Buccaneers vs. Panthers Prediction: At What Number is Carolina Worth Betting as Division Home Dog?

Carolina Panthers receiver DJ Moore will be the primary target for quarterback P.J. Walker this week after the team traded away RB Christian McCaffrey
Carolina Panthers receiver DJ Moore will be the primary target for quarterback P.J. Walker this week after the team traded away RB Christian McCaffrey / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers couldn't beat a Pittsburgh Steelers bunch on the road in Week 6 that just lost 38-3 in Buffalo the week before, and now they're a near two-touchdown road favorite in a division game in Week 7 vs. the Carolina Panthers.

Does the NFC South just flat-out stink this year, or what?

Tom Brady and company may have lucked out in this matchup despite playing some of their worst football in years. Offensively, despite playmakers like Brady under center, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette and Julio Jones on the field, they still somehow rank 21st in total offense behind a struggling offensive line that's since gotten more notoriety due to Brady's tongue-lashing on the broadcast.

As for the Panthers, while they're at home, they'll be without one of the best offensive playmakers in football, as they traded away Christian McCaffrey this week to the San Francisco 49ers for multiple draft picks.

Vegas has Tampa Bay as massive favorites on the road, but do they deserve to be even vs. this woeful Panthers team that's a week removed from firing their head coach?

Here are the latest odds:

Buccaneers vs. Panthers Odds, Spread and Total

Buccaneers vs. Panthers Odds Spread and Total Movement

After sitting at Tampa Bay -10 to -10.5 throughout the week, the line has shot up three more points following the trade of McCaffrey to the 49ers; putting Carolina as a 13 to 13.5-point home dog.

Buccaneers vs. Panthers Best Bet and Prediction

BetSided's Iain MacMillan made his case earlier in the week before the McCaffrey trade that the Buccaneers simply do not deserve to be this large of a favorite, and I'm backing him on this.

Carolina is a mess. P.J. Walker's passing yards prop against a Buccaneers' team that's been average vs. the pass this year is listed at a measly 151.5. And knowing that Carolina will almost assuredly have to throw to compete in this game, it's an indication that oddsmakers have no confidence in anything Carolina can do offensively.

But do we really buy into this Buccaneers' offense all of a sudden waking up this week? I'm not so sure.

Tampa Bay is 20th in the NFL in points per game, 22nd in plays per game, and 21st in yards per play. That's about as far from elite as a team can get. Carolina, on the other hand defensively, ranks 12th in the NFL in opponent yards per play.

Meanwhile, the Bucs have failed to cover in four consecutive games, and now play a second straight game on the road after their loss last week in Pittsburgh. They also have a quick turnaround in Week 8; hosting the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football.

Via Evan Abrams of TAN, divisional underdogs are 52-37 against the spread since 2020. Once again, the key for Carolina is holding opponents to under 17 points, as they're 1-28 SU and 5-24 ATS when their opponent hits that number since 2020.

While Tampa should get to 17, I don't know if it will be much more than that. I'll hold my nose and take the divisional dog getting 13.5 at home.

Follow all of Ben's betting plays in real-time HERE!

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.