The NFL’s Divisional Round is in the books, and now we know the road to Super Bowl 50 will go through Arizona or Carolina. While the signal-callers in the AFC semifinals will hog the headlines this week, football fans—and particularly bettors— shouldn’t overlook the potential classic matchup brewing in the NFC.
<li>The Panthers are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games.</li>
<li>Carolina is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games at hom.</li>
<li>The Cardinals are 1-6 ATS vs teams with winning records.</li>
The Carolina Panthers (16-1 SU, 12-5 ATS) will welcome the Arizona Cardinals (14-3 SU, 9-8 ATS) to town in what’s looking like an incredibly evenly matched affair. The Cards opened as 3-point underdogs, which shouldn’t be particularly surprising considering Carolina’s dominance at home.
Arizona has been profitable in this spot, however, going 6-0 SU and ATS in its last six games when tabbed as an underdog of 3-points or less. Cam Newton and company have not lost at home since November 16, 2014—a streak that reached 12 in the wake of last weekend’s 31-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Arizona went 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS away from home in the regular season.
Totals bettors, take note: the OVER is 6-2 in the Panthers’ last eight games heading into this one. Carolina was one of the top OVER teams in the NFL this year (10-5-1 O/U). Five of the Cards’ previous seven games in the month of January have also gone above the closing total. The OVER/UNDER opened at 47 at most shops.
Another trend that favors bettors banking on high-scoring games: Carolina (31.2) and Arizona (30.3) were the only two teams in the NFL that averaged over 30 points per game this season.
A date with either Tom Brady and the New England Patriots or Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos is on the line for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Considering how strong both teams are on defense, it’s looking like it’s going to come down to an old fashioned quarterback shootout between grizzled veteran Carson Palmer and young hot shot Cam Newton.
Who do you give the edge to in this game? Let us know who you’re backing in the comment section below.