NFL Playoffs: Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers Pick, Odds & Prediction

Arizona Cardinals (11-5) at Carolina Panthers (7-8-1)
NFL Football: Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 4:35 pm (Bank of America Stadium)
The Line: Carolina Panthers -6.5 — Over/Under: 38.5

The Carolina Panthers, with a sub .500 record (7-8-1) will host the (11-5) Arizona Cardinals on Saturday in the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs.

Arizona was the last remaining undefeated team this season but have fell victim to a long list of injuries. The Cards will be without Andre Ellington and Carson Palmer, two of their best players heading into the season. Third string QB Ryan Lindley will be under center on Saturday and the Cardinals just need him to manage the game and let their defense give them a chance.

On the other side of the field there is something special going on with the Carolina Panthers and we can’t quite put our finger on it. The NFC South has been a complete disappointment this season and despite a losing record the Panthers clinched the South with a win over the Falcons last weekend. Regardless of whether the Panthers deserve to be in the playoffs they now have home field advantage over the 11 win Cardinals.

Carolina has rattled off 4 straight wins to clinch the South even with Cam Newton sitting out for a game vs the Bucs after a horrific car accident. Cam bounced back and lead his team to the NFL Playoffs. On the season the Panthers scored less points than they allowed, 334 points for to 374 points allowed. Typically this doesn’t lead to a playoff season but they were the beneficiaries of a bad division.

Arizona is (11-5 ATS) while the Panthers are (8-8 ATS). Truthfully both teams at this point in the season has flaws. Carolina has not been the same team they were the past couple of years and their defense is not as dominate as it was in the past. Cam Newton is one of the top QB’s in the game when he is clicking but the Panthers lack weapons as an offensive group. The Arizona defense has one job and that’s to put pressure on Cam and force him to make mistakes. On the flip side, the Panthers will do the same to 3rd string QB Ryan Lindley. Lindley doesn’t exactly make bettor comfortable backing him and if anyone leans Arizona it’s because of their defense. Arizona doesn’t exactly have a run game either so they will need to get the ball out of Lindley’s hands quickly.

The underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings between the two teams and the Cardinals are 9-1 ATS last 10 road games vs a team with a losing record and 9-3 ATS last 12 games road games.

If you’re looking for some ATS trends to sway you to back the Panthers you’ll need to look very hard because there are not many that make you jump on the Panthers. However, as we mentioned above the Panthers seem to have some momentum heading into the Playoffs and this is a home game which is a nice advantage to have in the NFL Playoffs.

While it’s tempting to take Arizona and the points we’ll stick with the Under 37.5 on this play. Let’s look for both defenses to show up in this game and keep the weak offenses in check.

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