Making an NFL Preseason Bet on Carolina

A tough team to figure out with an NFL preseason bet is the Carolina Panthers.

Will this year’s Panthers be improved or will they be another .500 team?  The Panthers are longshots in NFL preseason odds to win the Super Bowl at 44-1.

NFL preseason bet numbers list Carolina as 6-1 to win the NFC South behind New Orleans and Atlanta. The Panthers might have some value in the preseason as they face four good teams.  They open up at Baltimore on August 12th in an ESPN televised game. They then host the New York Jets in Week 2 and the Tennessee Titans in Week 3 before finishing up at Pittsburgh in their final preseason game.

Carolina can be a fun team to follow as they have a great rushing duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. They didn’t play a lot of defense though and it may not get any better without top defensive end Julius Peppers who is now in Chicago.

The Panthers will rely upon Williams and Stewart again in 2010 but to win they need quarterback Matt Moore to play well. He did that late last season and Carolina was a threat.  The Panthers have a great receiver in Steve Smith but not a lot of options around him. If Moore can’t duplicate the success he had last season then the Panthers may turn the offense over to Jimmy Clausen who they took in the NFL Draft. The Panthers are still going to run the ball since they have a great offensive line and two very good running backs.

The Carolina defense is going to struggle. They were not very good last year and they will be without their best player, linebacker Thomas Davis who tore his ACL in June.  Without Davis and Peppers, the Panthers are going to have trouble stopping other teams. Davis was simply great last year and the Panthers simply can’t replace him.

The Panthers have enough talent to compete in the NFC South but they probably don’t have the defense to stop New Orleans and Atlanta which means they are destined for third place.  The Panthers could have a little value in NFL preseason odds though, especially if Clausen plays well as the backup quarterback.