NFL Preseason Week 3 Betting Odds and Predictions: Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Thursday, 8/22/13, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Baltimore -3
Current Betting Line:  Baltimore -3
Opening Total:  42
Current Total:  41.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Baltimore Ravens are trying to avoid a Super Bowl hangover in 2013

The Baltimore Ravens are trying to avoid a Super Bowl hangover in 2013

Carolina has split its first two games on its 2013 NFL preseason schedule, as it looks to regroup after suffering a 14-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles as three-point road underdogs a week ago, while going well UNDER the betting total of 44.  The Panthers were out-gained by 123 yards in that affair, but the locker room is excited for its upcoming test.  “What better way to gauge your team than to go out and play the defending world champs?”, commented Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis.  It’s important to point out that the first-team offense has been held to just a single field goal in eight series, which can’t be ignored when making your NFL betting picks Thursday night.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will get the bulk of the snaps against the Ravens, with former Notre Dame signal-caller Jimmy Clausen backing him up.  On the other side of the ball, Carolina is hoping linebacker Jon Beason can return from a knee injury, but head coach Ron Rivera may take a cautious approach in that situation.  The special teams unit will receive a boost with wide receiver Ted Ginn hitting the field, which could lead to better starting field position for the offense.

Baltimore is 15-7 during preseason play under head coach John Harbaugh, including a perfect 2-0 mark heading into this affair.  “Your first game is to knock the rust off,” commented Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs.  “Second game is where you play a little more.  The third game is kind of like the real thing.”  The Ravens are 22-13 all time in preseason home games, including wins in eight of their last nine opportunities in that situation.

The Ravens have a new face in the middle of their defense, with Daryl Smith racking up 11 tackles as a replacement for legendary linebacker Ray Lewis, who retired after leading the franchise to its second championship.  Baltimore will be led offensively by quarterback Joe Flacco, who is the first player in NFL history to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first five seasons at that position.  He set career highs for passing yards and completions in 2012.

Sports bettors will likely back the Ravens in this affair, as Harbaugh looks to have his roster focused on avoiding a letdown before the regular season.

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