Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots
Thursday, 8/21/14, 7:30 PM EST
Opening Point Spread: New England -4
Current Betting Line: New England -4
Opening Total: 43.5
Current Total: 43.5
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
Carolina starting quarterback Cam Newton saw his first round of preseason action in a 28-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs as three-point home favorites Sunday, while the team went OVER the betting total for a second consecutive contest. The Panthers were out-gained by a 114-1 margin in the opening quarter in that affair, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NFL betting odds, but running back Jonathan Stewart was able to produce two rushing touchdowns with the first-team offense on the field in the second quarter. Newton finished 4-of-9 for 65 yards and showed the ability to spin away from trouble after undergoing offseason ankle surgery.
The Panthers have hopes that rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin can become the No. 1 option in the passing attack, as he made two tough catches over the middle, and was a difficult matchup for the Chiefs to handle. On the defensive side of the ball, Carolina has some big question marks in the secondary, but Antoine Cason, Melvin White and Josh Norman have made some big plays in the opening two games.
New England was also happy to have its starting signal-caller under center for the first time last week, as Tom Brady played the first two series for a total of 23 snaps in a 42-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles as two-point home favorites. The Patriots have a bit of a battle for the rights to back up Brady in camps, especially since rookie Jimmy Garoppolo filled that role last week. Most NFL experts still believe that Ryan Mallett will earn that role after a shaky performance in the opener, as he completed 7 of 11 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriots are still trying to transition from a 4-3 defensive scheme to having four linebackers, with all eyes fixated on Chandler Jones, who still needs some reps before the regular season. New England has an opportunity to be a much-improved defense in 2014 with the offseason acquisition of cornerback Darrelle Revis, who saw limited action on the left side of the field.
Sports bettors will likely back the Panthers due to the Patriots being 0-8 ATS in their last eight preseason games as favorites of three or more points.
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