Cardinals vs. Panthers Picks: Explosive Offenses & Slumping Defenses Prompt 'Over'

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 6:50 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 6:50 PM GMT

Our NFL handicapping professional hones in on the total for Sunday’s NFC Title Game. Join us inside this revealing betting preview for our free NFL pick on this matchup, don't miss it!

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NFL Pick: Over 47.5 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

NFC Championship Game Total
I’m going to focus on the total in this Sunday’s NFC Championship Game between Arizona and Carolina. Current (1/20) NFL odds at Heritage shows a total of 47.5 in this contest.

 

The Offenses
Both of these NFC Championship Game participants have been explosive offensively this season. As a matter of fact, they’re the top two scoring teams in the NFL.

Arizona has averaged 30.6 points (#2) and 408.3 yards (#1) of total offense per game this season. They’re even better than that on the road. In eight away games, the Cardinals are averaging 32.7 points and 426 yards per contest. Arizona averages a large 6.28 yards per offensive play, and that’s best in the NFL.

Carolina has eerily similar offensive numbers in comparison to their upcoming opponent. They’re averaging 31.2 points (#1) and 367 yards of total offense per game. Those numbers improve to 33.0 points and 392 yards per game when playing at home.

 

The Defenses
Arizona is #5 in total defense, allowing an average of only 321.7 yards per game. However, the Cardinals have allowed 354 yards or more in four of its previous five games. Arizona has been adept at creating turnovers this season. They’ve had 34 takeaways in 17 games. However, Carolina has committed only 19 turnovers in 17 contests thus far.

Along those same lines, Carolina is #6 in the NFL in total defense, allowing an average of 322.9 yards per game. Unfortunately, the Panthers defense has been torched for 373 yards or more in each of their last four contests. They’ve been able to cover up that deficiency during this stretch by creating a combined 9 turnovers, and having a +5 takeaway/giveaway differential. They’ll have their hands full in those regards against a Cardinals team which is a +8 this season in that exact category.

 

Miscellaneous Factors
Granted the Cardinals are 6-1 under the total in their last seven games. We also mustn’t forget, they began the season by going over the total in eight of its first ten contests.

Carolina has seen its last eight games go over the total when facing an opponent with a winning record. Those contests averaged a combined 56.9 points scored per contest. Since Ron Rivera took over as head coach in Carolina prior to the start of the 2011 season, the Panthers are 19-7 over the total when facing an opponent with a winning record. Tightening those numbers up even further, if the total was 46.0 or more, Carolina is 10-1 over the total during that five season stretch. As good as the Panthers defense whole body of work has been this season, they’ve been amongst the worst stop units in regards to allowing plays of 20 or more yards.

I firmly believe this will be a wildly entertaining game with plenty of points being scored. Based on that belief, one of my NFL picks will be indicative of that notion.

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