In an NFC South showdown, Carolina takes on New Orleans on Sunday night at the Superdome.
Point spread: Saints opened as 4.5-point favorites; the total was 44.5. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 28.9-28.2 Panthers
Why the Panthers can cover the spread
Carolina is the hottest team in the league right now. Everything is clicking. The running game is pounding the ball, Cam Newton is making all the plays, and the defense is grinding foes into the ground. The Panthers rank second in the league in total defense and rush defense and are out-rushing foes by 50 yards per game.
In the NFL, teams that win the battle of the ground game cover the spread about 65 percent of the time.
They have covered in 11 of the past 12 seasons when visiting New Orleans and are 6-1 against the spread as an underdog.
Why the Saints can cover the spread
New Orleans got smacked Monday night out in Seattle, but that could happen to just about anybody. The Saints are still one of the most balanced teams in the league, ranking sixth in total offense and eighth in total defense.
Also, this team loves its dome. In six home games this season, New Orleans is 5-1 ATS, averaging 33 points per game.
The Odds Shark computer seems to be buying the Panther hype in predicting an outright Carolina victory in a game that plays OVER its total. But as mentioned above, the Saints are a great home team.
The Panthers actually swept the season series from New Orleans last year. Look for the Saints to gain a measure of revenge Sunday night.
- Carolina is 11-1 ATS in its last 12 games when playing at New Orleans.
- Carolina is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games.
- Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their past seven games as underdogs.
- Saints are 7-2 ATS in their past nine December games.