Both teams dropped their openers, the Bucs falling 31-17 to the 49ers and the Panthers getting edged by the defending NFC champions Rams 30-27.
But for those who aren’t a fans of the traditional spread — which has the Panthers pegged as a touchdown favorite for the game — there are other, more creative ways to bet on the contest between the division rivals.
Here are five prop bets worth a look for the game.
Cash in on a Big Day From Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey
The Panthers have made no qualms that Christian McCaffery is their guy on offense. He’s going to carry the load and has his eyes set on a historic season.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton spoke about some of those expectations this week at practice.
“He told me straight up, he said one of his goals is to have 1,000 yards receiving and 1,000 yards rushing,” Cam Newton told reporters this week.
Newton even joked that the reason the Panthers didn’t take too many deep shots was because offensive coordinator Norv Turner has McCaffery on his fantasy team.
“I think coach has got C-Mac up for fantasy this week,” Newton said, per Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith. “He picked C-Mac for fantasy. I should have went over and seen who he was drafting in his league. That’s probably why we aren’t doing deep passes.”
Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk are the only players in NFL history that have collected 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving in the same season.
“I think C-Mac’s going to be the third one,” Newton said. “And he’s a person, I don’t think he could just stop at 1,000, he wants like 1,500 apiece.”
McCaffrey will be busy against the Bucs. After Week 1, he’s second in the NFL with 128 rushing yards and tied for third in the NFL with 10 catches.
Take Christian McCaffrey over 6.5 catches (-140) and over 88.5 rushing yards (-130).
Odds via MyBookie.
Cam Newton Good for a Pair of Touchdown Strikes Against Tampa Bay
If there were any questions about Cam Newton’s shoulder, he shook those off last week with a 38 attempt afternoon against the Rams.
He racked up with 239 yards on those throws, but was kept from recording a touchdown pass. That should change against the Bucs.
Newton had a pair of scoring strikes against Tampa Bay in both games last season. He’s also played especially well against the Bucs with a 110.4 rating in six home starts.
We’re going big on the Panthers offense here so feel comfortable with Newton going over 1.5 touchdowns (-155), likely with McCaffrey catching one of those. However, with the Panthers listed as a big favorite, there might be no reason for Cam to be airing it out. Go under 258.5 yards (-112).
Odds via Fanduel
Ronald Jones Has Earned an Opportunity in Buccaneers Backfield
If the Buccaneers are going to have a chance in this one, they’ll need a strong, reliable performance on the ground. Last week, Jameis Winston felt the pressure of the game on his shoulders in the second half, tossing a pair of pick-sixes.
Peyton Barber is the “starter” in Tampa, but Ronald Jones is the lead man. Last week he outcarried Barber 13-8 and outgained him 75-33. Jones even snagged a pass for a nice 18-yard gain.
“Barber will start with Ronald Jones ready to go,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians told reporters this week. “We’ll go with the hot hand from there.”
I’d bet on Jones being the hot hand and the Arians wanting to see what the team’s second round pick in 2018 is capable of.
It’s a small sample size, but Carolina is ranked 28th in run defense after allowing 166 yards to the Rams and Todd Gurley last week.
Feel safe taking the over on Ronald Jones at 40.5 yards (-112).
Odds courtesy FanDuel.