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One of the best teams in the AFC takes on one of the potential sleepers in the NFC Sunday when the Carolina Panthers travel to San Diego to play the Chargers. Oddsmakers have made the Chargers 9-point favorites.

Bet the Panthers at Chargers

The Carolina Panthers enter the 2008 season as a potential playoff contender if quarterback Jake Delhomme can stay healthy. He couldn’t last year and the offense crumbled around him. DeAngelo Williams and hard-runner Jonathan Stewart will join Delhomme in the backfield. But Delhomme won’t have his favorite receiving target, as Steve Smith must serve a two-game suspension for punching teammate Ken Lucas.

The San Diego Chargers are legitimate Super Bowl contenders this season. They have one of the best players in the NFL in tailback LaDainian Tomlinson, a solid quarterback in Philip Rivers and an outstanding defense solidified by a solid front seven. This team is ready to take the next step after a great 2007 season, which ended in the AFC Championship Game.

Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Chargers 9-point road favorites. The over under total has been set at 41.5. Current public betting information notes that 55% of bettors favor San Diego -9. The Panthers are good enough to hang with the Chargers, but San Diego has the better overall talent. If the underachieving Carolina defense can continue Tomlinson, they’ll have a chance to keep the score close because dynamic playmaker Antonio Gates is hobbled with an injury so the Chargers’ passing game might be grounded. We predict the Chargers over the Panthers, but for Carolina to keep it close with a score of 23-16.

Panthers at Chargers Game Odds, Spread & Over Under Total

Panthers +9 over 41.5

Chargers –9 under 41.5

Bet the Panthers at Chargers

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