Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1/1/23): Betting Odds, Prediction, Depth Charts

Against all odds, the NFC South might come down to a Buccaneers team led by Tom Brady and a Panthers team that fired its head coach in October. While only the Bucs can actually clinch the division this weekend, the winner will find themselves in first place with one week to go. Tampa hasn’t looked the part lately, but do the Panthers have enough in the tank offensively to overpower a tough Buccaneers defense?

Let’s make predictions, dive into the depth charts, and take a look at the odds ahead of this New Year’s Day matchup at Raymond James Stadium.

Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds

The Buccaneers enter as 3-point home favorites, sitting at -170 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 40.5 points.

The Buccaneers are slight home favorites even as they continue to struggle. Tampa has barely escaped some bad teams and lost handily to great ones lately. At this point, the Bucs are what they are. We don’t know exactly what the Panthers are yet – they can’t seem to string together impressive performances – so Tampa as a slight favorite makes sense.

Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Prediction

This is a close call. I feel more confident about the Buccaneers winning than I do about them covering, especially considering how much of a mess their offense seems to be right now, but Brady does routinely seem to find a way against teams like these.

The Panthers beat the Lions at home without many expectations. Can they deliver when the stakes are high? I have a hard time trusting Sam Darnold against one of the NFL’s strongest pass defenses. While Carolina’s offense will still flow through the running game, it’s tough to see D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard repeating the performance they had against Detroit. If the Panthers fall behind early, it’s not safe to count on Darnold’s arm leading them back.

If Byron Leftwich learned anything from the Buccaneers’ win over Arizona, he should trust Brady and the passing game against a Panthers secondary missing Jaycee Horn. They’ve proven me wrong this season, but this time the Bucs should have enough in the tank to close out the horrendous NFC South at home.

Betting Trends

The Panthers are 4-0 ATS against NFC South opponents this season.

The Buccaneers 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games overall. It’s been that kind of year for Todd Bowles’ team, but the Bucs are 3-1 outright against NFC South teams this season.

The under is 17-4 in the Buccaneers’ last 21 games against NFC South opponents.

Key Injuries

Carolina Panthers Injuries: CB Jaycee Horn (wrist) is out. Shaq Thompson (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday but doesn’t appear to be dealing with a serious injury. CB Donte Jackson (achilles) remains out for the season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Injuries: OT Tristan Wirfs aggravated an ankle injury against the Cardinals and is uncertain for Week 17. OT Donovan Smith (foot) is questionable. OT Josh Wells suffered a season-ending knee injury against Arizona. CB Carlton Davis (shoulder) is questionable. DT Vita Vea (calf) hasn’t played since Week 13 and doesn’t appear ready for a return. S Mike Edwards (hamstring) recently returned and should play on Sunday.

Key Matchups

Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Panthers vs. Buccaneers below.

Panthers Running Game vs. Buccaneers Run Defense

The Panthers very likely can’t win without an efficient day from their running game. D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard both finished with more than 100 yards against the Lions, dominating Detroit on the ground, but the Buccaneers should present more of a challenge.

Tampa’s run defense is weaker than its pass defense, particularly if Vita Vea remains out, so there’s an opportunity for this emerging duo to keep the offense moving.

Tom Brady vs. Panthers Secondary

Tom Brady has not looked like the Tom Brady of the past this season, but the end of the Buccaneers’ Christmas win over the Cardinals reinforced that this offense is better off when he’s throwing the ball. Running Leonard Fournette up the middle repeatedly just isn’t producing results and shouldn’t be the defining element of the offense this week.

Brady, along with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, should be able to take advantage of a Panthers secondary missing its top cornerback. As good as Carolina’s defense has been overall, this feels like the mismatch that could make the difference in the end.

Carolina Panthers Depth Chart

QB: Sam Darnold
RB1: D’Onta Foreman
RB2: Chuba Hubbard
RB3: Raheem Blackshear
LWR: D.J. Moore
RWR: Terrace Marshall Jr.
SWR: Shi Smith
TE1: Ian Thomas

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Depth Chart

QB: Tom Brady
RB1: Leonard Fournette
RB2: Rachaad White
RB3: Giovani Bernard
LWR: Mike Evans
RWR: Chris Godwin
SWR: Russell Gage
TE1: Cameron Brate

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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