Panthers 2014 Win Total Odds
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - After winning the NFC South a year ago, will the Carolina Panthers regress this season?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetDSI, the Panthers' over/under for wins in 2014 is currently sitting at 8.5. Somewhat surprisingly, the under is -150 while the over is +120. This means that for every $150.00 that you wager on the under, you'll win $100.00, and $120.00 for every $100.00 you wager on the over. If that's confusing, just understand that oddsmakers believe Carolina is more likely to finish with under 8.5 wins this year after winning 12 games last season.
So why the regression? Look no further than the losses the Panthers took along the offensive line and at receiver this offseason. Jordan Gross and Geoff Hangartner both retired, while Steve Smith was released and Brandon LaFell signed with New England as a free agent. Ted Ginn (Cardinals) and Domenik Hixon (Bears) also left via free agency, as did defensive backs Captain Munnerlyn (Vikings) and Mike Mitchell (Steelers).
While we could debate whether or not the Panthers made the right decisions regarding these players, the takeaway is that the team had a lot of turnover in the offseason. Granted, the core is still in place. Cam Newton has won games on his own and the four-headed roster of Newton, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert are all back as well.
The front seven is still excellent too, led by middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson, Thomas Davis and Star Lotulelei all return as well, so Carolina should be fine defensively, although the secondary is a major question mark seeing as how Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud are coming off challenging seasons for other teams.
If first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin can step up and produce right away, then maybe the passing game won't be as suspect as it looks right now. But the Panthers are going to put even more pressure on their running game and run defense this season and while that was a recipe for success a year ago, I doubt they win 12 games again this year. Had the win total been set at 9.5 I would recommend taking the under, although 8.5 is tricky. At worst I see them as an 8-8 team and at best 10-6, so be careful with that 8.5 win total. I'd probably lay off.