Panthers 2016 Win Total Prediction
Will the Carolina Panthers repeat the success they had a season ago and once again go over their season win total set by oddsmakers?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Panthers' season win total for 2016 has been set at 10.5 wins. Carolina is also currently 11/1 to win Super Bowl 51, is 11/2 to win the NFC Conference Championship, and is a -240 money line favorite to win repeat as NFC South Division champions again as well.
A Look Back
The Panthers had an incredible 2015, finishing 15-1 in the regular season, beating the Seahawks 31-24 in the divisional round of the playoffs, routing the Cardinals 49-15 in the NFC title game, and coming up short against the Broncos in the Super Bowl. (Their lone regular-season loss came to the Falcons in Atlanta in Week 16, 20-13.) Cam Newton was sensational, completing 296-of-495 passes for 3,837 yards with 35 touchdowns while also rushing 132 times for 636 yards and 10 additional scores.
A Look Ahead
The Panthers will have receiver Kelvin Benjamin back this season after he tore his ACL in a joint practice with the Dolphins in August of last year. Both Benjamin and Greg Olsen racked up 1,008 receiving yards apiece in 2014, so Newton will welcome the former Florida State Seminole back with open arms. The team also brought back offensive tackle Michael Oher but parted with cornerback Josh Norman, who inked a massive free agent deal with the Redskins. Draft picks Vernon Butler, James Bradberry, Daryl Worley and Zack Sanchez will all contribute in some capacity this season on defense.
It's hard to bet against the Panthers winning fewer than 11 games when they return Newton, Olsen and Jonathan Stewart on offense, plus get Benjamin back from injury. The loss of Norman is enormous, but Carolina still boasts one of the best front sevens in the NFL thanks to Luke Kuechly, Shaq Thompson, Thomas Davis, Star Lotulelei, Charles Johnson, Kony Ealy and Kawann Short. The Saints could be a sleeper this season and the Bucs are improved, but the Falcons look no better than the 8-8 team that they were a year ago. Thus, the Panthers shouldn't face a steep uphill climb to winning enough games to cash in the over for bettors.
2016 NFL SEASON WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: CAROLINA PANTHERS OVER 10.5