NFL Picks: Seahawks vs. Panthers Week 1 Early Odds & Prediction

Jeff Grant

Friday, June 7, 2013 4:04 PM GMT

The Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks have two of the more exciting quarterbacks in the league, as they prepare to open up a new season against each other.


Let’s take a closer look at the NFL betting lines for our sports picks on this Week 1 matchup at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 8, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX.

High expectations

Seattle went 11-5 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) during the 2012 NFL season, which surprised virtually everyone due to being led offensively by a rookie quarterback, while the squad offered no edge in terms of the betting total (8-8 Over/Under)

The Seahawks are one of the betting favorites to reach the Super Bowl, considering they were knocked out of last year’s playoffs in the divisional round by the Atlanta Falcons. 

Time to take the next step

Carolina was expected to challenge for a playoff spot a season ago, especially after quarterback Cam Newton won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2011, but it wasn’t mean to be in losing numerous close games. 

The Panthers finished with a 7-9 SU and 9-7 ATS record, with the OVER cashing in nine of 16 opportunities.

Player movement

NFL handicappers are definitely aware that the Seahawks possess one of the more talented rosters in the league—a group that strengthened with the additions of defensive linemen Cliff Avril, wide receiver Percy Harvin and cornerback Antoine Winfield.

Seattle hopes that group can help overcome the loss of second-year defensive end Bruce Irvin, who has been suspended for the first four weeks of the season due to the use of performance-enhancing drugs—the sixth player to get nailed with this type of suspension in the Pete Carroll era.

Superman

Newton has thrown for more passing yards than any player in league history through two seasons, but has nothing to show for it in terms of postseason experience.  

NFL insiders are expecting this group to take a step forward in 2013, with the former Heisman Trophy winner throwing for 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions in the final six games last year.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their early Week 1 NFL picks, as both defenses match up well with the opposing offense.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson may also struggle coming out of the gate now that defensive coordinators have a full year of tape to watch in learning how to stop his dual-thread ability in his sophomore campaign.

NFL Pick: Under 45.5 at Bet365

[gameodds]16/226874/43-349-192/us[/gameodds]