Panthers vs. Seahawks NFL Picks: 2014-15 Playoffs Betting Guide

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, January 6, 2015 1:42 PM GMT

The shortest shot in the odds to win the Super Bowl, the Seahawks, host the longest shot, the Panthers, in a game in which Russell Wilson and Seattle should cover the point spread and advance to next weekend’s NFC Championship game.

Odds Overview and Weather
Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks -11, 39½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Sunday 01:15 (FOX, 8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT): CenturyLink Field in Seattle is the site of the NFC Divisional Playoff game between the host and defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks (12-4 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) QB Russell Wilson and the what-in-god’s-name-are-you-doing-here Carolina Panthers (7-8-1 SU, 8-8 ATS) in a game between the team with the shortest updated odds to win Super Bowl XLIX in the Seahawks (5/1, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and the one with the longest odds, the upstart Panthers (30/1).

Oddsmakers have the host Seahawks healthy 11-point favorites with the Total Points set at 39½ (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), bet down ½ point since the start of this story on Monday evening. The Money Line (Winner) odds have Seattle as -550 favorites with the visiting Panthers priced at +425 (bet365) while the Seahawks Team Total Points has been set at 26½ (bet365) with the Panthers Total Team Points at 14½ (BetVictor).

Some random prop wagers for you to consume with that pizza, Manuel: Race To 15 Points (Paddy Power): Seahawks -500, Panthers +300; and, Overtime, where the No odds have a massive range on the Oddschecker screen from -10,000 (Bwin; Yes +800) to -1,600 (Ladbrokes; Yes +1050).

The weather forecast for Seattle five days out (Monday) from Saturday calls for Most Cloudy conditions with temperatures around 50° around kickoff with 70% Humidity and almost non-existent 3 mph Winds. So, the Pacific Northwest in the winter and a situation probably harder on the Southeast-dwelling Panthers who will also have to travel 2,283 miles to the Emerald City and who will be three hours behind in their collective body clocks.

Super Bowl XLIX NFL Picks & Futures Book Odds

Carolina Panthers
The Panthers (5-0 SU L5) have a losing record yet are a win away from next weekend’s NFC Championship game and it’s a combination of the NFC South’s ineptness and a solid Panthers offense, led by QB Cam Newton (262 completions, 3,127 yards, 18 TDs), which has allowed Carolina to be in this fortuitous position. The almost accidental division champs have the #7 Rushing attack (127.3 ypg) in the NFL and the #19 Passing game (219.4 ypg) with Newton (103 rushes, 539 yards, 6 TDs, 7.2 ypc) and RB Jonathan Stewart (175 rushes, 809 yards, 3 TDs) racking up the bulk of the rushing yards and dependable TE Greg Olsen (84 receptions, 1,008 yards, 6 TDs, 12.0 ypc) and rising star WR Kelvin Benjamin (73 receptions, 1,008 yards, 9 TDs, 13.8 ypc) being Newton’s main receiving targets. But like all teams still playing in January, there are the little guys that help the teams survive and RB Foswhitt “Fozzy” Whittaker, WR Jerricho Cotchery (48 receptions, 580 yards, TD) and rookie WR Philly Brown are those type of guys for head coach Ron Rivera (35-29-1 ATS). And if this were a handicap of Freaky Names, the Panthers would win hands down with Fozzy and Philly and Cam and Star Lotulelei and Bene' Benwikere and such...but it’s not and this team will probably need to do everything right, win the TO and field position battles and get the majority of the breaks just to hang with the host Seahawks who are playing as well as they did at this point last season when they won their first championship in franchise history.

On the injury front, Carolina G Amini Silatolu (knee) and S Thomas DeCoud (hamstring) were listed as Questionable while LB AJ Klein (knee) was listed as Day-to-Day.

 

Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks (24-2 SU L26 Home) have won and almost covered 6 straight games (5-0-1 ATS), winning all 6 by double digits and an average of 17.5 ppg and allowing a total of just 39 points (3, 3, 14, 7, 6, 6) along the way. And head coach Pete Carroll (52-33-2 ATS) deserves a lot of credit as the defending champs were a wobbly 6-4 after Week 11 and looked doomed like actress Janet Leigh was in the shower in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller Psycho. But Seattle got MLB Bobby Wagner and SS Kam Chancellor back from injuries and along with the defense’s heartbeat, S Richard Sherman (4 INTs), the Seahawks have been dominant and their defense is up there with the 1975 Steelers, 6the 1985 Bears and the 2000 Ravens in terms of historical dominance—especially if they roll the table to end this season and win back-to-back Super Bowls.

Seattle’s defense ranks #1 in the NFL against the Pass (185.6 ypg) and #3 versus the Rush (81.5 ypg) so the only way to score on them these days is through luck or maybe a TO by the Seahawks in their own territory. And this team makes up for its weaknesses—Seattle ranks 27th (203.1 ypg) in Passing with WR Doug Baldwin (66 receptions, 825 yards, 3 TDs) its’ top receiver—and mistakes on offense are masked by its mind-blowing dominant defense. This team is really something special and sometimes a defense becomes like an offense and this is one of those really rare instances in the NFL. And Panthers coach Rivera knows all about it, having been a member of that aforementioned 1985 Bears Super Bowl XX championship team as a second-year LB out of the University of California.

Vibrant QB Russell Wilson (285 receptions, 3,475 yards, 20 TDs) does it all for the Seahawks offense and his Rushing numbers (118 rushes, 849 yards, 6 TDs, 7.2 ypc) help Seattle have the #1 Rushing attack in the league (172.6 ypg), along of course with mercurial bullworker RB Marshawn Lynch (280 rushes, 1,306 yards, 13 TDs) who really seems energized after a case of the midseason Unhappies.

On the injury front for the Seahawks, C Max Unger (ankle), TE Cooper Helfet (ribs), DE Demarcus Dobbs (ankle) and CB Tharold Simon (shoulder) were all listed as Questionable on Monday so Carroll has to be happy with the relative healthiness of his team heading in here, especially with the added week’s rest earned from being the NFC’s top seed.

 

Best Betting Approaches and Trends
When making your NFL picks for this game keep in mind that the last time these two teams played was in Week 9 this season in Charlotte where the Seahawks defeated the Panthers, 13-9 but failed to cover the point spread as a 6-point favorite in a game that went way Under, as have 4 of the L5 meetings between these two coastal teams who are actually much alike, with creative young QBs that who add a running dimension and defenses that keep their teams in games.

Although they don’t play that often, Seattle and QB Wilson (17-7-1 ATS Home) has had the Panthers number, with the Seahawks going 6-1 SU in the L7 and 4-2 ATS L6 against Carolina. The Panthers (2-4-1 SU L7 Road) did cover this year’s aforementioned meeting at Bank of America Stadium and have absolutely nothing to lose here, but as is the case with all of Seattle’s opponents, trying to find a way to generate precious points will probably end up being the problem.

Relevant recent trends in the Totals corner: The Over is 6-1 in the L7 Panthers Road games; the Under is 5-1 L6 Seahawks games; and, the Under is 9-4 in the L13 Seattle games here at CenturyLink Field.

In the end, the Seahawks have won and gone unbeaten ATS in their L6 straight games allowing just 39 points, winning by an average of 17.5 ppg and with the week’s rest, the better coach, QB, RB and the best defense in the NFL in some time, Seattle covering in a game where it allows just 1 hard-fought TD and some FGs seems like the logical result in a game that will allow the Seahawks to host the NFC Championship next weekend should they end up winning it. And expect the swarming Seattle defense to bend but not break, Wilson to again be his magical self leading the offense and Lynch—a great candidate for an Anytime TD Scorer prop when the odds are released later this week—to run like a dreadlocked tornado and propel the hungry and hot hosts to the victory and cover the NFL odds on Saturday night.

Prediction: Seahawks 27 Panthers 13

NFL Pick: Seahawks -11 at 5Dimes

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