Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers Wild Card Weekend Free Pick
Play On: Arizona Cardinals +6.5.
In what should be a low-scoring game the points look extremely attractive to me. Carolina has won four straight but the last three were against Atlanta, Cleveland, and Tampa defeating the Browns and Bucs by a combined six points. Arizona finally received some quality QB play last week completing 23-of-40 for 299 yards.
I think the Panthers are getting way too much credit defensively for their efforts in recent weeks against lackluster offenses outside of Atlanta. Teams under Coach Arians are a perfect 9-0 ATS after his club allowed 6.5 yards or more per play in their previous game. Arizona is 21-10 ATS in all games coached by Arians and the opposition has only averaged 19.5 points per game. In their meeting last year Arizona beat Carolina 22-6.
It’s not like the Panthers have been a well-oiled machine offensively at home this year averaging just 18.2 points per game. I have a feeling Lindley is going to have a quality game and won’t be bothered by Carolina’s defense considering he just faced the 49ers and Seahawks back-to-back. Lindley was able to throw downfield last week against the 49ers completing 14 passes for 233 yards to wide receivers Fitzgerald, Floyd, and Brown. In last year’s meeting Arizona picked Cam off three times and registered SEVEN SACKS! Arizona was an outstanding 6-3 ATS as a dog this year and the same in 2013.
Carolina is not a deep passing threat. Kevin Benjamin only had 14 receptions of 20 or more yards or less than one per game. That’s huge because the Arizona secondary usually presses very close and especially now with Tyrann Mathieu back in the mix at the nickel spot. The Panthers lack the big-play ability in general so I don’t see them pulling away. Jonathan Stewart only had four rushes of more than 20-yards. Plus Arizona’s front-seven is very quick and should contain Cam from too many meaningful runs.
I think there’s very good value in the underdog in this game.