NFL Picks: Seahawks vs. Panthers Total Pick

Jeff Grant

Sunday, September 8, 2013 2:32 PM GMT

Sunday, Sep. 8, 2013 2:32 PM GMT

Two of the better defenses in the NFL will meet up in Week 1, as the Carolina Panthers host the Seattle Seahawks at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday.

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Let’s take a closer look at the pro football odds for this NFC matchup, with the opening kick-off scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET. Whi should we back with our NFL picks in this Week 1 match?

Holding opponents down

Seattle gave up an NFL-low 15.3 points per game a season ago, as it relies heavily on its secondary to cover opposing wide receivers one-on-one on the outside—freeing up its line backing core to create pressure.

The Seahawks earned a 16-12 victory over the Panthers as one-point road underdogs on Oct. 7th of last season—allowing just 190 total yards in the affair.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the ‘Under’ is 6-1 in the Seahawks’ last seven games in September.

Quite a linebacking core 

Defensive Rookie of the Year Luke Kuechly lead the league with 164 tackles a season ago, as he’ll join up with veteran linebacker Jon Beason in trying to limit Seattle’s punishing running game that’s led by Marshawn Lynch.

In Week 5 last season, Kuechly racked up 11 tackles and an interception versus the Seahawks, while helping to hold Lynch to 85 rushing yards on 21 carries.

The ‘Under’ is 12-10-1 in the Panthers’ last 23 games with a betting total of 42.5 to 49.

Finding a No. 2 option

NFL handicappers are going to have a hard time backing the Panthers in this affair, as No. 1 wide receiver Steve Smith struggled to get open last year when covered by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

Smith was held to just 40 years, which would end up being his second-lowest total of the 2012 campaign.

It’s also important to point out that Carolina quarterback Cam Newton connected on just 12 of 29 passes for 141 yards in last year’s meeting.

Practicing against the read option

One of the main reasons that I like this game to fall ‘Under’ the total is the fact that both defenses practice against the run-option that Newton and Seattle signal-caller Russell Wilson ran so well at the end of the 2012 season.

Both teams will want to be conservative and protect the football, especially considering that the Seahawks have dropped their last three seasons openers on the road, while the Panthers have dropped their previous four lid lifters in front of the home crowd.

[gameodds]16/226874/?r3=349-43-192-19/us&r-1=349-43-192-19/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the total in this affair for their sports picks, as the Seahawks have fallen short of the total in their last six games in the season’s opening month.

NFL Pick: Bet the Seahawks/Panthers game UNDER 45.5 points at William Hill

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