NFC Championship 2016 ATS Betting Preview
This Sunday night, the Arizona Cardinals head east to take on the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte in the NFC Championship. The game kicks off at 6:40pm Eastern time on FOX. The Panthers are favored by 3 points, and the over/under total for this game is 52 points. The Cardinals escaped the Green Bay Packers with a thrilling overtime win in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Panthers ran out to a 31-0 halftime but ended up clinging on with both hands to win, 31-24.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) January 19, 2016
Why should you bet on the Panthers (-3)?
It’s true that Carolina almost became the second franchise (after the New England Patriots) to complete a 16-0 regular season. The Panthers had 10 players selected for the Pro Bowl, led by Cam Newton, the frontrunner for the MVP award. The Panthers tallied 500 points during the regular season, an average of more than 30 points per game. He threw a career-best 35 touchdown passes and posted a career-high 99.2 passer rating, even though the team’s best receiver (Kelvin Benjamin) went down in training camp with a season-ending knee injury. He complemented his passing attack with 10 rushing touchdowns and 636 rushing yards. On defense, the Panthers led the NFL in forced turnovers, with 39 during the regular season and two more interceptions in the divisional game against Seattle. This is a team that dominates both sides of the ball.
Why should you take the Cardinals (+3)?
So, in Week 15, the Panthers ran out to a 35-7 lead, and barely won, 38-35. Coach Ron Rivera talked to the team about focus after the game…and so they went out and lost to the Falcons in Week 16. People worried about the Panthers’ focus during the bye week, but then the Panthers went out and grabbed a 31-0 halftime lead against the Seahawks. What happened in the second half? The Seahawks scored 24 while the Panthers’ offense went into hiding, and the Panthers hung on, 31-24. While the Panthers were 15-1, Arizona won more games than they ever had in team history, and they led the league in offense (yards), scoring 489 points of their own. Their defense ranks #5 in the NFL. Quarterback Carson Palmer finally won his first postseason game and posted MVP-like numbers (35 touchdowns, 4,671 passing yards). The Cardinals will be the best team that the Panthers have faced this season.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
Carolina has had a terrific season, but so have the Cardinals. The Panthers have not shown the ability to focus for 60 minutes against a tough opponent — but the Cardinals will make them pay in ways that other opponents (except Atlanta) have not. The Cardinals will win, 27-24.