Why Bet On the Carolina Panthers to Beat the Seattle Seahawks
This Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks will try to prolong their charmed existence in the postseason when they take on the Carolina Panthers. The game kicks off at 1:05pm Eastern time from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers have had the benefit of the bye week (and the #1 seed in the NFC), while Seattle narrowly avoided defeat in Minnesota thanks to an awful field-goal attempt by the Vikings’ Blair Walsh. If you’re trying to decide which team to choose in this divisional round matchup, take a look at why you should bet on Carolina to win.
Ron Rivera does not anticipate RB Fozzy Whittaker being ready to return this week. #SEAvsCAR
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 14, 2016
Carolina Has a Huge Home Field Betting Advantage
The Panthers have put together an 11-game home winning streak dating back to last season and including the playoffs, building the sort of home-field aura that the Seahawks had on their path to the last two Super Bowls. This year, the Panthers were 8-0 at home, and they also won their last home playoff game, knocking out the Arizona Cardinals in the wild card round last year. This year, they have won their home games by an average score of 33-17, and in their last three home games (against Washington, Atlanta and Tampa Bay), that margin is 40-9. At home, Cam Newton has a quarterback rating of 104.6 (and 94.5 when he’s away). He has thrown five more touchdown passes at home than he has away.
The Seattle Monkey Is Off Carolina’s Back
There was a time when the Seahawks were firmly entrenched in the Panthers’ minds. Newton and Carolina had lost four in a row to Seattle, including the divisional playoff game last year. However, on October 18, the Panthers headed to Seattle and posted a 27-23 comeback win. Newton led his team to touchdowns on their last two drives; before that, he had never put up more than 17 points against Seattle in a game — and the Panthers had averaged just 9.3 points per game in their three home losses to seattle in that streak. Tight end Greg Olsen is one reason for the transformation; in that October 18 game, he caught seven balls for 131 yards, including the touchdown pass to seal the win with 32 seconds left. This year, Seattle has struggled to cover the tight end — and that should come into play Sunday as well.
The Bye Week Means Lots of Rest
Panthers tailback Jonathan Stewart missed Weeks 15 through 17 with a sprained foot, and wideout Ted Ginn Jr. missed Week 17 with an injured knee, and they are both expected to play. They combined for 1,887 yards of total offense and 17 scores this year, making them a big part of the #1 scoring offense in the league (31.2 points per game). Stewart will be rested and ready to go, and he has drawn comparisons to the “Beast Mode” presence that Marshawn Lynch brings to the field for the Seattle offense. Ginn is always a threat to score on a deep ball, and so defenses can’t load the box with eight or nine knowing that he could torch the secondary. Seattle faces a second cross-country trip, while Carolina simply has to show up at the home stadium after a week to rest and recover. That’s another key for them going into Sunday.