The final Wild Card game of the weekend is set for 4:30 PM (EST) on Sunday, January 7th, and sees the Carolina Panthers meet the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Since the game is being played in a dome, there are no weather concerns to report. Here is your full betting preview, including expert advice and where to find the best odds for wagering each side of the moneyline, the spread, and the game total.
Team Injury Reports
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
PANTHERS vs SAINTS
PANTHERS OFFENSE vs SAINTS DEFENSE
SAINTS OFFENSE vs PANTHERS DEFENSE
For the third time this season, the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints will do battle. The previous two games were both won convincingly by the Saints, who outscored the Panthers 65-34, and made Carolina look about as bad as they did all season.
The Panthers defense finished the regular season ranked 11th in points allowed, and only surrendered 30 points in a game three times. Once was against New England in Week 4, and the other two were courtesy of the Saints, whose 34 and 31-point outbursts were the most Carolina gave up all season.
The strength of Ron Rivera’s defense was its ability to shut down the running game. Carolina ranked third against the run in the regular season, only allowing an average of 88.1 yards per game. However, in their two matchups with the Saints, the Panthers gave up 148 and 149 rushing yards, again the most Carolina surrendered this season.
In order to avoid losing to the Saints for a third time this season, the Panthers will have to control the clock and slow Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. When Drew Brees has a complementary running game, this Saints offense is nearly unstoppable. Cam Newton will have to protect the ball better, as well; Carolina committed four turnovers in the first two games, three of which were Newton INTs.
Can Cam Newton and the Panthers offense keep up with the high-powered Saints in their Wild Card matchup? (Photo: Keith Allison (Flickr) CC License)The obvious answer is for Newton to run the ball more. In the first two games against New Orleans this season, the powerhouse QB only carried the ball nine times. In the Panthers’ final four games, Newton averaged 12.5 carries and 59.8 rushing yards per game, and Carolina went 3-1. It will take a similar effort, likely with a touchdown or two, for the Panthers to upset the Saints in the Superdome.
Panthers vs Saints Betting Opportunities
Betting the Moneyline
BEST PANTHERS MONEYLINE: +245
BEST SAINTS MONEYLINE: -280
PANTHERS STRAIGHT-UP TRENDS
- CAR has won seven of its last nine games SU
- CAR is 5-3 SU on the road this season
- CAR is 5-2 SU as an underdog this season
- CAR is 3-3 SU vs the NFC South this season
- CAR is 3-2 SU as a road underdog this season
SAINTS STRAIGHT-UP TRENDS
- NO is 3-3 SU in its last six games
- NO is 7-1 SU at home this season
- NO is 10-1 SU as a favorite this season
- NO is 7-0 SU as a home favorite this season
- NO is 4-2 SU vs the NFC South this season
HEAD-TO-HEAD STRAIGHT-UP TRENDS
- CAR is 4-3 SU in their last seven meetings
- Since 2013, NO is 3-2 SU at home
- Since 2013, NO is 3-1 SU as a favorite
EXPERT MONEYLINE ADVICE: SAINTS (-280)
The Panthers defense does not have the speed to chase Alvin Kamara from sideline to sideline. The rookie is going to tire them out early, allowing Mark Ingram to pound on an exhausted defense late in the game.
Cam Newton and the Panthers offense will not be able to do enough to protect their defense, and I don’t trust Newton to outscore Drew Brees.
Betting Against the Spread
BEST PANTHERS SPREAD: +7 (-115)
BEST SAINTS SPREAD: -7 (EVEN)
PANTHERS ATS TRENDS
- CAR is 9-7 ATS this season
- CAR ia 0-2 ATS in its last two games
- CAR is 5-3 ATS on the road this season
- CAR is 5-2 ATS as an underdog this season
- CAR is 3-2 ATS as an away underdog this season
- CAR is 2-4 ATS vs the NFC South this season
SAINTS ATS TRENDS
- NO is 9-7 ATS this season
- NO is 2-5 ATS over its last seven games
- NO is 5-3 ATS at home this season
- NO is 8-3 ATS as a favorite this season
- NO is 5-2 ATS as a home favorite this season
- NO is 4-2 ATS vs the NFC South this season
HEAD-TO-HEAD ATS TRENDS
- NO is 9-1 ATS in its last ten meetings with CAR
- Since 2013, NO is 5-0 ATS at home vs CAR
- Since 2013, the favorite is 4-6 ATS
EXPERT ATS ADVICE: SAINTS -7 (EVEN)
When the Saints get up early in this one, the Panthers will have trouble putting points on the board quickly. Cam Newton will start tying to force deep balls to covered receivers, and the result will be turnovers. I’m happy to lay the seven points for EVEN odds.
BEST OVER ODDS: 47.5 (-110)
BEST UNDER ODDS: 48 (-105)
PANTHERS TOTALS TRENDS
- The OVER is 9-7 in CAR games this season
- The OVER is 5-2 in CAR’s last seven games
- The OVER is 4-4 in CAR road games this season
- The OVER is 4-3 when CAR is an underdog this season
- The UNDER is 4-2 when CAR plays the NFC South this season
SAINTS TOTALS TRENDS
- The OVER is 9-7 in NO games this season
- The OVER is 2-2 in NO’s last four games
- The OVER is 5-3 in NO home games this season
- The OVER is 6-5 when NO is favorite this season
- The OVER is 3-3 when NO plays the NFC South this season
HEAD-TO-HEAD TOTALS TRENDS
- The OVER is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between CAR and NO
- Since 2014, the OVER is 4-0 when these two play in NO
- Since 2014, the OVER is 2-1 when NO is favored
EXPERT TOTALS ADVICE: OVER 47.5 (-110)
Playing at home, I expect Drew Brees and the Saints offense to again reach at least 30 points against this Panthers defense. While I don’t see Cam Newton keeping this game within one score, he will put enough points on the board to push this total OVER.
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