Patriots vs. Panthers Preseason Pick
Will the Panthers cover as home favorites tonight at 7:30PM ET when they host the Patriots in the teams' "dress rehearsal?"
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Panthers are 3.5-point home favorites tonight versus the Patriots while the over/under currently sits at 44.5 points. While the point spread hasn't moved off the original 3.5 number, the total did open at 45 before being bet down to 44.5.
The Patriots are 2-0 in preseason play after beating the Bears 23-22 as a 3-point home favorite last Thursday night. Jimmy Garoppolo was the leading passer with 181 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-21 passing, while LeGarrette Blount rushed 11 times for 69 yards and a score, with a long of 21. A.J. Derby stole the show from a receiving standpoint, hauling in six of his seven targets for 71 yards and a touchdown.
After dropping their preseason opener to the Ravens two weeks ago, the Panthers rebounded with a 26-16 win over the Titans in Nashville last Saturday. Cam Newton was 8-of-12 for 162 yards and a touchdown in the victory, while backup Derek Anderson threw for 118 yards on 12-of-20 passing and finished with a touchdown pass of his own. Ted Ginn Jr. also caught his lone target for a 61-yard touchdown.
OUR PICK: The Patriots figure to get an extended look at Garoppolo tonight, seeing as how he'll start Week 1 with Tom Brady on suspension. Based on his performance last week versus the Bears, Garoppolo might once again play it safe, settling for a game-manager role with safe throws and checkdowns. That may have worked against Chicago, but Carolina will look to get in regular-season mode tonight in preparation for Week 1. The Panthers have one of the best defenses in the NFL and should show well tonight. Take a flier on Carolina.
2016 NFL PRESEASON FREE PICK: CAROLINA PANTHERS -3.5