Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season kicks off with the Carolina Panthers hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football. Both teams will be looking for their first win of the season, in what hopes to be an entertaining divisional matchup that features some of the league's most exciting players.
The Panthers almost came back in a shootout against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1 at home, but ultimately fell short, losing 30-27. The game did feature a beastly performance from running back Christian McCaffrey, who totaled 209 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns.
The Bucs, on the other hand, struggled at home against a San Francisco 49ers team that also had plenty of miscues. The biggest culprit was QB Jameis Winston, who threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
The Panthers are favored by 7 points at home, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, but here are some intriguing prop bets to also consider for Thursday night's Week 2 tilt.
1. First Half Spread - Carolina Panthers: -3.5 (-110)
While the Panthers at least looked competent in their Week 1 loss to the reigning NFC champs, the Bucs were downright miserable at home against the 49ers, mostly due to Winston's turnover issues. Winston could run into problems yet again Thursday night, as a road QB on a short week going against an underrated Panthers defense. During their 2018 season matchup at Carolina, the Panthers opened up a huge lead, heading into halftime up 35-14 on the Bucs. Expect another hot start from the home team, which could be aided by another takeaway compliments of Winston.
2. Christian McCaffrey - Rushing + Receiving Yds: Over 142.5 (-112)
Essentially the modern-day Marshall Faulk, McCaffrey is a legit threat for 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his third NFL season. He came close last year, falling short by 133 yards in the receiving department. In Week 1 against the Rams, McCaffrey crossed the 200-yard mark on 29 touches. In two games against the Bucs last season, McCaffrey totaled 157 and 161 scrimmage yards against a defense that still had run-stuffing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. He now plays for the Panthers. Look for McCaffrey to be the focal point of the Panthers offense yet again on Thursday night, and watch the yards pile up.
3. Any Time Touchdown Scorer: Curtis Samuel (+200)
A preseason darling and training camp MVP, Curtis Samuel disappointed in Week 1, catching three-of-four targets for 33 yards. Despite being talked up all summer, Samuel was the clear fourth option behind McCaffrey, fellow WR DJ Moore and veteran TE Greg Olsen. While the targets were discouraging, the Panthers were also facing a tough matchup in the Rams. Things get a lot easier in Week 2 against the Bucs, especially due to their slow-footed secondary. Samuel is a burner and a big play threat, who draws a favorable matchup in Tampa Bay corner Carlton Davis. If Cam takes more deep shots in this game, Samuel has a chance of taking one to the house, and can also be used creatively in red zone packages.
4. Jameis Winston Interception: Yes (-260)
It may seem cruel picking on Winston here, but his propensity for giving the ball to the opposing team is too frequent to ignore. Winston started the season with three picks after throwing 14 in 11 games last season. Of those 14 picks, 10 came on the road. Winston did not throw a pick in his one home start against the Panthers last season, but with 61 interceptions through 57 NFL games, the odds suggest Winston will turn it over via the air at least once in Week 2. Given that coach Bruce Arians will likely not limit Winston's gunslinging after just one bad week, the Panthers secondary should be ready to pounce on the QB's mistakes.
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