Seahawks vs. Panthers Playoff Pick
In what is arguably the most even Divisional round matchup of the weekend, will the Seahawks or Panthers prevail Sunday at 1:05PM ET in Charlotte?
Oddsmakers from online sports book BetDSI currently list the Panthers as 2.5-point home favorites versus the Seahawks today, while the total currently sits at 43 points. Both the side and total have moved since oddsmakers posted the original numbers, as Carolina has gone from -3 to -2.5 and the total has gone from 44 to 43.
With the Panthers finishing the regular season 15-1 and 11-5 against the spread, public bettors are backing Carolina today at a 63% clip. The Seahawks are 11-6 straight up but just 8-8 against the spread and failed to cover as a road favorite last Sunday in Minnesota. In fact, if it weren't for a Blair Walsh missed field goal, the Seahawks would have been home this weekend.'
But that doesn't mean bettors should shy away from taking Seattle today. For starters, the cold weather had a lot to do with the low score in last weekend's Wild Card game in Minnesota. Neither team could move the ball effectively in the frigid temperatures but the weather won't be an issue today in Charlotte.
The Seahawks are also a better team now than they were in their Week 6 home loss to the Panthers earlier in the season. The return of Marshawn Lynch should give the Hawks a boost, but make no mistake: This is Russell Wilson's offense now. As fans were reminded last week, Wilson can turn a game in a blink.
The Panthers will also get a boost with the return of running back Jonathan Stewart and with the news that Ted Ginn will be able to play despite dealing with a knee injury. But the Seahawks rank first in the league in run defense so if they can slow down Carolina's rushing attack, their Cover 3 defense is designed to limit big plays (such as those to Ginn) in the passing game.
While they've struggled with tight ends this season (including Greg Olsen in Week 6), Seattle will have a chance to win outright if Cam Newton is forced to live and die on the short-to-intermediate game. This game should go down to the wire, so make sure to bet the Seahawks up to +3 if you decide to take them.
NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND FREE PICK: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS +3 (BET UP)