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Divisional Round: Cardinals vs. Panthers Betting Trends + Pick

NFL Divisional Playoffs – NFC Matchup Arizona @ Carolina

The high-scoring Arizona Cardinals (10-7 SU, 10-7 ATS, 12-5 O/U) advanced to their NFL divisional showdown this Saturday by beating the entertaining Atlanta Falcons 30-24 in last week’s NFC wildcard matchup. Their prize is a date with the stingy Carolina Panthers (12-4 SU, 9-6-1 ATS, 8-8 O/U) a team they lost to 27-23 in Week 8 back on Oct. 26.  

Veteran quarterback Kurt Warner completed 19 of 32 passes for 271 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Warner hit wide receiver Anquan Boldin on a 71-yard touchdown pass while veteran running back Edgerrin James rushed for 73 yards on 16 carries and backup running back Tim Hightower added one rushing touchdown and 23 yards on six carries.

“A lot of people coming into this game said we were the worst playoff team ever to get in,” Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “… I think we rallied around that.”

“I hope this gives us a lot of confidence,” Warner said. “I knew we thought we could win this game. Hopefully we can parlay this into some more confidence and know we can win wherever we have to go.”

The Panthers beat the New Orleans Saints 33-31 as a 1.5-point favorite in Week 17 as running back DeAngelo Williams rushed for 178 yards on 25 carries while quarterback Jake Delhomme passed for 250 yards with a touchdown in the win.

Arizona ranked second in the NFL in passing with an average of 292.1 yards per game during the regular season while Carolina finished third in the league in rushing offense with an average of 152.3 yards per game during the regular season.

Here is a look at tonight’s key trends, followed by my in-depth analysis and NFL Free Picks.

The Cardinals are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games.
The Cardinals are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games in January.
The Panthers are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
The Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 playoff games.
The Over is 5-0 in Cardinals last 5 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
The Over is 4-0 in Panthers last 4 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
The Underdog is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
The Road team is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.

NFL Odds

Arizona Cardinals +10 -110
Carolina Panthers -10 -110

Over 48½ -110
Under 48½ -110

Analysis: I’m going to keep this selection short and sweet by saying that I fully expect the Carolina Panthers to win this game at home as they are the superior team in two areas, defense and special teams – and have a rushing attack that will likely give the Cardinals’ uninspiring defense a tough way to go throughout this matchup.

Having said that, I also expect the upstart Cardinals to cover the high point spread in this matchup with their prolific offense. Take the Cardinals to keep it close before seeing their 2008-09 season come to and abrupt end.

NFL Free Picks: Carolina 31 Arizona 24

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