NFL Picks: Seahawks vs. Panthers Week 1

Jordan Sharp

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 6:36 PM GMT

After a whole summer of labeling themselves the Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks get to start putting their money where their mouths are, and start the NFL regular season.

The NFL odds for this matchup favor the road Seahawks at -3 ½, with a total of 45 points. The Panthers have a new offensive coordinator, but can they continue where they left off last year and give Seattle a game, or will the Hawks keep their hype train at full speed?

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

High ceilings

Both of these squads have high expectations relative to where they finished last season, and both will want to start the season off right. The Hawks are a little light at receiver to start the year, and if Sidney Rice can’t come in and be a solid #2 next to Golden Tate, this offense might struggle with the loss of Percy Harvin. They will run the ball, however the Panthers have a much improved defense from last year when they 14th in rushing yards, and had one of the most underrated defenses in the NFL. They have two Des that had 23.5 sacks combined last season too. These two teams played a season ago, and the Panthers had two interceptions with one pick six, two sacks, and a fumble recovery against the Hawks.

Seattle obviously has a great defense as well, and I expect it to show up in this game. It is for these and other reasons why one of my NFL Picks for this game will be the ‘Under’. I expect no more than an average offensive performance from the Hawks, while the Panthers’ new system and both above average defenses also play into my NFL pick.

On top of all of that, the ‘Under’ has cashed in two of the last three meetings between these two, including a 16-12 game in Week 5 just last season.

Review our Week 1 NFL Betting Odds Report for a full rundown of the weekend's odds.

The Sharp Pick 

Not only am I favoring a play on the ‘Under’ in this game, I also think there is some sneaky sports betting value on the Panthers taking over three points in the NFL odds. The Hawks were not that good of a road team last season going 3-5 SU, and on top of that, the public is all over the Hawks because of the ESPN led hype-train, and I think that is exactly what the sportsbooks were hoping for.

The play on this game is the Panthers along with the ‘Under’. I could easily see another lower scoring game between these two just like we saw only 11 months ago. Plus, the Hawks have never been a great road team when they were the favorites. Seattle was 2-3 ATS last season when they were favored on the road, and they are 6-11 ATS as road favorites since 2006.

Going back several years now, Seattle is only 7-15 SU in their last 22 road games, and with little receiving weapons and against a tougher than expected defense, I can’t see the Hawks traveling all the way across country on a very long road trip in the first week of the season and covering this spread. They could easily win, but I think the NFL odds of +3 ½ as opposed to +3 gives us just enough room for a bet with Carolina taking points. Don’t be surprised if Seattle barely wins this game by a field goal and Carolina covers.

My Picks: Panthers +3 ½ and ‘Under’ 45 at Matchbook