Two of the top teams in the NFC square off in this week’s Thursday nighter, as the Carolina Panthers welcome the Philadelphia Eagles to Bank of America Stadium. The teams come in with identical 4-1 straight up records and 3-2 marks against the spread; the Panthers have been the slightly better defensive team, holding opponents to 18.8 points per game, while the Eagles have been considerably better on offense, ranking sixth in the league in scoring (27.4 ppg).
Eagles vs. Panthers
Point spread: Panthers -3 Date: Thursday, October 12, 8:25 p.m. ET Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Panthers come into this one with 3-point edge, illustrating just how even oddsmakers believe these two teams are. Carolina has struggled against the spread both at home (1-5 ATS in its last six) and on Thursday night (2-6 ATS in their last eight), and will need to figure out how to generate more offense; the Panthers rank in the bottom half of the league in both passing (228.6 yards per game) and rushing offense (98.6 YPG).
The Eagles and their revamped offense have been one of the stronger cover plays in the league over the past eight games, going 6-2 ATS dating back to the latter stages of the 2016 season. But that success hasn’t carried over to the road, where Philadelphia has covered just three times in its last 10 games. That said, 57 percent of Sports Interaction bettors back the Eagles in this one, with a whopping 96 percent favoring the over on a 46-point total.
Thursday night games can be tricky to handicap, particularly where the total is involved. Carolina fans are used to seeing low-scoring affairs of late, with the Panthers having gone over just once in their previous six home games. Despite the overwhelming majority believing this one is going to be a shootout, you can buck the trend and get a decent +105 payoff for shaving 1 ½ points off the total and rolling with the under 44.5.
No team in football is more prolific in the first quarter than the Eagles, who are averaging 8.2 points in the opening 15 minutes of play. And while that total was no doubt aided by last week’s 21-point first-quarter explosion in a 34-7 drubbing of Arizona, bettors should consider taking Philadelphia at +100 as the first team to score, or at +100 in the race to 10 points. The Panthers are averaging a paltry 3.8 first-quarter points per game so far in 2017.
Eagles vs. Panthers prediction
Eagles 23, Panthers 20