NFL Week 4 Predictions: Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, 9/28/14, 1:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Baltimore -3
Current Betting Line:  Baltimore -3.5
Opening Total:  39
Current Total:  40.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco likes his new target in WR Steve Smith
Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco likes his new target in WR Steve Smith

Carolina suffered a 37-19 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers as three-point home favorites last time out, while going OVER the total for the first time in three opportunities during the 2014 season.  The Panthers have been very happy with the production they’ve received from rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, which is important to consider when making your NFL predictions, as he’s turned into a No. 1 option for wide receiver Cam Newton with 253 receiving yards and two touchdown catches.  Carolina is 4-6 SU and 6-4 ATS versus teams with a winning record the last two-plus seasons.

The Panthers have been unable to move the ball on the ground, which is represented in their average of just 72.3 rushing yards per game, including a 42-yard performance last time out against the Steelers.  Newton has been limited by a rib injury this season—a major problem due to the fact that he’s averaged 677 rushing yards a season since coming into the league after his time with the Auburn Tigers.

Baltimore has won two of its first three games this season, and has outgained each of those opponents, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NFL betting odds.  The Ravens have demonstrated some balance under offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, with their group of running backs averaging 137 yards per game on the ground without the services of Ray Rice.  Rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro has stepped in to provide major production in gaining 91 yards and scoring a touchdown last week.  Baltimore is 6-2 SUATS when coming off a win against a AFC North rival the last two-plus seasons.

The Ravens may have a hard time in protecting franchise quarterback Joe Flacco, as left tackle Eugene Monroe will be out for an extended period of time due to knee surgery.  Flacco has a new target on the perimeter in former Carolina wideout Steve Smith, who has a team-high 18 catches and 290 yards.

Sports bettors will likely back the Ravens due to their 4-0-1 ATS mark in their last five games after accumulating 150 or more yards rushing in their previous contest.

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