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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 7:00 PM

The New York Giants finally got their first win of the 2013 season this past Monday Night against Minnesota. The 0-6 Tampa Bay Bucs are hoping to do the same thing Thursday Night when they host the 3-3 Carolina Panthers in a game that will be nationally televised on the NFL Network.

And, THE WHOLE WORLD hopes this is at least a better game! Given the reviews from this past Monday, which many consider one of the worst NFL games ever played given the horrible execution from both teams, providing more entertainment Thursday should be easy. Then again…Mike Glennon is a rookie who’s looked to be in over his head since becoming starting quarterback for the Bucs. Let’s crunch some numbers and hope for the best!


Won-Lost Records (opponents so far)

Carolina: 3-3 (Seattle, at Buffalo, NYG, at Arizona, at Minnesota, St. Louis)

Tampa Bay: 0-6 (at NYJ, N. Orleans, at N. England, Arizona, Philly, at Atlanta)

Carolina isn’t that far from 5-1, considering that they could have won the opener with Seattle, and really should have won game two at Buffalo. It’s true that they haven’t exactly been facing a murderer’s row of competition lately. Glennon became Tampa Bay’s quarterback prior to the Arizona game. He will have the occasionally good series, but is still erratic with his passing and poor at making quick decisions.


Yards-Per Play to Date

Carolina: 5.1 on offense, 5.0 on defense

Tampa Bay: 4.5 on offense, 5.3 on defense

The league average right now is in the mid 5’s. So, both teams grade out as having subpar offenses and above average defenses. Carolina’s offense has been a big disappointment considering what Cam Newton was supposed to be accomplishing by this point in his career. Tampa Bay’s just awful. Definitely some reasons to look at the Under given those numbers.


Turnover Differential

Carolina: +5

Tampa Bay: even

It’s actually a good sign for Tampa Bay that they’re only net zero in the turnover category considering the quarterback mess this season. Maybe they’re playing on borrowed time, and we’re about to see an implosion. Carolina is doing well in terms of risk/reward…but it’s actually a bad sign that the team is only 3-3 against their schedule given that differential. Remember that the Panthers have a poor history in close games. That hasn’t mattered of late because they’ve been jumping to big leads.


Market Performance

Carolina: 3-3 ATS

Tampa Bay: 1-5 ATS

Oddsmakers were caught by surprise when Tampa Bay fizzled out of the gate. You’ll recall that they got a lot of market respect in their season opener at the Jets. Sharps were expecting improvement from this team, and they got a toxic environment instead. Carolina has split…covering the games they won, but failing to cover the game they lost. Will it be that simple this time? Figure out who wins and that will be who covers?


Current Line: Carolina by 6, total 40.5

The game opened at Panthers -6.5, and has edged downward. The total is up from an opener of 38.5, which goes against the grain of the team stats we were looking at earlier. We’re hearing that some sharps believe scoring is so easy in the NFL right now that you should play Over any game in the 30’s. Maybe that’s true. But…you’d be hardpressed to find wild and crazy shootouts played by these teams thus far in 2013.

A Vegas line showing a road favorite of -6 is telling you that the chalk team would be seen as nine points better on a neutral field. Is that accurate? Has Carolina become a playoff team? Or, has Tampa Bay now fallen so far that they’re basically the Jacksonville of the NFC? Interesting questions for handicappers to consider as they try to find real value in this one.

JIM HURLEY knows he has a few options to choose from Thursday Night. There’s this game in the NFL…Game Two of baseball’s World Series matching the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox, plus Kentucky/Mississippi State and Marshall/Middle Tennessee in college football action. You can purchase the best sides and totals from those games right here at the website with your credit card. If you’d prefer talking with a live person, call our handicapping office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.

Our TV football previews continue tomorrow and through the weekend:

Friday: an early look at UCLA at Oregon

Saturday: the suddenly HUGE prime time matchup featuring South Carolina at Missouri

Sunday: Green Bay at Minnesota on NBC

Monday: Seattle at St. Louis on ESPN

We’ll pick up with the World Series again next week as long as is doesn’t end in five games!

It’s a great week to be a sports fan. Be sure you GET ALL THE MONEY every day along the way with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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