Free NFL Picks: Bet Panthers Over Seahawks In NFC Divisional Clash

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 3:52 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 3:52 PM UTC

The Seahawks hope to avenge a 27-23 defeat to the Panthers in Week 6 this Sunday afternoon in the NFC Divisional playoffs in Charlotte. Check out our NFL pick & analysis here.

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NFL Pick: Panthers: -2.5 (-118)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


The Seahawks hope to avenge a 27-23 defeat to the Panthers in Week 6 this Sunday afternoon (1:05 p.m. ET) in the NFC Divisional playoffs in Charlotte. Seattle was a 7-point favorite in the early-season matchup, a tad overvalued and the Panthers heavily underrated at the time. The visitors now find themselves spotted a field goal at most betting shops.


Seattle Seahawks (11-6 SU, 8-8-1 ATS)
After starting the year 2-4 SU, 1-4-1 ATS, Seattle is 9-2 SU, 7-4 against the NFL Odds in its last 11 games. The Panthers defeat sparked the turnaround, waking up a sleepwalking defense. Through its first six contests, the unit allowed 20.8 points per game. Since, it is giving up just 14.6 on average, stuffing the run in the process with 69.6 yards per contest.

The unit has had its troubles against the NFL’s better offenses, though. In seven games against those scoring above the league average of 23 points, the Seahawks D yields 22.3 points per game and has given up 27 or more on five occasions. The Panthers 31.2 points per game is tops in the NFL. 

Offensively, it has been the Russell Wilson show of late. The QB is the first player in NFL history to record 4,000 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns and  500 rushing yards in a single season. Wilson has a 130.3 average passer rating over his last seven contests, finding the end zone 3.6 times per game during this span. 


Carolina Panthers (15-1 SU, 11-5 ATS)
The Panthers are 26-2 SU, 17-10-1 ATS in their last 28 games as the betting favorite, taking care of business when the betting market expects it to.

Although it faced some so-so defenses (Saints, Giants) to close out the year, QB Cam Newton and company scored 33 or more points in six of their final seven games. The squad, in fact, performed above expectations all season, scoring more than its projected team total in all but two games. Newton, a MVP candidate, is the only player in NFL history with at least 30 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in a single season.

Coach Ron Rivera expects RB Jonathan Stewart to return from a foot sprain, but the offense may look to exploit Cam’s favorite target Greg Olsen. The Pro Bowl tight end amassed 131 yards on seven catches in the first meeting, including a 32-yard TD in the final seconds to secure a victory. It was one of three times this season Olsen eclipsed 100 yards receiving; the other two were against the lowly Saints defense. The Seahawks struggled to cover TEs all year, allowing 11.71 yards per catch.


Final Analysis
These two teams are mirror images of each other stylistically and statistically. Both are built around solid defenses, commandeered by dual-threat QBs, and wish to establish a power-running game every time out. The rushing attack sets up an effective passing game for both squads. 

Although Seattle is next to last in the NFL in passing attempts, its 7.6 yards per throw is third-best and the most efficient Carolina has faced all year. The visitor’s chances may hinge on if Lynch can play, but one has to wonder if he is truly 100 percent healthy. The odds seem right on the money in this one, and it would not shock me if Seattle won outright. Some books are dangling -2.5 midweek, though, and with Seattle’s backfield in shambles I’ll bite on Carolina -2.5.

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