On Friday, the Buffalo Bills will head down to Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the Carolina Panthers in a gridiron battle where it’s more like a family reunion than a rivalry. Bills head coach Sean McDermott was the former defensive coordinator for the Panthers under current coach Ron Rivera and Bills GM Brandon Beane also worked in the front office for the Panthers. These two teams will be practicing against each other this week before the game on Friday. Kickoff inside the Bank of America Stadium is at 7 PM ET.
|Betting Data||Buffalo Bills||Carolina Panthers|
|2019 S/U Preseason Record||1-0||1-0|
|2018 ATS Home||3-5||5-3|
|2018 ATS Away||4-4||2-6|
|2018 O/U Home||5-3||5-3|
|2018 O/U Away||2-6||3-5|
This will be the third time that Buffalo has played against Carolina since Sean McDermott took over as the head coach. The first time was a Week 2 regular season matchup that saw the Panthers win in a defensive battle by the score of 9-3. Their second encounter was Week 1 of the preseason last year and the Panthers were victorious 28 to 23. That means coach McDermott is 0-2 against his former team. If you look at the history between the two franchises, Buffalo holds a 5-2 advantage over Carolina in regular season games only.
Buffalo (1-0) is coming off an impressive performance against the Colts in Week 1 of the preseason. Their defense dominated the game as they held the first two Colts’ offensive units to just 3 points and only one third down conversion in six tries during the first half of the game. This week, the defense will see some starters return after sitting out the first game. Additionally, Bills running back McCoy will get the start and is eager to run behind an improved offensive line.
Carolina (1-0) went out on the road and beat the Bears 23-13. The Panthers also rested numerous starters and expect them to play a few series this week like Kuechly and McCaffrey. Cam Newton’s status for this game is up in the air. However, some fans and pundits are calling for the Panthers to rest Newton for all of preseason.
NFL betting sites opened with the Panthers favored by three points. For most online betting sites, the spread hasn’t changed yet. The over/under opened at 40 total points and also remains unchanged with the majority of sports betting sites. Keep an eye on the spread and O/U throughout the week. I expect some changes before Friday.
Last week, Panthers QBs Will Grier and Kyle Allen saw the majority of action against the Bears as Newton did not play. This week’s game could also see these two quarterbacks play the bulk of the game as they battle it out for the #2 spot behind Newton who will most likely miss this week as well.
This spring, Cam underwent his second offseason shoulder surgery in the last two and a half years. He played the second half of the 2018 season with an injured shoulder that forced him to take off practices on a weekly basis. In fact, he wasn’t able to throw at all during the week. Now, the Panthers medical staff and coaches are pacing Newton back safely and in time for the regular season.
With that said, there’s no reason to think Cam will play on Friday. And that bodes well for the Bills who have an aggressive defense that will look to attack Grier or Allen.
The Bills starting offense had a few chances to score last week, but failed due to a miss FG attempt and a dropped TD pass. This week, the starters are hoping to get it in the endzone. LeSean McCoy will start for the Bills on Friday as they mix and match the offensive line due to injuries with prized free agent center Mitch Morse. Despite his absence last week, the line held up against an aggressive Colts defense.
I expect the Bills to play Josh Allen and the starters for the entire first quarter, which means that defense will feast on two young, inexperienced QBs. Lorenzo Alexander, Jerry Hughes, and Micah Hyde are all expected to play on Friday. Fortunately for the Bills, backup QB Matt Barkley looked great against the Colts last week as he threw for 126 yards and 1 TD. He will get plenty of action this week against Panthers backups and you have to like his chances.
Buffalo is 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games at Carolina. They’re also 3-1 in their last four preseason games. Carolina is 3-6 ATS in their last nine games, 2-7 SU in their last nine games, and 1-5 ATS in their last six grass games. In head-to-head matchups, the road team is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings and the Underdog is also 4-1 ATS over that span.
With Cam Newton missing this game, the entire offense becomes less dynamic and successful. I believe a ferocious Bills defense with solid depth will play well against Carolina’s backup QBs. Without Newton, I don’t see the Panthers offense scoring much on Buffalo. Last week, the Panthers only scored two field goals in the first half of their game against the Bears.
You can expect more of that low scoring from the Panthers’ offense this week as they go up against another strong defensive unit that will be playing just about all of their starters. I like Buffalo to easily cover the spread and win the game outright 20 to 17.
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