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Panthers vs. Buccaneers ML Picks for NFL Wk 17

Carolina Panthers(6–9) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers(8–7)

  • Where: Raymond James Stadium. Tampa, Florida
  • When: January 1, 2017 1:00 pm EST
  • Spread: Panthers +6 (-110) vs. Buccaneers -6 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Panthers (+157) vs. Buccaneers (-185)
  • Over / Under: Over 46.5 (-110) vs. Under 46.5 (-110)

Before the 2016/17 season, if you had predicted that the Week 17, New Year’s Day matchup pitting the Carolina Panthers against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have been a meaningless game with two non-playoff teams, people would have laughed at you.

But it’s true: This game essentially holds no playoff implications, save for the one infinitesimal possibility that the Buccaneers make the playoffs. Tampa Bay is this year’s team that needs a million and one things to fall their way in order to make the playoffs.

In this case, given the fact that the game outcomes necessary for the Bucs to make the playoffs include a Giants/Redskins tie and a Seahawks loss in San Francisco, we think it’s safe to say that Tampa Bay is not going to make it. In fact, with odds calculated at less than 1%, you’ve got better odds to pull off a 7-team parlay and earn that dreamed of 75-to-1 payout than the Bucs have to make the playoffs.

Nonetheless, even with both of these teams essentially out of playoff contention, this matchup still holds definite potential to be very entertaining, as well as to hold value for interested parties. I predict this game falls for the Carolina Panthers, which will eliminate Tampa Bay from the NFL playoffs race. I encourage bettors to wager up to 2-units on the Panthers moneyline (+157) at the Bovada Sportsbook.

Panthers finally ready to just ‘have fun’

CAR at TB ML PicksFor years now, the Panthers’ Cam Newton has repeatedly said that one of his primary goals when he goes out to play is just to ‘have fun.’

Winning is fun, and the Panthers did plenty of that when they went 15–1 last season and went to the Super Bowl. Even before the season started, Carolina got down as low as 8-to-1 Super Bowl odds and was predicted to have a very strong 2016/17 campaign.

But now that Carolina has endured the worst of the naysaying and has been playoff-irrelevant for almost a month, their last few contests have shown them to be relaxed enough to simply have fun once again. Putting up a total of 54 points and over 700 yards against the Chargers and Redskins in Weeks 14 and 15, the Panthers seem poised to put together another ‘fun’ game against the Buccaneers to end their season.

Statistically, as well, scoring 353 points so far on the season (good for 14th in the NFL) and allowing 385 points on the year (27th in the NFL), we do think that there’s an argument to be made, purely from the numbers, that the statistics equalize in this matchup in favor of the Panthers.

Young Bucs can’t keep their emotions in check

TB hit a turning point when they played the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in Week 15. It was clear that the Cowboys were the more disciplined, more well-coached team, and that the veteran influences on Dak Prescott (as well as his own poise) have kept things from unraveling for the rookie.

By contrast, Jameis Winston head-butted Cowboys linebacker Justin Durant in frustration during that game, earning his team a 15-yard penalty and an even greater loss in morale.

The Buccaneers are a young team with a lot of potential, and they showed flashes of brilliance this year, but the fact of the matter is that Tampa Bay is just too young to handle the amount of success that it had over the season, and two straight losses with 6 total turnovers (more than the prior five games combined) was the result.

Panthers vs. Buccaneers week 17 money line prediction

I’m not entirely sure why the Buccaneers are favored in this game, given how obviously they have imploded over the last two weeks. Perhaps gamblers think the Buccaneers will be fired up to try and make the playoffs (despite the fact that it’s nearly impossible). Perhaps gamblers think that the Bucs have some great home field advantage (despite the fact that they are 3–4 at home this season).

Whatever the logic is, I’m not buying it. These two teams both had high expectations for the season, only to have them dashed. With emotions running high, I like the more veteran team to channel that frustration into solid team football, to play more disciplined, and to ultimately come out on top.

I like the Panthers to win this game for a final score of 28–17, and I recommend that interested parties bet on the Panthers moneyline upset, listed at +157 at the Bovada sportsbook.

David HeinenThis article was written by David Heinen

David Heinen is a freelance psychology writer by day, inveterate NFL junkie by night. Born and raised on the Green Bay Packers, David is a die-hard Cheesehead, not to mention a cheese enthusiast in his spare time.

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