Carolina Panthers Season Win Total: Under 7

Carolina Panthers

Bet365 football betting odds: Over 7 -130/Under 7 +100 (odds subject to change)
Last season: 7-9
Our pick: Under 7

Cam Newton hopes to point the Panthers to the playoffs in 2013.
Cam Newton hopes to point the Panthers to the playoffs in 2013.

Carolina was one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL last season, losing eight of their first 10 games in Cam Newton’s sophomore campaign. That dismal record might have been a bit deceiving, however, considering six of those eight losses came by less than a touchdown and two of them by less than a field goal. And the Panthers provided reason for optimism by winning five of their final six games, defeating the Falcons by 10 points and hanging 44 on the Saints.

Led by their dual threat in Newton, the Panthers boast one of the best running attacks in the league. Carolina ranked 9th in rushing yards last year, but keep in mind the Panthers were playing from behind the first half of the season and often had to abandon the running game. Newton still ran for 5.8 yards a carry and eight touchdowns in 2012, D’Angelo Williams had a club-record 210 yards in the season finale against the Saints, and Jonathan Stewart, Michael Tolbert and new draft pick Kenjon Barner (Oregon) give them plenty of depth in the backfield.

If Carolina can run the ball effectively, it should allow Newton some more single-coverage opportunities with star wideout Steve Smith and emerging stud tight end Greg Olsen. This offence has the potential of being one of the better ones in the NFC.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, offence is only one half of the game. Their defence has some question marks, especially in the secondary, where Chris Gamble’s retirement has left a gaping hole at corner. Carolina returns several veterans and signed a few free agents, but there are no clear-cut starters in the secondary other than free safety Charles Godfrey. Hopefully for the Panthers, the drafting of two tackles bolsters the defensive line to the point where they can generate a consistent pass rush and not allow opposing QBs time to explore holes downfield.

The schedule isn’t the Panthers’ friend this year. In addition to playing six games against the tough NFC South (Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay), Carolina also is home to Seattle and New England and has to travel to San Francisco. When Cantor Gaming released point spreads last month for every NFL game this season up to Week 16, the Panthers were favoured just five times.

Even if Carolina earns a 50/50 split in division games, the Panthers will need to win five other games in order to exceed the season over/under total of 7. Their best shots at victories are likely home games against the Rams and Jets, while trips to Buffalo, Arizona and Miami are also quite winnable.

The Panthers should hang in the NFC playoff race much longer than last year, but the difficult schedule they’ve been given would make a .500 season quite an accomplishment. We’re not about to lay -130 juice to see them do it, so we’ll take the under 7.


Carolina Panthers 2013 schedule

1 Sun, Sep 8
  • vs Seattle
1:00 PM FOX
2 Sun, Sep 15
  • @ Buffalo
1:00 PM FOX
3 Sun, Sep 22
  • vs NY Giants
1:00 PM FOX
5 Sun, Oct 6
  • @ Arizona
4:05 PM FOX
6 Sun, Oct 13
  • @ Minnesota
1:00 PM FOX
7 Sun, Oct 20
  • vs St. Louis
1:00 PM FOX
8 Thu, Oct 24
  • @ Tampa Bay
8:25 PM NFL
9 Sun, Nov 3
  • vs Atlanta
1:00 PM FOX
10 Sun, Nov 10
  • @ San Francisco
4:05 PM FOX
11 Mon, Nov 18
  • vs New England
8:30 PM ESPN
12 Sun, Nov 24
  • @ Miami
1:00 PM FOX
13 Sun, Dec 1
  • vs Tampa Bay
1:00 PM FOX
14 Sun, Dec 8
  • @ New Orleans
1:00 PM FOX
15 Sun, Dec 15
  • vs NY Jets
4:05 PM CBS
16 Sun, Dec 22
  • vs New Orleans
1:00 PM FOX
17 Sun, Dec 29
  • @ Atlanta
1:00 PM FOX