Panthers to Cover Spread vs. Packers for Week 7 NFL Picks

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 6:45 PM GMT

The Carolina Panthers head into America’s Dairyland and Lambeau Field to face Aaron Rodgers and the host Green Bay Packers in what should be a closer game than some think and a decent betting opportunity.

Odds Overview
Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers (Packers -7, 49, Pinnacle), Sunday, (FOX, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT): Seldom is there an off week in the NFL and Week 7 is no exception for both the visiting Carolina Panthers (3-2-1 SU, 4-2 ATS) and the host Green Bay Packers (4-2 SU, 3-2-1 ATS) with both coming off exciting games in Week 6—the Panthers a 37-37 tie in Cincinnati against the Bengals and the Packers a 27-24 victory against the Dolphins in Miami in the last 2 minutes. And both Green Bay (8-8-1 SU, 7-9-1 ATS in 2013) and Carolina (12-5 SU, 9-7-1 ATS) are either tied for or leading their respective NFC divisions and have won their backers money so far this season so this will be a fun game to watch...and Carolina (+270 Money Line, BetVictor) and QB Cam Newton (15-12 ATS Road) could very well go into Lambeau Field and upset the Packers (-333) here although Green Bay is a very tough place to play (Packers 14-4-1 SU L19 Home) and the Packers are 3-0-1 ATS on Grass (0-2 ATS on Turf) so far this season.

Oddsmakers have made Green Bay a very healthy 7-point favorite (Pinnacle) over Carolina on Sunday afternoon with the Total Points set at 49 on the NFL odds board. The Total Packers Points is 29½ Over +105 (Betfair) while the Total Panthers Points is set at 20½ (Paddy Power). The Panthers getting a full TD from oddsmakers seems tempting and a little high at first blush until you notice that Green Bay has won and covered its last 3 straight games and then that 7 points seems fair.

 

Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are always a tough team to figure out, both from a season standpoint looking in, or week-to-week where Carolina can hang with the best of them or sometimes fall flat on their facemasks. As far as passing judgment on them so far heading into Week 8, the Panthers have to get major credit for having only 2 losses (Steelers, ravens) for playing the schedule they have with the last five being against the Lions, Steelers, Ravens, Bears and Bengals, all formidable opponents. One thing Carolina needs to work on is its rushing game—which ranks 28th in the NFL (86.8 ypg)—and that’s somewhat of a surprise with the versatile and fairly speedy (4.58 seconds 40-yard dash) Newton (31 rushes, 149 yards, TD), and running backs DeAngelo Williams (25 rushes, 105 yards) and Jonathan Stewart. But both Williams (knee, out until late October) and Stewart (knee, Day-To-Day) have been injured (both listed as Day-To-Day), so, if they can be healthy enough and contribute the remainder of the season the Panthers should have a much more balanced attack on offense. For now, it’s Foswhitt Whittaker, baby.

Rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin (31 receptions, 416 yards, 4 TDs) out of Florida State has been a productive part of Carolina’s passing game (#12 in NFL, 257.0 ypg) and here against the Packers talented secondary Newton will have to be very careful as Green Bay is second in the league with 9 interceptions—the NY Giants have 10—and the Packers are an impressive 6th against the pass (213.5 ypg). So, there could be a bunch of points scored here—the Packers have played 3 straight Overs and the Panthers 4 straight Overs—but probably the biggest question heading in is can the Panthers find a way to score enough points in the second of back-to-back road games to possibly upset the hosts here? And after putting a 37 on the board against the improved Bengals on the road, the answer to that question has to be yes. This is a football team that always seems to rise to the occasion.
Besides the aforementioned injuries to the two RBs, Carolina also has CBs Bene Benwikere (ankle) and Justin Norman (shoulder) listed as Day-To-Day.

 

Green Bay Packers
The Cheeseheads will be full of curds and Wisconsin beer and Lambeau will be bouncing and whenever the Packers play in these friendly confines, expectations of a win are always prevalent and it will be no different here against Carolina on Sunday afternoon. Green Bay (5-9-2 ATS L16 ATS) will do what it does best and that’s let veteran QB Aaron Rodgers (122 completions, 1,418 yards, 15 TDs) find his favorite targets WR Jordy Nelson (43 receptions, 632 yards, 5 TDs), WR Randall Cobb (29 receptions, 331 yards, 7 TDs)—always a great choice for an Anytime TD Scorer prop bet—and TE Andrew Quarless and try to use the crowd’s energy and the home environs and the grass playing surface (3-0-1 ATS on Grass) to its advantage. But the Panthers are one of those teams that just don’t care who they’re playing or where as they proved last week in Cincinnati and as its 8-2 ATS Road Underdog mark over the past 2-plus seasons also reveals that ability to cover the point spread on the Road.

With Newton and Rodgers slinging the ball and the weather forecast October wonderful (Partly Cloudy 58°), this should be a high-scoring game with both trying to race to 30 (points) with Rodgers (29-16-3 ATS at Home) and Green Bay having the edge in the receiving corps, the home-field and Rodgers delivering the perfect passes. The Packers are very hard to beat at Lambeau, but for some reason they have had trouble lately covering the point spread here at Home in Green Bay (1-5-2 ATS L8), in the seat of Brown County.

Injury-wise, Green Bay has a number of CBs with knocks listed as Day-To-Day—Tramon Williams (ankle), Sam Shields (knee) and Demetri Goodson (concussion)—while LBs Jamari Lattimore (neck) and Sam Barrington (hamstring), DE Datone Jones (ankle) and WR Jarrett Boykin (knee) are all also listed as Day-To-Day but most should be ready come Sunday.

 

Best Approaches
Some of the recent relevant betting trends support the Over and the Underdog Panthers for the most part here, although, as mentioned, the Packers have won three straight ATS and are unbeaten against the number this season on Grass. In the last 10 meetings in this series, both teams are 5-5 ATS with Green Bay holding a slight 6-4 edge SU. But the Over in those 10 meetings was an eye-popping 7-3 ATS (GB 27.2 ppg, CAR 23.6 ppg), so, one can see why the oddsmakers have posted a 49 Total here. With the Under 11-5 L16 and 5-2 L7 on the Road in Panthers games, it’s hard to be gung-ho about betting the Over here, but the Over is 5-1 in the Packers L6 and 4-0 in the Panthers L4 and scoring has increased some in the league, but the Totals have obviously been adjusted to reflect that increase with many this week near the 50 mark.

Carolina is just 2-4 ATS L6 on the Road and only 2-5 SU in its L7 against the Packers but the Panthers are 14-4-1 SU in their L19, 6-2-1 SU in their L9 on the Road and 3-1 ATS L4 at Green Bay. If Carolina can get some kind of running game going and if Newton can connect with rookie Benjamin again like last week as well as TE Greg Olsen (33 receptions, 388 yards, 5 TDs), expect the Panthers to hang with the hosts long enough to stay within the number in what should be a game that goes down to the wire with the Packers finding a way to win, possibly on a Mason Crosby field goal.

NFL Pick: Panthers +7 at Pinnacle

NFL Prop Pick: Randall Cobb Anytime TD Scorer (Packers)

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