The New England Patriots got a scare last week in a narrow victory and will try to end a series skid against the spread versus the Carolina Panthers (2-1) in their matchup this Sunday as big favorites.
The Patriots (2-1) are coming off a 36-33 win over the Houston Texans at home, falling short of covering as 13.5-point chalk, and they have also failed to cover four straight against the Panthers (2-1).
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 29.1-19.3 Patriots (NFL picks on every game)
Why the Panthers can cover the spread
Carolina is 5-2 ATS in its last seven Week 4 games, and going 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings versus New England is impressive. The challenge for the Panthers will be trying to limit the Patriots offensively, something they are certainly capable of doing considering they have a strong defense.
While the New Orleans Saints routed them 34-13 last week, they are a much better team than that and have held New England to 20 points or less in the previous three.
Why the Patriots can cover the spread
The Patriots have seen quarterback Tom Brady play at a high level to start the season, and that is promising because some thought he would begin to decline by now. Brady leads the NFL in passing yards (1,092) and touchdowns (eight) despite being 40 years of age. Last week, he rallied his team to a victory against Houston in the final minute, proving he still has what it takes to beat a good defense in crunch time.
As long as the five-time Super Bowl champion keeps performing like this, New England will be a favorite for the Vince Lombardi Trophy no matter how the defense plays.
Even though the Patriots did not cover last week, they are still 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games as favorites. They have also won eight straight (7-1 ATS) early afternoon games. That combo makes New England very difficult to avoid in this spot, either straight up or ATS.
Carolina's injuries are piling up and remain a serious concern for the team right now, so back the Pats to win big and cover at online sports betting sites.
NFL betting trends
The Panthers are 4-0 ATS in their last four games against the Patriots.
The Patriots are 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS in their last eight games in the early afternoon.
The Panthers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games in Week 4.
All NFL odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.