NFL Sunday Picks: Panthers vs. Dolphins

Steve Merril -

Friday, November 22, 2013 6:56 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 6:56 PM UTC

The Sun Life Stadium, in Miami Gardens, Florida will explode with action when the Miami Dolphins play host to the Carolina Panthers. Have the sportsbooks left any value on the table for those of us looking to place our NFL picks on this matchup?

Carolina and Miami both come into this game on Sunday with a lot of momentum.  The Panthers have won 6 straight games while the Dolphins have won two of their last three games.  Overall on the season, Carolina is 7-3 SU and ATS while Miami is 5-5 SU and ATS.  Based on those performance patterns, the SU winner will also be the ATS winner of this game.

The current NFL odds on this game have the Panthers listed as a -4 to -4.5 point road favorite with a total of 41 at the majority of sportsbooks.

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Also make sure to check out SBRs:

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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 7 of their next 8 games by a combined score of 202-77.  They are playing at an elite level right now, and not many people have noticed.

Over their last four games, Carolina has been a dominating team.  They’ve held three of their four opponents to 297 yards of offense or less; they’ve held six of their ten opponents to less than 300 yards of offense.  They’ve out-scored their last four opponents by 47 points (99-52).

The Panthers’ defense has been outstanding this season.  They are giving up just 13.5 points on 294 yards of offense per game. Carolina is holding opponents to just 4.9 yards per play (#5), including 3.8 yards per rush (#8) and 6.1 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 +40.8 net rushing yards margin while the Dolphins have a -33.9 net rushing yards margin.  Carolina is also the best offense in converting third downs; they rank #1 in the NFL with a 48.4% conversion rate.

Miami beat the Bengals and Chargers over the last three weeks despite getting out-yarded in both games.  Cincinnati and San Diego won yardage against Miami by a combined 212 yards (900-688).  They also lost the first down battle 50-36 so the fact they were also out-gained means they were out-played from the line of scrimmage.

In last week’s phony 20-16 win over the Chargers, the Dolphins’ defense was shredded for 435 yards.  The Dolphins allowed 154 rushing yards on just 26 carries.  That’s a whopping 5.9 yards per rush which further shows how much the Dolphins were dominated at the line of scrimmage.

Overall this season, the Dolphins are allowing 22.5 points and 364.9 yards per game.  Opponents have averaged 5.3 yards per play which ranks the Dolphins’ defense #16 in the league.  Miami is also allowing 122.6 rushing yards per game which ranks them #25 in that defensive category.

Miami’s offense has done nothing of substance this season.  They average just 21.3 points per game on 307.8 yards of total offense.  The Dolphins average a pedestrian 5.0 yards per play (#26), including 88.7 rushing yards per game (#24) and 6.0 yards per pass attempt (#26).  Miami is converting just 35.3% on third down so they’ve also been unable to sustain drives.

Carolina is the much better team on both sides of the ball, and we expect Miami’s good fortune to run out this week.  The Dolphins cannot continue to win games while getting out-played on the field.  Lay the points with Carolina for your NFL picks in this game on Sunday afternoon.

NFL Picks: Panthers (-)
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