Panthers +3.5 over Seahawks for Week 8 NFL Picks

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 1:53 PM GMT

NFL betting shops send the Seattle Seahawks into their impending week 8 NFL betting clash with the Carolina Panthers as the 3.5-point chalk, despite riding a two-game losing streak. Are bookies overestimating the defending champions? Find out as we preview the NFL odds and serve up our NFL picks.

Seattle Seahawks Barely Making the Grade
The Seattle Seahawks are after back-to-back defeats to the Dallas Cowboys (home) and St. Louis Rams (road), slipping to a 3-3 SU mark and third place in the highly competitive NFC West Division. Their latest defeat was a shocker by all accounts. Seahawks, installed as the whopping -300 favourites to win straight up and the 6.5-point favourites against the spread, were thwarted by the hapless St. Louis Rams (1-4 SU ahead of week 7 NFL betting) in a stunning 28-26 defeat that featured a special teams’ miracle by the hosts.

Though the Seattle Seahawks might whinge over dubious official calling, unfair penalties, trick plays and just out-and-out bad luck, casting such aspersions doesn’t change the fact they aren’t making the grade at the moment, punching below their perceived weight class in NFL betting markets.

It’s official: the defending champions are enjoying a losing streak, their first since week 7 and 8 in 2012. Do NFL bettors hit the panic button? Do they jump off the loud-and-proud bandwagon? Or do they simply fall in line with NFL betting shops that seemingly sweep another Seattle defeat under the trading floor’s carpet, rolling out instead favourable bright NFL odds that belie their current two-game winless streak.
 

Inconsistent Carolina Panthers the Class of NFC South
If there is one thing the 2014 NFL season has revealed it’s the lack of depth and quality in the NFC South. Each and every team in the NFC South has been absolutely horrendous, wholly off colour and off form this season. All are after a defeat in week 7 NFL betting, including the Carolina Panthers, who are after an embarrassing 38-17 defeat to Green Bay Packers on the road.

Indeed, the Panthers could very easily have been on a two-game losing streak, save for a last gasp tie in Cincinnati two weeks ago that salvaged their week 6 NFL betting account. Overall, the Panthers are 3-3-1 on the season with a .500 winning percentage, which is the highest in the NFC South, mind.

Reality is the Panthers have been outscored 158-to 159 through seven games for a minus 37-point differential, putting them on par with teams such as the Falcons, Vikings, Jets and Titans (to name a few) – sides that are mired in the pits of their respective divisions and not leading as the Panthers are. Just another example of how subpar the NFC South is compared to the rest of the divisions in the NFL.
 

NFL Betting Verdict
We have the Seattle Seahawks as the favourites at 3.5-points on the road. At first glance, the mere fact they are favoured on the road feels like a bit of an overestimation by the NFL betting shop given the current two-game losing streak. Consider basic betting maths attributes 3-points to home-field advantage it quickly becomes apparent this NFL betting market implies the Seattle Seahawks are just a point better than the Panthers. To be honest, that seems just about right, don’t you think? To put it bluntly, both teams have been up-and-down through seven weeks, making it hard to get a proper read on either team. Frankly, this game could go either way in our opinion.

There’s a lot of concern about the Seattle Seahawks at the moment, but – be honest – if these NFL betting odds emerged a two weeks ago, wouldn’t you have piled on top of it on your NFL picks, wholly convinced the Seattle Seahawks were being short-changed but, at the same time, unwilling to stare a gift horse in the mouth. When a team is as good as the Seahawks are on paper, buying low is a great sports betting strategy. The question that’s begging an answer: is individual ego transcending team ethos? Diva antics, showboating, finger pointing and team dissention have become synonymous with the Seahawks; if they continue to play as individuals and not a unified team, they’ll find it increasingly difficult to compete successfully in a game that is quintessentially a team sport.

Seahawks have been committing a lot of penalties – in their last two games they had 19 penalties for a total of 147 yards lost. They did themselves in, really. If there were any positive takeaways from week 7’s defeat to the Rams, it was their improved ball possession and Russell Wilson’s dual threat (rushing and passing) at centre. It remains to be seen whether they can put it all together successfully against the Panthers on the road.

The Panthers may still be reeling from the heavy defeat to the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers exposed the shortcomings on the Panthers’ defense effortlessly, which is a going concern for their season. What’s more, the Packers defense managed to limit Cam Newton to just 246 total yards, a week after he had a breakout game posting 395 yards against the Bengals and showing off his dual-threat mould at centre.

Still, that was Lambeau – notoriously difficult stadium to play in, never mind take the win. Panthers will be at home in week 8 NFL betting. If they can somehow capitalise on the Seahawks’ issues and mistakes on the field, they could keep this game close, if not pull off the surprise upset altogether. Panthers are 11-8-1 ATS at home since 2012 with an average margin of victory at 3.4. Take the Panthers as the value home pups at 3.5-points on your NFL picks.

NFL Picks: Panthers +3.5

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