Both the Panthers (1-0) and Saints (1-0) started the season with wins that covered the spread. The Saints 38-3 win over the Green Bay Packers was way more impressive than the Panthers five-point win over the New York Jets. When you add in the Panthers 1-5 record against the Saints the past three seasons, picking the Saints to cover seems like an easy call. Yet all the books are right around 3 to 3.5 points.
Here’s a summary of the current lines via Sportsbook Review:
There has to be a reason the spread is three points right? Well of course: It’s because the Panthers always seem to play well against the Saints, especially in Charlotte. The Panthers are 24-28 all time against the Saints straight up, which seems closer than what I can remember. Surely I’m jaded from recent results. It’s just too soon for me to go full homer just yet, but there is hope for a Panthers upset.
Here are a couple things I see working in the Panthers favor: The Saints defensive weakness is at linebacker, and the middle of the field is where the Panthers offense does its best work. I can see Sam Darnold dinking and dunking his way down the field, mixing up Christian McCaffrey runs with play-action passes. The Packers don’t have the running game threat the Panthers have, so expect the Saints to get a quick reminder of what McCaffrey can do.
On defense I see the Saints being surprised by how much the Panthers have improved. Alvin Kamara will still be tough to contain, but when the Saints get into third-and-long I expect the Panthers to bring the heat. The Jameis Winston I remember is a good passer until he sees pressure, then he tends to make mistakes. Winston didn’t make many mistakes last week, so I think he is due to toss at least two interceptions this Sunday. It’s the law of averages meets Murphy’s Law of passing.
In summary, the Panthers homer in me is picking the Panthers to not just cover the three points, but to pull off the upset. The Panthers tend to pull off the unlikely upset from time to time and this would certainly qualify.
My prediction: Panthers 30 Saints 28
I also like the over 45 points, obviously, as both teams successfully air it out.
If you love to play the parlay cards like I do (three or four picks max) then make sure to look at some of these NFL predictions. You will find a free pick to consider, and it actually makes sense, so I went with it.
Jaguars +6 vs Broncos – Prediction: take the over 45.4 points
I don’t see any way that the Jaguars can slow Denver down in this contest. Even without Jeudy, the Broncos have weapons, starting with tight end Noah Fant who is a matchup nightmare. The other thing is the Broncos run game, which I see as a massive problem for Jacksonville, with Melvin Gordon looking good in Week 1. If Bridgewater can get his play-action passing game going, I think the Broncos get at least 30+ points in this game.
As for Jacksonville, they showed me last week that they are going to fight until the bitter end and will give Lawrence as many reps as possible, regardless of the score which bodes well to the over. For my NFL pick, I don’t need Lawrence to light it up and I think he can get a few scores to help push this game over the 45.5 total.
Good luck to you and as always: Keep Pounding!