NFL Wild Card Best Bet: Cardinals at Panthers

The NFC South this season was like a division no team wanted to win until Carolina took the bull by the horns, winning four-straight games to clinch a home field playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals

Odds on this matchup favor the Panthers by -6.5 points and the total is still available at 38.5 with one of our favorite online sportsbooks, The Greek. We tweeted a play on this game earlier in the week and after another look, have upgraded it to a Best Bet based on the following information.

CARDINALS AT PANTHERS: BEST BET

The Panthers finished the season with four-straight wins and you can credit Cam Newton for three of them but ironically, their best passing day was Week 15 at Tampa Bay when Derek Anderson threw for 277 yards and a TD. The past five weeks, no NFL teams rushed for more yards per game than Carolina (195 RYPG).

Teams who rushed for 150-plus yards in their past five games have a 63-percent SU/ATS record this season with 73-percent of games staying under the total (7-19-1 O/U). At home, these teams went 2-12-1 O/U and the two overs were on totals of 47.5 and 48. One game involved the Dallas Cowboys, Week 7 against the Giants when the Cowboys won 31-21 and the other was two weeks ago in Cincinnati when the Broncos lost 37-28. For a football betting chart that displays these games just click the SportsDatabase.com link with SDQL Text: season = 2014 and tA(RY, N=5) > 150 and H

Hot rushing home teams with a total of O/U 47 or less went 0-10-1 O/U and they stayed more than 10 PPG below the closing odds. It’s the fourth-straight season where this profile has finished with an “Under” record and the combined mark is 24-44-4 O/U (65-percent).

From Week 11 out the record is 12-29-2 O/U (71-percent UN) and when the home side was favored by -6 points or more the record since 2010 is 1-10-1 O/U (91-percent). Amazingly, Arizona was involved in four of those 12 games going 0-4 SU/ATS and being outscored 33-6; averages skewed by a 58-0 loss against Seattle. The other three games, Arizona scored 3, 7 and 13 points and the only one which was “live” from earlier this year was a 19-3 loss to the Seahawks in Week 12.

PLAYOFF PICKS

Bruce Arians and Ron Rivera is an interesting coaching matchup with each still searching for his first playoff win. The Panthers have stayed under seven of the past eight times at home off a road win and whether it’s Ryan Lindley or Drew Stanton under center shouldn’t matter much. The defense has found its stride allowing 17 points or less in four-straight games and they have a good chance here to extend that streak. Newton will have to avoid costly turnovers and the past month, Carolina is plus-6 in that department. We wouldn’t lay this many points against the Cardinals D but are happy to bet this game under for 2.5 units.

Take the Cardinals-Panthers UNDER 38.5 ***BEST BET***

Our only other NFL playoff pick to date is on the Detroit Lions +7 points at Dallas. Follow @PickSixtySports for updates!!