NFC Divisional Playoffs Betting Picks: Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers

2016 NFL Playoffs
NFC Divisional Playoffs
#6 Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers
Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, North Carolina
Sunday, January 17, 2016, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Opening Line: Carolina -3 (+100)
Current Line: Carolina -2 1/2
Opening Total: 44
Current Total: 44
Opening Money Line: Panthers -150 / Seahawks +130
Current Money Line: Panthers -125 / Seahawks +105

The Panthers host the Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Playoffs.
The Panthers host the Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Playoffs.

The two time defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers meet in the Playoffs for the second straight season. The 11-6 Seahawks are the #6 seed in the NFC playoffs and travel to the 15-1 Carolina Panthers Sunday. Carolina won the NFC South and are the #1 seed in the NFC. The winner will face the #2 seed Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game next week.

Seattle leads the series 7-3 against Carolina, including 2-0 in the playoffs. Last year, Seattle beat Carolina 27-13 in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. The Panthers won in Seattle earlier this season 27-23. Seattle led 20-7 in that game in the third and 23-14 in the fourth before Carolina scored the last 13 points of the game to win 27-23. Seattle had won five straight games against Carolina before that October meeting.

Seattle is coached by Pete Carroll. The Seahawks have home wins over the Chicago Bears 26-0, Detroit Lions 13-10, San Francisco 49ers 29-13, Pittsburgh Steelers 39-30 and Cleveland Browns 30-13,  plus road wins over the 49ers 20-3, Dallas Cowboys 13-12, Vikings, Baltimore Ravens 35-6 and Arizona Cardinals 36-6. Seattle has road losses at the Rams 34-31 in overtime, Green Bay Packers 27-17 and Cincinnati Bengals 27-24 in overtime, along with  home losses to the Carolina Panthers 27-23, Cardinals 39-32 and Rams 23-17. Seattle has won seven of their last eight games.

The Seahawks travels to the #3 seed Minnesota Vikings last week in the Wild Card game. Temperatures were -6 at game time in Minneapolis. Seattle was a 4 point favorite and the total was 40. Neither team could accomplish much on offense in the frigid temperatures. Minnesota took a 9-0 lead into the fourth quarter with 3 field goals. Seattle finally got on the board with a touchdown early in the third. The drive featured an incredible fumble recovery and scramble from quarterback Russell Wilson before throwing the ball 35 yards to receiver Tyler Lockett at the Minnesota 4. Seattle took the lead 10-9 on a field goal after a Minnesota fumble. Each team punted twice before the Vikings took over at their own 39 with 1:42 left. Minnesota drove all the way to the Seahawks’ 9 yard line. However, kicker Blair Walsh missed the 27 yard field goal that would have given them the lead. Seattle took a knee and ran out the clock to secure the win. The Seahawks are 8-7-1 ATS and the total is 7-9 this season.

Carolina is coached by Ron Rivera. Carolina has road wins at the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-9, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37-23, Seattle Seahawks 27-23, Tennessee Titans 27-10, Dallas Cowboys 33-14, New Orleans Saints 41-38, and New York Giants 38-35. The Panthers also have home wins over the Houston Texans 24-17, New Orleans Saints 27-22, Philadelphia Eagles 27-16, Indianapolis Colts 29-26 in overtime, Green Bay Packers 37-29, Washington Redskins 44-16, Atlanta Falcons 38-0, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-10 in the last game of the regular season. The only loss came at the Falcons 20-13.

Carolina entered the game at Tampa Bay after their first loss of the season the previous week. The Panthers needed to win against the Buccaneers to clinch home field advantage. Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead after the first quarter. However, Carolina scored 31 straight points including a 24 point explosion in the second quarter. The Panthers easily covered the 10 point spread with the 38-10 rout, and the game went over the 44 point total. Carolina is 11-5 ATS and the total is 10-5-1 this season.

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Seattle is outscoring teams 26-17 this season. The Seahawks are #1 in points allowed and #5 in scoring. Seattle is averaging 379 yards per game on offense including 237 passing yards and 142 rushing. The Seahawks are #20 in passing, #3 in rushing and #4 in total offense. On defense, Seattle is allowing 291 total yards including 210 passing and 82 rushing yards. Seattle is #2 in both total and pass defense, and #1 in rush defense. The Seahawks are 107/222 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 68/202. The Seahawks have forced 37 sacks and allowed 46 this season. Seattle has two special teams touchdowns and three defensive touchdowns, and have allowed two of each as well. The Seahawks are +7 in turnovers.

Quarterback Russell Wilson has completed 68.1% of his passes for 4,024 yards with 34 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 103 carries for 553 rushing yards and a touchdown. Tavaris Jackson is the back-up.

Running back Marshawn Lynch has 111 carries for 417 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 80 yards. He has only played in seven games due to a hamstring injury and a hernia. He is listed as probable for Sunday and hasn’t played since November 15. Lynch was also listed as probable last week, but didn’t even make the trip to Minneapolis. Thomas Rawls has 147 carries for 830 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 9 catches and a receiving touchdown. The rookie undrafted free agent is out with a broken ankle. Fred Jackson will also get some carries. He has 100 rushing yards, but does have 32 catches for 257 yards and 2 touchdowns. Christine Michael and Bryce Brown will also get some carries.

Receiver Doug Baldwin has 78 catches for 1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns. Jermaine Kearse has 49 catches for 685 yards and 5 touchdowns. Rookie receiver Tyler Lockett has 51 catches for 664 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also has a kick return and a punt return both for touchdowns. Tight end Jimmy Graham has 48 catches for 605 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Luke Wilson is probable with a concussion. He is out with a torn ACL. Receiver Paul Richardson is out with a knee injury and has only one catch this season. Four defensive players are listed on the injury report.

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Carolina is outscoring teams 31-19 this season. The Panthers are #1 in scoring and #6 in points allowed. Carolina is averaging 367 total yards per game including 224 passing and 143 rushing. The Panthers are #2 in rushing but #24 in passing. On defense, Carolina allows 323 total yards including 235 passing and 88 rushing yards. The Panthers are in the top six in total and rushing defense. Carolina is 92/213 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 101/243. The Panthers have forced 44 sacks and allowed 33 this season. Carolina is +20 in turnovers. The Panthers have 5 defensive touchdowns and have allowed 3 special teams/defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Cam Newton has completed 59.8% of his passes for 3,837 yards with 35 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, along with 132 carries for 636 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Newton is considered the MVP favorite despite the Panthers not really having a number one receiver after Kelvin Benjamin suffered a torn ACL in the pre-season.

Tight end Greg Olsen has 77 catches for 1104 yards with 7 touchdowns. Receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. has 44 catches for 739 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is questionable with a knee injury. Jerricho Cotchery has 39 catches for 485 yards and 3 touchdowns. Devin Funchess has 31 catches for 473 yards and 5 touchdowns.   Corey Brown has 31 catches for 477 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ed Dickson has 17 catches for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Running back Jonathan Stewart has 242 carries for 989 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 16 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. Mike Tolbert and Cameron Artis-Payne will also get some carries. Tolbert has 18 catches for 154 yards and 3 touchdowns. Seven defensive players are listed on the injury report.

Seattle is 6-1-1 ATS against teams with teams with winning home records, 4-1-1 after failing to cover, 4-1 after allowing 90 rushing yards or less, 6-2 overall, 5-2 on grass, 13-6-1 after allowing less than 150 passing yards, 2-5 after allowing less than 250 total yards, 1-3-1 after scoring less than 15 points, and 1-4 after gaining less than 250 total yards. The last five games in this series in Charlotte have gone under the total.

Carolina is 5-0 ATS on grass, and after allowing more than 250 passing yards, 4-0 at home, 7-1 after gaining more than 350 total yards, 6-2 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 8-3 against NFC teams, 9-4 overall, 3-7 after passing for more than passing yards, and 1-4 in playoff games.

When was the last time a 15-1 team was only a 3 point favorite at home against an 11-6 Wild Card team in the playoffs? Well, when that 11-6 team is the very dangerous Seahawks, that will happen. There is also some doubt that Carolina is for real. I do believe that is nonsense. Newton and Wilson have been incredible this year. Temps should be in the low 40’s with a very good chance of rain. I like Carolina to win a close low scoring game at home.

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