Take Panthers as Underdogs for Week 6 NFL Picks vs. Bengals

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 8:38 PM GMT

Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014 8:38 PM GMT

Division leaders Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals collide in week 6 NFL betting, all while the hosts are matched as the overwhelming favourites on the NFL odds board. Do the bookies have it right? Here’s a primer on this intriguing NFC-AFC clash complete with NFL picks.

Carolina Panthers (3-2, 1-1 away)
Carolina Panthers snapped a two-game losing streak last weekend with a come-from-behind 31-24 win over the Chicago Bears. Back-to-back no shows against Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens raised several concerns about the Panthers, mainly their merit to repeat as NFC South champions.

Those fears were put to rest for the time being. Beating the Bears, all while launching a comeback from 21-7 down, has to be a huge confidence boost ahead of this must-see showdown with the Bengals on Sunday. Cam Newton and Greg Olson rallied the Panthers and along with some help from the Bears doing themselves in on costly turnovers they erased the 14-point deficit. Newton’s game-winning touchdown pass with just 2 minutes left lifted the Panthers to the 31-24 victory and saw them cover handily as the 3-point chalk in Week 5 NFL betting.

To read their stats is to be left slightly unimpressed. While the Panthers boast a modest 12-ranked passing offense with 251.6 yards per game, they have an abysmal running attack that ranks 30th in the league behind a paltry 74.8 yards per game. The once vaulted defense is also hovering in middle-table obscurity, 15th against the pass with 238.8 yards per game and 23rd against the rush with 129.6 yards per game. Every cloud has a silver lining...so it is with this underachieving defense: they have 10 turnovers to their credit.

 

Cincinnati Bengals (3-1, 2-0 home)
Cincinnati Bengals were left to lick their wounds after a 43-17 evisceration by the Patriots in Week 5 NFL betting. Bengals entered the fifth week as one of two teams undefeated on the season, 3-0 SU and ATS. Following their first setback on the season, they’ve slipped to 3-1 SU and ATS.

New England Patriots had something to prove in Week 5 after suffering their own humiliation at the hands of the Chiefs the previous week. Admittedly, Bengals were simply unfortunate to take the brunt of Tom Brady’s wrath, so intent on silencing his critics was he.

The important aspect one has to consider about the Bengals is the fact that they won three games in a row to start the season on a positive note. They are averaging 24.3 points per game through a modest but efficient offense that ranks 11th in passing and 18th in rushing.

Defense has slipped down to 19th behind 250.8 yards against the pass and 27th behind 140.0 yards against the rush. Although those numbers are skewed heavily by their last outing, in which the Patriots racked up a whopping 505 yards in total offense – 285 passing and 220 rushing.

 

Carolina Panthers +6.5 (+100) vs. Cincinnati Bengals -6.5 (-120)
Bengals remain undefeated at home, a run of form they’ll be looking to extend at the expense of the visiting Panthers. Certainly, odds makers are showing a lot of confidence in the Bengals’ and their bounce-back-ability, matching them as the 6.5-point favourites on the spread.

Bengals have quite the remarkable record at home. Since 2012, for instance, they are 13-5-1 ATS and 14-5-0 SU at home, the latter of which yields a 73.7% winning record. Scale it back further, they are 21-14-0 SU since 2010, which still yields a favourable 60% winning record.

By comparison, Panthers are 10-8-0 SU and ATS since 2012 as the away team, which yields a 55.6% winning record. They are 16-18-0 ATS and 13-21-0 SU since 2010, the latter of which yields a 38.2% winning record.

 

NFL Betting Verdict
Past numbers and stats alone practically make the case for backing the Bengals on your NFL picks. Probability is that those are also responsible for the Bengals overwhelming favouritism on the NFL odds board as the 6.5-point favourites. Yet, calling it niggling feeling but we’re not convinced the Bengals deserve to be such overwhelming favourites.

Looking at the season so far, the similarities between these two outfits begin and end in the ambiguity of their respective offense and defense; both modest on both sides of the ball, but capable of lighting up at any given moment behind some stellar quarterback play. Cam Newton isn’t at 100% but last week he really proved the X-factor against the Bears. Andy Dalton had a good start on the season, but he looked pedestrian last week against future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. It’s therefore our opinion this game is going to be closer than most sportsbooks would have you believe. As such, we recommend taking the points with the Panthers on your NFL picks.

NFL Free Picks:  Panthers +6.5 (+100) at Bet365

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