Top trends and sports betting tips from Sunday’s NFC battle between the Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings
The Panthers and Steelers are the last two teams to be coming off a bye this week and small road dogs or favorites up to 3 points who lost by small margins at home before their bye have shown great ability to get things back on track following the break. One of the concerns with all these new NFLPA/CBA labor restrictions is that teams in a rut won’t show much improvement off the bye because coaches aren’t able to demand as much from their players as they used to in the past. For this profile, there wasn’t any samples to review from 2011-13 but it was “live” twice so far in 2014 and the road teams are 2-0 straight-up and against the spread with covers by 1- and 7.5-points.
Those two teams (Cleveland and Atlanta) were lined at Pick `em and -2.5 and the average spreads in these 12 games was 0.2 with teams covering by an average of 6.5 points. The only team to not win straight-up was in 1993 when the Packers (+3) lost 15-13 to the Vikings. The seven true dogs (+0.5 to +3) went 6-0 ATS and covered by an average of 7.2 points. Get the chart at SportsDatabase.com with the SDQL text: week = p:week + 2 and p:HL and p:margin >= -3 and A and -3 <= line <= 3
For argument’s sake we looked at bigger road dogs in this spot and teams who were getting +3.5 points or more show a pedestrian record of 7-7 ATS but of all 14 games, only one team lost by a margin greater than one score beyond the spread. It says something about the parity in this league and looking at this year’s Vikings, we can only count two games this year where they won straight-up by more than six points. The first was Week 1 at St. Louis and the second was Week 4 when Teddy Bridgewater made his debut against the Falcons. Minnesota trailed that game 28-27 going into the fourth quarter but outscored the visitor 14-0 in the final frame.
The Vikings are 13th in fourth quarter scoring this season at 6.6 PPG and while the Falcons rank 28th (4.4), Carolina is second only to the Saints with 9.3 average fourth quarter PPG in 2014. Carolina and Minnesota each rank near the bottom of the league in ‘yards per point’ and neither of their YPP looks impressive on its own but Minnesota’s offense is making strides and they are complimented by a defense who seems to be gelling under first-year HC Mike Zimmer.
Minnesota struggled at home this year vs. high powered offenses, strong defense and savvy veteran coaches and quarterbacks but Carolina doesn’t possess any of those qualities. The Panthers two greatest strengths are offensive predictability – they’ve scored between 9 and 21 points in nine of 11 games (consistently bad) and their defensive front seven which helped create the odd turnover and limit the run.
Minnesota’s rushing stats are down this year with the absence of Adrian Peterson but not by as much as everyone expected. The QB rotation necessitated the use of the run and Matt Asiata (Check status) and Jerick McKinnon have made nice contributions. Now that Bridgewater is finding a rhythm the offense should start to make improvements and they have a favorable home schedule down the stretch but this game against Carolina is only the second time all season the Vikings have been favored. It’s an unfamiliar role to them and while they did well enough to win the first time, Week 9 against Washington, that was much tougher setup for the visiting Redskins who were coming off a Monday night divisional upset road win in Dallas. The game had letdown written all over it and Minnesota capitalized.
SECOND OF 3-STRAIGHT HOME GAMES; OFF AN ATS WIN
Dogs off an ATS win were around .500 and they were rare but when a team is home for three-straight and they win the first game, it looks as if the line gets over-inflated more times than not. These faves can hardly win the games straight-up, let alone ATS. They get lazy sitting around town and the first game goes to their head. The home team in this spot is 2-17-1 ATS and we have a little revenge at stake for this game.
Carolina was in Minnesota for a game last and they ripped Minny hard, 35-10. When teams meet after such a lopsided loss, the under has been strong with all totals since 1989 and the best range is the low 40’s which happens to be right where this game is sitting. The record for totals between 41 and 45 is 11-33-1 O/U. When the blowout was last season, non-divisional conference foes are hitting around 70-percent to the under and the number gets even better in our O/U hot range. We missed out on the nice 43 early in the week and the best line we could find last night was 42.5 Shop around and make sure you get at least 41 points.
Pick Sixty Trend Tips: Take the UNDER
Our Best Bets ATS for this week are on the Ravens -6 and Bengals -3.5. coming off a 3-0 day on Thanksgiving, we don’t want to push things too hard but we are looking at the Sunday and Monday nighter for potential plays.