Buccaneers vs. Panthers Point Spread: NFL Week 18 Odds, Prediction

Daniel Coyle | Updated Jan 05, 2024

The playoffs are far from certain for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who need to beat the Carolina Panthers in Week 18 to guarantee a postseason berth.

Tampa Bay
January 07, 2024, 1:00 PM ET
Bank of America Stadium
Pointspread +6.5 -165
Pointspread -6.5 +125

After dealing the Atlanta Falcons’ playoff hopes a catastrophic blow with a 9-7 victory three weeks ago, the Carolina Panthers aim to play spoiler against a divisional rival once again when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon in NFL Week 18 action at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers are assured of finishing at the bottom of the NFL standings after losing their past two games, capped by last week’s crushing 26-0 loss in Jacksonville, but have seen this season’s two victories come over their past four home games. The Buccaneers enter their regular season finale needing a victory to advance to the NFL playoffs as the NFC South champions after failing to close the deal in last week’s 23-13 loss to New Orleans.

The Bucs travel to Carolina perched as 4.5-point road favourites on the NFL Week 18 odds, and the total is pegged at 37.5.

NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis

The Buccaneers remain in control of their playoff destiny despite last week’s loss, but a fourth straight trip to the postseason is far from assured. A victory over the Panthers clinches the division crown. However, with the Bucs deadlocked with New Orleans at 8-8, and just one game up on Atlanta, a Tampa Bay loss would hand the NFC South title to the winner of Sunday’s matchup between the Saints and Falcons. The Bucs have turned around their previous struggles on the road with consecutive victories, both as road underdogs, and have also topped the Panthers in eight of 10 clashes, 7-3 ATS.

The Panthers reverted to familiar form in last week’s lopsided loss to the Jaguars, which followed on the heels of their highest scoring performance of the season in a 33-30 loss to Green Bay in Week 16. However, that offensive outburst marks the only time this team has topped nine points in their past four outings, and just the second time in 10 games that the Carolina offence has produced multiple touchdowns. That is reflected in this team’s results in totals betting, where the UNDER has paid out in eight of 10 contests.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After a tough date with the Saints last weekend in which he tossed for two picks, and suffered a rib injury, quarterback Baker Mayfield has been used sparingly at practice this week, but is expected to be ready for Sunday. That is not surprising, considering just how much is on the line for the former first overall pick in the NFL Draft. In addition to bearing the team’s playoff hopes and making a case for a contract extension, Mayfield can double a $1 million incentive in his contract if the Bucs make the postseason, and claim an additional $250,000 for every playoff victory. Mayfield has earned his paycheque down the stretch while tossing for 10 touchdowns and running for one score over the past four games, with his favourite target Mike Evans making three of those scoring catches and averaging 71 receiving yards over the past three games.

Carolina Panthers

After tossing for two scores in the Panthers’ loss to Green Bay two weeks ago, rookie quarterback Bryce Young took a step back last weekend in Jacksonville, where he was limited to just 112 passing yards while failing to find the end zone for the fifth time in six games. Even after scoring 30 against the Pack, the Panthers have still managed to score just 12.4 points per game over their past 10 outings, and have generated just five TD passes and no scoring runs in five home games over that stretch. While the Carolina ground game has produced just seven total touchdowns this season, ahead of only the New York Jets, Chruba Hubbard remains a backfield threat. Hubbard has run for four scores over the past six games, but has averaged just 44 rushing yards over the past two weeks.

NFL Prediction: Who Will Win Buccaneers vs. Panthers?

NFL Predictions