NFL Picks Week 1 tackles Sunday’s meeting between NFC South rivals Carolina and Tampa Bay, which is scheduled to kickoff at 4:25pm ET at Raymond James Stadium (FOX). The latest NFL Odds are favoring Cam Newton and the visiting Panthers at -2.5 against the spread while the game total is set at 47 points. The Buccaneers are drawing +115 moneyline odds to start the Greg Schiano era with a victory.
It is a new day for the Buccaneers, but the question is whether or not it will be a good one. Head Coach Greg Schiano had tremendous success at the collegiate level, transforming the Rutgers program into a consistent winner, but that in no way assures him of getting the Bucs back on track nor does it guarantee that his team will be a solid Week 1 NFL Picks play.
By all accounts Schiano is using an iron fist with the team, a sharp departure from the laissez faire approach of his predecessor, Raheem Morris. Even some of the players complained about the amount of freedom they had under Morris, insinuating the inmates were running the asylum. That is no longer the case, but the end result could be a losing one all the same.
Get the latest NFL Picks by Tyler Morgan this week at Sports-Odds.com. Morgan posted a ridiculous 92-51-4 ATS record last season and he is ready to match that number with another incredible NFL run in 2012.
Tampa Bay has a number of talented young starters on the defensive side of the ball in Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborn, Lavonte David, Aqib Talib, and Mark Barron, but it may be a season or two before this crew figures out how to play together in Schiano and new defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan’s system. The unit certainly struggled last year, ranking 30th and 32nd in yards and points per game allowed, respectively.
They were especially awful against the Panthers, yielding 86 points, 46 first downs, 918 total yards, and 433 rush yards in two losses last season (yes, take those numbers in again). Cam Newton proved an unstoppable force opposite the Bucs’ porous defense in those two outings, accounting for four passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns. This would explain Schiano’s training camp emphasis on shutting down Newton and forcing the rest of the Carolina squad to win the game. Easier said than done, Coach.
While Tampa Bay should be an improved team, one that gets better as the season progresses, it would appear the Panthers are a step ahead of them in the rebuilding process. And the only thing that will get the two division rivals on more equal footing is a major bounce back campaign from quarterback Josh Freeman.
But for now, the Bucs will keep singing the Carolina Blues.
NFL Picks: Take the Panthers -2.5. Other factors to consider: The Panthers are 5-0 straight up and 4-1 against the spread in their last five game as a favorite against the Buccaneers, beating Tampa by an average of 11.2 points per game (Over was also 5-0 in those games).
NFL Picks Week 1 on Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Provided by Sportsbook.ag
Carolina Panthers -2.5 (-110), Over 47 (-110), -135 (Moneyline)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +2.5 (-110), Under 47 (-110), +115 (Moneyline)