 2018 at Lucas Oil Field.
NFL Keys to the Game
Carolina Panthers – Move the Chains
The Panthers will enter this contest with the Buccaneers in need of a win to stay alive in the NFC playoff picture. Over their current three game losing stretch, the Panthers have lost the time of possession battle and turnover battle in each contest. On Sunday, the team should have the opportunity to move the ball down the field while controlling the clock as much as possible. The Buccaneers enter this contest allowing the 6th most yards per game (391) and 2nd most points per game (30.7)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Avoid the Turnover
The Buccaneers have some solid weapons on the offensive side of the ball including at quarterback. Despite having two solid options, both Jameis Winston and Fitzpatrick have shown at times their ability to turn over the ball. That was exactly the case in the first meeting with the Panthers as they loss the turnover battle 2-0. Entering this contest, the Buccaneers rank 1st in the NFL in total turnovers (29) and 1st in worst giveaway/takeaway ratio (-21) in the NFL. In total the Buccaneers have thrown 23 interceptions and have lost six fumbles.
NFL Betting Trends
Carolina Panthers – The Panthers enter this pivotal matchup winners of just four of their last ten contests. Those struggles have shown up for sports handicappers as well as the Panthers have struggled against the spread covering just four of their first 11 contests including going just 1-4 on the road. Along with those struggles the Panthers have covered the spread in just one of their last five contests against teams with a losing record. Despite the struggles, the Panthers have rebounded to cover the spread in 10 of their last 13 contests following a loss.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Much like their counterparts, the Buccaneers have struggled against the spread this season covering in just four of their first 11 contests this season including covering in just two of their five contests at Raymond James Stadium. The struggles haven’t stopped their as the Buccaneers have covered the spread in just one of their last six NFC conference matchups and just seven times over their last 28 road contests.
Head 2 Head – Entering this contests, the Panthers have won three straight meetings including last season’s meeting at Raymond James Stadium. Prior to this year’s matchup, three of the four previous matchups were decided by three or fewer points. Looking deeper at the trends, the Panthers have covered the spread in five straight matchups at Raymond James Stadium as well as in eight of their last 11 overall contests. Meanwhile the road team has covered the spread in four of their last five overall meetings.
What’s next for these two teams?
Carolina Panthers – The Panthers will travel north to take on the Cleveland Browns on Sunday December 9th, 2018 at 1pm ET.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Buccaneers will welcome the New Orleans Saints to town in a key NFC South matchup on Sunday December 9th, 2018 at 1pm ET.