Rivera’s game plan
Last year, Cam Newton played three full series in their preseason Week 1 loss to the Texans, and I think we can expect that much work for the young quarterback in this year’s Week 1. The Panthers were very inconsistent on offense last season, and only after Week 11 did they really start to play well on that side of the ball. They will want to make sure that wasn’t a fluke.
Also, the Panthers have some newfound depth on that side of the ball, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see some guys get extended runs in this game. The issue for the Panthers will be the running game. Jonathon Stewart is still out, Deangelo Williams will only play for a little bit, and Mike Tolbert is a veteran as well. I doubt the Panthers will try and run the ball very much on a good Bears’ defense, mostly due to the fact that they can’t afford another RB injury. I think it will be pass away for Newton, Derek Anderson and Jimmy Clauson during this game against the Bears.
The Panthers have a ton of depth at the skill positions as well, and all of them will need some playing time in this game, even if it’s only a little.
For more offseason info on the Panthers, head over to our Season Win Total Odds Report!
Bears on new diet
With the exiting of Lovie Smith, and the entrance of Marc Trestman, the Bears are a different team this season. No one knows what Trestman’s offense will look like in the NFL, but from the reports out of Bear’ camp, it’s going to be up-tempo and very potent. That will play a big advantage in this preseason game as well.
Jay Cutler and the rest of the Chicago starters didn’t even play in the first preseason game last year under Smith, but learning a new offense, they will be on the field for a couple of series to start this game.
Chicago is going to want to throw the ball in this game, partly because Carolina will also, and partly because Trestman’s offense demands it. I think we might be in store for a very fast game from both sides, so for the first time this offseason, a play on the total might be the best bet for this game.
Don't forget to also check out the Chicago Bears Season Win Total preview!
The Sharp Pick
'Over's normally cash in the preseason in the first few weeks, followed by the 'Under' being a better NFL pick in Weeks 3 and 4. For this week, the totals haven’t really caught my eye until this game. At only 34 points, I think the sportsbooks are seriously undervaluing both team’s offenses in the NFL odds. Neither team is going to try and run the ball very much, and even if it is 2nd and 3rd string offenses in the game, they will be playing against 3rd string defenses. The veterans that Carolina has in the 2nd and 3rd string, along with the depth found in Chicago’s 2nd string, we could be past 20 points by the time the first half is over. You can bet the Bears are going to try and score with their first string on the field, and I think we can expect the same from the Panthers.
NFL Pick: ‘Bet the Bears/Panthers game to go OVER 34 pointsHave a different opinion? Share it on our message boards!