NFL Picks: Free Lock for Week 7

Steve Merril - Steve@prosportsinfo.com

Friday, October 18, 2013 3:32 PM GMT

It's time to pick apart the betting lines and match-up for the St. Louis Rams vs. Carolina Panthers to get a solid NFL pick that is a virtual lock!

St. Louis and Carolina both come into this game on Sunday with a lot of momentum. The Rams have won two straight games while the Panthers have won two of their last three games. Overall on the season, St. Louis is 3-3 SU and 2-4 ATS. Carolina is 2-3 SU and ATS. But as we’ll detail below, Carolina is the more legitimate team and their recent success was earned while St. Louis’ success was due to good fortune.

The Rams beat the Texans and Jaguars in the last two weeks despite getting out-yarded in both games. Houston and Jacksonville won yardage against St. Louis by a combined 205 yards (786-581). They also lost the first down battle 43-37 so the fact they were also out-gained means they were out-played from the line of scrimmage.

Tune into our comprehesive odds page to stay on top of the latest NFL betting odds~

In last week’s phony 38-13 win over the Texans, the Rams’ defense was shredded for 420 yards by the discombobulated Houston offense. The Rams allowed 153 rushing yards on 30 carries. That’s a whopping 5.1 yards per rush which further shows how much the Rams were dominated at the line of scrimmage.

Overall this season, the Rams are allowing 25.7 points and 388.7 yards per game. Opponents have averaged 6.0 yards per play which ranks the Rams’ defense #26 in the league. St. Louis is also allowing 7.7 yards per pass attempt which also has them ranked #26 in that defensive category.

The Rams’ offense has done nothing of substance this season. They average a pedestrian 4.7 yards per play (#30), including 3.2 yards per rush (#29) and 5.8 yards per pass attempt (#27). St. Louis is converting just 31% on third down so they’ve also been unable to sustain drives. Last week they got two non-offensive touchdowns with one coming on defense and one coming on special teams. 

The reason St. Louis has won their last two games has nothing to do with their on-field play. The Rams have a +7 turnover margin as they haven’t put the ball on the ground while their opponents were sloppy. Turnovers tend to reverse themselves, and when St. Louis is on the negative end, they will lose in blowout fashion. In fact, the one time they lost the turnover battle this season, St. Louis lost 31-24 in Atlanta; they trailed that game 24-3 at the half.

Carolina started this season off with back-to-back losses to Seattle and Buffalo. But since that last second loss to the Bills, the Panthers have won two of their next three games by a combined score of 73-10. They are finally starting to play to their talent level. 

Over their last three games, Carolina has been a dominating team. They’ve out-yarded their opponents by a whopping 432 yards (1,122-690) while out-scoring them by 47 points (79-32).

The Panthers’ defense has been outstanding this season. They are giving up just 14 points on 299 yards of offense per game. Carolina is holding opponents to just 5.0 yards per play (#8), including 3.8 yards per rush (#11) and 6.2 yards per pass attempt (#7).

Carolina holds two significant advantages on offense in this game. The Panthers have a major rushing edge as they have a +47 net rushing yards margin while the Rams have a -58.7 net rushing yards margin. Carolina is also one of the best offenses in converting third downs; they rank #2 in the NFL with a 49.2% conversion rate.

See what Jason Lake thinks about this game between the Rams and Panthers~

The current pointspread on this game has the Panthers -6.5 with a total of 42 at the majority of sportsbooks.

St. Louis is now 1-3 ATS as an underdog this season after their fortunate win and cover in Houston last week. Their three losses when catching points have come by a whopping 18.3 points per game.

Carolina is 6-1 ATS versus the current line when they win SU at home under HC Ron Rivera. The Panthers have won those games by an average of 16.9 points per game.

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The pointspread on this game is really cheap, especially since we can lay less than a touchdown with Carolina. The Panthers are the much better team on both sides of the ball, and we expect St. Louis’ good fortune to run out this week. Lay the points with Carolina for your NFL picks in this game, Sunday afternoon.

Free NFL Lock: Play PANTHERS (-)