The top-seeded Carolina Panthers will look to remain undefeated at home when they face the second-seeded Arizona Cardinals in this weekend’s NFC Championship game. The winner goes to Super Bowl 50 to face the winner of the Pats/Broncos AFC Championship tilt. The game kicks-off on FOX this Sunday, January 24th at 6:40 PM ET at the Bank of America Stadium.
A Closer Look At The Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers Updated Spread & My Free Pick
The NFL NFC Conference Championship game betting spread favors the home Panthers by 3-points to beat the Cardinals. If you are betting the money line straight up, then Arizona pays 135 on 100 while Carolina pays 100 on 160. The game total is at 47.5 points.
What: Arizona Cardinals (13-3) at Carolina Panthers (15-1)
When: Sunday, January 24, 2016
Kickoff: 6:40 PM ET
Where: Charlotte, NC
Stadium: Bank of America Stadium
Spread: Panthers -3
Moneyline: Arizona +135 vs Carolina -160
Game Total: 47.5
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Listen: Arizona vs Carolina
Why Bet The Arizona Cardinals Spread at +3 Over The Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have trailed for paltry 10 of 68 quarters this whole NFL season. How can the Cards overcome such consistent play by the Panthers? Score first and force the Panthers to play catch up.
If head-coach Bruce Arians and the Cardinals’ aggressive offense can put Carolina in the uncomfortable position of playing from behind there is no knowing how the young team will react. In the previous seasons, Cam Newton has been known to pout when things don’t go his way. This season we haven’t seen that side of Cam because the Panthers have only lost one game the whole season.
Now they face the Arizona Cardinals, the one opponent Carolina did not want to face. Unlike most teams, the Cards have different passing wrinkles to choose from if their running game is held in check and that doesn’t happen too often with stud rookie rusher David Johnson firmly in charge of the Arizona backfield.
In receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown and the aforementioned Johnson (457 receiving yards, 4 TDs), Carson Palmer has a wealth of targets to choose from.
“As I haven’t been playing in these games, I’ve studied it and watched it from afar and gone through it mentally,” Palmer said. “As big as this game is, you can’t make it bigger than it is. It’s win or go home and there’s plenty of implications, but we’ve got a pretty good recipe that wins games and we’re going to stick with that recipe.”
The Cardinals led the league with 408.3 yards per game — to erase haunting memories of the past two seasons. In 2013 the Cardinals missed the playoffs with an 11-5 record. Last year, they were 9-1 and the NFL’s best when Palmer went down with a torn ACL.
Why Bet The Carolina Panthers at -3 Over The Cardinals
Carolina has turned into a different team with the maturation of Cam Newton. The Panthers, often known for their defense under coach Ron Rivera, averaged an NFL-high 31.3 points to rank just ahead of Arizona’s 30.6.
"The playoffs bring out, more than any other time, the impact of ‘Big Mo,’" he told the Associated Press. "Momentum. We can’t wait for no one to make plays for us."
Newton and offensive coordinator Mike Shula have perhaps the best rapport of any QB and OC in the NFL. Shula’s play calling produced huge years for running back Jonathan Stewart and tight end Greg Olsen.
Olsen racked up a career-high 1,104 receiving yards, while Stewart finished with his best all-around season since 2009 with 989 rushing yards. Stewart rushed for two scores in last weekend’s win over Seattle.
“We prepared too much to get nervous,” Newton said. “In some way, shape or form we played this game numerous times in our head, watched countless film, made this adjustment and that adjustment, so when you’re put in the fire you already have what you need to do what you do. Nothing else needs to be done or said. No matter if we’re up or we’re down, just believe in the plan and keep going.”
Betting Trends Related To This Matchup
- 1/3/2015: Carolina won 27 to 16, Carolina covered -6, Game went over 37.5
- The Panthers are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 home games.
- The Panthers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 vs. NFC.
- The Panthers are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
- The Cardinals are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in January.
- The Cardinals are 21-10 ATS in their last 31 vs. NFC.
- The Cardinals are 3-8 SU in their last 11 games against the Panthers.
- The Cardinals are 1-4 SU in their last five games on the road against the Panthers.
- The Panthers are 12-0 SU in their last 12 games at home.
- The Panthers are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games.
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
The Panthers surprised the Seahawks in the opening quarter by scoring quick and often. Expect Cards coach Bruce Arians to have his squad prepared for that. The Cardinals have won their last six games as underdogs of three or fewer points, and they are also 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in their past five on the road. I fully expect the fun times to end in Carolina at the hands of the Cardinals.
Bet Arizona to win and cover.
My final score prediction is Arizona 31, Carolina 27.