2019 NFL Week 2 Thursday Night Football: Bucs @ Panthers
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
Tampa Bay +7.5 -125 @ Carolina
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
September 12, 2019, 5:20PM PST
Our primary NFL handicapping approach sees the Panthers at home as about 6 1/2 points better than a traveling Buccaneers team in the second installment of Thursday Night Football for the 2019-2020 NFL season. Accordingly, we are taking the Bucs and the points (we paid up for the hook because seven has proven to be the most common score differential in American football, but our system triggered at the Bucs +7, so we endorse to road cover down to this level).
The three independent computer simulation routines on our roster also unanimously endorse the Bucs for the cover, forecasting a similar disparity between these teams in the ballpark of six(ish) points.
But in addition to getting the nod from our power rankings and computer sim systems, we note a broader context that supports unloved teams, such as Tampa Bay, at this point in the young season.
In an article penned in 2017, a writer for SportsInsights observed that, per the history captured in the BetLabsSports database (which dates back to 2003), week 2 has been the most profitable point of the season to bet against 'darling' teams to cover the spread.
Not surprisingly, after suffering a 14 loss to the formerly 4-12 San Francisco 49ers in week 1, not many bettors are clamoring to take the flyer on Tampa Bay to beat the number this week. In fact, as of the time of this writing, better than 80% of the almost 6,000 spread wagers tracked by The Action Network are down on the Panthers.
The same author of the aforementioned piece, producing under the Action Network banner, noted more recently that teams supported by at least 70% of ATS betting volume covered at less than a 39% clip in weeks 2 and 3 historically. As such, we regard the extreme level of support on display for Carolina as strong contrarian evidence in favor of the road dogs.