Thursday Night Football odds: Buccaneers vs. Panthers picks, predictions from proven expert who's 20-5 on Bucs games

The Carolina Panthers viewed themselves as contenders entering the 2019 NFL season, which makes Thursday Night Football a virtual must-win against the division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The Panthers started 6-2 last year before Cam Newton's shoulder injury derailed their hopes. Newton didn't get off to a strong start Sunday, showing inaccuracy and an unwillingness to run in Carolina's 30-27 home loss to the Rams. He accounted for two turnovers and zero touchdowns. Still, bookmakers list Carolina as a 6.5-point home favorite in the latest Buccaneers vs. Panthers odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 49, down one from where the line opened. Carolina is -308 on the money line (risk $308 to win $100), while Tampa Bay is +249 (risk $100 to win $249). Before you make any Panthers vs. Buccaneers picks and Thursday Night Football predictions, see what No. 1 NFL expert R.J. White has to say at SportsLine.

White has been SportsLine's top pro football analyst for two-plus seasons. Over that span, the CBS Sports NFL editor and nationally recognized NFL Draft expert has gone 214-164 on against-the-spread picks, returning more than $3,200 to $100 bettors.

The stats guru, whose picks are coveted by fans everywhere, has hit it big in the world's most prestigious handicapping tournament, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest, twice in the past four years. And no one knows the Buccaneers like White. He has hit on 20 of his last 25 picks involving Tampa Bay, an 80 percent success rate. Anyone who has followed him is way up.

Now, White has analyzed Bucs vs. Panthers on Thursday Night Football from every angle and locked in a strong pointspread pick. You can only see it at SportsLine.

White knows that Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who ran for 128 yards and added 10 receptions against L.A., should have room to roam against the Bucs' defense, the worst in the league last season. When not dumping it off to the explosive McCaffrey, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton can get the ball to emerging receivers Chris Samuel and D.J. Moore, who had 10 combined catches in Week 1.

A talented Panthers defense should have chances to force turnovers against the Bucs. And Gerald McCoy, the longtime face of the Tampa Bay defense, will be focused on wreaking havoc on the team that unceremoniously allowed him to move on. Plus, the Bucs are 0-5 against the spread in their last five Thursday Night Football games.

But just because the stars seem to align for Carolina doesn't mean it will cover the Panthers vs. Buccaneers spread on Thursday Night Football. 

White knows the underdog has dominated this series from a spread perspective, covering five of the last six meetings. In addition, the Panthers have failed to cover their last four games against teams with losing records. Tampa Bay has electric potential under new coach Bruce Arians, a proven offensive guru. The Bucs' receiving weapons -- Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate -- are among the NFL's best. Even in last week's loss, the Bucs rushed for 4.7 yards per carry, led by Ronald Jones' 13 carries for 75 yards.

Defensively, Tampa Bay comes off an impressive Week 1 performance in which it allowed just 4.4 yards per play. It's clear new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the architect of strong stop units with Arizona and the Jets, has made an immediate impact.

We can tell you White is leaning under, but he has found a critical x-factor that has him going big on one side of the spread. He's only sharing what it is, and which team to back, at SportsLine. 

Who wins Buccaneers vs. Panthers on Thursday Night Football? And what critical x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Buccaneers vs. Panthers spread you should jump on Thursday, all from the top NFL expert who is 20-5 on Bucs picks, and find out.

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