This game matches up two teams on very opposite ends of the NFL spectrum. Arizona has taken the league by storm and have gotten better as they’ve entered the heart of their schedule. Whereas the Panthers started off (seemingly) hot (mainly because of ease of early schedule), and have simmered down as the year wore on. According to Football Outsiders Playoff odds, the Cardinals are fighting for the division lead (76% chance of finishing #1), and even #1 seed in the NFC (35%), while the Panthers are all but done for the year, facing a 97% chance of missing the playoffs altogether.
Ryan’s Season Totals
Assigned Games: 10-11
Best Bets: 16-9, Up 858%
- Opening Line: Arizona -10
- Current Line: Arizona -10.5
- Over/Under: 44
- Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
- Start Time: 4:05 PM EST, SUN 11/14
- Last Meeting: Panthers 31, Cardinals 21 in Carolina in 2020
The story of this game centers around players coming and going from the field. Besides the breaking news that Cam Newton is coming back to the Panthers (who won’t start this weekend), the team not only lost their starting QB (-.37 off the field according to the SIS ON/OFF Report), but their C in Matt Paradis (-.36) and T Cam Erving (also -.36). Collectively, their -1.39 EPA/Play given up when off the field represents the greatest injury adjustment to any team this week, by far. On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals are hoping to get back star QB Kyler Murray, and WR Deandre Hopkins back after a one-week absence. Even ignoring the core difference in talent between these teams, there is a clear transitional advantage toward the Cardinals when you look at players the Panthers are losing and Cardinals are gaining.
Tactically, there are two situational splits that stand out. Everyone knows how much Kliff Kinsbury and Arizona love their 10 personnel sets (1 RB no TEs). As it turns out, according to Sharp Football Stats, the Panthers are the 2nd worst defense in the league, by success rate vs. 10 personnel (granted with only a 16 size sample). Secondly, on the other side of the ball, Kyler Murray has a 54% success rate when NOT blitzed, and a whopping 73% rate WHEN blitzed (4th best net success rate when blitzed according to SIS Datahub). Guess how often Carolina blitzes? 33.2% of the time, or 4th most in the league.
- The Panthers are 5-0 ATS in their last five games against the Cardinals.
- The UNDER is 5-1 in the Panthers’ last six games on the road.
- The Cardinals are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games.
Beyond a basic talent advantage, there are some compelling tactical edges the Cardinals bring into this matchup, not the least of which is a 3 vs 27 empirical coach ranking advantage according to EDJ Sports. It’s very hard to imagine the Panthers putting up much of a fight with a backup QB, and barely an OL here.
Prediction: Cardinals 35, Panthers 13
The Picks: Cardinals -10.5 / OVER 44
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Ryan Newman is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Ryan, check out his archive.