Heading To Super Bowl 50: Best NFL Value Picks For Cardinals & Panthers

Doug Upstone

Thursday, January 21, 2016 2:27 PM GMT

The NFL odds show the sides for the NFL championship games to be very tight and thus far not much movement on the total, which frankly was expected, with just two games to make numbers on.

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NFL Picks: Carolina -3 & Under 48
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Having closed the season 8-1-1 for NFL picks in terms of weeks for this article and video, we offer what looks to be in my opinion the best value plays for Sunday and fully explain why, looking towards the Super Bowl.

 

Carolina (-3) Handles Arizona
Let's get this out of the way, I'm forecasting the Carolina Panthers are headed to the Super Bowl and here is why they win and cover over Arizona. Let's start with the matchup, Carolina's defense fits nicely against the Cardinals. Arizona has seen two strong defenses the last two weeks and will get a third, this time on the road. In both games, Seattle and Green Bay's defenses pinched their edge rushers in and narrowed the pocket on Carson Palmer and with pressure up the middle, he has not had as many clear passing lanes. Palmer has improved is pocket mobility, but nobody is going to confuse him with Russell Wilson and he's a far better thrower in the pocket. This should matter and create negative plays for Carolina to end or curtail Arizona drives.

You may also have noticed, coach Bruce Arians has been more impatient in running the ball, with only 32 carries (for mere 67 yards) in the past two contests. The Panthers only allow 88 yards per game rushing anyways and that has dropped to 77 YPG in Carolina's last trio of tilts. On defense, after being great all year against the run, the Cards have been carved up for 127 YPG in past three contests. Also, let's not forget Arizona has committed seven turnovers during this spell. Cam Newton has been the best player all season and playing at home, I see one more big effort with his running and throwing the difference. Carolina by 8.

 

Totals Play Goes Against the Grain
Many bettors and sports handicappers will look at the NFL odds of 48 and be inclined to bet the OVER. And why not, these are two highest scoring teams in the NFL at over 31 points a contest and what is going to stop them from pushing this conflict into the 50's with two terrific quarterbacks and playmakers?

For a large portion of the season, Arizona was the top scoring club in the league and they still finished second, yet in their last seven contests they are 6-1 UNDER. Other than the Seattle debacle, the Cardinals defense was very strong and would have only given up 13 points the Packers last week, except for prayers answered on Hail Mary.

Carolina was sixth in the NFL in both yards allowed (322.9) and scoring defense (19.3). Ron Rivera's defense might not have the speed of Seattle or Denver, but athletically, nobody is better. Carolina can play sideline to sideline, has behemoths in the defensive line to take away the run and rush the passer and great cover guys like Josh Norman.

Both teams will have success moving the ball but stall because of the defense and I'll call for Panthers to win 24-16, making this an easy UNDER.