National Football League: NFC Wild Card Playoff CAR vs. NO
Carolina Panthers (11-5, 5-3 away) at New Orleans Saints (11-5, 7-1 home)
January 7, 2018- 4:40 PM ET (TV FOX) Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
The final of the wild card games has the makings of a good one as the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints will take center stage in a Sunday late afternoon clash in the Big Easy that has the following betting lines from our best sportsbooks;
Best Panthers Lines: BetOnline Spread (+7) ML +245
Best Saints Lines: MyBookie Spread (-6.5) ML -305
Over/Under: 5Dimes 47.5
For the third time this season, a pair of NFC South Division foes will clash as the Panthers (11-5) and Saints (11-5) will square off in a matchup where the stakes will be a lot higher.
Already have beaten them twice, New Orleans will seek to do it one more time at home in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome; a place where they went 7-1 during the regular-season. The Saints beat Carolina in Week 3 on the road with a 34-13 victory then followed it up with a 31-21 home win on December 3.
And with those two wins, the odds are with the Saints where 65 percent of the time (13 of 20) since 1970, the team that swept the regular season also won the postseason matchup.
Carolina will look to buck that trend but to do so will need to find a way to contain the well-balanced attack of the Saints. Ranked 7th in the league on defense, the Panthers were torched by the running game twice on the season by their division rival.
Long time veteran quarterback Drew Brees is the field general for the Saints and has plenty of weapons to work with whether it’s throwing the ball or handing off the rock to either rookie sensation Alvin Kamara or veteran Mark Ingram.
Carolina behind dual-threat QB Cam Newton will look to go toe-to-toe against Brees, but unlike Brees with his talented running backs, it is Newton who leads his team in the rushing department. Newton will get a huge boost on the offense end with the return of TE Greg Olsen, who missed most of the season battling a foot injury.
The already solid Saints defense will get a boost of their own with the return of rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
Will the Panthers be able to solve the New Orlean dominance and in their own building when it matters most? For sports betting purposes for our US players, MyBookie is favoring NO (-6.5) points over CAR, while BetOnline is giving the underdog roadies (+7) points. 5Dimes delivers the over/under with 47.5 total game points scored. Feeling a tight one, I will favor the Panthers PLUS the points (+7) to cover the spread as my best betting pick.