11/18 Free Panthers VS Lions Betting Pick By Jack Jones

Jack Jones

Nov 18 ’18, 1:00 PM
NFL | Panthers vs Lions

Play on: Panthers -3½ -110 at pinnacle

Jack’s Free Pick Sunday: Carolina Panthers -3.5

The Carolina Panthers will be highly motivated for a victory Sunday against the Detroit Lions.  They were embarrassed on National TV on Thursday last week in a 21-52 road loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are playing as well as any team in the NFL right now.  They’ll be looking to show the kind of team they really are this week as that effort was an aberration based on the way the Panthers had played up to that point previously.

The Panthers are still 6-3 on the season and right in the thick of the playoff race.  They have everything to play for the rest of the way, and I also like the fact that they have extra time to prepare for the Lions this week.  That’s because they did play last Thursday, giving them three more days off than the Lions.  That’s a hidden advantage here that I don’t think is being factored into the line.

I went 4-1 in the NFL last week, but my lone loss was on the Lions +7 over the Bears.  I thought they would play with a sense of urgency in a must-win game, but they did not, and they were terrible the entire game.  They were thoroughly outplayed by the Bears.  Now, at 3-6 on the season and three games behind the Bears in the NFC North, I could see the Lions pack it in.  They realize they have nothing to play for the rest of the way.

I should have seen it coming with the trade of Golden Tate to the Eagles.  Tate was Matthew Stafford’s security blanket, and without him he has looked lost.  The Lions have lost three in a row by 14 at home to the Seahawks, by 15 at the Vikings and by 12 at the Bears.  If that’s not the sign of a team struggling, then I don’t know what is.

Tate was so important to Stafford because he could get the ball out quickly to him.  That helped mask the woeful offensive line in Detroit that simply hasn’t given Stafford any time to throw this season, especially in recent weeks.  As a result, this Detroit offense has been held to just 15.0 points per game the last three weeks.  It won’t get any easier against a very good Carolina defense this week.

The Panthers look as good as they have offensively maybe ever this season, averaging 26.8 points per game.  And their defense is holding opponents to 17 yards per game below their season averages despite facing a brutal schedule of opposing offenses.  This Detroit offense will be one of the worst units the Panthers have faced all season, and they should have their way with them.

Christian McCaffrey should have a huge game rushing against a Detroit defense that ranks 28th against the run, giving up 132.7 rushing yards per game and 4.9 per carry.  The Lions also rank 31st in passing yards per attempt (8.9) allowed this season.  Even Mitchell Trubisky torched them for 348 yards last week through the air.  They were without their top corner in Darius Slay in that game, and he could miss this game as well with a knee injury.

Detroit is 2-15 ATS in its last 17 games vs. a team that commits one or fewer turnovers per game in the second half of the season.  Ron Rivera is 9-1 ATS off a blowout road loss by 14 points or more as the coach of Carolina.  Rivera is 12-2 ATS after allowing 25 or more points in two consecutive games as the coach of the Panthers.  Look for an inspired, bounce-back effort from Carolina this week.  Bet the Panthers Sunday.

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