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Week 13 O/U Tip for Carolina Panthers vs Seattle Seahawks

Carolina Panthers(4–7) @ Seattle Seahawks(7–3–1)

  • Where: CenturyLink Field. Seattle, Washington
  • When: December 4, 2016 8:30 pm EST
  • Spread: Panthers +7 (+100) vs. Seahawks -7 (-120)
  • Moneyline: Panthers +275 vs. Seahawks -350
  • Over / Under: Over 44 (-115) vs. Under 44 (-105)

Sunday Night Football for Week 13 is a rematch of last season’s Divisional Playoff game, with the Carolina Panthers set to take on the Seattle Seahawks.

In fact, it’s also a rematch of the 2014/15 Divisional Round: Last year, the Panthers took on the Seahawks as a 3-point home favorite and won by 7; two years ago, the Panthers were favored by 13.5 points and lost by 14.

Who knows if these teams will once again face off in the playoffs this season, but they are playing this year for Week 13’s edition of Sunday Night Football. This time the Seahawks are at home, and favored.

Let’s take a look at these two teams – both perennial playoff contenders each of the last few seasons – to see if things have changed, and to see if US bettors can find some value at Bovada Sportsbook.

Unlucky Carolina Panthers Trying to Flip the Script like in 2014

Despite the fact that the Carolina Panthers didn’t actually win the Super Bowl last year, they’ve nonetheless experienced a serious Super Bowl hangover. They’ve already lost 6 more games than they did in 2015/16, and have gone from #1 overall seed and prohibitive Super Bowl favorite to 4th place in the division.

The reasons for their fall from grace are pretty straightforward, and they have almost nothing to do with Cam Newton’s ability to feel safe, despite what the tabloids will tell you. The problem is threefold:

However, even though we all know what the problems are with the 2016/17 Panthers, it doesn’t follow that they should have fallen this far from grace. Not only have the Panthers not been able to continue the incredible good luck they had last season, but they’ve also somehow picked up some bad luck.

The Carolina Panthers this season have somehow had an astounding 7 games be decided by 3 points or fewer, and have somehow managed to go 2–5 in those games. By adding less than 10 offensive points strategically throughout their win/loss column, the Panthers could just as easily be 7–4 and leading the division.

So the fact of the matter is that Carolina’s record doesn’t quite reflect the quality of the team. For example, in last Sunday’s 3-point loss in Oakland, the Panthers scored 3 touchdowns on the Raiders in less than 9 minutes. While they didn’t end up winning, they did score 25 straight points on the current #1 overall seed in the AFC to take the lead after being down 17.

However, their cause is not helped by the fact that they recently lost their defensive captain and biggest defensive playmaker to injury.

Luke Kuechly has now missed a game and a half after suffering a concussion against the Saints in Week 11 and being carted off the field. It has been reported that Kuechly is in the concussion protocol and making progress: due to the fact that Carolina opted to stay on the west coast after their game against Oakland, Kuechly travelled with the team and was on the sidelines for the Raiders game.

However, based on his incredibly emotional reaction leaving the field against the Saints along with the fact that he missed 3 games last year after a concussion, it’s a safe bet that Luke Kuechly will not be ready to return against the Seattle Seahawks, leaving their defense much more exposed than usual.

In summary, the Carolina Panthers are a team that over the 2016/17 season has dealt with a good bit of personnel turnover, some turbulence in their city, and a lot of adversity.

However, the locker room is filled with guys that were both present for the Super Bowl run last year, and also present for the crazed 2014 run when the Panthers managed to go 0–6–1 through seven consecutive games and then win out for the final four games, winning the division at 7–8 and making it to the divisional round.

7 wins won’t win the division this year, though, with Atlanta already at 7–4. And if the Panthers are going to develop an identity and make any sort of a run, they’re going to need to start playing defense and winning games.

Seattle Seahawks 2016/17 Renaissance Temporarily Delayed Last Week by Injuries

The Seattle Seahawks had a rocky start to the 2016/17 season. Injuries to both Russell Wilson and the offensive line caused Seattle’s offense to become much more one-dimensional, as Wilson’s mobility is an integral part of what makes Seattle’s offense so dynamic.

However, in the three weeks leading up to last week’s game against the Buccaneers, the line had been performing very well, and Seattle’s offense had started to get into a groove once again.

While some might look at the stinker laid against the Buccaneers as indicative of trends that have been on display all season – for example, last week was Seattle’s third game without an offensive touchdown – it’s more likely that a promising turnaround was simply delayed by a sudden up-swell of injuries.

The first and most obvious place to look is the offensive line, where the injury to regular center Justin Britt meant that Seattle was starting three rookies, one of whom was making his NFL debut. Wilson was sacked 6 times, rarely had time to look past his second read, ended up scrambling for 80 yards to escape trouble, and finished with two interceptions driving his passer rating down to one-tenth of a point above his career low of 38.7.

Also, the timing could not be worse for their running back situation. Mere hours after cutting their leading rusher due to growing confidence in C. J. Prosise, the rookie fractured his scapula and was lost for the remainder of the regular season. This left Seattle with only regular starter Thomas Rawls, himself coming back from injury.

And the defense was not immune from last week’s funk either, with safety Earl Thomas and defensive end Michael Bennett both missing the game against the Buccaneers, and star cornerback Richard Sherman somehow giving up two touchdowns to Tampa wide receiver Mike Evans.

In summary, last week Seattle laid an egg: They were on the road; a west coast team travelling east; facing a fired up, ascending Tampa Bay team; missing a variety of key players in the short term — it was a perfect storm.

But the Seahawks will get multiple men back next week, including the 12th Man, as they head back to Seattle and enjoy the advantage their home crowd provides.

The Seahawks still lead in the NFC West, and are lucky to be in a division so bad that the Dallas Cowboys have more wins than their three opponents combined. But this is the part of the season where identities are formed, and if Seattle hopes to make another run into the playoffs, then they need to continue developing the type of smash-mouth defense, triple-threat offense that they have started to build.

Why I’m Taking the Over for Carolina vs. Seattle

This game features two beleaguered teams that, as perennial playoff contenders, expect themselves to perform at a very high level, and yet have underperformed over certain stretches of this season. December football is the time when well-coached teams start putting their foot on the gas, and these two teams are no exception.

The serious challenge provided by playing a team that you’ve met multiple times in the playoffs over the last few years should bring out the A-game of every player on the field, and yet there’s little reason to believe that this makes for a defensive struggle. The Panthers simply don’t have the personnel anymore, and key injuries like Kuechly, Thomas, and Bennet do not bode well for either team’s ability to make stops.

The only serious threat to this game going over the posted total would be Seattle once again laying an egg on offense, but after such an absolute stinker against the Bucs I don’t think there’s any way that Russell Wilson doesn’t find a way to shred Carolina’s two rookie cornerbacks.

I expect a playoff atmosphere for Sunday Night Football, and I expect both offenses to deliver some spectacular plays. My final predicted score is 31–27 Seattle, and I encourage interested parties to take the over listed at 45 at the Bovada sportsbook.

David HeinenThis article was written by David Heinen

David Heinen is a freelance psychology writer by day, inveterate NFL junkie by night. Born and raised on the Green Bay Packers, David is a die-hard Cheesehead, not to mention a cheese enthusiast in his spare time.

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