Seattle led the league in explosive plays during the regular season, which provides a major edge in terms of the betting total in its divisional round matchup against Carolina.
Carolina has won five games in a row, including a 27-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals as 5.5-point home favorites in the Wild Card round last Saturday, while winning the statistical battle by a triple-digit margin for the fourth time in that stretch.
The Panthers deserve a long look as a double-digit underdog in this NFC matchup, as at least one road team has won in the Divisional playoffs in the previous nine seasons, which is important to consider when making your NFL betting picks this weekend.
It’s still important to point out that the franchise became the first to go more than two months without a win and reach the postseason with four straight victories to end a regular season.
Since the start of the 2012 campaign, the squad is 11-15 SU and 16-10 ATS when getting points, with the OVER going 14-12 in that situation.
Ready to Defend
Seattle has been sent out as favorites to repeat as Super Bowl champions, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NFL betting odds, as it earned the No. 1 seed by capturing nine of its last 10 contests.
The Seahawks have built a reputation of being the best defensive team in the game, but their offense deserves a lot of credit in reaching this stage—leading the league with 135 explosive plays.
Third-year quarterback Russell Wilson is the main reason that the unit has racked up 74 passing plays of 16-plus yards, while running back Marshawn Lynch contributed to a majority of its 61 running plays of 12-plus yards.
Sports bettors will find that the team is 18-0 SU and 10-8 ATS as favorites of 10 or more points in its last 18 opportunities.
Figuring It Out
Panthers signal-caller Cam Newton is listed as probable on the latest injury report with an ankle injury he suffered last time out, as he looks to pick up his first victory in this series after suffering three forgettable losses.
The former No. 1 pick out of Auburn has engineered just one touchdown drive in 28 possessions in those setbacks—averaging a meager 145.6 passing and 34.6 rushing yards.
Don't forget to check out NFL Divisional Round Teaser Picks for this weekend action.
Between the Tackles
Lynch should find plenty of running room between the tackles at CenturyLink Field, as the Panthers will be without the services of lineman Star Lotulelei, who suffered a season-ending foot injury last week.
Seattle ranks fourth in the league in gaining 1,566 yards and averaging 4.7 yards per carry in attacking that area, while Carolina was last in the league in defending such plays.
I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their top football selections, as the OVER is 7-3 in the Seahawks’ last 10 playoff games.
Free NFL Pick: Over 39.5 at Pinnacle Sports