If you’re ready to bet on NFL football in Week 1 and you’re looking for some value-packed betting picks with the potential to cash in then look no further!
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) September 2, 2014
The new-look Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to get the Lovie Smith era started off on the right foot when they host Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in a Week 1 battle between NFC South division rivals and this contest is offering as much value as any on the entire Week 1 docket if you ask me.
Bet on NFL Football Week 1 Using My Free Pick
Preview: Carolina (12-5 SU, 9-7-1 ATS) went 2-2 SU and ATS in the preseason but they were man-handled in their 30-7 Week 3 road loss at New England . Tampa Bay (4-12 SU,6-10 ATS) racked up a mediocre 1-3 SU and ATS mark in the preseason that looks even worse when you consider they were held to 14 points or less in three games, including 10 in two of those contests.
Ron Rivera is still confident that Cam Newton will start Sunday vs. Tampa Bay. #CARvsTB
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 1, 2014
Analysis: Make no mistake about it NFL betting enthusiasts, the Carolina Panthers are the easy pick to cover the spread in this Week 1 battle – by getting the convincing outright road win if Cam Newton’s ribs don’t slow him down.
Newton practiced a day after an intensive workout with head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion and showed some encouraging signs to head coach Ron Rivera.
"He looked good, threw a few more passes than we expected. We felt pretty good about it," Rivera said. "He had a big workout yesterday. He spent some time with Ryan running on the underwater treadmill. He did some stuff in the weight room and finished with conditioning. Today, he came out and pushed himself through another workout. He threw the ball well."
Newton wore a larger flak jacket at practice to give his ribs extra protection, and he’s in the process of settling on one that fits comfortably.
"He’s sore, but it’s not like it was when it first happened," said Rivera, who still expects Newton to play Week 1. "He moved around a lot better. I’m excited about it."
The Panthers won 12 games a year ago and although I expect them to take a slight step backwards this season, they’re still far and away a better team in every phase of the game than the Buccaneers at this point.
Carolina beat the Bucs twice last season while winning 27-6 at home and I expect them to take this matchup as well.
The Panthers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against their NFC South division rivals and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against teams from the NFC.
The Buccaneers are 2-6 ATS in their last eight Week 1 games and 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall and the Favorite in this series has gone 6-1 ATS in their last seven meetings.
New Bucs head coach Lovie Smith offers instant credibility, of course. That has been pointed out over and over since his hire in January, but everything about this Bucs season is built on the observation. It can’t be overlooked.
"Everything we’ve done up until this point has been to put the best possible product on the football field this week," Smith said Monday. "Carolina is here. Guys are excited."