Panthers Enter Post-Season Favored Over Seahawks
By Charles Jay
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Just about everything has gone right for the Carolina Panthers as they have steamrolled their way to a 15-1 record and of their third straight NFC South division title. But this is the post-season, and the guys who have the real credentials along those lines are the Seattle Seahawks, who will pose a heavy challenge as these teams meet at 1:05 PM ET on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The game will be televised on Fox Network, and while it is progressing, BetAnySports customers can place wagers against ever-changing odds using the incredible phenomenon of Live Betting Extra.
Panthers vs Seahawks – BetAnySports NFL BETTING LINE:
In the reduced juice NFL playoff betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, Carolina is the slight favorite at home:
Carolina Panthers -2.5 (-105)
Seattle Seahawks +2.5 (-105)
Over 44 points -102
Under 44 points -108
Carolina, which is also 11-5 against the football pointspread, found itself behind the eight-ball early, losing top receiver Kelvin Benjamin for the entire season. But Cam Newton, who has gradually become a genuine leader for this team, took things to a new level, getting the job done through the air and on the ground. Newton passed for 3837 yards and 35 touchdowns, and added 636 rushing yards, scoring ten times. He is getting plenty of support for the Most Valuable Player award, and he may just get it.
His main target is tight end Greg Olsen, who has connected with Newton for 1104 yards and got himself voted to the Pro Bowl. Olsen was a real thorn in the side of the Seahawks when these teams met in the regular season, with seven receptions for 131 yards and the winning touchdown in a 27-23 Carolina victory. In that game, Newton directed two drives of 80 yards in the final four minutes, as Seattle experienced one of the five instances in which it lost a fourth-quarter lead.
The Panthers have some interesting drive stats. On defense, they are second best in the NFL in points allowed per drive, and are the very best when it comes to forcing turnovers on a per-drive basis, doing so almost 20% of the time. That’s going to be a very interesting matchup against Seattle, which is the fourth-stingiest team when it comes to turning the ball over.
When it comes to yards gained per drive, Carolina is only 12th in the NFL, but they topped the list when it comes to points scored per drive (2.57). And they score touchdowns 29.7% of the time. What does that tell us? Well, it tells us that this is a very efficient offense, which is a credit not only to Newton but also to offensive coordinator Mike Shula (yes, the son of Don).
BetAnySports patrons have been following what has been happening with running back Jonathan Stewart (989 yards), who has missed the last three games with a foot injury. He probably could have played in the season finale against Tampa Bay, but head coach Ron Rivera kept him on the sidelines, so he should be rested and ready to go.
Charles Tillman, the veteran defensive back, did not have as much luck; he suffered a torn ACL against the Buccaneers and so he is not available. Neither is been a Bene Benwikere, and that might leave Carolina somewhat thin in the defensive backfield.
But make no mistake about it – there are some playmakers on this stop unit. They have the best 1-2 punch at the linebacker position in the NFL, for instance. Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly are both members of the All-Pro team, as is corner Josh Norman, whose reputation may have surpassed that of Seattle’s Richard Sherman in terms of being a shutdown defender. Defensive tackle Kawann Short also got All-Pro recognition. The Panthers held the opposition to just 5.1 yards per play, the same figure as the Seahawks’ vaunted defense.
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