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Cardinals vs. Panthers Betting Preview – NFC Wild Card

Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers Preview

Start Time: Saturday, January 3rd 2015 at 4:30pm ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte
Station: ESPN

The Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) won the NFC South after dominating the Falcons last weekend. They may be below .500, but they’re in and will even get to play at home in the opening round, as they host what’s left of the Arizona Cardinals (11-5) roster.

Arizona has been hit hard by injuries and I’m not sure they’ll be able to overcome them in this match-up. The Cardinals have lost two in a row and they’re using their 3rd string QB. Carolina has really heated up down the stretch and they’ve won four in a row.

Cardinals vs. Panthers Betting Lines

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Most of the action has come in on Carolina and that scares me due to the big point spread. Is Carolina good enough to win by a TD in this game? That’s hard to say. The total is low and I agree with that because this should be a defensive match-up with limited points.

ARI @ CAR Stats at a Glance

Arizona’s offense has basically been non-existent lately and it’ll be tough going against an improved defense. During the Panthers current winning streak they’re only allowing 10.8 PPG and that includes holding Atlanta to 3 points and New Orleans to 10 points.

Arizona vs. Carolina NFC Wild Card Best Bet

I’ll be betting on the under at 37.5 points although I’m waiting a bit to see if it goes up to 38 points before kick-off, which I think is likely. About 60% of the action is on the under and despite the low total this should easily hit and is safer than the point spread.

Carolina was giving up a lot of points, but they’ve really tightened it up. On the season the Panthers are allowing 112.0 RYPG (16th) and 227.8 PYPG (11th). Ryan Lindley is going to struggle passing consistently, so the Cardinals will have to rely on the run game.

Lindley has gone 45 of 93 for 562 passing yards, 2 TD’s and 4 INT’s. Carolina will be looking to feast on him and I expect them to be able to pressure the QB. Arizona comes into this game averaging 238.0 PYPG (14th) and 81.8 RYPG (31st), which is bad news.

Stepfan Taylor and Kerwynn Williams will be relied upon heavily to keep the sticks moving, but I’m doubtful that they can do that when the Panthers will be able to stack the box. Injuries always seem to kill a playoff bound team and Arizona fits that role.

It’s a shame because the Cardinals have a solid defense. On paper the defensive numbers have dropped lately because the offense hasn’t been able to stay on the field at all. Arizona ended the season allowing 259.5 PYPG (29th) and 108.7 RYPG (13th).

On offense the Panthers seem to have gone back to their roots, which is running the football first and foremost. Carolina ranks 7th in rushing yards (127.2 RYPG) compared to 19th in passing yards (219.4 PYPG), but that has been getting the job done just fine.

Cam Newton has been running well and he’s the difference maker. If Newton is on his game this one could get ugly because Carolina can beat teams through the air or on the ground, but he’s inconsistent and Arizona will be jacked up on defense for this playoff tilt.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers Prediction

The only chance that Arizona has is to keep this low scoring and hope for the best. Their defense is strong enough to keep Newton in check most of the game. I expect Carolina to win, but there is no way I’d trust them to cover such a big spread in the playoffs.

I usually hate betting these low totals, but out of the four games this weekend this one should be the lowest scoring by far. Carolina is playing better, but Arizona’s defense isn’t bad. Expect lots of running to chew up the clock and a relatively uneventful game.

ScottThis article was written by Scott

Scott is one of the original degenerates working for MobileSportsBetting.com. Although he's most successful betting on NFL football and international soccer, he's also active in UFC and NHL hockey betting.

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