The first week of the National Football League season is in the books, but there's little time to rest because it's time for NFL Week 2 predictions for Thursday Night Football!
Online sportsbooks in New Jersey and Pennsylvania were undoubtedly swamped during the opening week of the season, and Thursday night should be more of the same. The wait between the Monday game(s) and Thursday can feel very slow, so bettors are ready to get back in the saddle by the time TNF arrives to mark the beginning of the weekend.
In this contest, two NFC South foes square off as the Panthers host the Buccaneers in prime time to begin the second week of action.
Below we'll look at lines from FanDuel Sportsbook before making some picks and parlays predictions for Panthers-Bucs. Remember to keep an eye out for our NFL betting tips for Thursday Night Football!
Bucs vs Panthers Betting Prediction Week 1
The Carolina Panthers (0-1) host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) as nearly a touchdown favorite, according to odds from one of the best NJ sportsbooks around in FanDuel.
Action instantly landed on Carolina following Tampa's dismal performance in Week 1, and it's expected the home team will continue to gain support from bettors based on the opening game of the season. Currently, the Panthers are -6.5 (-115) and the Bucs are +6.5 (-105) with the total set at 50 points. On the moneyline, Carolina is -300 while Tampa Bay is +250.
Panthers Preview Week 2
Carolina opened up with a 30-27 loss to the Rams, but can still take some positives away from the game. Cam Newton and the offense bounced back from three first-half turnovers to put up three second-half touchdowns and nearly pull off a comeback. The turnovers certainly go in the negative column, but our TNF picks are reliant on Newton cleaning that up.
On top of rushing for 128 yards and two scores, running back Christian McCaffrey was the team's leading receiver with 10 receptions and 81 yards. He's too big for defensive backs and too fast for linebackers, creating a mismatch the Panthers should be able to exploit against the Bucs.
Going against a turnover-prone offense in the Bucs, a short field for the Panthers' offense almost definitely equals points.
Bucs Preview Week 2
Tampa Bay is wondering what could have been after Jameis Winston threw three interceptions in a 31-17 home loss to the 49ers. He also fumbled twice more but got those back (and tight end OJ Howard lost a fumble), so you can see why we're more concerned with the Bucs taking care of the ball than we are the Panthers.
The good news for the Bucs that they gained 121 yards on the ground led by Ronald Jones II, and Carolina struggled in that area mightily in Week 1. They'll go to the ground to protect their quarterback, but that's also surely what the Panthers will prepare for during the short week.
Bucs vs Panthers Prediction
Oftentimes we make knee-jerk reactions following Week 1, but it's hard to ignore what's in front of you when that's all the evidence you have. From what we've seen, the Bucs with this version of Winston is impossible to back and the Panthers scored 24 second-half points against the defending NFC champs.
Tampa Bay's defense has much more to worry about with Newton, McCaffrey and the Carolina offense than it did last game and for what it's worth, favorites did pretty well on TNF in the first half of last season as well.
With the Bucs traveling on a short week, this sets up for the home team to pick up where it left off last Sunday.
Pick: Panthers -6.5 (-115)
Thursday Night Football Picks: Panthers-Bucs Total
Thursday Night Football is unpredictable, mostly due to the short rest situation that both teams are dealing with. Each side only has a couple of days to get ready and it's tough to know whether we'll wind up with a sloppy offensive showing from a half-installed game plan or a shootout due to a lack of preparation on defense.
In this case, we like Carolina's offense to carry over what it did in the second half of Week 1 against a worse defensive unit and help push the over.
Tampa Bay managed 17 points despite four turnovers in the opener and have enough weapons to do their part by putting some on the board in Carolina. They'll focus on the run game and will either have success, or Winston will be forced to throw.
Pick: Over 50 Points (-105)
NFL Week 2 Parlay Picks: Thursday Night Football
In addition to conventional moneylines, spreads and totals, FanDuel also offers players the opportunity to wager on a range of parlays within the same game involving those three categories. Add the variety of parlay markets to the list of reasons why the platform is one of the best sports betting sites in PA and NJ.
A parlay with the spread and total points using our Thursday Night Football picks for Week 2 would pair together Carolina -6.5 and over 49.5 points (totals adjust to a half-point for parlays) for a +270 payout.
Our personal favorite bet for this game is a moneyline/alternate total parlay, which works a little bit like a teaser. We are eliminating the spread and lowering the total by selecting Panthers to win and Over 41.5 points in the game. At -135 this is not the most high-value wager, but it's our NFL best bet for Week 2 of Thursday Night Football.
Pick: Carolina Panthers Win and Over 41.5 (-135)
NFL Betting Tips For Thursday Night Football
Gambling on Thursday night isn't quite the same as when there is an entire slate of game on Sunday. There's only one contest going on as opposed to several at a time, and the betting strategy changes when the entire weekend is still in front of you, which is what makes Thursday different than Monday. Keep these tips in mind when making Week 2 TNF picks:
- Take Additional Factors Into Account
On a short week, teams have less time for everything. Film preparation, practice and recovery all included. A team with injuries and/or preparing for a potent offense in basically two days is oftentimes not the best risk to take. Whether or not a team has to travel while gearing up for a game on Thursday is another thing to consider.
- Explore Additional Markets Like Props And Parlays
Since there’s only one game, public and sharp action is on the line, spread and total of any Thursday game. The good news is, the top online sportsbooks all have additional markets featuring props and parlays to choose from in addition to the traditional options. Some of these lines can offer more value and are an excellent alternative to a regular straight bet.
- Beware Of Betting Too Big
With the entire week still in front of you, don’t go crazy on Thursday when they play games that sometimes don’t even look like the same league that plays on Sundays. Many of these matchups are so hard to predict that unless you love a particular side, don’t get carried away. You can even make a TNF pick as part of a larger bet than extends into the weekend.