Bet Panthers for Sunday Night's NFL Picks vs. Steelers

Jason Lake

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 1:25 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014 1:25 PM GMT

The Carolina Panthers continue to be the preferred choice of football betting fans in their Sunday night encounter with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That might not be the case once the weekend rolls around.

Jason’s Record After Week 2: 4-7 ATS, 1-2-1 Totals

Profit: minus-8.8 units

There’s never been a better time to buy. And at prices like these, you’d better hurry on down, because this deal won’t last. Don’t get left out in the cold!

These words have been repeated so many times by so many salesmen, they’ve become more familiar than Mother Goose nursery rhymes. But there is a nugget of truth hiding in there. When it comes to betting on football, there’s always an ideal time to buy: When the NFL odds are giving you the best value. Often that’s immediately after the lines open. Sometimes it’s closer to kick-off.

In the case of our Week 3 Sunday Night Football matchup, well, that depends. If you’re betting on the Pittsburgh Steelers, you might want to jump in there right now – the Steelers are widely available at +3 (+110) as we go to press. But if you’re betting on the Carolina Panthers at home, patience might be your best bet.

 

Warriors, Come Out to Play
Spoiler alert: We’re placing our NFL pick on the Panthers. Not much has changed since our opening odds report – Carolina is still getting about two-thirds support according to our standard consensus numbers. Our expanded consensus report also shows the Panthers bringing in a staggering average bet size of $1,578. Those are some deep pockets. Pittsburgh also has a whopping $1,501 average bet, but it’s Carolina that has the much bigger slice of this pie at press time.

This might not be the case later in the week. The Steelers are the national brand in Sunday night’s contest (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC), and even though they’ve started the season at 0-2 ATS, they’ve drawn more public money than the Panthers thus far. If that pattern continues in Week 3, we can expect casual fans to start betting on Pittsburgh once the weekend comes. They might even put in enough money to move this line to Carolina –2.5. That’d be a much better value for Panthers supporters. Don’t forget, about one-sixth on NFL games are decided by exactly a field goal.

 

Big Ben Gets Rung
Waiting a few extra days might also give us some clarification about the Greg Hardy situation. We’re still wondering whether or not the Pro Bowl DE will line up for Carolina this week; he played the season opener, but was deactivated for Week 2 in light of the NFL’s league-wide domestic violence imbroglio. Ian Rapoport at NFL.com says league officials might step in and intervene. Sounds foreboding.

Meanwhile, the Panthers have some injury concerns at running back. Good thing they also have a ton of warm bodies ready to step in. DeAngelo Williams (thigh) is expected to face Pittsburgh after sitting out Week 2. If so, he’ll share carries with Jonathan Stewart, who was held to 37 yards on 15 carries against the Detroit Lions. Mike Tolbert (chest) is considered day-to-day, while Fozzy Whitaker (quadriceps) is week-to-week.

The Steelers are relatively healthy in comparison, although QB Ben Roethlisberger is still feeling the effects of that hit Baltimore Ravens LB Courtney Upshaw laid on him in Week 2. Roethlisberger called it the second-hardest hit he’s ever absorbed. His level of play wasn’t quite the same afterward, as Pittsburgh (+2.5 away) lost 26-6. That’s not likely to cut it against the superior Carolina defense – especially if Hardy is allowed to play Sunday night. As always, watch the newswires and keep refreshing that NFL odds board.

 

The Five Stars
Injuries/Suspensions/Travel/Rest: PIT

Defense/Special Teams: CAR

Coaching: PIT

Market Bias: CAR

Betting Line Value: CAR

Verdict: 1-star pick on CAR

Free NFL Pick: Put 1.4 units on the Panthers –3 (–120) at The Greek

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