NFL Playoffs Wk 1 Panthers Saints
Coming off a 6-10 2016 NFL season in which they were expected to dominate their division as they had for three years prior, the Carolina Panthers managed to implement a quick course correction en route to an 11-5 showing this year. Put simply, we’re seeing Cam Newton and the Panthers return to form to play the Saints, and that bodes well for both NFL playoff bettors and fans alike. As the last game of Wildcard Weekend, the Bovada odds on the Panthers vs. Saints have the New Crew as just 7-point underdogs to one of the best offensive machines in NFL history. That’s certainly a far cry from where they started the year as +8000 underdogs to win the Super Bowl.
While much of the Panther’s rejuvenation is due to balanced team play, Newton has seemingly matured, though his hot-headed, dual-threat style is still paying dividends through the air and on the ground. True, he wasn’t a top passer this season by any stretch of the imagination (22 TD, 16 INT, 3302 yards), but he was the NFL’s 22nd leading rusher, tallying a career-high 754 yards to go along with half a dozen scores. The guy can ball, and his squad’s odds at Bovada to be the first of the two clubs to score is leading the betting boards at +250, while Cam himself has +140 odds to find the end zone first.
Of course, the Saints can find the end zone too, and they have a top-5 offense behind Drew Brees and the best running attack in football. Meanwhile, Carolina ranks 28th in total NFL passing offense, but 4th in rushing offense. Still, they’re sitting at 12th in total scoring, which means that Newton will have to pull out all the stops to keep the Who Dat defense asking exactly who that is.
In many ways, the Panthers vs. Saints odds represent a kind of twilight for Nola’s Brees, since this could well be his last real shot at another Super Bowl title. Sure, his numbers were down by his standards this season, but – at just 6 feet tall – he’s got the stature (and the heart!) of a champion. The Saints will be tough to bet against, but if you’re willing to take that risk, there’s no place better than to do it at a legal online sportsbook like Bovada or BetOnline. Just remember to shop around for the best payouts, as this game’s probably going to come down to the wire.
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