Even though the NFL is seeing a decline in its ratings, the top sportsbooks are making superior betting lines each and every day. After all, fans don’t have to tune in to the football games to cash in on their winnings. But still, predicting the outcome of a riveting matchup is far more exciting that predicting the outcome of a dull, emotionless game.
Take last week’s Sunday Night Football game for example. The Seahawks and the Cardinals were squaring off to provide Week 7’s SNF action. Because both of these teams had qualified for the playoffs last season – with the Cardinals making it as far as the NFC Championship game, many sportsbook fans were anticipating a thrilling contest that would come down to the wire. It came down to the wire alright, but in the most excruciatingly boring fashion. In the end the contest concluded in a manner no one could’ve predicted, two under-30 yard field goals missed in overtime that gave way to a 6-6 tie.
Fans were robbed of an entertaining night, and bettors were robbed of a conclusive outcome. We don’t see too many ties within the NFL, and if they all end up being that boring, then it’s better to have scarcity than surplus. In Week 8 the Cardinals will attempt to put on a more entertaining performance against the team they faced in last year’s NFC Championship game, the Carolina Panthers. Neither team has proven worthy of your bet on NFL money lines this season, but let’s see what kind of odds the sportsbooks are putting together for this contest.
Week 8 – Sunday, October 30th
Carolina Panthers +3 (-125) 47 ½ (-110) +125
Arizona Cardinals -3 (+105) 47 ½ (-110) -145
The day has officially come when the Carolina Panthers are no longer the favorites. The 2016 season has been difficult for Panthers fans. After seeing their team get so close to an undefeated season, and even closer to a championship, seeing them start this year by going 1-5 is like a punch straight to the gut. Simply put, the Panthers haven’t been finding ways to win their football games. In the beginning of the season, their losses were dismissible because Carolina was facing some of the fiercest opposition within the NFL; the Denver Broncos, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Atlanta Falcons. But these past couple of weeks, the Panthers have been losing against some of the weaker teams the NFC has to offer; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints. These two losses are not so easily dismissed and have forced the bookmakers to stop favoring the Panthers in their contests.
Looking over both these teams on paper, it’s even clearer that the Cardinals have the upper hand. The Cardinals offense ranks in the top half of the league, and their total offense is the 8th best in the NFL. Defensively, the Cardinals have the 2nd best total defense, the 3rd best pass defense, and the 13th best rush defense. It’s a totally different story for the Panthers. Carolina has the 24th worst total defense, the 26th worst pass defense, and the 7th best rush defense in the league. The Panthers offense ranks in the top half of the league, but their inability to stop opponents has cost them 5 games this season. It’s going to cost them another one this Sunday.