Capper's Keen Eye Spots NFC Title Game Best Money Line Pick

Doug Upstone

Friday, January 22, 2016 5:58 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 5:58 PM UTC

Money line bets continue to grow in popularity in football and they tend to be very robust when the NFL season dwindles to a handful of games. Let's get the best NFL pick!

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NFL Pick: Panthers Money Line -156
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


The most obvious point is betting the underdog on the money line. When you get this deep into the season, any team is quite capable of winning one-and-done contest and with a couple forced turnovers and good fortune, this can be a very good way to beat the NFL odds and pick up extra cash with the heavier plus odds in the bettors favor.

For the bettor who prefers the favorite, betting the money line is a lot buying insurance. You know you want to bet on this particular squad, but you have a few doubts about them covering the spread. In this instance you pay the juice to place the odds in your favor for NFL picks by making this a strictly win or lose proposition, which based on your knowledge is more comforting.

Looking at 5Dimes, the latest money line odds have Carolina at -163 or Arizona at +143. What is the right play, let's examine.


Why Arizona is a Super Wager
In reviewing sites that check betting trends based on volume of wagers, at bit surprised to see the Cardinals at only 40 percent of bets placed on the money line. Thought for sure they would attract more action, especially as the underdog and being just field goals pooches.

It is impossible to ignore Bruce Arians club is 7-1 SU on the road this year and though they have only been catching points once in that role, they won rather convincingly at Seattle 39-32 as three-point dogs.

Offensively, Arizona would appear to have a distinct advantage with their receivers against the Panthers defensive backs. Particularly so with Larry Fitzgerald in the slot, going against fading Cortland Finnegan. Carolina signed Finnegan after an assortment of injures in the secondary and only thought they would use him in emergency, but further causalities have forced him into action. It will be up to Carson Palmer to exploit this particular advantage.

On defense, the Cardinals will commit every resource necessary to controlling the run. They have played solid run defense for most of the season, although they have given up some big plays. The play of inside linebacker Deone Bucannon will be vital. He has run responsibilities, which will match him against Cam Newton and if he and his teammates can limit the big man, Arizona can move to 12-0 on the ML after failing to cover the spread in two out of their last three games.


Why Carolina is a Super Wager
As good as Arizona has been on the road, Carolina has been even better at home. The Panthers are 9-0 SU at Bank of America Stadium and going back to last season, they have won a 12 times, which includes a victory over Arizona in the playoffs.

Carolina plays old school, thinking run first, but uses Newton as a primary weapon, not just as scrambler. At 6'5, 260, he's bigger than many linebackers and can deal a blow in similar manner to them. The Panthers finished second in the NFL is rushing and the Cardinals have allowed 381 rushing yards in their last three games, which could play right into Ron Rivera's hands. If successful, this opens up the passing game for Newton who has made tremendous strides in accuracy.

The key to the Panthers' plan this week starts with getting after QB Carson Palmer. The Cards have struggled to protect him the past two games, and the drop-back passer could be a sitting duck for Carolina's pass rush, unless Arizona is able to run the ball more effectively than they have lately. If the Panthers can to minimize the damage downfield when Palmer throws deep with an effective pass rush, the Cardinals QB could be good for a pick or two.


What is the Correct Money Line Play?
This is one person's opinion but Carolina is my choice. They have been the best team in the NFC since they beat Seattle in October and the best club in the NFL since December. Yes, the Panthers have given us some shaky second half's but with Newton, the running game and their defense, they have everything needed to hold off Arizona.

In researching the numbers, when No. 1 plays No.2 in the NFC Conference Championship, they are 10-2 when favored since 1993 and when road underdogs like Arizona have won eight or more out of their last 10 games, with a win percentage of 75% or higher and facing an opponent with a winning record, they are 2-25 on the money line over the past decade.

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