Panthers NFL Betting Overview August 4th, 2008
By: Betus NFL Handicapping Staff
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2008 NFL PreSeason Analysis – 2008 Panthers Football Gambling
Online NFL football wagering experts and the Carolina Panthers had high expectations in 2007 but a critical injury to starting quarterback Jake Delhomme ended all and any dreams.
Now the clock is ticking on the current Panthers regime after failing to finish with a winning record in either of the last two seasons. The Panthers are back in the sports betting underdog role and if they can thrive in it again, they could be competing for first in the NFC South, which is seemingly a revolving door.
The Panthers had several problems on offense last year: the passing game without Delhomme, secondary options in the receiving corps to keep attention off of Steve Smith, the running game and the offensive line. Did I miss anything?
But all of that can change in one offseason.
For starters, if Delhomme is healthy and the Panthers don’t have to bring Vinny Testaverde out of retirement again, the offense will be significantly better to start.
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The Panthers upgraded their offensive line in the draft with first-round pick, Jeff Otah and upgraded their running game with first-round pick, Jonathan Stewart. This should make the Panthers a physical rushing team again, which is what helped them get to the Super Bowl. They had softened up over the last two years.
The Panthers also added a few wideouts in D.J. Hackett and Muhsin Muhammad, who can only help. Hackett will be a reliable second option while Muhammad will be a good possession receiver and probably Delhomme’s favorite target on third downs.
Overall, this unit could see a drastic turnaround. Don’t be surprised if they jump at least 10 spots up from their 29th overall ranking last year.
Like the offense, the Panthers defense has grown soft over the last few seasons. It was surprising to see the Panthers finish with only 23 sacks (31st in NFL) after finishing seventh or better in the rankings and averaging 43 sacks over the last two years.
The big difference has to be Julius Peppers, who is entering a contract year. Peppers fell off the face of the earth last year with only 2.5 sacks. He had averaged 11.5 over the previous three seasons.
The Panthers traded away Kris Jenkins, whose sour attitude wasn’t helping matters but he was a big load in the middle that needs to be replaced. Veterans Damione Lewis, Ian Scott and Darwin Walker have to play to their potential to do that job.
The linebacking corps is back to being a strength, which is a good sign for John Fox’s defense. Jon Beason, Thomas Davis, Landon Johnson and Dan Connor make up what should be an underrated unit.
The Panthers secondary is solid. They have a good trio of corners in Ken Lucas, Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall, but if they don’t get pressure from up front, they will be exposed again.
Regular Season Win Total: 7.5
The NFC is a wide open conference and teams that compete one year, fade off the next (see: Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers).
There’s a number of reason to believe that the Panthers can break out this year: they’ve addresssed a number of offensive problems from last year, they play better as an underdog rather than a favorite and they play well on the road.
The over/under is set at 7.5 and considering the Panthers won seven games with Testaverde running the show for a large part of the season, the Panthers are good pick for over.
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