The Minnesota Vikings (1-3) come off a bye week to host the Carolina Panthers (1-3) in Week 6 action. But there is a brewing quarterback controversy in Minnesota and a team in town that has been very tough as a road underdog.
Point spread: Vikings opened as 2-point favorites; the total was 44. (Line updates and Matchup report)
Computer Prediction: 25.1-19.5 Panthers
Why the Panthers can cover the spread
Carolina is just 1-3 both SU and ATS, but has out-scored opponents on the season by 16 points. The Panthers rank seventh in the league in rushing at 137 yards per game, third in total defense, seventh against the run and third in points allowed.
And after laying an egg in a loss out in Arizona last Sunday, Carolina might be primed for a bounce-back effort. They are 6-1 ATS in seven recent games as a road underdog.
Why the Vikings can cover the spread
Minnesota is 1-3 SU and 2-2 ATS, having lost three close games to open the season against Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland. Two weeks ago, the Vikes picked up their first win, beating Pittsburgh in London, and had last week off.
As of early in the week, Minnesota wasn't sure who was going to start at quarterback, but Matt Cassel looked good in the victory over the Steelers, hitting on 16 of 25 throws with zero interceptions.
The Vikings are the favorites here, but the OddsShark computer is predicting a 25-20 Panthers victory. Carolina can run the ball, and its defense is under-rated, while Minnesota's stop unit ranks 30th overall and has allowed almost 31 points per game.
So go with the computer and take the Panthers and the points. The over-under is also a potential play as eight of 10 meetings between these teams have played UNDER the number.
8 of 10 career meetings played UNDER the total
Panthers 6-1 ATS past 7 games as road dog