Week 3 Vikings vs. Panthers NFL Predictions

Carolina Panthers team gathered around

Nikki Adams

Thursday, September 22, 2016 9:27 PM GMT

With the NFL betting line hopping furiously, we preview the clash between the Vikings and Panthers and serve up choice NFL picks for NFL bettors to spot in this highly anticipated week 3 showdown.

From Charlotte protests to Minnesota’s latest injury woes, concerns continue to mount ahead of the Vikings and Panthers clash at Bank of America and the impact is being felt at the NFL betting floor. The latest development to make the airwaves: the NFL is monitoring the situation in Charlotte and could potentially move the game to safer, neutral ground.

For all concerned, the hope is it doesn’t come to that. No definitive decisions (at the time of writing) has been made to move the game so this game betting preview deals only with what we know now. That is, Adrian Peterson is out (knee injury) and tackle Matt Kalil is placed on injured reserve the same day. Running back Ronnie Hillman was signed this week to fill in for AP and Sam Bradford is set to make his second start with the Vikings, first on the road and against a very tough team that is a favourite in many NFL betting circles to clinch a second straight NFC Conference crown.

 

Why the Panthers can cover the spread
Although the Panthers were tipped at -5.5 in advanced lines from Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, they are now trading as the -7 home chalk with most sports betting outlets. The NFL line swelled for a couple of reasons and, importantly, moved to a key number 7, which is the second most common margin of victory in the NFL.

Firstly, the Panthers looked the real deal in a 46-17 beat down of San Francisco at Bank of America Stadium and covered the biggest spread in week 2 to close on the NFL odds board (-12.5). That win marked a ninth straight regular-season home win since 2015, not to mention they are 9-2-0 ATS since 2015 as the home team, which includes a whopping 17-point margin of victory on average and a remarkable +11.5 differential versus the spread.

Yet, another development to impact the NFL betting line was the injury to Adrian Peterson in Sunday Night Football, which takes some of the shine off of the Vikings. It puts a lot of pressure on Sam Bradford in his second start for the Vikings and it remains to be seen whether Zimmer turns the focus more to the passing game as a result. The Vikings did sign Ronnie Hillman. The running back is a great addition, of course. How much time he gets to prepare for this game probably isn’t going to be enough to get him up to speed. AP leaves big shoes to fill, indeed.

NFL Betting Verdict: Clearly, the Panthers have one of the best current home field advantages in the NFL and last week’s victory was impressive when one considers how they routed a Niners side that looked good in a shutout win over the Los Angeles Rams. No disrespect to the Vikings and their formidable defense, but going to Charlotte and serve up the +7 cover for my NFL week 4 picks, never mind the straight up win is going to be a challenge.

 

Free NFL Picks: Panthers -7 (-105) 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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