The Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills will get their pre-seasons underway on Thursday and the game has a little more intrigue than usual. Kelvin Benjamin, who previously played with the Panthers and now plays with the Bills, publicly talked trash about his former team, so now this contest might have some more pep to it. Otherwise, there are a couple of other intriguing notes for bettors to keep an eye on.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has a 15-13 pre-season record with his teams going 2-2 in each of the last two seasons. His teams are 4-3 in the first week of the pre-season. As for Bills head coach Sean McDermott, he’s only been a head coach for one season and the Bills went 1-3 last year. It doesn’t look like we have a clear-cut edge either way. Buffalo is currently sitting as a 2.5-point favourite on the NFL odds board.
The Panthers are a veteran team and they know who they are. They were a playoff team last year, so they really don’t need to sweat these games too much. That means Cam Newton will play sparingly – if at all. Behind him is Garrette Gilbert, Taylore Heinicke and Kyle Allen. Not exactly a talented trio. However, they do have better depth at running back. Christian McCaffrey is expected to be a big part of the offense, so he won’t have to play much. Behind him is Cameron Artis-Payne, C.J. Anderson and Kenjon Barner – all players who have played ample regular season snaps. It will also be interesting to see what the Panthers do at wide receiver as they finally have depth at the position. Torrey Smith and Devin Funchess are the starters but rookie D.J. Moore and second-year player Curtis Samuel could seem a piece of the action. Overall, it’s hard to see the Panthers really pushing too hard in this spot. They really don’t have much to prove.
The Bills have a quarterback battle going on, so that’s a typically a good sign for preseason betting. It means that we’ll have some passers who are really pushing for a win. A.J. McCarron seems like the lead horse right now but he’s never been given the keys to the team before. He has to show well to win this job. Nathan Peterman is who he is trying to fend off. While Peterman is best known for his embarrassing five-interception performance last year, all recent reports suggest that he’s been a different player in training camp. Behind both of them is rookie first-round pick Josh Allen, who was the No. 7 pick in the draft.
At running back, the Bills also have a strong rotation. We won’t see much of LeSean McCoy but Chris Ivory, Travaris Cadet and Marcus Murphy are all NFL veterans. They should show well against backups. The quarterbacks and running backs give the Bills a real edge in this spot. They’re the better bet.