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NFL Free Wildcard Pick: Arizona vs. Carolina Betting Lines & Preview

Cardinals vs Panthers Free Pick

NFL Wildcard Round action sees the Arizona Cardinals taking on the Carolina Panthers on Saturday, January 3 at Bank of America Stadium. Cappers Picks provides free *NFL* handicapping tips all season long.

The Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers certainly took different paths to arrive in the 2014-2015 NFL playoffs but both teams are here, ready to make a magical run at a possible championship.

NFL Wildcard Round Betting Lines

Arizona Cardinals (11-5)vs. Carolina Panthers (7-8-1)
When: 4:35 PM ET, Saturday, January 3, 2015
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
Broadcast: ESPN
Cardinals NFL Betting Odds: +5½ -110 +220
Panthers NFL Betting Odds: -5½ -110 -260
Wildcard Over/Under Betting Odds: 38
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For the Cardinals it was a hot start that allowed them to sneak into the playoffs – for Carolina it was a terrific stretch drive that got them in. Can Arizona overcome the almost unfair injury situation or will the Carolina momentum be the catalyst for the Panthers to move on?

Cardinals

It has yet to be determined who will start at quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday – Ryan Lindley or Drew Stanton.

Early indications are that Lindley will start – looking for his first win of the season! He has guided the Cardinals the last two weeks after Carson Palmer’s replacement Drew Stanton went down with injury. In those games the Cards have been outscored 55-23.

That said Lindley looked OK in Week 17 against the 49ers – he threw for 316 yards and two TDs – but he was picked off three times. Lindley will be up against a Carolina defense that has come on late in the season – they have at least one interception in their last five games. Lindley will also have to contend with defending defensive player of the year – Luke Keuchly who is a handful to say the least.

At least the Cardinals have a running game – right? Wrong – Arizona will be forced to go with two underwhelming backs on Saturday. Stephan Logan has been OK and Kerwynn Williams was on the practice squad a month ago. Both backs will be a longshot to duplicate what Andre Ellington did for this club.

Carolina’s run defense has been bad however – they shut down Atlanta last week (ho-hum) but were gashed three weeks ago to the tune of 151 yards by a terrible Buccaneers running game.

Defensively the Cardinals defense has shown some cracks after establishing themselves as one of the best units in the game. Arizona run defense been seriously exposed to the tune of 473 yards the last two weeks! Not a good sign with the Panthers on the horizon. The team ranked 29th in the NFL against the pass this season as well allowing 259.5 yards per game.

Panthers

The Carolina Panthers enter this week on a four game win streak and as the only sub .500 team to ever qualify for the playoffs. It doesn’t matter how they got here – the fact that they are playing their best football of the season should be of concern to the Cards and the rest of the NFC.

The rebirth of Cam Newton and the rediscovery of a dormant running game has been the difference ion Carolina. Jonathan Stewart was the best back in terms of yardage the last five weeks of the season and he averaged 4.7 yards per carry this year. Cam Newton has also found his rushing legs – he has run for 197 yards the last three weeks and has scored three TDs on the ground! The Panthers are going to run the ball – the trick is to pick which player will get the rock and to stop them.

Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen should be able to exploit a sketchy Cardinals pass defense. These two haven’t had to do much the last few weeks – a perfect formula for Carolina success.

The Panthers defense has also emerged after being one of the worst units in the game all season long. They held Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and company to three points last week in Atlanta. They had six sacks and two interceptions in that game.

Carolina has been getting to the quarterback and has been forcing turnovers during their four game win streak – a scary proposition for Ryan Lindley and company.

NFL Wildcard Round Betting Trends

• ARI are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games on grass.
• ARI are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 Sat. games.
• ARI are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 vs. NFC.
• Over is 7-2 in CAR last 9 Sat. games.
• Under is 14-5 in CAR last 19 vs. NFC.
• Under is 19-7 in CAR last 26 games on grass.

The Cardinals have lost three of their last four road games and will likely be in tough here too. All of the arrows are pointing up for Carolina while the majority of the arrows are pointing down for the Cards.

4* NFL Wildcard Round Betting Prediction:

Arizona has been a nice story but NO team should have to deal with the injuries that they have this year.

Carolina Panthers -5 1/2

Unfortunately the Cardinals don’t measure up this week!

Check out our Updated NFL Wildcard Odds.



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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.


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